This summer has been a wonderful break. Normally we jam pack things into the days off, running here, there and everywhere, keeping kids busy and visiting friends or checking out new locales. All good things, but anything in excess is an overdose.
Though we have done a fair bit of visiting around and exploring, and some small family vacation time camping and staying at my parents’ cottage, we’ve kept pretty close to home and kept our days lower-key. It helps having a toddler who naps in the afternoon as it means we are home, together, resting or reading or just lolling about.
I like this pace. I like slow, restful, enjoying time together. Please don’t think I’m a model or anything to look up to though, it takes almost everything in me to fight the urge to be busy. My default mode is go-go-go, and it never fails to flatten me after a few weeks of keeping that pace. Something that I have been learning over these past few months of a quieter life, slower pace is that my time is not my own.
I am selfish to the core, and if I had it my way, I would waste the day away running around doing things, putting my feet up and drinking a coffee WITHOUT interruption, giving the kids more iPad time instead of supervising their chores, or forego the laundry or quiet time for a few more minutes on Facebook.
Again, those things aren’t necessarily wrong, but when they take the place of what’s better or even BEST, then you know you’ve gotten off track. Colossians 3:2 says “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
My inmost being yearns to draw near to Christ, but my flesh jumps in the other direction. I now better understand Paul in Romans when he said “I do what I do not want to do!”.
I KNOW I need physical time of rest, I KNOW I need to bring myself to the feet of God before I set myself before the face of man. My spirit is willing, indeed it is drying up without refreshment, but my flesh is so weak (Matthew 26:41).
When you get off track or allow busy seasons of life to sideswipe your best laid plans and regular routines, it’s easy to beat yourself up over letting it happen – again. But remember, there is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
Yeah, you messed it up. Yeah, you need to take the steps to start over again. Yeah, you moved away from the best place you were once in. But those voices you’re hearing, attacking you and dragging you down into a pit of unworthiness and judgement? That’s not our great God, our loving Saviour Jesus Christ talking.
No, for he stands there with arms wide open, calling, drawing, and waiting for you to respond.
Don’t wait, get back on track today! Get the discipline of bible study and quiet time, of peace and restful times back in place, planning out your steps carefully, covering them in prayer, so the time once again becomes not yours, but God’s. That discipline, with persistence, will blossom into a deep desire, and eventually become your heart’s delight.
Even if you can only spend a few minutes in the word or lifting your eyes to heaven in prayer, it’s more than nothing at all! God can use any amount of time, small or great, for your benefit and his glory. Don’t let the fact that others can and do spend hours in the word defeat you.
Do what GOD is asking of you.
We heard a sermon preached at our church in July, on Psalm 23, focusing on verse 3: “HE restores my soul.”
Our pastor gave us some very real encouragement and practical thoughts on how to let God begin the restoration in our hearts when we know we need to return to him.
How do I let God restore my soul?
Refocus – realize that my time is not my own, but belongs to the Lord.
Real Fellowship – I’m not talking tea parties and movie nights, though these are good. I’m talking indepth bible study, meeting together with other believers (whether it be at a worship service or small group), encouraging, mentoring, praying together.
Refinement – Let God refine you and don’t let these light, momentary afflictions overwhelm, but push you to your knees.
Repent – Yeah, I’m not where I should be or want to be. There is more grace! Don’t just turn or try, but change your mind. Fill the void you’re feeling with a passion for God and his truth.
Release – Let it go! What is GOD speaking to you? Where is he teaching you? Your thing isn’t the next person’s thing, and neither is their thing necessarily your thing.
Refresh – Rest. Why is it so difficult to slow the pace? Be still and know. Get away, into the word, find a peaceful place to read and pray, do what you gotta do! You won’t regret saying no to some things and choosing #thebestyes.
God PROMISES that times of refreshing will come from his presence.
Sweet one, return and be restored. Seek refreshment. Repent and fill your life with God’s best.
This is one of my favourite songs of all time – give it a listen on itunes/grooveshark/pandora. But for now, read through these words.
Won’t you pray this with me?
Restore My Soul (Andi Rozier)
Restore my soul, revive my heart.
Renew my life, in every part.
Reveal to me what sin remains.
Then lead me to the cross again.
And at the cross I’ll find a way
To live the life Your hand has made.
So find me there, Lord, and help me stay
In true surrender with You my Savior.
Relight the flame that burns so strong
Reminding me what you have done
My one request is to be changed
So lead me to the cross again.