The art of living well sits squarely on this truth: We cannot give what we do not have. Living a life is depleting work. The demands are endless. Rest is needed. It cannot be overlooked or put off for another day. When received from God, rest restores and fills us thus allowing us to live abundantly. Below is the article I wrote for Victorious Living magazine which highlights the link between rest and living well.
Some days my calendar is a life saver. It keeps me focused and saves me from imminent derailment. Other days, it is a merciless task master always demanding more. Just when I think I have mastered the art of managing my schedule I turn a corner to find I forgot to enter an important date. Sometimes two important obligations are sitting in the same valuable space. I think it is my calendar or lack of successful calendar planning that creates chaos in my life. I wrongly believe the solution is to empty my schedule, but experience reveals that even in the quiet times I can feel worn out. It’s not only the outside noise, but the inward unrest that depletes me. God often reminds me in these worn out moments of a beautiful verse, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matt. 11:28 (NIV). I now realize that when we choose to rely on God’s strength we experience blessings that can go unrecognized when we are relying on our own strength. This lesson was reinforced in my life through an unexpected messenger.
My juggling skills were heavily taxed one ordinary spring Saturday in April. Common to us all, I had morning work hours to satisfy, two afternoon family commitments to attend, and an evening full of Easter preparations to complete. My “down” time had quickly evolved into my “get-me-off-this-crazy-ride” time! I did manage to accomplish it all. I knew I would because I am quite tenacious, but this time I completed my mile-long list and experienced joy and peace along the way. I really cannot take the credit though…I owe any success I experienced that day to God’s whisper carried to me in a soapy bubble.
After completing my time at work, I hopped in the car and raced to the first family gathering. I was a bit scattered and running late. As I approached my destination, I started rehearsing my mental checklist. It went like this…present in hand, check; purse on my shoulder, check; hair not too crazy, check; and oh my, is my lipstick on straight?!? Phew, check! The cars for the gathering were parked in a long line down the road so I had to walk a short distance to get to the house. To successfully maneuver through this day required skill and planning so, as I walked I calculated my timing for the day. How long can I stay here and still make it to the next event and then how long can I stay at the next event and still allow myself some time to prepare for Easter? My calculations made no room for fun or enjoyment. No, this was all about completing my mission with precision. I continued down the sidewalk distracted with juggling the mental time math until - until a bubble floated by.
If I would have been listening instead of juggling, I would have heard the laughter; I would have felt the excitement. You see, this family event was a birthday party for an adorable two year old girl. Her mind was too new to be filled with schedules and distractions. She was too busy dancing with the bubbles that filled the backyard. Thankfully one of those beautiful, perfectly round, iridescent, silent bubbles floated by my nose and pulled me back into the present. In its simplistic, silent way it reprimanded me for living detached from the moment and relying on my own strength and invited me back to the present with its gentle wind dance. As it brushed by my ear I heard the message it carried. It was an invitation to give my worries, tasks, and fears to God in exchange for rest – soul rest. I ceased my mental juggling, inhaled deeply and relaxed into the day. God often uses the simplest things to communicate his love and care to our hearts.
Because a bubble escaped a backyard celebration and traveled to the front yard sidewalk with an invitation for me from God, I was pulled from my preoccupation with tasks and schedules. As the message of “Come to me and I will give you rest” was displayed in a delicate, floating orb, I chose to return to the moment in which I was occupying. I listened to others, I laughed a lot, I took it all in. No matter where we are or what we are doing, God desires to give us rest. It is often difficult to explain how God can call to us in simplistic, brief encounters, but for me soapy bubbles with forever serve as my reminder that my schedule is just that, a schedule and the ability to enjoy life doesn’t fit into a box on my calendar.