June 20, 2015

real [big city, beloved] rest.

Those of you who have been reading Off With Your Sandals since the beginning might remember that these posts used to dissect and dive into one worship song per post. In lonely Montreal moments when I desperately needed my heart to be ministered to, I would listen to a song about 20-30 times and just let it wash over me. Often my responses to these songs were to cry, be thankful for the Truth packed into them, and be inspired to share about my worship experience. Actually, the name of this blog came about in my belief that God wants to meet me and can if only I would take time, come near, and choose to seek Him in moments of triumph and brokenness. (See Jeremiah 29:13)

Since then, I moved to Toronto and have remained perplexed, grateful, and/or overwhelmed by my interactions with the big city. Most of my posts since moving here have been written in response to the pain, beauty, joy and brokenness I see/interact with on a daily basis. Having completed a social work degree in my first four years here, I have been trained to think critically about what is happening around me. There are so many things I bump up against or am immersed in these days that keep my heart racing, my mind thinking, things that make me angry, make me laugh, and so much of what goes 'in' to my mind and heart comes out in the form of exhaustion, pain and sometimes resentment. I have come to recognize that this cannot be my only 'output'. To be effective in the work I want to do in the city, I have to recognize the fights I've been wanting to fight are exactly the ones that have already been won for me. Therefore, my role becomes less to fight, and more to bring Light to what has already been done. 

In the middle of some of my most heavy moments, God have me a wise friend who gave me the picture of picking up and scattering stones -- the picture in Ecclesiastes 3:5. The things we carry are not always ours to carry. And sometimes the burden we carry can be present at the right time to strengthen us. I just spoke to the same friend again, and she said some things are just an eyesore! Get 'em outta there! I think this is a good reminder for many of us. It's important to re-evaluate what you are 'carrying' -- to release and make room for the new, fresh, and sometimes uncomfortable.

Recently, when meeting with my Spiritual Director, I was encouraged to close my eyes as she opened the session in prayer, and see if God brought anything to mind. Other sessions I felt like there was something on my heart to bring and discuss, discern and pray through. This time, I didn't feel like I had anything to talk about. So, I sat with my eyes closed, and thoughts started forming: 'maybe we could talk about...no, rest". My thought had been interrupted. I thought, "well, maybe not that, I guess we could... REST." Funny, I thought, I usually have something to talk about. "Rest". I opened my eyes and explained to my SD that I didn't have anything to talk about because all I kept thinking, in the middle of my thought-sentences, was to rest. Then we talked about being really bad at resting, tools for finding rest, and God's desire for his Beloved to rest. 

Psalm 127:2 "It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep."

Recently, I have come home from a full day at work and spent hours listening to Bethel Music. In a song called A Little Longer, this message rang out as truth to me today...

I hear you say: You don't have to do a thing. Simply be with me and let those things go, they can wait another minute. Wait. This moment is too sweet. Please stay here with me and love on me a little longer.

The most faithful we can be looks like honestly seeking God's heart, doing His will and trusting Him with all the stones and details and worries. 

Philippians 4:19 - "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

Now: rest.