Apples to Apples–Take A Seat Saturday

apples

We dropped our youngest son off in Washington State this week. In fact, we just got home last night. He just graduated from college and is beginning ministry at a fabulous church, Valley Real Life, in the Spokane Valley. People often ask us if it’s been hard for us to have him live so far away. Our answer, always, is “it’s not Russia.” Russia is, by the way, the home of our oldest son. So, you can see why Washington doesn’t seem so far away after all.

And I would say all in all that we are doing pretty well with the whole “move across the country” thing. After all, we moved to France when we were in our early twenties. We are big believers in going where God leads you, wherever that may be, and we are confident, as is the son, that God has led him to Washington.

Yet. . .
Today when we stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things, it was the husband who declared, “Look! ‘Washington’ apples.”

Well, whaddayaknow?

The father is missing the son. And it made me smile. To know that he’s been looking at these same apples for years and never really cared that they came from Washington–until today.

Love does that y’know? It makes you see things you’ve never seen before. Notice things you normally overlook.

And the more you love, the more you care, the more you take that risk, the more you see things like apples. Or Russian news reports. Or storm warnings. Or beef jerky. And when you stop, and take the time to take a seat and think, you will see that apples to apples, that’s a very good thing.

family photo spokane
The son, his fiance and the apple noticing parents while in Spokane, Washington.

www.Hypersmash.com

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I Can’t Drive 55–Take a Seat Saturday

I can't drive 55

Sammy Hagar was wrong. There ya go, I said it. The Red Rocker could, indeed, drive 55. He just didn’t want to.

Realizing that Saturday’s blog posts on rest are the posts I most often avoid writing made me stop and ask myself why. One reason, most certainly, is I am not good at resting. I am a doer. There ya go, I said it. The other main reason is that I have given into Sammy’s idea of “I just can’t,” when the truth is I just don’t want to.

“I just can’t rest. There’s too much to do.” Oh brother, what a lie. And just like Sammy could drive 55–it did take him 16 hours to get L.A. by the end of the song (I know some of you will be looking up his video just for old time’s sake), I, too, can learn to slow down. Praisallujah! You can, too.

Actually I’ve been doing a much better job at slowing down–that’s what 3 1/2 months of sinus infection will do to a girl! But outside of an inconvenient sickness, I am learning to make choices that are helping me to slow down, invest more in others and learn to appreciate more some of the things I had been missing in my busy lifestyle.

A few things needed to go missing though. I realized as I watched the Sammy Hagar video that a nonstop lifestyle often breeds other things like pride, rebellion and disrespect. Things I would never have thought characterized me, yet when I think about it probably were a part of my overly busy life. It’s time to put off those old habits and put on some humility, submission, and respect.

I can’t say it’s an easy thing I’m learning. BUT, and this is a big but, it’s the right thing I’m learning. It’s time for me to stop stealing someone else joy by doing things they might want to do. It’s time for me to stop serving my time leftovers to my husband. It’s time for me to invest in people more than projects.
It’s time for me to quit saying “I’m tired” or “I can’t. I already have another commitment.” It’s time for me to start submitting to God and His ways which are always best and right.

Sometimes those plans will still mean long hours and hard work. But sometimes those plans mean saying “no” to something good, and “yes” to quieting myself and my home and even my work time to rest in Him, hearing His voice and enjoying His presence.

Although Sammy Hagar and the boys in the band had to learn the hard way that they could drive 55, I’d rather learn God’s way that I can, should and will take time to rest, being still and knowing that He is God.

Don’t Bother Me, I’m Busy Resting–Take a Seat Saturday

shhhh

Oh! I make myself laugh sometimes at the silly things I say. Take for example the words in the title above. “I’m busy resting.” Even though it sounds like a giant contradiction in terms, I really think that for some of us, being “busy resting” may be one of the only ways we rest. Well, until we drop from complete exhaustion!

No matter how much I want to fight the truth. I need to rest. I need to slow down sometimes, and I don’t need to feel guilty about it. So I have learned that it helps to schedule in some times of rest. In order to stay sane productive, I schedule most of my week with certain days and certain times to get certain things done. I am much more likely to get the necessary things done when I schedule them in. I can then easily and honestly say “no” to some good things so that I can get the better and best things accomplished. And so it goes with rest.

When I schedule in times of rest, even small times, I am much more likely to actually rest. With rest time scheduled in, I am free to say “no” (yeah, that’s a word we can all say) to the same good things that keep me from this better thing.

I’ve also found that I have different kinds of rest needs. Sometimes I need to rest my body. Sometimes it’s my brain that needs a break–I can tend to over think sometimes. Depending on what’s going on, my emotions may need a break, and certainly my spirit needs time to slow down and rest in God.

By scheduling these times in, and by doing my best to keep those scheduled times, I am much more likely to keep my both my physical and my spiritual heart healthy, as well as my spiritual fruit growing, my purpose clear before me, and my joy overflowing. My relationships are better, my ministry is better, and my outlook and attitude are better. Things are just better when rest is part of the picture.

If fact, I think I’m going to grab a few minutes of rest now, so if anyone asks, I’m busy . . . resting.

Demolition Day–Take a Seat Saturday

One of the greatest reasons I know to slow down and take a seat for a while is the way it allows you to see and hear things you’ve never noticed before–or haven’t noticed in a while. When we slow down things “resonate” within us on a different level. We see things we may have missed or things we have been missing.

It’s no surprise that the more I learn to slow down and quiet myself, the more God is allowing me to hear and discern. Yesterday when I was reading 2 Corinthians 10:5, I couldn’t help but think about how important the word demolition is to this verse. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says:

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Take-thoughts-captive

I’ve noticed that we, as women, (I don’t know if men do this or not) tend to focus on the “take every thought captive” part more than we focus on the demolishing. We take every thought captive, alright. I’m just not so sure that we are taking our thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ. We take these thoughts which we should have demolished and we nurture them, chew on them, and obsess on them until we can’t let go. It would seem that we often take captive that which should be let go, and we let go that which should be taken captive, and we completely leave out the demolition.

It would seem that we often take captive that which should be let go, and we let go that which should be taken captive and completely leave out the demolition.

We have locked up within us our insecurities and fear, our hurts, pains and past offenses; and like captives we have imprisoned, day after day after day or night after night after night we return to visit the cell in which we have placed them. But what we should have done is demolished them as part of the “every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.” We often hold onto these things with the same fervor we are called to hold onto the Word of God, and in doing so we miss out on the joy and victory that comes when the old is gone and the new takes its place.

These things that we have locked up inside of us are actually keeping us from the full knowledge of God, and it’s time to get rid of them. Ya gotta love the strength of the word demolish, because we aren’t just talking about sweeping them out the door like Mary Poppins, we are talking about DEMOLITION!!! Gone! Destroyed! Demolished! No More! Impossible to return! Dead! And seriously, who doesn’t like to go out a do a little healthy demolishing sometimes?! (The unhealthy kind where we demolish others with our words and actions is what we are getting rid of here and that’s another blog post entirely!)

As we demolish those things, we are free to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ without those “old” captives clamoring for our attention. Things will still come against us and try to get into our lives, hearts and spirits. But by His power and grace, we are now free and strong to take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ, and we are free to let them grow, which frees us up to grow.

So get out your spiritual sledge hammers and let’s get to demolishing. Because just like an old building is demolished so a new one can be built in its place, so God is wanting to build new things into our lives as well.

Rest is Not a 4-Letter Word: Take a Seat Saturday

slow downRest is not a 4-letter word. Okay, maybe it is. But not the “bad kind” of 4 letter word, although it feels like it sometimes. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a little problem with slowing down. I’ve been working on it for a couple of years now. Trying to incorporate the oh-so-important day off into my schedule is a task I have yet to master. But I am working on it. My head understands all the reasons why I should, but my heart just doesn’t always get it. My passions for ministry and family often take over what should be my passion for obedience, wisdom, and setting an example.

I remember when the boys were little. Sometimes they would be so tired, but they just wouldn’t give in to sleep. I can remember saying to myself and to them, “Don’t fight it. Just let yourself sleep.” So many of us live in the same manner. We are tired, but we fight rest. In our confused state we forget that the God who served up a loaves and fish lunch to thousands can handle anything we have on our calendars. In the coming weeks, I hope to share some insights into why we fight rest and what we can do to help let ourselves surrender to it, and the One who created it. He has called us to rest. The first key for me in deciding to make changes in this area is based on this one simple truth: God said to. That should have been enough for me. But this is an area my flesh and spirit, and maybe yours, fight daily. My pride, my insecurity, my stubborness, and my inability to trust God to take care of the demands of the day cause me to stumble back in to the trap of the evil one in this sensitive area of my life.

The first key for me in deciding to make changes in this area is this one simple truth: God said to.

There have been times as a parent when my sole response to our children has been, “Because I’m the mom, and I said so.” I always thought I would never say those words, but I learned that sometimes they can have great impact. For our authority as parents was designed to have that kind of weight. In other words, at times, it’s necessary to simply say that because of my authority in the home, this is what we are doing. I know what is best and it is what I have decided.

God, as the ultimate authority and ultimate parent, also has the final word. Which is why, for me, before my heart could fully grasp the importance of rest, my head had to be willing to understand that I have to slow down, because God said so, and He’s God, and that’s reason enough to do what He has asked.

It’s a little funny that I have declared Saturday’s posts as “Take a Seat Saturday” because at the church where I serve, I have to go in on Saturdays and work. But it’s not about the day you rest, it’s that you take a day to rest, and my current day of rest is Friday.

Whether this is something you struggle with or have mastered, I’d love to hear your thoughts. ‘Til then. . . take a seat, and happy resting!