Afraid of silence?

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My stack from the library makes feel very spiritual and intelligent. I look at the pile and think, “Wow. What impressive books.” I just want you to know the state of my heart before we get much further.

But I’ve only read one of them and the due date is this Friday. I just finished Invitation to Silence and Solitude by Ruth Hailey Barton. I recommend it. I took pages of notes like a diligent scholar. There’s only one problem, this book isn’t meant to be a study. It’s meant to be a practice. In three weeks of studying about silence, solitude, and simply resting in God’s presence, I have yet to actually attempt even five minutes of silence and solitude. I have yet to receive the invitation. I’ve tried writing it on my to do list, but my toddler seems to wake just as I’m settling into stillness. Her nap time feels like the only time I can really accomplish, and so being still just feels so… unproductive.

Of course I realize that this post is in direct opposition to the post I wrote last week. I’m super great at telling others to be still and I am ALWAYS ready to journal and read… but those are all tasks. I can even turn prayer into a task.

The more I’ve wrestled with the need for silence and solitude, the more I have to realize how frightening the thought of NOTHING actually is. I want control. I need agendas. I long to feel accomplished and productive.

Barton gives wonderful insight throughout the book, normalizing my fears and helping me realize that this condition of striving is one shared by many of us.

“But silence is not always as easy as it sounds. At least that has been my experience. What sounds like an inspired idea in a spiritual director’s office is actually very difficult for those of us who have been moving so fast for so long… how surprising (and humbling!) to find that something so seemingly simple and doable can be so difficult! For the first year or so it seemed like all I did was struggle to make it to the ten-minute mark, all the while noticing the noisiness inside my own head, the pull of distractions, the resistance I felt to this new and challenging practice. Somehow during those moments the need to do laundry seemed more urgent, to-do lists began to compile themselves effortlessly in my head, people and situations I hadn’t thought of for years present themselves unbidden, emotions and questions I usually didn’t allow myself to acknowledge took me totally by surprise, The spirit of cynicism whispered, ‘How pointless is this? We’re not getting anything done here!'” (Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Ruth Hailey Barton)

I do appreciate some silence in my life. I awake most mornings to have coffee, prayer, and time in the Word. I treasure the quiet, the alone time, the chance to indulge and read. But I’m almost always researching, preparing, and writing down verses to text and send to others. Rarely do I let God speak directly to me. I set and keep the agenda for our meetings and I don’t allow for changes. Obviously I realize that I can’t continue in this pattern and hope for real change, growth or rest. There’s a part of me that desperately wants that kind of intimacy with the Lord, and the rest of me is scared. Barton echoes and validates that fear.

“The struggle into solitude is real because the danger is real – the danger of living the whole of our life as one long defense against the reality of our condition.” (Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Ruth Hailey Barton)

Yes. I fear silence because I know the truth of my condition. I am not enough. I cannot do enough. I will fail as mother, wife, and friend – **BUT the gospel** tells me I am more loved and accepted than I ever dreamed possible. That grace and level of trust should silence those fears and beckon me toward solitude with my Savior. “The gospel destroys fearfulness because it tells us that nothing we do will exhaust God’s love for us.” (Timothy Keller)

“When we sit quietly in God’s presence, the sediment that is swirling in our souls begins to settle. We don’t have to do anything but show up and trust the spiritual law of gravity that says, ‘Be still, and the knowing will come.'” (Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Ruth Hailey Barton)

Be still, and the knowing will come.

rest

—-

This was my kitchen 45 minutes ago.

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It currently looks exactly the same. It’s still a disaster and the minutes of nap time are ticking down.

But my spirit feels a bit better. I walked outside, sat on the patio and let myself be quiet. “Ginger, what are you doing here?” I simply shared how I felt with the Lord and then sat for almost 15 minutes. My mind wandered here and there, but I would try returning to that question. It was good.

I’m going to commit to being still every day until the With Joy Retreat – and beyond then. I’m excited to share what God is teaching me, where I fail at this, and how God’s grace covers my failures.

Registration for our 2015 BE Retreat is open for an extended period! Spots are limited, but I hope you will consider joining us as we walk out what this idea of being still and being known by a Gracious God. Follow this link for information and registration: www.withjoyretreats.com

extended

P.S. If finances are keeping you from attending, please contact me!

Following,

Ginger

**If I ever actually were to get a tattoo, it would either be a tiny anchor (Hebrews 6:19 reference) or script on my wrist saying BUT THE GOSPEL. That phrase wins everything.**

Learning to Be.

I’ve learned to adapt. The me of fifteen years ago would have had a minor meltdown over changed plans or to-do lists that remain undone. Life has taught me to prepare and then adjust. With seemingly so much to do and so little time to spare, I have learned to make the most of opportunities. My biggest chunk of time is between 12:30 and 2:30 (give or take) each afternoon. My daughter naps and I furiously run from task to task. Dishes, laundry, e-mails, maybe lunch, exercise, cleaning, phone calls, meeting. It’s MY time.

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You can imagine my dismay when my daughter awakens early from that afternoon nap. If you listen closely enough you can probably hear my cries from your home.

But my heart is slowly shifting.

In the Gospels we find Jesus feeding 5,000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish. From the outset it didn’t look like enough. That boy with the lunch might have just kept it hidden. But when God steps into a situation, He makes plenty out of what seems tiny. He multiplies what we offer.

Monday afternoon I made myself stop. I was (once again) eating my lunch while I washed dishes. My mind was running in circles of worry and need. Frustration over the lack of time to accomplish was threatening to choke. So I did the only thing I know to do. I prayed aloud and I talked to myself.

“HELP, LORD.”

“Ginger, the dishes can wait. Light a candle, get some water, and eat the WORD.”

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I am desperate for wisdom in so much of my life: friendships, parenting, marriage, work, writing, and so on. My soul thirsts for something real and true. Something inside me is stirring to desire silence and rest over noise and busyness. The tyranny of the to-do can’t keep winning. I want TO JUST BE.

Perhaps you are like me and you need to train your soul to be still. I’ve got a pile of books, but really, I just need a chair and 10 minutes of silence. 10 minutes where I give up control.

Perhaps this video speaks to your heart as it does mine…

If you would like to be a part of the very 1st With Joy Retreat this April, there are still a few spots remaining.Still considering? Follow this link to explore, ask questions and register. Don’t miss out! Registration closes on February 1st.

Following,

Ginger

P.S. The breakout sessions have been announced! Check out the descriptions here!

The Gift of Rest AND a Giveaway

restful

 

We are approaching a time of year when busyness is prized. We sleep less, fill our calendars with more, and then wonder why we end up exhausted, irritable, and distracted on Christmas Eve. Pinterest would love for us to equivocate Christmas hospitality with extravagant entertaining. But what if we could challenge that idea?

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Advent, the season leading up to Christmas, means coming or arrival. Advent is the ultimate example of hospitality. It’s a breath of time reminding us to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. Rather than focusing all our energy on decorations and gifts, what if we could dedicate time every day to receive our King? What if rest was a daily practice?

“To brush past it, to rush through it, to not see how it comes for you up over the edges of everything, quiet and unassuming and miraculous–how every page of the Word has been writing it, reaching for you, coming for you. And you could wake up on Christmas only to grasp that you never took the whole of the Gift, the wide expanse of grace. So now we pause. Still. Ponder. Hush. Wait. Each day of Advent, He gives you the gift of time, so you have time to be still and wait.” (Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift)

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Chapel Rock Retreat Center

 

That pause or sacred rest is something so important to me. As someone who has a tendency toward doing, it takes dedicated heart and brain space to practice being still and being present.

To encourage that rest, With Joy Retreats is hosting a giveaway this week. We want to champion the discipline of stillness. Our upcoming retreat in April 2015 has EVERYTHING to do with rest… pulling back, being still, and filling up on good things. One lucky person will walk away with some fantastic tools for being still – even during the Christmas Season. (See the picture below!)

There are three ways to enter every day this week, December 1st-5th.

1. Share this blog post on Twitter or Facebook.
2. Share the With Joy Retreats Website with friends via e-mail.
3. Tweet about the giveaway.

 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway
If your name is randomly selected by Rafflecopter, you will win: Breath for the Bones by Luci Shaw, Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts, Longing for More by Tim Willard, a “You Are Loved” Necklace from Lisa Leonard, a Scenty Plug-In and Two Bars, and a mug from World Market. Merry resting to you!!

Again, there are three different ways to enter each day until Friday, December 5th. Entries close at midnight and the winner will be announced on Monday the 8th. Best of luck!

As you prepare your home this week, don’t forget to prepare your heart and give Him room.

Following,
Ginger

Gift Certificate SquareP.S. If you are looking for a unique gift idea (for yourself or someone else!), consider gifting the 2015 With Joy Retreat. Check the registration page for details!

Big News – With Great Joy!

I know, I know. It’s been since July since I last wrote – but I had to take a moment and share some big news!

In February of this year I opened an email from my long-time friend, Carey. She hinted that God had placed a big dream on her heart but He also kept mentioning my name with the idea. The more she journaled and prayed, the more she couldn’t shake the thought. Here’s the start of her email:

Idea: You and I co-own and lead an Arizona Women’s retreat.

Deep breath!

She proceeded to list several reasons why she felt led, called, and why we might make a great team for this endeavor. Carey and I had worked together in ministry for years and had plenty of opportunities to lead and plan under pressure. Our styles tend to align, and our passion to see women encouraged and challenged to rest in the Lord definitely aligned- so I prayed, prayed with my husband, and then we started the first of many conversations that eventually created WITH JOY RETREATS, LLC.

cargingCarey and I (and our fabulously supportive spouses) are co-owners of a little company that seeks to provide respite and renewal to women through weekend retreats.

More than that, we’ve rented a site, booked some amazingly gifted people, and are now ready to invite 54 women to join us April 10-12, 2015 for our first retreat in Prescott, Arizona.

Here’s our official mission statement: With Joy Retreats creates a sacred space to rest, learn and worship. Speaker Ginger Ciminello and Life Coach Carey Bailey provide fresh Biblical perspectives for applying the transformative power of God’s truth to our day to day reality.

What can you anticipate during a With Joy Retreat?

  • In-depth Biblical teaching
  • Practical resources
  • Personal reflection
  • Guided worship through music
  • Creative outlets for practicing spiritual disciplines
  • Opportunities for new friendships
  • Laughter!
  • Authenticity and intentionality
  • Room to pause and be present

Registration for our first retreat, BE, opens Friday at 8am PST. There are only 54 spots. First come. First served.

Check out our gorgeous (if I do say so myself) new website for further details and info. I hope you will consider joining us or sharing this event with a friend who might benefit from time to rest and retreat!

Following,

Ginger

Step #4. Rest

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I know exactly when my daughter needs a nap. She switches from her usual lovely self to an angry/fussy version that if I’m honest, isn’t my favorite. Every noise sounds both sad and angry. She simply needs some rest. She ate, played, and her little body has to refuel before she can make it through the next portion of the day. It feels like she’s the only person on the planet who doesn’t realize that tired = I need to sleep. She FIGHTS sleep during the day. She could medal in trying to keep her eyes open. As her mom it can feel so frustrating to know that the one thing she really needs is the one thing she doesn’t seem to want.

We are approaching a time of year when busyness is prized. We sleep less, fill our calendars with more, and then wonder why we end up exhausted, irritable, and distracted on Christmas Eve. The challenge for today is to make rest a priority, and I don’t just mean sleep.

If I want to keep my heart tuned to sing of grace, I have to listen to the words of Jesus when He calls.

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31, NIV)

“If you are caught, as I was, in the barrenness of a too-busy life, look to Jesus. The gospels reveal Him as a man who had learned the importance of saying no. The were times when He said no to the demands and requests made of Him, times when He said no to the crowd and got away to be alone with His disciples, times when He left the disciples to be alone with His Father.” -Colleen Townsend Evans

stepStep #4. Rest.

Our physical bodies definitely need rest and sleep, but our spiritual lives need just as much rejuvination. There’s a reason God commanded us to rest on the Sabbath.

The temptation can be to utilize the weekend or days off with the items that keep getting pushed down our to-do lists. We find an open Saturday or Sunday and quickly begin to fill them with lots of good things while God has the BEST thing for us: REST. On my trip to Israel last spring I began to view Sabbath in a whole new light. It wasn’t a rule to follow, but a GIFT from God. He wants us to rest from work because we need it!

“God presents the Sabbath rest as a shelter we can enter.” ― Charles R. Swindoll.

I don’t know what Sabbath will look like for you, but I know that God would not command something without an important reason. I started my own routine for Sabbath when I was working at a summer camp. In order to be refreshed for the whole week, I spent a portion of it reading, a portion of one-on-one time with a friend or family member, and a portion worshipping with a body of believers. I knew not to schedule much, but to train myself that just “be-ing” was necessary to keep my spirit at rest.

Some ideas for your Sabbath:

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1. Cyberless Sundays
2. Screen-free weekends
3. Cook ahead and just reheat leftovers
4. Family picnic
5. Spend the day outdoors
6. Reading
7. Attending a Worship Service
8. Sharing a meal with friends or family
9. Reading the Word out loud at the table before and after meals
10. Worship CD on in the house or car
11. Take a prayer walk
12. Refraining from shopping
13. Going through old photos and remembering God’s faithfulness together
14. Rest from worry!
15. Avoid homework/paying bills/and stress-inducing tasks
16. Learn the Shabbat prayer and why it is so important to the Jews.
17. Light candles.
18. Start small if necessary and build up: 5 hours, then 6, then eventually a full day!
19. Create a Sabbath box and place distracting items in the box for the duration.
20. Save stressful conversations for another day.

It is important to note: practicing rest or Sabbath when you “feel like it” does not make the experience more authentic. It’s so important to be intentional with our rest. Make rest part of your weekly rhythm. The gift of Sabbath will tune our hearts to sing God’s grace more freely!

“Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.”

May your rest be deep and nourishing to your soul!

Following,
Ginger

To catch up on the rest of the series:

Tune My Heart

Step #1. Demonstrate Gratitude

Step #2. Today’s Manna

Step #3. Limit Distractions

Friday Finds: Musical Rest and a GIVEAWAY

When the world closes in and I need an instant dose of peace, I turn on a rotation of songs that seem to breathe rest over all of my fears and worries. This Friday I wanted to share the gift of rest through some beautiful music. These are just a few of my favorites for inducing some soul rest.

 

1. Be Still, By Kari Jobe

Listen/Purchase (#9 on the Kari Jobe Album)

 

 

 

2. All I Want, Robbie Seay Band

Listen/Purchase (#1 on the Robbie Seay Album)

 

 

3. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Sufjan Stevens

Listen/Purchase (#15 on the Songs for Christmas Album)

 

 

 

I would love to gift ONE lucky reader with the mp3 of all three songs! Be sure to check out the swankified and simplified entry form below. (Thanks to Jordy Liz for the idea!) There are a few ways to enter, just follow the instructions. Contest is open until 12:01 am on Monday morning! Stay tuned for the winner…

It’s your lucky Friday!

Following,
Ginger

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Thursday Tips: Listening for Rest

“If you are caught, as I was, in the barrenness of a too-busy life, look to Jesus. The gospels reveal Him as a man who had learned the importance of saying no. The were times when He said no to the demands and requests made of Him, times when He said no to the crowd and got away to be alone with His disciples, times when He left the disciples to be alone with His Father.”

-Colleen Townsend Evans

The theme of all my reading this week has been loud and clear: rather than working hard to rest, open your hands and let Jesus show you how to trust. If I can listen when He calls me to serve and labor, then I must also learn to listen for the call that says: “Enough for today. Come and rest.”

Today’s Thursday Tip is an exercise in listening…

Listening from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

“Jesus looked to God for guidance and direction for His days. He listened for that one voice over the roar of all other voices calling for His time and energy and help. And so must we. For Jesus that meant that sometimes He did not get to those close to Him in their time of need…

 And so we, like Jesus, must listen for that one voice above every other, and let God guide us in every aspect of our daily lives. But that will mean learning the important lesson of being willing to say no to people in order to say yes to God.”

-Colleen Townsend Evans

I hope today you find a chance to slip away…

Following and Listening,

Ginger

Spent AND Rested

Take a moment to think about the periods of your life when you experienced the LEAST amount of sleep.

I immediately think back to my summers as a counselor for jr. high school students at Pine Cove Christian Camps. 6 days a week, 24 hours a day for 12 weeks I gave everything that I had. My skin endured the sun and my hair the pool’s chlorine. This partial introvert had less than 15 minutes a day to call her own. Everything was timed down to the minute: eating, sleeping, even free time. Physical activity was almost constant. I entered into my 24 hours off with nothing left to give… even my voice was gone by the end of each week at camp. I was physically and emotionally spent – but spiritually  my cup was running over.

 

Don’t be jealous of my outfit…

How is it possible to expend every ounce of energy and yet remain rested and filled?

1. Freely admit weakness to the Lord. I recognized within the first week that the task was impossible. I was forced to turn the workload over to the Lord and trust Him to give me words, energy, and love for the girls in my cabin. Sometimes rest starts when we look upward and say through tears, “But I can’t do this. I’m too tired and there’s too much to do.” Our Savior smiles and says again, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! Put on my yoke and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28, JBP)

2. Cling to the Word. Carve out that time. Those fifteen minutes each morning before I woke up my girls are some of the sweetest times of connection I’ve ever had with the Lord. Because I was dependent upon Him for every physical need throughout the day, I was desperate to feast upon His Word each morning. God’s Word really was the lamp for my feet and the light for my path.

3. Ask for Help. I would not have made it through any of my summers without the encouragement, support, and prayers of the staff around me. I quickly learned to be vulnerable and share my requests, to let the tears fall, and to allow myself to express needs. If you find yourself panicking because of your to-do list, I would encourage you to examine your life and see if you can ask for help; whether that be through presence or prayer.

4. Protect the Sabbath. The temptation with a day off can be to fill it with the items that keep getting pushed off of our to-do lists. We find an open Saturday or Sunday and quickly begin to fill them with lots of good things while God has the BEST thing for us: REST. On my trip to Israel this spring I began to view Sabbath in a whole new light. It wasn’t a rule to follow, but a GIFT from God. He wants us to rest from work because we need it! “God presents the Sabbath rest as a shelter we can enter.” ― Charles R. Swindoll. I don’t know what Sabbath will look like for you, but for my 24 hours off from camp I needed time alone. In order to be refreshed for the whole week I spent a portion of it reading, a portion filling up on the fruits and veggies that my body was craving, a portion of one-on-one time with a friend or family member, and a portion worshipping with the body of believers. I knew not to schedule much, but to train myself that just “be-ing” was necessary to keep my spirit at rest.

5. Walk by faith. Faith brings rest. When I trust God’s hand in my life it frees me from worry. The answer to my fears is faith in the One who calls. That faith allows me to live unrestrained from worries: the plane is held up, the car is protected, the tasks will be completed… or not. Rest comes when we finally settle in and trust that God is in control. For “faith is a deliberate commitment to the Person of Jesus Christ, even when I can’t see the way ahead.” (Oswald Chambers)

For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith. Remember that God said, 

   Exasperated, I vowed, 
      “They’ll never get where they’re going, 
      never be able to sit down and rest.”

… And so this is still a live promise. It wasn’t canceled at the time of Joshua; otherwise, God wouldn’t keep renewing the appointment for “today.” The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. So let’s keep at it and eventually arrive at the place of rest, not drop out through some sort of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:1-3, 8-11, The Message)

“At least one indication of unbelief is the tendency to measure life’s challenges against our own adequacy instead of God’s promises. To enter our Sabbath rest, we must put an end to self-reliance – trusting in our own abilities to overcome difficulties, rise above challenges, escape tragedies, or achieve personal greatness.”― Charles R. Swindoll

Obviously these points aren’t meant to be a complete and final list, merely an encouragement for each of us to find rest even in the midst of service to our King. What would you add to the list?

Following,
Ginger

When Rest is Active…

As we drove through the desert on our journey home from Mexico, I couldn’t help but remark how green everything looked, even in July! Temps here are usually around 110, so finding anything but brown was a pleasant surprise.

Showers and dust storms followed us all the way home. My backyard that usually consists of rocks and sparse plants is now starting to have green growth popping up everywhere. Even the smallest amount of water brings about life in this desert.

But do you know what isn’t flourishing? My potted plants. I’m trying desperately to keep basil, oregano, and rosemary alive during the hot summer months, but I seem to be failing. I move the pots in and out of the sun, fearing that too much or too little might undo a whole year of progress. I debate  the times of day and amount to water… and all of this trying, studying, trimming, and working… seems to be killing the poor plants.

My weeds are flourishing and my herbs are choking.

Sounds like a metaphor for rest to me.

“A” sent in a great question about finding ways to rest even in the busyness of life. But rather than talking some more about what rest looks like, I want to talk about how we often work to rest, rather than just resting. We focus our energy to rest better: sleep later, say “no” to activities, find time to do something we love, read our Bibles more, attend another Bible Study… and end up feeling exhausted rather than rested. Like my herbs, all the worry and care isn’t providing the environment for growth. (This is the story of my try-hard life!)

I’ve realized in the past month that I’ve always thought rest was really associated with sleep and forgetting a to-do list. And while rest can definitely involve both of those things, I’ve come to believe that it can be so much deeper and richer. Kevin East wrote a blog post earlier this month that still has me thinking. The post was about the treasure of hand-written notes. I totally agree, there’s nothing this “written words of affirmation” gal loves more than a long note. But the part of the post that spoke directly to my heart was actually a quoted portion of a letter that someone had written to Kevin. Here’s what I mean…

In the late 90′s a good friend saw in me a never-stop-working mentality.  There was always something that could be improved, or a new idea that could be hatched.  I was working myself to the bone and was on pace to fizzle out soon.  It was in that season that I received this letter in the mail.  It read:

Remember, rest is not in sleeping late.  It is not in being alone.  Rest is active, and full of faith.  It is sitting before the Lord and drawing all your desires from him.”

He went on to quote Psalms 62:1 “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.”

The letter set me free.  It reminded me that I wasn’t working to please God, but working out of His pleasure in me.  That freedom allowed me to stop and enjoy the journey He had me on.  I took that letter and read it to my staff each year for the next ten years.

I’ve said those words aloud to my soul several times over the past week. Rest is active, and full of faith. But just because something is active doesn’t mean that it has to be an exhausting activity.

The weeds in my rocky backyard are growing because they were positioned to simply receive the rain. They didn’t move around hoping to get the best sun angle or perfect water amount, they just grew.

We are going to keep running with this theme all week, but I wanted to kick it off with the realization that rest comes primarily through trust that God will provide for all of our needs. In the midst of my to-dos and tasks, I must trust that He will give me the strength, stamina, and courage to face this day. I don’t just work harder to rest, I shift my mindset and surrender by trusting His power and perfect provision.

“Come to Me . . . and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). It is only after we have begun to experience what salvation really means that we surrender our will to Jesus for rest. Whatever is causing us a sense of uncertainty is actually a call to our will— “Come to Me.” And it is a voluntary coming.

-Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, September 13

Resting through trusting,
Ginger

Dear Ginger: How do you rest, practically speaking?

Dear Ginger,

I just read your “One Thing” post, and I realized that I have been struggling with this all summer. I have been taking two online summer courses to get ahead in my math and science. I was doing great until they pushed my due date back two weeks AFTER the middle of summer had gone by. Now I feel like Martha. I have to work and work and work until everything is done. I just don’t know how I can relax and let God help me when obviously he isn’t going to log onto my account and do my homework for me. Help please?

Thanks! – A

Dear A,

Thank you so much for such an important question! Not only do I identify with your struggle, I’m also trying to work out the solution in my own life as we speak. Last week we talked about the importance of rest, but you’re right, I didn’t offer up much in the way of any practical solutions.

I keep thinking life is going to calm down and then I will be able to rest, but I don’t think it works that way. I have to seek out rest even in the midst of the craziness of schedules. Sometimes that’s going to look like saying “no,” but sometimes it’s going to require us to find peace and rest IN the busyness.

I hope you’ll drop in each day as we discuss practicing Sabbath, taking pauses, and resting from worry.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:29, The Message)

Following and learning,
Ginger