Thursday, April 11, 2019

Are you busy? Why? Sometimes my busyness is the result of multiple opportunities to make an impact. When I am busy in a healthy way, I sense a peaceful fulfillment from using God’s gifts in me to make a difference. I sense His presence and pleasure. And at the end of those days, I rest well. That’s a healthy busy.

But busyness can be unhealthy and detrimental, too. Remember the story of the storm?

A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. He (Jesus) was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die? ”

He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still! ” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith? ” Mark 4:37-40

Sometimes my busyness helps me hide. Busyness keeps me from facing my fears, leaning into my deep desires and living faithfully in Christ. At times, busyness is a tool employed to avoid contemplating the state of our heart, mind, soul and strength.

Jesus knew how to rest and be busy. He practiced the art of trusting in the Father— whether feeding thousands after a full day teaching or resting amidst a storm. His heart and mind were convinced of the Father’s purpose and care for Him.

The disciples in this story are busy bailing, fearfully and frantically avoiding death — so they think. Without a minute’s hesitation for contemplation, they fitfully wake Jesus from his sleep and accuse him of a lack of care. Busy bodies blaming Jesus.

On one level it seems prudent, logical and necessary to wake up Jesus – help us bail dude! But Jesus doesn’t commend their sense of urgency and busyness; He says their fearful actions indicate a lack of faith. Had they taken even a moment to consider who was in the boat? Had they taken so much as a minute to look at their fear and ask ‘what’s really going on within me right now?’ No. And Jesus said that is faithless.

Busyness (that they clearly justified), and their reactionary response to their circumstances, had blocked them from contemplating the deeper matters before them. Who is in my boat? What is it I fear? Why? What is the deep and holy longing I truly desire?

These are hard questions, and busyness offers a dodge. But they are essential questions we must ask ourselves. In answering them, we are hopefully led to more self-awareness, growth in faith, and most importantly knowing the Man in our boat — Jesus.

Join the conversation: Be Still and Rest

Rest in a restless world – are you finding it? I AM.

The name of God in Hebrew is made up of four letters which are translated: YHVH or Yahweh. It is often written as LORD in our English Bibles, but in reality it means “I AM.”

Moses encounter this in Exodus 3 as he received instruction from Yahweh to go to Egypt to set the Israelites free. Moses says, “what if the people of Israel ask who sent me and ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Say, “I AM has sent me to you.”

I AM, the eternally existing God of creation, the God whose “BEING” is the cause every thing that is, the Eternal Essence who is the reason for our existence has chosen to make us in his image (Gen 1:26). Therefore we are little I AM’s, uniquely and fearfully made in the image of the Great I AM.

Whenever we speak of our selves using the language “I am __________” we are first uttering the name of God. To speak of my name as in, “I am Rob,” I must first speak the name of God.  Our being flows from his BEING, and bears his image.

So the Psalmist invites us, amidst the flaming arrows of life, nations raging and cosmic chaos, to “be still and know that I AM God” (Psalm 46:10). How can we this be? How can we be still, or rest.

Maybe it depends on who you “be.” Who are you? Whose are you?

If I am, then I am made by and cared for by the Great “I AM.” And more importantly, if He is the Great I AM, the redeemer, our fortress, a very present help in trouble, then I am still and I am resting in knowing the presence and promises of God are with me.

What do you think?

Join the conversation on Facebook or on Twitter @cc_goshen

What if I Rested?

by Rob Gibson  July 14, 2016

Post #10 in: Gleanings from a Sabbatical Journey…

I was sitting in Starbucks watching a baby boy fall gently asleep in his young mothers arms. He was so peaceful and secure, wrapped in her tender embrace. She gently stroked his forehead, his eyes closed, and his little body melted into her arms. He hadn’t a care, totally unaware of the concerns mom, dad and I discussed. He was safe, secure, deeply loved, and in that love he rested well.  I thought to myself, just give me thirty minutes of rest like that and I could run for a week. Do I know how to rest like that? 

My sabbatical was about rest, but rest is difficult for a workaholic fixer. With so much to fix and reform, how the heck can I rest?! It’s a skill we are born with, like this little boy, and then it seems the woes of the world can wrestle it from us with life consuming burdens. 

The burdens are many: paying the bills, satisfying customers, keeping the kids safe and on track, satisfying the boss, can’t loose this job, gotta make quota, terrorist strike again, need to connect with friends, save for retirement, people are protesting in Dallas, what about a vacation, fixing the car, mowing the lawn, a liar or narcissist is going to ruin the country, got to finish the basement or she’ll be angry, how will we afford college, insurance is killing us. That’s enough to keep me up at night.

The list has so filled my mind for years that I stopped dreaming long ago, or at least I rarely remember my dreams. I’m told I dream, but I remember less than a handful of dreams. A party with Taylor Swift (go figure), a hike in the mountains, a board game on white fluffy clouds. When I was younger, I dreamed, I walked in my sleep, then early in our marriage I talked about work in my sleep – to my wife’s chagrin. Then, until recently, things went blank – no dreams.

I have felt guilty resting. A subtle guilt if I sat to watch golf or took a ride on my motorcycle to nowhere in particular. Guilty because if I’m not moving, and moving with purpose, I have no purpose, no value. It’s a jacked up lie, but a workaholic that performs to earn value isn’t going to rest except when it’s physically demanded. I wanted to rest like that baby. I was certain I had to have it, and I was hopeful it was possible. After all, Jesus said: 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

That sounds fantastic, but how do I access this rest? Maybe a better question is, who snatched it from me? What lying dog told me I had to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and fix so much stuff?That little baby was resting in his mothers arms, unconcerned with the woes of the world or our troubles; he simply rested in the loving and trusted arms of mama. I want that! 

To rest, I have to continually reclaim a couple of truths, and kick some lies in the hind-quarters. The lie to silence is, “I’m responsible for everything and I have to fix ‘it’ and everyone.” That is way above my pay grade and human capabilities, and turns me into an agitated control freak. The truth I need is the doctrine of rest. It’s one you’ve probably never focused on, but it’s there. We see it when Jesus says:  

“The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)

This is so freeing because, in essence, Jesus says we can do our work (scatter seed) in the daytime, then go to sleep. Further, while we sleep stuff grows and we don’t know how! In other words, it’s not our responsibility to make it all happen. I am not responsible for the outcome. I don’t have to fix everything or everyone. I am not God and I am not in control. I know this, it’s my heart and soul that need to catch on. I do my best (and even when I don’t he gives me grace) and go to bed and trust the outcome to God. God is responsible for the growth, the result – the harvest.  

This truth gives me the opportunity to lay down my work and rest. It sets me free to breathe deeply, relax, connect to my heart and begin to trust God. This truth welcomes me, at 54, to rest secure as a child in the tender loving arms of my Savior. It invites me to know I am deeply loved, safe, and able to dream again.