Tell me, does the following sound at all familiar? (Please say “yes” ’cause I’d hate to be the only one who feels this way!)
/ WHERE I ASPIRE TO BE: / “Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise!”
/ WHERE I OFTEN FIND MYSELF: / Moments and days that all but blur into one long “To Do List” of sorts.
Let’s face it — life is sometimes packed to the brim with demands, making it impossible to add a single item to the list. We ran out of lines and white space long ago and even our margins are so full of scribbles we can’t decipher the important stuff anymore! It can seem like a mountain waiting to be scaled, while for some there may only be one, yet equally daunting box to check today — simply to get out of bed. Usually, it’s a literal list of tasks we must tackle, but often it comes instead in the form of a toll life would exact and demand of our hearts as we walk through the hard stuff. Acknowledging we all must deal on some level with this part of our humanity without allowing ourselves to settle into the well-worn rut of “woe is me”, let’s agree not to end the conversation there. So, how do we adopt a fresh perspective?
Set the list aside for a moment.
There’s something else,
something restorative to attend to first.
If you already feel spent and exhausted before beginning the climb, start by giving thanks.
If counting our blessings and naming them one by one seems like an impossible choice (you may be saying “what blessings??”), let’s give thanks for who He is, for all we know to be true about Him, and for the promises He has made to us.
“Hold on a minute”, you say — with all those “To Do’s” in mind, perhaps you’re thinking that “…in everything, give thanks…” (I Thessalonians 5:18) just became one more task to complete! I’ve been there too. But this isn’t just an arbitrary command, rather an invitation to rest for a moment in a place not shaped by all the stuff filling our lists and heavy hearts. It’s easy to forget He always has our good in mind.
In my last post, we looked at a one-sentence prayer from John Owen, chock-full of encouragement and guidance. It’s the kind of food for thought we’re drawn to here at Readplenish. To find a permanent place of rest has been the longing of every human heart since we were driven from the garden (Genesis 3:24) This desire for and promise of rest is a theme whose thread runs unbroken through Scripture, stitching its way along exile and covenant, flood and new beginnings, captivity and exodus, brokenness and restoration, waiting and fulfillment. Sounds like a familiar pattern? You may recognize it as our story too. The cry of of His people throughout millennia has been “Come, Thou long expected Jesus!” We’ve always known He is “the very Sabbath of our souls” (1).
“Be revealed to me as the
only fitting and suitable place of rest
where my soul is truly satisfied.”
/ Part I /
Good morning friends! I can’t think of a more illuminating way to begin a new day than to soak up this prayer from the pen of John Owen and make it our own. What Marie Kondo is to all the unnecessary stuff that clutters our closets and drawers, Owen is to words on a page. His are carefully edited thoughts, leaving us with only the truly important. Here is depth and beauty packed into a single sentence, waiting to be opened up and applied. Let’s dive in!
“Be revealed to me …”
A prevalent blind spot as Christ followers in the twenty-first century is that we often possess a less than humble, teachable heart. We’ve heard so much, read so much, debated so much, and concluded so much that the notion of quietly listening and allowing His word to instruct us can be challenging at times. Acknowledging our childlike dependence on Him to make known and disclose who He is is the best place to start. After all, our lives are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2) This also encompasses an experiential knowledge of God’s mercy, love, faithfulness, sovereignty, goodness, trustworthiness, kindness, holiness — all His wonderful attributes — cultivated in times of both blessing and testing.