Friday, February 29, 2008

Resting, Resting

Resting. In today's world that is a somewhat unknown concept. Merriam Webster dictionary says that to rest is "to cease from action or motion, to be free from anxiety or disturbance; to sit or lie fixed or supported; to remain confident." It also says rest is "freedom from activity or labor; a peace of mind or spirit; a rhythmic silence in music."

It's amazing the pround truths we find when we actually look at what a word means.

I recently got FFH's latest CD called Worship in the Waiting. It is an amazing collection of songs about worship and waiting on the Lord. In the middle of the CD is this wonderful jewel...a new arrangement of an old hymn called "Jesus I Am Resting, Resting." As I first listened to the song, I thought it was a beautiful arrangement and thought it was interesting.

However, life, as it usually does, hits and things knock us off our feet. We then jump to action to try to "fix" things, try to make things better. But what if, just once, instead of trying to deal with the blows life gives we rested in Jesus? What if instead of worrying about how we are going to make it to the next paycheck we rested in Him and trusted Him to provide as He promised He would? What if instead of being anxious over things we cannot control we trusted Him to be our safety and protection as He promised He would? What if instead of trying to work things out that we think are best and in a way we think is best we trusted Him to take care of every detail and give us the desires of our heart as He promised He would? And as life hit, this song became more than just a pretty arrangment. It became a catalyst to draw me closer to the Father. And it showed me something I needed to see.

What if we simply rested in Him?

Which takes me back to the definition of the word rest.

"To cease from action or motion." How many times have you wanted something to work out a certain way - anything from trying to get a certain guy or girl's attention to getting that promotion to buying a house - and you did everything in your power you could to get it? (and usually ended up right back where you started before you started "meddling") Or how many times have you had something bad happen and you tried to fix it in your own way? Next time, try resting in Him. Cease from action or motion and let Him act and move as He knows best and watch the miracles He'll do.

"To be free from anxiety or disturbance." Now this is one that hits home for me. I worry about things that are just stupid to worry about. I'm anxious about things I have no control over. I know a lot of us are like this. We say we are trusting Him but then something happens and we start to doubt that faith. We need to rest in Him. He didn't promise life would be easy, but He did promise He would never leave us and promised that no one can steal us from His hand. With God in control, we can live free from anxiety. If we will only trust.

"To sit or lie fixed or supported." How many times do we try to do things on our own and only when they fail seek His help? To rest in Him means to live knowing He is supporting us in our every endeavor and need. If we fix our eyes on Him and keep our focus where it should be rather than on what we think can or can't be done, we would live resting in Him.

"To remain confident." Hmmm... Confidence is not one of my strong points. I am always doubting myself, my talents, my abilities, my looks. You name it, I probably have an issue with being confident about it. However, to rest is to remain confident. And here's the thing. If I rest in Him, I can be confident in Him. And even when my confidence wavers, I know He will be my confidence. And I know that as my Creator, He equipped me with everything I need to be who He made me to be and to accomplish the purpose He placed me on this earth for.

"Freedom from activity or labor." In today's society people who take time to rest are viewed sometimes as lazy or as carefree. But God told us we needed to rest. Really rest. Even when we are home from work, a lot of us still work. We can be too busy. We run here and there and fill our lives with things that we think are important. We think that if we take a break the world will stop turning and everything around us will fall apart. And I know not everyone will agree with this next statement, but sometimes even church and doing things that we think are spiritual can get in the way of resting in Him - especially when those things get in the way of our worship or take the place of our worship of Him. Sometimes God calls us to cease from everything but resting in Him. If you find that life is keeping you from Him, you may need to evaluate your priorities. It's a trap we all fall into. But our spirits need refreshing. God did not create us to go 24/7 and never rest. He created us to be relational...and most of all of have a relationship with Him. Resting in Him is a very important part of that. It is how we refresh our spirits. Which leads to the next point.

"A peace of mind or spirit." Be honest. How many of us actually have a peace of mind or spirit. II Timothy 1:7 tells us the God didn't give us a spirit of fear but one of power, love and a sound mind. I don't know about you, but I don't often live that kind of life. Love...ok, that comes pretty easily for me for the most part - most days. Power and a sound mind are another story. But if we will rest in Him, He will give us that power to do what He has called us to do and a sound mind and will surround us with His love.

"A rhythmic silence in music." Now you may wonder why I included this part of the definition. What does this have to do with resting in Jesus. Well, I'm a musical person. I have a passion for music and it's effects on people...I mean that's why I'm a music therapist. But have you every listened to a beautiful song and there will be a pause at just the right moment. Sometimes it's a dramatic pause and then the music swells back in and blows you away. Sometimes it's a soft, simple pause and the music will softly come back in and bring a tear to your eye. Either way it makes the music after the pause that much sweeter. That is an analogy for life. I view life as a big symphony written by the Master Musician. It is full of crescendos and flowing phrases, harsh chords and beautiful melodies. And rests. Life is tough. It's not something you just take the scenic route through. Like a musical composition, life takes work. A composer doesn't just sit down and pop out a song in 5 minutes. (ok...well some do, and I'm jealous of those people...but most work on compositions for awhile) They tweak it to make it perfect. They play through a line and change a note or chord. They may change a lyric. And in order for a piece of music to be complete, there usually has to be a rest somewhere. If not, the chords would run together and lyrics would turn into jumble. God writes our life out like a beautiful composition. And at times, there are times of rest. We have to take time to rest in Him so the symphony of our life can be complete. He works on us. Changes us. Disciplines us. Loves us. And calls us to rest. And just like in music, the moment right after the rest is sweet. And we can go on with power and love and continue in the work He has given us to do.

Resting. Something we all need. If you go for days without sleep, at some point your body is going to shut down. If we go without spiritual rest, at some point our spirit will shut down. Jesus calls us to rest in Him. What greater invitation can you receive? None. For nowhere but in the sweet presence of our Lord can we find all we need and all we desire. Nowhere else can we find the unconditional love and acceptance we crave. Nowhere else can we find the peace and joy our hearts long for.

I hope you will take time to learn to rest in your Father. And come to know the sweetness of His love and provision.

"Jesus I Am Resting, Resting"
(Jean S. Pigott, James Mountain)

Jesus I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart

Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee
As Thy beauty fills my soul
For, by Thy transforming power
Thou hast made me whole

Jesus I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus
I behold Thee as Thou art
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless
Satisfies my heart
Satisfies its deepest longings
Meets, supplies its every need
You encompass me with blessings
Thine is love indeed

Jesus I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee
Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus
Earth's dark shadows flee
Brightness of my Father's glory
Sunshine of my Father's face
Keep me ever trusting, resting
Fill me with Thy grace

Jesus I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart


Connie Arnold said...

Hi Lori,
I came across your blog when doing a search on my books to see where they are offered (the titles are Beautiful Moments of Joy and Peace, and Abiding Hope and Love). I really like the things you have said, which seem similar to what I write about in my inspirational poetry. I hope you will visit my site, if you get a chance, and be sure to read the poems on the Inspirational Poetry Blog. By the way, my daughter's name is Lori too!

Moabite said...

Hey - I love that song! Someone put it on a compilation cd they gave me last year, and I listened to it so much when I had some rough times last summer. It even made it onto my 2007 cd! But I'm not sure who sings mine... I don't think its FFH, though. I bet their arrangement is great, too. It is such a peaceful song, though. I love it! And I love YOU! :)

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Anonymous said...

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