How to Rest + Be Still

Life is busy and bustling and very rarely is there time to sit and rest. Are you in this same season?

Every night I sing to the girls after our prayers. They make their minds known while shouting out their favorite end-of-day songs: Jesus Loves the Little Children, Twinkle Twinkle, the Rainbow song...and one I made up when Anton was an infant called Be Still.

Based on the hymn we sang in church as a child, it goes like this:

Be still (insert child's name), and know He is God...that Jesus loves you, Mom and Daddy too. So close your eyes...and go to sleep. Every time I sing it, it's like God's murmuring it right on back to me because I'm tired and have a hard time settling down to rest.

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This has been an extra busy season, with Ben still settling into his new job and me trying to figure out what life as an author looks like: completing my manuscript, getting gigs on my speaking calendar, coming up with good content both for my own blog and for articles I'm collaborating with on other peoples sites and magazines.

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What's funny though is that I work so hard to ensure our extra business doesn't affect the kids that I end up just creating a whirlwind of exhaustion. I want our kids to know that my ministry won't disturb our family-memory-making that when I am with them, I just have nothing left.

Instead of allowing our family time to fill my bucket back up so I can pour out...

I'm left dry and parched.

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During church last week, a friend filled in for our sick pastor and spoke about this very subject. Our family intentionally hunkers down during the winter months, when cold weather sweeps through our Colorado mountains, but fall is just a busy one with six kids in activities, clubs, friends, homework, and all that fills the outside school hours.

I needed this reminder on rest.

Why do I look at Sabbath as something unattainable, though?

Are you the same? Our friend Eric (who preached last week) talked about how the Sabbath isn't supposed to be a 24-hour span of time full of what we cannot do...but isn't that often what we think?

When I hear the word Sabbath, I feel I need to somehow figure out how to just be still and relaxed and quiet for the entire Sunday hours. Like I need to do literally nothing.

But as a mom that just doesn't seem possible!

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We live in a neighborhood full of Jewish families because we're so close to the Synagogue. It's amazing to watch their diligence walking to and from service on Saturday: pelting rain, blistering sun, and deep snow, it doesn't matter.

A few summers ago, a someone's dog got out and was running around the street. A knock on our door brought me face to face with a smiling woman who said she heard we "take people in" (hah!) and would we be willing to take in this lost dog because since it was Sabbath, they couldn't use their phone and locate its owners.

Huh. Is this what Sabbath looks like?

Am I supposed to rest in a way that I cannot even help a lost pet?

How are we supposed to rake the leaves and go to Costco though, if this is the only free day we have? What about those of us with kids that need to be run around town for sports and birthday parties?

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What about the toilet that keeps plugging up and the necessary trip to Home Depot? Sunday is the only day we have to get all this done and prepare ourselves for the week ahead. Sunday is when we do meal-prep and change the sheets and make sure all the laundry is put away.

So someone...

please tell me how we're supposed to keep this Sabbath?

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Our sermon on Sunday reminded us it's more of a heart issue.

Sure we can go to Costco...but when we do, let's not get riled up with the crowds and our children touching things and making the trip take longer. Let us instead take a step back...walk a bit slower.

Stop for the samples. Let them play with the karaoke machine and the keyboard piano or drum set. What if we actually made Costco...or Home Depot...or raking the leaves...or whatever it is we're needing to do, into an experience.

What if we did our week's meal prep with the kids instead of ushering them out of the kitchen? What if we slowed down enough that we enjoyed our tasks, rather than simply rushing through them?

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We may not get as much done on whatever day we choose to rest on, but isn't that the point?

We don't need to literally do nothing.

We can still go on a hike, bike ride, or fishing with the family. But if chores need to be done and errandss need to be run, we can do it with a different viewpoint.

Our tasks can still be done... but with our hearts positioned differently, it could become more restful.

More rest-filled.

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What do you think? How could you honor the Sabbath and put rest in its rightful place in your life?

Take Joy,

Teresa

When we're afraid + overwhelmed (in our Calling)

I've had a rough week. Couple weeks, if you want to know the truth. I figure though, I'm not the only one feeling this way so bear with me as I try and share it with you. Because sometimes when you realize you're not the only one struggling, it's easier to go through it.

Don'tcha think?

As many of you know, God asked me to write a book a few years ago. It's changed shape and evolved and become something I'm really excited about, though it's far from ready. I've learned though the process however, that no longer can someone simply be a writer or author. If they're going to be successful, a healthy social media presence is required. They need to speak and put themselves out there in many ways other than on paper.

My mom and I laugh, saying we're "highly functioning introverts", so though it likely surprises some people, I have to massively push myself to get in front of people. I'd much rather be behind the scenes than in the forefront.

But God has made it obvious that He is asking me to do things out of my comfort zone and since I've told him for the past 14 years that I want Him to use me....really use me...I need to obey. Or else I'll be living in disobedience. And I certainly don't want that.

A few months ago a friend asked me to do something that at the time sounded exciting and I jumped at the opportunity. And then I became afraid. And put it off. And put it off some more.

Finally, cutting it rather close to the deadline, I did what was required of me. And I failed miserably because I had gotten so wrapped up in fear and inadequacy. It sent me into a tailspin that lasted about two weeks.

I was about to shut everything down. The blog, my Instagram and Facebook pages. I was going to send emails out to all the people I'd made speaking commitments with, podcast appointments with telling them I needed to cancel.

It all just felt so unsafe and scary. I just wanted to stay home and play with my kids. Be a mom. Be a good mom. A non-mulititasking mom. A stay at home mom that truly just stayed home and...well...mommed. I ached to be the kind of mommy that did things like create homemade play dough and actually live out all the fun summer activities and crafts I'd pinned on Pinterest.

Does that make sense? Have you been there??

Why, God?! Why can't I simply be at home with the kids? Why can't I feel called to homeschooling?

Why must You stretch me like this? Why must I be all things to all people??

And you know what He said?

You're not supposed to be all things to all people.

Just do the things I'm asking you to do.

Be faithful in little and I'll set you over much.

Christ directed me to the story of David in the Bible. How could a shepherd boy become king?! That's insanity! The stress! The inadequacy and feelings of being unprepared and out of his depth he must have gone through! I mean, can you even wrap your head around it?

But here's the thing. Yes, God will give us more than we can handle. Of course He will, He's God. If we could do everything ourselves, how easy would it be to forget we even needed Him?!

So yes, He will give more than we think we can do...but He will also prepare us.

David may have been anointed as king one day, but he certainly didn't BECOME king that day. There were years of training he'd undergo. Without likely even realizing it.

When David was a child, his bravery and trust in God allowed him to step up and be the only one to stand up to Goliath (and slay him). Through that, King Saul invited David to become his Armor Bearer. It never occurred to me what all this job entailed.

Since God in all His grace and mercy, knew when I needed to hear this story again and dive deeper into it, I just happened to get to the chapter in dear friend Logan Wolfram's book, Curious Faith where she speaks exactly of this.

God clearly anointed David for great things, but before David walked into those things, he walked a series of smaller obedient steps along the way. Before any of his obedience seemed wild to anyone else, it was faithful and diligent before the Lord.
— Logan Wolfram (Curious Faith - Chapter 11)

Logan goes on to explain that to bear the arms of a warrior was a servant's role. It meant he would be close to the king during times of combat.

Because the Armor Bearer needed to be close and available at all times to clothe the king for battle, he would be in the tent with the king and the leaders of his army as they discussed strategy and politics. He would basically be a fly on the wall, watching and learning how to command men and lead well (and perhaps taking mental notes when the king was not leading well).

God was teaching him how to be a leader without David likely having any idea.

Let's not forget that anyone living the calling Christ has given them was NOT ready the day God impressed it upon their hearts. There is preparation. There is waiting. There is trust.

Jeff Goins sent me a copy of his wildly popular book, The Art of Work. I had pre-ordered it ages ago but somehow haven't been able to find it after reading the first chapter a year or so ago. So it coming randomly in the mail was such incredible timing. Jeff's words were needed at this exact time...in this exact season of being terrified and feeling small.

I have been praying through it and God has been speaking to me in massive ways because of it.

"We will have to act in spite of feeling unprepared", Jeff writes. He reminds us that "the gifts do not precede the call."

And as we step into our life’s work, we discover that we have been preparing for this our whole lives, even though in that very moment we feel insufficient. That is how you know you’re called at all—the experience compels you to grow, to change.
— Jeff Goins, The Art of Work - Chapter 4

In other sections (now massively highlighted in bright pink), Jeff shares story after story of people who have stepped out in trust, saying "they all had no idea what they were doing. There was no plan. But they acted anyway. They didn't just know. They chose."

I took two weeks off of blogging, days and days off from social media. I needed to clear my mind, realign my heart with His and ejected myself from all the noise. I concentrated on my time with the Lord and spent time with my family. I cleaned closets and bedrooms. I moved furniture and rid ourselves of excess stuff. I prayed. And then I played. And I read a ton.

In His faithfulness, He is strengthening my spirit once again. Bringing joy back. Bringing a vigor and purpose back to what He's calling me to do.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still scared spitless. But I'm no longer spending evenings cuddled next to my husband watching a show at night, literally trembling with trepidation of what Christ is asking of me.

A close friend texted me the other day...

I’m praying God will speak truth and comfort to your heart and mind and that He will show what he wants you to do today. JUST today. And then you can go one day at a time from there.

Shoot, one HOUR at a time.

And I have a feeling the first thing to do is rest. Rest your mind and heart and spirit. Find that shelter in His arms and lie down.

So that, dear friends...is exactly what I'm doing. And if you're in the same season as I am...I pray you heed her words and do it, too.

Take Joy,

Teresa

p.s. aren't these scripture cards fantastic?! You can order them over at Thou Are Exalted.