Can You Sit Or Do You Flit?

I’ve been busy lately. I painted and redecorated my kitchen so I was on my feet constantly. I enjoyed a daily walk too. So at the end of the day my feet have been on FIRE. “Yeowza! My feet are killing me!” I exclaimed.

I sat down on our love seat and rolled my feet across a cold cylindrical water bottle I grabbed from the refrigerator to extinguish the burning pain. (my cousin shared this little trick from her podiatrist) ” Aw, that’s much better!” I sighed.

I popped back up again, shifted a small potted succulent from one side of the counter to another and stood back to decide if I liked the look when I heard my husband say, “Rachel, Stop flitting! Come sit down!”

He knows me well, that’s what happens after thirty-three years of marriage, I guess.

I do scurry and often hurry or sometimes even shuffle in my slippers all around our house. Back and forth and around and around I go! I’m like a wind up toy that spins and bumps into things and backs up and goes about it again.

“Come sit down.” It’s an invitation to rest, take a load off and relax. Is relaxing and resting hard for you? Can you sit or do you flit? I find it interesting how we are often more aware that our phone battery needs to be charged than when we ourselves need charging!

What is true in the natural is true in the spiritual too. When I sit down it demonstrates I am able to rest. God set up and modeled so well that we work for a time and then we need to REST.

That is what the Sabbath is all about.

I’ve been resting and I’ve been “soaking” for awhile. It is a way for me to cease striving and just BE! I select some soaking worship music, close my eyes to eliminate distractions, think about God and let him love me.

It’s like the way meat marinates in a sauce…instead I sit and be still and “marinate” in the presence of God. I’m really in the practice stages of soaking but I love it. Graham Cooke says, “Our rest is a weapon against the enemy.” I love that realization.

I joked the other day saying it is good for me to paint my finger nails before I soak. Then I’m forced to sit because I HATE to gunk up my nails and I know it is so important to get alone with God and be still.

Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

Noise and constant motion can be a major area of stress in our lives. We crave quiet even though we continue to to flit and move and make noise. Instead we must carve out time for rest. Just sit, don’t flit.

Jesus has an awesome invitation for us:

• “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

In some ways my feet hurting has been a good thing because it has also afforded more times for me to stop flitting and sit down and rest with God.

What is your normal mode of operation? What are the rhythms of your days and your week? Have you ever practiced soaking with God? I highly recommend it.

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Get What You Pay For

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Story One:

It was a blustery Sunday. Not a typical spring evening at all. We were in the middle of our painting project and had finished the first coat of paint throughout the entire area. We felt a HUGE sense of accomplishment and we were hungry.

“Who’s hungry? Janet are you getting hungry?” I asked a friend who had come to assist my husband and me in this kitchen project.

“Sure! I could eat.” She responded. Michael placed an order for our favorite things we often get and some of her desired choices as well.

As we unpacked the bags of take out chinese food, my husband set each carton on the counter and we noticed that one of the dishes we ordered was missing. We both looked inside the bag as if expecting it to suddenly appear.

“Oh bummer, they forgot to include my order of mei fun!  I think I heard you ask for that dish.” I affirmed him. “Look on the receipt it’s stapled to the bags. Did we pay for it?” I inquired.

“Yep! It’s listed right here!” He insisted. “I’ll call back and have them send the delivery guy back out. I’m sure they’re swamped on this snowy night.”

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You should get what you pay for, right?

Story Two:

I was privileged to stay in a beautiful friend’s condo in Door County, Wisconsin for a girlfriend weekend away. We laughed, ate, read, slept, watched a movie, led each other in a time in God’s word and of course, shopped. We hit some of our favorite boutiques, the candy store, the local consignment shop and a few other highlights along the way. When we had seen enough or had spent our cash we looked at each other and said, “Ya ready to go home? Are you finished shopping?”

As we returned to the condo, we parked in the driveway and unloaded our treasures.  I immediately glanced in each of the shopping bags to see which ones belonged to whom.

“Okay, this one has the towels in it. That’s mine. Here is Jan’s jelly she purchased at the first place we stopped.” I pulled a few bags closer from the back of her SUV and peered inside. “Who bought this?” I asked pulling out the contents for a brief inspection and identification.

“Oh, that one is mine!” Jeanne acknowledged her treasure she had nearly forgotten.

It took just a few more minutes to sort all the bags then we gladly marched back into our cozy “home” for a brief rest before dinner.

As I pulled out the bags I remember thinking. You would never take a bag that belonged to someone else. It doesn’t belong to me. I didn’t pay for it. You should get what you pay for, right?  

SO Jesus should get what he paid for, right?

HE paid for all our sin, all our disease and all things that weigh us down and burden our lives. He even invites us to come to him. and give him our burdens and He will swap our burden for his. HIS BURDEN IS LIGHT!

Do you carry a load of regret, mistakes, sins, shame, condemnation, anxiety, guilt or sickness? Don’t carry these things around with you. Jesus paid for it and he wants it back. It’s not for you to carry. HE paid for it … It belongs to him now and he should get what he paid for. Give it back. Don’t take it, it’s not yours to own or lug around. Just the way we wanted our full Chinese take-out order and I wouldn’t take a shopping bag from the trunk if it wasn’t mine.

I love the old hymn, “Jesus paid it ALL.”

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

The modern hymn says:
“Oh, praise the one who paid my debt, who raised this life up from the dead.

I’m quite certain Jesus should get his full reward for the price He paid. So, if He purchased my life and yours, we should give him all of it and stop carrying around anything he already purchased.  Our role is to trust Him and respond with gratitude. I believe Jesus should get his full reward for what he paid for.

  • Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5 (emphasis mine)

 

  • I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.  Galatians 2:20-21  (emphasis mine)
It is very personal. Do you sense it? It is marvelous to think of what He has done for you and for me. Jesus paid it all.

 

Choice Overload!

I grabbed the car keys, my purse, sunglasses and bolted to the paint store to purchase my final selection of wall color before I changed my mind again. JUST GO GET ONE! 

The decision of selecting a paint color for the kitchen paralyzed me and indecision had become my friend.  I’d painted the kitchen cabinets early last summer, with the help of my honey, but now it was time for the walls.

Part of the problem of starting this project was I know painting the kitchen will cause a domino effect throughout the ENTIRE house. That’s a good thing of course, but it all requires decisions, time and resources as well.

“Well, our ceilings really need to be painted before we even begin with the walls Rachel.” My husband commented, “So let’s start there.”

“He excitedly climbed his new ladder and began to tackle the job. I love the way he attacks things and sticks to it. It was late at night when he began so he had to stop before he would have liked. More work is still required on that front.

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I’d been mulling over the decision of color choice for a few weeks now.  In the most recent days I have kicked it into gear. I have:

  • Selected multiple color swatches
  • Solicited advice while attending the Home and Garden show.
  • Driven to a friend’s house to look at a color she recently used.
  • Received a partial paint container to “TRY IT OUT.”
  • Marked the backs of paint chips with notes.
  • Taped up colors on the cabinets and watched for changes throughout the day.
  • Asked for advice and polled colors used from my sister and multiple friends I trust.

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Just this morning I called and dear  friend and said, “I need you to walk me off the ledge about something quite shallow compared to some of the things you deal with. I know this  is a first world problem, but I want your advice on a paint decision for my kitchen.”

“What cha thinking?” she asked.

” I know the rage is grey with white. But I’m pretty sure I want just a white. You know how ridiculous it is to select from the whites. It’s like choice overload, right?” I sighed.

“I’ve got a color that may work for you let me text you its name and brand when I get home. We need to talk later and just catch up.”

“I know, I really appreciate you taking my call to talk through this.” (She knows I’m a verbal processor and she listens well.) “Sounds good. Love you, Bye!” I hung up.

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I have had more paint chips taped to my white cabinets in the last few days than I care to tell you about. My poor, patient husband, I’m sure he didn’t know what to do with me. I would ask, “Hey, honey look over here. What do you think about this color?” Then I’d run over to a different area in the room with the same color for point of reference and comparison. “How about in this light, do you like it?” I’d ask.

” Mmm, too dark.” He’d chime in.

I’d then whip out another chip and compare it. “How ’bout this one? I really like this BUUUUUT it’s a little blush colored. Maybe this one? Is it a little too blue? Here, now this one has warmer undertones. Nah, it will to end up looking a little yellow, I think.”

Michael smiled at me, probably thinking,  JUST CHOOSE ONE!

I stopped at a paint store and brought home even more choices of  grays and whites. I was glad I could rule out so many immediately as I stood in the kitchen.

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After all that agonizing about a color… should it be gray, would beige look good? I’m not sure if I will paint the wood work yet.  I better make sure I like it either way. Trim painted or not! FINALLY,  I selected a paint color!

Will wonders ever cease?  Are you ready? Wait for it. It’s called CHALK DUST. Perhaps my past teaching days contributed in the color choice. I know you’d laugh if you saw it.

So after I made my decision, grabbed my stuff and drove to the hardware store, I waited patiently as my first gallon was shaken in the machine. The can was carefully pried open by the precious, helpful, young woman who assisted me. We both peered into the can as she released the lid to reveal the color. We looked at each other. Simultaneously we smiled then blurted out, “It’s…white!”

She bagged my paint tray liner and a couple of paint sticks, “It’s always a good idea to give it a stir! There you go,” She handed me the bag. “Have a good one!”

I drove straight to a Starbucks drive-through on my way home and I treated myself.

A voice came across on the speaker. “Welcome to Starbucks! What can I get for you?”

“Hi there, I’ll have a grande, decaf, coconut milk latte, with two packs of honey please.” I smiled at the menu board.

As if I thought the decision making process and having chosen a paint color was worthy of some sort of celebration, I sipped my coffee and drove away, pleased.

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“Let the project begin!”

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3 NIV

The Futility of Worry

I felt anxiety bubbling up with a threat of worry about to come over me. It wanted to wrap me in its unknowns like a cocoon. Have you experienced it? Let me state from the start that I am not a typical worrier nor am I plagued with anxiety.

My concern, however, was about the upcoming visit by my parents and my sister and brother-in-law. The many logistics that could potentially be a concern, but I was equally delighted to have them visit the weekend of my son’s birthday and also for Easter.

During a walk with a friend we prayed about all the logistics. I admitted. “I know it’s going to be fine, but this is the first time I’ve had my mom here since she is using a walker for stability.

I hope she can navigate all of the steps in my home and get in and out of the restaurant and our church on Easter morning.”  Blah, blah, blah. I rattled on for a bit then said, “Let’s pray about it. I know it will work out.”

We prayed about my family coming and the overall visit. There were many moving pieces to the weekend. I was slated to sing for the services which meant rehearsals and added time away.  I would also lack time to fully prepare Easter dinner. We also planned to meet at a local restaurant to celebrate my son’s birthday on Good Friday together.

Even though we had prayed about it, my mind looped over the logistics. I mentioned worrying about my mom’s mobility to my son when my daughter-in-law said, “Oh, there is underground parking and the elevator is right by the restaurant. You can park there, take it up and be right at the entrance of Cafe Hollander.”

“I didn’t know that. Wow! Okay, I’ll do that, thanks.” I said.

Between when she mentioned the helpful information and the time of the actual event my mind was concerned about these things:

 SPECULATIONS & WORRY

  • forecasted to rain
  • never been to the parking lot nor used the elevator
  • wait time at the restaurant, the last time was 90 minutes
  • standing for a long time waiting for a table – will my mom be okay?
  • getting to our table with my mom’s walker- will we get through?
  • arrival time to meet the my husband and our children.

I once heard Pastor Bill Johnson ask his congregation this, “You know the verse- Be anxious for nothing? Well, everything I was ever anxious about WAS nothing.”  (Meaning it NEVER came to be…It was nothing. Never an issue-came to NOTHING! It’s a bit of a play on words but I liked it.)

That is my testimony too. I was concerned about everything. BUT my anxiousness was FOR NOTHING! Instead, This is the way it panned out.

REALITY & FUTILITY OF WORRY

  • It did not rain
  • drove directly to the well-lit underground parking
  • parking – first handicapped space.
  • the elevator – directly in front of us.
  • arrived at the hostess station – seated immediately.
  • received a text from my kids be there in ten.
  • rode the elevator again to get to our table – upper level.
  • settled in – no problem getting through with the walker.
  • my son and his wife arrived – only moments later.
  • my husband made it safely on his motorcycle, he came in with a grin on his face and a kiss for me!

My anxiousness was for NOTHING! I’m NOT kidding, everything about that evening was accomplished lickity-split, easy as pie, smooth as silk and slick as a whistle! My…BE ANXIOUS was for absolutely NOTHING!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I like the way the New Living Translation states it:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

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This is just one tiny snippet of the way my Easter weekend was divinely orchestrated and completely blessed. I could go on and on about Saturday’s events and Sundays too, but that’s for another blog, I guess. I saw God come through above and beyond all I could have asked or imagined. He is so faithful and He promises to do it. (Ephesians 3:20)

I wanted to remind myself and you of the futility of worry. Yes, we may be tempted to worry or be anxious. God knows that. It’s probably why he commands us not to. He cares about us too much to waste our time. Worry is a time EATER! I fully believe he cares about every little detail in our lives and delights to go above and beyond what we could ask or imagine in all the areas we bring to him.

So as the verse says: “Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6a

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Father God, Help us to see the futility of worry, anxiety, fear and distraction. Help us to see how you are active in the details of our lives. Thanks for who you are and how much you love us. You are such a faithful God. Help us to be anxious FOR NOTHING! In Jesus name, Amen.

Consider these words of Jesus. “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” and later he says. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  Matthew 6: 27, 34