Two things have often happened in the twenty-odd years I’ve been a Christian: I’ve become tired and laden with guilt in trying to keep up and do all that my Lord has directed me to do, and I’ve also been unable to disregard those clear directions. Love. Feed. Shelter. Serve. Give freely. Seek and speak the truth of His Word.
What the past year has brought to light is my tendency to take up the call while brushing aside the very sustenance He gives to carry it out.
“This is nice, Father, but not necessary.”
Rest is one. Peace is another. Taking joy in Him through story, music, nature, creative pursuits, conversations with friends, in addition to the practices of Scripture study and prayer. These are things more vital than I ever knew, for I recognize now they are given by Him to keep my spirit from growing tight-fisted and graceless — to keep my heart and soul soft where they should be soft, and my mind clearly attuned to the good character and the ever-active faithfulness of God.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves? – Ps. 127:2, MSG
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. – Ps. 65:8, NIV
I don’t believe everyone operates this way, whittling down soul-needs to bare bones, telling the self that it should be able to operate on memorized verses and devotional times alone… but lately I’ve been finding I’m not the only one. If this perspective rings a bell, I hope this little elevenses collection encourages you to see that the beauty of God — the harmony of His character, the sum of all we could desire — is everywhere, and that being attentive to it doesn’t detract from our worship. On the contrary, slowing down and accepting these gifts may be the very element that swells our worn-out melodies into a symphony of response.
Stopping to See
“There’s a distinct pleasure in getting our hands dirty, literally or figuratively, whether with the grit of soil turned in preparation for planting, the slick acrylic paint wiped from a canvas, or the squish of a tomato sliced for a salad. The earth is ours, to caretake and enjoy, and drawing close to these experiences will draw us close to the earth, and, by extension, to the business of being a person in the world God made.”
– Glenn McCarty, “The Earth Between My Fingers”
“There’s no place on this earth that’s without potential for holiness. Or maybe, the potential for unearthing holiness, right where we are, with these people we’re with.”
– Eugene Peterson, Godspeed: The Pace of Being Known (oh, watch this one!)
“The answer to the stress was to sit in a chair in the dressing room before the show, with the lights shut off, breathe in deeply for a few minutes until my entire body was relaxed (sitting up so as not to fall asleep), and then thank God: ‘Thank you that I get to play music. Thank you for this band, for this show, for these people. Thank you for putting me here, for filling my life with yourself, with filling me with sufficiency and power to do this work well.’ After about 20 minutes of this meditation on reasons to be grateful, I’d get up and get dressed for the show.
This attitude of gratefulness, fullness, and sufficiency changed my entire attitude. I walked out on stage every night thinking, ‘This is going to be awesome.’ ‘Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder,’ said G.K. Chesterton. I felt better, played better, was more relaxed, spontaneous, and present.”
– Ron Block, “Artists of a Large and Wholesome Vitality”
Earlier this month here
On our elevenses table
- Republic of Tea’s Strawberry Chocolate tea
- Nonni’s Cioccolati Biscotti
- Plans to make June a month of sanctuary…