REST. Why does just typing that word make me anxious??!! Ha! Well, I couldn't possibly rest. I have a company to run, three kids to care for, a marriage to nurture, groceries to purchase, laundry to do, a house to clean, a body to get in shape, African orphans to advocate for, a church to be involved in, friends to see, bills to pay...I could go on for hours. The New Year is often a time of resolutions...most of mine have never been kept because of the reasons mentioned above. :) So, as I've been thinking and praying about what this year might look like, I think it might look like REST. How's that for an ambitious goal? Sadly, it IS!!!
We have been through so much change as a family over the past year. It has been non-stop transition. We have had some of our highest highs and lowest lows this past year. Through it all, we have felt God close, but man, we're emotionally and physically tired!! We are also very excited about what 2011 might look like for us and the things God has in store. But I keep coming back to this idea of rest. What does that even look like and how do I do it??
Psalm 91:1 says "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." I find it interesting that the privilege of resting in God's shadow comes as we DWELL in His shelter.
The dictionary defines the word "dwell" as the following:
1. to live or stay as a permanent resident; reside.
2. to live or continue in a given condition or state: to dwell in happiness.3. to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing
So when I say that I want to rest this year, what I'm really saying is I want to DWELL. I want to RESIDE in the shelter of the Almighty. I want to STAY there. I want to LINGER in His presence and PONDER who He is. Dwelling with and in Him naturally leads to me resting in His shadow.
I love the imagery of resting in God's shadow. It's as if it's an unbearably hot and humid day and just when I start to feel faint He's there hovering over me...this amazing, strong, refreshing, reassuring presence. I can let down. I can breathe. I can REST. I can be re-energized and at peace.
This rest...it's available at every moment of every day if I seek it. I don't need a New Year's resolution to rest. I can find it this very second. But this year, I want the act of dwelling to become more natural and instinctive. I want to be where God is, to experience His presence more fully so that I can share it with the people around me. I love the idea of lingering in His shadow...just like the evening light lingers as the sun sets.
Our culture doesn't rest and it doesn't linger over much worthwhile anymore...so that will be my struggle. But I trust that as I seek Him out more diligently and learn what it means to truly dwell in the shadow of the Most High, that the beauty I find there will be no match for the things that compete for my time and my thoughts.
The second thing I long for this year is to FEAST. I know how to pick em, huh? Resting and Feasting. Sounds rough! :) When I think of what it means to feast I think of coming to a huge banquet table that is overflowing with the finest variety of foods. And I want to come to God's table to feast. When I looked up the definition of "feast" (yeah, I was on a dictionary kick today) it said this: "to dwell with gratification or delight, as on a picture or view". There's that word again. DWELL. How cool is that?
God's invitation to us all is to come and feast with Him.
"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to Me; hear Me, that your soul may live." - Isaiah 55:1-3
I want to sink my teeth into the things that will feed my soul. I want the days of spending money and time on things that don't satisfy to be over. I want to go deep. That's my craving for this year - to dwell with and be delighted by the lover of my soul as never before. Not a bad way to start a New Year. :)