I’ve been thinking about writing this post on the word God gave me for the new year for the past couple of weeks. It would be well-thought out and inspiring, something that resonates with everyone. It would be relevant and sincere and the words would come to me so clearly.
Instead, here I am trying to think of some words to type so that I can meet my own deadline and my own expectation of posting on here once a month for 2018. Here I am trying to finish a post I’ve wanted to write, yet have put off until the day before my church begins the 21 Day Fast and Prayer on social media (which is, ironically, the very place my post will go.) Here I am feeling like I have to find time in my busy week to write this, when in reality it’s something I get to do for God.
As I write it out, it seems silly. But if I’m being honest, it’s a beautiful, broken picture of the exact reason God has given me the word rest for 2018.
REST. It’s something I want to do, it’s something I try to do. But at the end of the day I think I miss the mark, simply because my focus is misplaced.
I can forget that rest is not about what I do, it’s simply about choosing to believe what Jesus has already done.
I think I’ve always put rest in a box, to me it’s always been a physical concept. We need rest when our bodies are exhausted. And that’s not wrong, but it’s also so much more.
It’s leaning into Jesus when everything around me is chaos and noise and frustration. It’s trusting that He is the peace I’ve been striving for. It’s choosing to see His plan when all I want to do is run away.
I’m slowly learning that rest is actively choosing to trust and rely on Him. It’s physical and it’s mental and it’s very spiritual.
So, yes. The word God gave me for this year is rest, and as I think about that I can’t help but smile because I know it’s so relevant to where I’m at on my journey with God.
Last year was so good, God brought me closer to Him through His Word (I talked about it in my post Twenty-Seventeen// A Year of Obedience) but this year I feel Him pulling me even deeper into a place of stillness and trust, a place that makes me uncomfortable.
I don’t really rest well. I feel like I’m one extreme or the other. I’m either going a million miles a minute and saying “Yes!” to every invite I get or I’m sleeping until noon and binging Netflix all day. Now, I believe those are good things, in moderation. But my brain isn’t great at moderation when it comes to rest. It’s all or none.
So, I feel like this year God is really calling this area of my life into focus. Not because He is upset with me or wants to change me, it’s out of a genuine love for the health of my heart.
He’s reminding me of the passions and things I enjoy doing that bring me mental rest. He’s showing me the importance of having a routine and getting enough sleep for my body to go out and do what it was created to do. And most of all, He’s challenging me to cling to Him and rest in the fact that He is in control when everything seems too much to handle.
I know this is such a timely word for me because I sense this upcoming semester is going to be the most crazy one yet. I just joined the North Texas Daily, my university’s newspaper, and will be writing a story every week for it on top of my normal four class load. I’m also finishing out my last semester as a middle school leader at HUB, my church’s youth group and am continuing to be involved in our young adults ministry that meets every month. These are all good things but I’m going to be doing more all at once than I’ve done in awhile, it’s going to be everything but a restful season by the world’s standards.
But God doesn’t do things the way the world does them and I can already hear Him saying, “Hey, I’m with you and for you. Rest in me when life is hard because it’s in me that you’ll find the strength and peace you need in this season.”
And it’s when I really believe that that I do feel at rest with Him. He always knows what I need before I even need it.
So, my hope for this year is that God continues to open up my eyes to the value of resting in Him every single day. And I’m hoping for more moments of peace in His presence and laughter with my family around the dinner table and more hours spent journaling and dancing and reading and scrapbooking and doing all the passions He has put in my heart.
I’m hoping for a year of Heaven’s reality of rest in the midst of the world’s chaos and crazy idea of normal.
And my hope for all of us is that we would have the confidence to trust that He will give us the peace and strength we need, no matter what our circumstances are. I pray your heart is open to receive whatever sweet truths He is speaking over you this year, because I believe He has so much He wants to say to you. And I hope, no matter what, we all choose to rest in Jesus this year.
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” -Psalm 62:5-6
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30