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Monday, September 29, 2014

Rest (and Pumpkin Spice Lattes)

We have a really good friend who is a leader of one of our High school girl's Lifegroups. I find myself constantly referencing her, praising her. She's that great // she loves our girls so well.

She's a public school teacher, and the other day we went to her high school and had lunch with her. It's one of my favorite parts of my job // entering into the schools, going to where our students are. Talking with them, meeting their friends, encouraging the teachers who lead with us. It's such a highlight for me. 

This particular school day, we asked our leader what she sees in teenagers on a daily basis. What do they need, what are they struggling with, what is real to them. And she said, "rest. They need rest. To stop, to unplug, just rest."


And that latched on to something in my brain and wouldn't let go. 

I have always misunderstood rest. It's a need to unplug, yes, and it's a need for physical rest, yes // but it has to be so much more. There is a restorative nature to it. 

To rest is to restore. 
There has got to be a calm about resting, a lying down in green pastures.
A pause. 

So, lately I've been practicing the discipline of restoring. 

  • I've woken up late one day, at the time I should have been somewhere. But something in me just sat up, shrugged my shoulders, got ready without rushing, stopped by Starbucks for a PSL, and made it to prayer time.
  • I've chatted with my long distance soul sister. We shared all our recent learnings and encouraged one another, in the usual and in the new. 
  • I've wandered around Target with a pumpkin spice latte and bought some organizational supplies (praise God from whom all blessings flow). 

And what I am discovering is that, for me, rest is being present in the moment I am currently in. Not leaping ahead, not going over and over what's behind, but being here. Tell my thoughts to CHILL OUT, I will get to you later.  

Rest is weirdly elusive and stupidly mysterious. And so maybe this blog post was just written to point you to a better blog post // will ya go to werewolfjesus.com and read what rest really does for our souls?

I particularly love this part //

"I think this has been a vital first lesson - not just because of the general importance of rest, but because it brings us weirdly closer when we help each other pursue rest. The rested versions of ourselves are more thoughtful and less snippy and have greater self-control. The rested versions of ourselves say thank you and give advice and share stories. But most  importantly, the rested versions of ourselves carve space to sit with Jesus and be reminded of who (and whose) we are. We stop demanding completion and affirmation from each other. We are recharged to love each other better and deeper when we spend time with Love."

And that takes me back to our Life Group leader. 
And what we all need. 
We're all in pursuit of this rest, because oftentimes the rested versions of ourselves is the better versions of ourselves. And these words are helping me realize that my rested self leads to my best self, which in turn helps others to be their best and fullest selves. What a cool cycle! We remind each other of who we are.

So, go rest. 
Go take a nap. Work out. Do something active. Read. Write. Paint. Sing. Listen to a podcast. Drink PSLs. Bake something. Create something. Memorize Scripture. Drink a cup of coffee. Be still. Have a life giving conversation with someone. Spend time with Jesus. Whatever it looks like, practice rest (like for me, right now, I am currently at Amelie's not doing any schoolwork. Because I just felt like writing. My soul rests).

I told my Life group this the other day, and so I'll tell you too. If I look out of it and disengaged and disoriented, will you ask me if I've written lately? Because that's how I pursue rest, that's where I am quieted and calmed and present and restored. A dear friend asked me that once quite a few years ago in a season of crisis and it helped restore my mind after a long period of not writing. And I think that question was the first step in this journey of rest // this better, recharged-to-love, version of me. 

So, how do you pursue restorative rest?
Can I help you get there?

Monday, September 22, 2014


I don't think my mind works like most people's. Does it, do you people get like this? 

How do I put this .. nothing leaves my mind. I've got a full plate up there. If I haven't talked about it or written it down or faced each thought with the care it needs (bless it, bless my needy little mind), it stays up there. 

I think a large part of it is because I love puzzles. I love the real life ones. It's why I love Law and Order SVU, why I love doing receipts at work, why I love a task that has an obvious result. 1+1 = 2. If I spend time on this - researching and studying and reading and writing and talking - it will equal this. I roll around in the details with joy and throw them in the air like confetti because one day THEY WILL FORM SOMETHING GLORIOUS. 

This + this = that. 

But hello, I work with people. I'm in ministry. I'm a pastor. There is no formula, people are messy, I'm messy, there is no this + this = that. Sometimes things aren't where they are supposed to be and sometimes people disagree and sometimes change happens. And as 'normal, everyday life' as that sounds, it always gives me pause. 

It's one of my favorite things that God has ever taught me. That sweet, patient, gracious God. He always whispers to me, "If you always focus on the answer, you will miss the big picture."

And that's it. I miss it. I write this to remind myself tonight and tomorrow and then again next week. With my obsessive love of to-do lists and crossing things off and putting things where they need to go, I am missing it. I step back and gasp at what the faithfulness of God has created. All of these tasks I do, they are important! But as a small part of the larger piece of Kingdom work. And all the things I stressed about or wondered about are (let's be honest) major on the minor. And I can see that God works without needing to know where storage bins are or check in computers go. His work isn't limited by our human competence (or incompetence, amen? Amen).  

I love the way I've been made. I love the way my mind works. I love that I am a thinker, that my mind is vibrant and alive and full of poignant thoughts. It likes to check and double check and double check again. It makes me, me. 

But above that and above all. 
God is good. His work is good. He's got good, mighty, and powerful things up His sleeve. And as my friend always used to tell me, God is a sneaky God. So go forth with EYES OPEN. and don't miss what He's doing.