Thursday Tips: A Place to Rest

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) -Mark 6:31, NASB

Today’s Thursday tip is all about finding that secluded place in an urgent world…

Oh that we would taste, see, and experience the Lord’s goodness today!

Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts. -Jeremiah 15:16, NASB

Following,
Ginger

One Thing

I attended an amazing conference in North Carolina this past weekend. My brain and heart are still unpacking all of the lessons I heard, the many good things to remember and record in my journal. But this weekend wasn’t what I’d expected.

I did not meet with a book publisher this weekend. I was on the top of the waiting list. I spent HOURS preparing my proposal last week. I furiously finished drafts and letters and chapters… and I never got the call. I didn’t expect that to happen. Initially, that was the one thing that I wanted most from the conference.

But I wouldn’t trade this weekend for anything in the world. For two days I sat at the feet of Jesus. This try-hard good girl is so exhausted from keeping it together.

Confession: I have always resented the Mary half of Lazarus’s sister team. There was so much to DO. How could Mary sit there and let Martha DO EVERYTHING?
As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.

Luke 10:38-42, The Message Translation

This weekend Jesus said in many words to my resentful heart,“GINGER, you are worried and upset about many things. Only one thing is essential…”

I have so many “many things” on my to-do list all of the time. It never ends and I never feel I’m enough.

Today I’m at peace with the ONE THING. I’m at peace with His hand in my life. I’m learning how hard it is to rest when I hold onto my plans and dreams with an iron fist. When we trust Him, we find REST in Him.
Rather than anything on your to-do list, He wants YOU today.
Following and learning,

Ginger

 

Drained

Here’s the truth: I’ve been sitting here for almost an hour trying to write ONE blog post. Sometimes I do spend that much time on a post, but usually I have something to show for it. Right now, I’ve got nothing. I’m drained and empty… but not in the down and out sort of way. I feel as though I’m letting go of a bunch of junk in order to get filled up with something better.

I am being drained for good.

I just googled “What is it called when you drain a swimming pool and then refill it?”

Guess what? It’s called: DRAINING AND REFILLING and thanks to many of the search results I now know that pool water and the chemicals within can go bad after a few years. The pool needs to be emptied of the old water and refilled with new, setting all the chemical levels again. If you simply continue to treat the old water you will never achieve the pure balance that fresh water can give.

God is draining me this summer, and He’s insisting that HE be the one to do it, not me. Ordinarily I would rush in and take over, wanting to do the work. Gently but firmly He is telling me to sit down and let Him drain and refill. He wants me to rest.

He wants US ALL to rest.

Somehow over the past few years I taught myself that resting looks like trying harder to pray, read, and listen. Resting was a lot of work. Those elements can certainly BE restful, but not when they live on my to-do list and prompt condemnation in my heart. Here’s how Dictionary.com defines REST.

rest

verb

  • to refresh oneself, as by sleeping, lying down, or relaxing.
  • to relieve weariness by cessation of exertion or labor
  • to be at ease; have tranquillity or peace
  • to repose in death.
  • to be quiet or still.

So why should we rest?

1. Resting demonstrates an obedient heart. (God told us to do it!)

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31)

 

2. Resting demontrates trust that HE will finish the work He has started in us.

“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me, your love, O LORD, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.”  (Psalm 138:8)

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”  (Isaiah 30:15)

 

“Be still – The word used here – from רפה râphâh – means properly to cast down; to let fall; to let hang down; then, to be relaxed, slackened, especially the hands: It is also employed in the sense of not making an effort; not putting forth exertion; and then would express the idea of leaving matters with God, or of being without anxiety about the issue…” From Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

 

Resting leaves the work to Him.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

 

Following,

Ginger

Rest

“God never asked us to meet life’s pressures and demands on our own terms or by relying upon our own strength. Nor did He demands that we win His favor by assembling an impressive portfolio of good deeds. Instead, He invites us to enter His rest.”― Charles R. Swindoll
Time to take a deep breath…
Following,
Ginger

Breath of Fresh Air

Hi Ginger!

I just started high school and I’m beginning to feel the stress of homework, extra-curricular activities, etc. I spent today anticipating the moment I could come home and crash on the couch. After having such an awful day, I was just wondering, what should I do on days like this? I find it so easy to blend in with my surroundings, and hard to understand how I can live courageously when all I can think about is the weekend. Is there anything God says I should do? – T

T – thanks for writing!  First of all, let me commend you for desiring to live courageously.  I wish that was something more of us lived out in an practical sense.  I applaud you for not waiting until the next phase in your life to take ownership of all God has called you to each day.  Your question is one that is applicable to anyone reading.  Although we probably didn’t have your exact recipe for exhaustion, we can all identify with feeling overwhelmed, over-scheduled, and like we just need a break.

I love that you finished your question by heading straight to the Word.  “Is there anything God says I should do?”  So many of us would want to simply be validated in our feelings.  You are seeking out Truth!

When I read your question my heart and mind immediately went to this verse:

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you 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 11:28-30, NIV

I also love this passage in the Message Translation.

“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 11:28-30, The Message

Did you breathe in and out as you read it?  There’s just something about that passage that makes it feel like a cool breeze.  There’s a reason God’s Word can have that effect on our hurried selves.

It is the Spirit who makes Christ’s words known to us, applying them to our lives and making them live.  They are not dead words, ancient history, a static set of instructions, or an encyopedia of belief.  Through the Spirit they are the living, life-giving words of God (Ezekiel 37:1-14).  The Spirit is the Spirit of truth… In both Hebrew and Greek spirit and breath are the same word.  The word of God comes on the breath of God.  (Excerpt from Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis)

As for your question, I think it’s always good to remember that any needed rejuvenation is ultimately going to come through God and His Word.  Yahweh holds the release for our stress and worries.  Jesus goes so far as to invite us to come to Him for rest.

The second thing I want you to notice is the phrasing of the Message Translation: Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

Jesus is the example!  Watch how He did it.  He spent his days pouring out, living courageously- if you will, but He also took time to recharge with His closest friends and especially with His Father.

“And early in the morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there.” Mark 1:35

“And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away. And after bidding them farewell, he departed to the mountain to pray.” Mark 6:45-46

“And they came to a place called Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground, and began praying.” Mark 14:32-34

“And when day came, He departed to a lonely place; and the multitudes were searching for Him, and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from going away from them.” Luke 4:42

“But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. And it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. Luke 6:12

Refilling is going to be imperative for you.  Between rehearsals, practices, classes, and activities… you are going to have a plethora of opportunities to live out the gospel.  Continue to love God, love others, and share the truth with courage and determination!

And although there is no “time out” in the Christian life, I do believe that there is definitely a time to catch a breath of fresh air… just make sure you are turning to the right Source.

I fell like we’ve just gotten started and there’s so much more to talk about.  So, if it’s ok with you, I want to keep tracking on this theme for the next few days.  Hang in there with me.

Following,
Ginger

p.s. Check out this series on Sabbath from one of my favorite people!

Friday Finds: Giving In

I was sitting here trying to think of what I could possibly have to share this week.  There are movies, cds, books, blogs, companies, causes galore… but this week I can’t do it.

Here’s the story…

-I’m packing up to fly to Texas on Saturday morning to speak next week at a youth camp. (Yay!)

-I’m teaching through the entire book of Nehemiah during the week. (Overwhelming.)

-I get to see a friend AND spend time with my parents for a few hours as a result of said trip to Texas. (Huzzah!)

-My health is not cooperating and lymph nodes are swelling on my neck like crazy. (No bueno.)

-But if God has given me a task to do He certainly knows HOW it’s going to get done. (Amen.)

-As a result of all this craziness and the fact that I do not know if I will have wifi next week… I’m seriously considering taking a week off blogging. (*Sigh*)

-As soon as I typed that last statement, I started wondering how I could still pull 5 posts together, still set up twitter, and facebook, and… and I just don’t have it in me. (Head shake.)

-And then I remembered this post and I decided to give in. (Relief.)

-So forgive me, blog friends.  I’m sorry I’m not better prepared… but this Friday I’m finding peace by giving in and looking up.

-I’m going silent next week.  No e-mails, tweets, status updates, blog posts or anything of the sort.  I’m going to take a break… pour out, fill up, spend some time in nature and hopefully return to you in a better state… more Him, less me.

While I’m gone, will you pray for me?

-Pray that my body wards off sickness
-Retention from the months of studying and learning about Nehemiah
-That I’m able to connect with these high school students
-That my heart would be fully engaged, right where I am
-And more than anything, will you pray that they remember HIS name and not mine

“Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…” Ephesians 6:19

Following and learning,
Ginger

 

Thursday Tip: My Place

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  Mark 6:31

Some more tips that I’ve found to help me practically respond to this command. :)

1.  Select your journal, Bible, supplies, books, coffee, tea, water… etc.

2.  Go off to your quiet place.

3.  Get some rest.

See below for specifics.  (VIDEO)

 

My Place. from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

Happy resting and nesting!

Following,
Ginger