31 Days: Learning to rest through trust

The Rhythm of Rest

A couple of nights ago I took out my earrings before going to bed. Actually I took out one earring, because I suddenly discovered that the other one was lost.

I know losing an earring is hardly an earth-shattering event, but these were (are) my favourite earrings. I’ve worn them almost every day since I bought them on a holiday in New Zealand two years ago. I love those earrings, so I was dismayed to discover that one was missing.

At the same time I realised that there was a choice to make. I could turn the house upside down looking for the missing earring, and spend a lot of energy fretting over it.

Or, I could choose another path. Much as I love them, they are only earrings after all. So I prayed that if it was possible for the lost earring to be found that the Lord would bring it to my attention so that I would see it. That’s all. And I left it in his hands, trusting him for the outcome. Whether the earring was found or not, it would be okay.

This evening as I got into my car after work I happened to look down and see the lost earring on the floor beneath the steering wheel. Thank you Lord.

Yes, a lost earring is no big deal but in it was an opportunity for me to choose rest through trust. An internal rest, a way of being in relationship with God. And if I can rest in him with the little things then I can learn to rest in him with the big things of life too.

Lost then found. This is the Good News that goes deeper every time we dare to live out who God made us to be in this world. Walking by faith. Placing our trust in him.

Bonnie Gray, Finding Spiritual Whitespace: awakening your soul to rest

This is Day 15 of The Rhythm of Rest series (Write 31 Days challenge).

31 Days: The gift of sleep

The Rhythm of Rest

I’ve been wondering what to write about today, but what I really need is sleep.

Psalm 127:1-2

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.

So sleep it is. May you also be blessed with deep refreshing sleep. And may you greet tomorrow feeling rested.



Image credits: morguefile.com

This is Day 12 of The Rhythm of Rest (write 31 Days challenge).

What I learned from a 2 1/2 year-old about asking for help


“Can you please help me?”

As I bend down, my 2 1/2 year-old niece hands me a lollipop in a plastic wrapper.

It’s my 5 year-old niece’s birthday and the girls and their cousins have just beaten a piñata to pieces, liberating all the lollies onto the concrete slab of the carport. The piñata started out as a large number five covered in a rainbow of coloured paper strips, and ended in a mangle of torn cardboard quickly forgotten in the scramble for sugared treasure.

The lollipop comes from my young niece’s treasure hoard.

Tearing from the top, I peel back the plastic skin and place the glistening lollipop back into her waiting hand.

There’s something precious in her question. She believed and trusted that I was willing and able to give the help that she needed.

It is one of my favourite auntie moments, being asked for help.

And I can’t help but wonder if that’s a little how God feels when I come to him, asking for help and trusting him to answer.

But so often I try to do things on my own. So often I tell myself that I should be able to do something without having to ask for help.

Even when I really need it.

So often I’m that other version of a two year-old: “I can do it myself.”

Despite all evidence to the contrary.

So often I’m afraid that I really am on my own.

“Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”
Isaiah 41:10, NASB

As I was my niece’s helper, so God is my helper.

I don’t need to beg or whine or demand his help. God is my helper, and he is delighted when I trust him to take care of me.

The Jigsaw Puzzle of Life

My brother Craig and I went through a period when we bought each other jigsaw puzzles for Christmas and birthdays. The best part of the game (for him at least) was to find the most difficult puzzles. One year he gave me a puzzle comprising dozens of goldfish on a blue background. A little challenging? Try it with no straight edges and five extra pieces that look like they belong but don’t actually fit in the puzzle. I was making as much progress as a mouse pushing an elephant uphill until my friend Megan helped me out.

Another puzzle my brother gave me consisted of dozens of emperor penguins, so it’s largely black and white. This one at least had edges. The kicker was that it’s square, double-sided, with the same image printed on the reverse side – and rotated 90 degrees!

Megan and I have also enjoyed putting numerous jigsaw puzzles together, including a puzzle with no picture on the box lid, one almost entirely composed of black animals, and a photo-mosaic map of the world. The map was actually the hardest. It was definitely a two-person puzzle, needing each of us to encourage the other as enthusiasm and energy ebbed and flowed. If I’d just been on my own, I might never have finished it.

Jigsaws have the ability to drive you crazy with frustration and lack of progress, and yet every time you set a piece in the correct location, fitting snug with its neighbours, there’s a sense of satisfaction.

Have you ever noticed how life can seem like a jigsaw puzzle? So many things happen in our lives that we can’t seem to make sense of, that don’t seem to have a place or purpose. We can’t see how they fit together, and there’s no picture on the box showing us exactly what the whole puzzle is supposed to look like.

Sometimes we manage to fit a few pieces together, and we get excited because we think we know what we’re doing now. We think we know what to expect. Until we try to fit the next piece somewhere and discover that we have no clue.

When I started writing this post, I wanted to focus on God as the Master puzzle maker. The one who knows every piece of the puzzle and how it fits together. He knows how beautiful they all are because he designed them with care and love. I wanted to talk about how we can trust him with the pieces of our life even when we don’t understand how they fit together. And I still think that’s true, but something else emerged while I was writing, something else I needed to see. Perhaps you’ve already noticed it?

Puzzles are easier and generally more fun when I tackle them with someone else and not just on my own. When it’s getting tough we help each other out, lift one another up when we’re getting discouraged. That photo mosaic map of the world? At times that got so tough that we’d need to take a break from it. One of us kept going while other had a rest, and soon energy and enthusiasm would return and we’d make some more progress.

And that’s how we’ve been designed to do life – with each other. Each of us helping each other and spurring one another on. We need each other, especially when life hands us the pieces that don’t seem to fit.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

(And Megan, if you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you for the many hours we’ve enjoyed together on those puzzles, and thank you for showing me this truth about life.)

Image courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thoughts on how to receive the gift of rest

“So how does one rest? … especially at this time of year!”

Good question. I’m not an expert on the matter by any means, but here are a few of my thoughts on rest.

Open the Gift

Who receives a gift and leaves it unopened? Tear off the wrapping paper and appreciate the beauty and value of the gift. Don’t put it on a shelf or in a cupboard and think “I’ll get to that later, when I have time.”

I don’t think God rested because he was tired from making stars and mountains and kangaroos and people. When God chose to rest, he set an example for us to follow. (Of course this is only one facet of God’s rest, but let’s just keep it simple for the moment.)

Trust the Giver

When we rest, we are trusting God to meet our needs. We don’t have to keep striving every minute of the day. When we stop and bring our focus back to the Lord, we give him the opportunity to meet us in our situation. Listen for what he might be saying to you in this moment.

Give Thanks

Celebrate and give him thanks for this precious blessing.

Enjoy the Gift

Don’t you think it pleases God to see you enjoying his gift? Don’t give in to guilt. There’s a time for everything … including rest! Allow him to refresh you.

Lake Te Anau, New Zealand
Lake Te Anau, New Zealand

Tomorrow I’ll share a few practical ideas on receiving rest.