Five Minute Friday: Slow

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Slow. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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If I had to label the past month of my life using a single adjective I would choose the word slow. Time seems to be moving at a snail’s pace this month and I feel like one of those pinballs in an arcade bouncing from one obstacle to the next.

It started with an illness the first week and from then on I’ve been slowly trying to get back into my regular rhythm. Once I felt like I had truly recovered from being sick I was thrust into a few more hazards in my path.

Helping a friend through a difficult time-

Someone I love facing the possibility of cancer-

Playing host to another friend in need-

The list keeps piling up.

Not only does slow describe the pace of this month, but it’s also something I need to focus on. I’m that spastic pinball right now going every which way at a ridiculous speed. Every few seconds I’m nailing a corner at top speed. The one thing I need in the midst of all these circumstances is rest. In order to find rest I must slow down.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

I will only find true rest in God.

All these things I’m carrying on my back and trying to fix for myself are ultimately work for the Lord. It’s hard to let go and give God control of situations. I like to feel like I’m doing something to make things better all the while God is just waiting for me to take a seat and rest.

How is God leading you to slow down this week?

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Five Minute Friday: Rest

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Rest. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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Matthew 11:28-“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.”

If Jesus was ever frustrated it was most likely when the very people observing his miracles were so caught up in themselves to remember him. In Matthew 11, he speaks against those people in the towns where he performed his miracles because they refused to repent after having witnessed Him.”…I tell you it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:22)

For a moment, the people thanked him, but when he moved on from them they returned to life as usual. The miracles he was performing had little to no impact on the lives of the people.

This is an issue of their heart not of the magnificence of the miracles of Jesus. (He is still LORD even when we don’t recognize it.)

It’s easy to read about places like Chorazin and Bethsaida in wonder. You saw the miracles of God, but still did not repent!?! 

However, we live in a world filled with miracles, and we go about our lives often without regard for the miracle worker. We get so busy and focused on ourselves that we neglect to notice the miracle of each heartbeat, sunrise, birth, and more. Like the cities above we may acknowledge that Jesus is LORD, but we are quick to forget to search for his miracles or to give him praise for all he does.

It’s hard to always be on the go and acknowledge those miracles. That’s why rest is so important. It’s imperative to our souls to rest. Stop filling your mind with the worries of the everyday. Trust the God who performs miracles to take the yoke of your burdens and just rest. Stop trying to do everything on your own! Mark out some time to get away from your busy life and simply acknowledge the work of His hands.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Today at Covenant…Suffering

This week Pastor Travis Davenport of Covenant Church in Grove City continued leading us through Romans 5. Today’s message was part of the sermon series Friends With Benefits. This portion of scripture is rough especially for those currently going through a tough circumstance, but that makes it even more important to be aware of the benefits of a friendship with Jesus. It’s when those tough times strike that we need him most in our lives.

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Suffering

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:1-4

Suffering is a part of every journey with Christ. Sometimes suffering marks the beginning of our journey. Sometimes suffering occurs frequently on our road maps. But one thing is for sure: we will all face suffering of some kind in our lives. It’s easiest for us to thank God for His many blessings than to be grateful for the tough places he makes us wade through, however this passage highlights the necessity of those troubling moments in our faith. We love it when God chooses to listen to the prayers and answer them according to our will, but we need to remember that God is more concerned about our eternal state than our benefits here on Earth. Sometimes his answers don’t align with what we think they should, but that usually means that he’s allowing this testing to happen for a greater purpose. And those greater purposes are outlined here in the passage above.

In the pit of suffering the last thing we want to do is throw any type of party (except maybe a pity party.) So there is a struggle in comprehending verse four when Paul says to, “(rejoice or) glory in our sufferings.” The one practical piece this verse gives to us is a look at the importance of perspective when it comes to suffering. When we can stand up to the testing of our faith in the face of struggles we set off a chain reaction which reaps eternal benefits. (Oftentimes this is the purpose of the suffering we face.)

The Chain Reaction-

  1. Suffering leads to endurance
  • the Greek term for endurance means single-mindedness/focus
  • the act of suffering eliminates distractions in our lives
  • our time and money accumulate distractions, but the circumstance of suffering takes value away from things which formerly distracted us from God.

2. Endurance leads to character

  • character is proven through testing
  • once character has been tested the result is proven and genuine
  • you can take control of your suffering by controlling how you allow it to affect you

3. Character leads to hope

  • Hope is a conviction or confidence in an end result
  • our hope is rest and peace with God
  • our suffering removes any competition for our hope
  • suffering shows us that the only thing that will truly fix our situation is Jesus and proves that our hope is in eternal life with Jesus not in anything of this world.
  • there is no rest in any other outlet

So know that if you find yourself in a dark place struggling to keep your head above water that God has in mind your eternal benefits over your Earthly ones. It is not an easy message to digest especially in the midst of a large struggle, but if you endure, prove your character and place your hope in God then the benefits of those choices will far outweigh any other option.

The Ameri Brit Mom

On Being a Writer: Rest

I am joining a group of writers who are linking-up twice a week through the month of September to discuss some of the foundational ideas in writing. The topics for this link-up come from the book On Being a Writer by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig. This link-up is being hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog entitled Heading Home. Today’s topic is Rest:

I’ve had a busy schedule as the school year has begun. I’m still working on a way to be sure not to lose my writing momentum that I worked hard to create over the summer. It’s insane how quickly demands can add up, but it is important to take time to rest. Without adequate rest one is prone to burn-out and more susceptible to illness. Neither of these conditions are things that sound appealing to me so as the first few weeks of school have come and gone I’ll admit that they came with a little rest from the regular schedule of writing. I’m looking forward to getting back on track in the next couple of weeks and plan to return to my regular routines fully by October. One thing I’ve learned from my journey of writing, however, is the importance of rest.

If I’m not well-rested my brain turns to mush. My words are futile and I can spend an hour staring at a blank screen. My purpose is weakened and my desire to pursue my passion wanes. Rest is one of the key components to writing, at least for me.

I’ve also been learning not to be too hard on myself. I set goals that I always intend to attain, but sometimes life gets in the way and that is okay. Writing is a passion and a purpose of mine, but it ultimately doesn’t define me. There are days when my writing must take a backseat to real life, relationships, and rest which I’ve come to accept as okay.

One goal of this blog is to write routinely in a positive environment. I feel that even though the months of August and September I have produced less unique content than months in the past that these were still successful months for fulfilling the purposes of my blog. I’m looking forward to what October will hold as I settle into a new groove. I appreciate all of your tolerance and continued readership during this period of re-adjustment. This much needed period of rest has renewed my drive to continue chasing dreams and I’m grateful for each and every reader who has continued to support me. Life moves in phases and sometimes we all need a little more rest to catch up on lost time. I’m excited to move on from this point, but am not naive to think that the coming months won’t have demands of their own. Life is all about balance and that’s why I rely so much on Christ and positive influences.

Be sure to make rest a priority!

Stop Thinking

Reflection. Waiting. Silence.

What all do these three words have in common? Leadership.

It takes a true leader to stop and set time aside to reflect on one’s life. We can never attain true perfection in this life so there is always room for improvement and progress. Reflection means reviewing an action, conversation, or thought and examining what was good and what should change when it comes to that particular outcome.

I have been reflecting lately on my own life. What am I doing well? What can I do better? The answer is: everything. I do everything well, but I can also do everything better. I need to strive to be a better wife, mom, teacher, and friend. This will be accomplished by taking more time out of my schedule for myself. If I can spend ten or fifteen minutes at the end of a day in reflection I will see change. I need to reflect on what I could do differently in my life in order to be the best I can be. In order to serve others in my roles the best way I can I must first have JOY. Joy comes from the happiness one finds in life. I need to seek joy in spite of hardships. I need to take myself less seriously and relax knowing that God has everything in control even when I don’t.

Along with reflection I must also learn to wait. Not only does waiting mean the idea of putting off gratification in order to obtain something desired, but it also means to rest. In order to be the best I can be with my many roles I must learn the art of waiting and practice it on a regular basis. I so often run myself into the ground because my lifestyle is one that is constantly on the move. I often view sitting and relaxing with a negative connotation. However, rest is completely imperative to maintaining a balanced life. Currently, I am battling with a pretty nasty cold, and it seems like over the past few months my immune system has really been compromised. I can’t help but think that if I had spent more time waiting or resting then I may have been strong enough to fight off this cold. Rest gives your body an edge over illness, and so it is obvious I need more rest in my life.

Waiting is also about giving your will and concerns to God and allowing Him to direct your path. When I get caught up in my own busy life I rarely take the time to ask God what He wants from me or if I am doing His will. In addition to spending time daily reflecting I see now that it is so important to also wait daily on God. He uses this time to show you what you may have been too busy to see before or may have missed in the hustle and bustle of life. I currently have been praying for direction in some areas of my life, but have not felt God directing me. This is not a case of God not answering my prayer…I know that it is a case of me not listening for His answer. I’ve continued life at a busy pace, but God wants me to slow down and listen to what He has to say.

This leads to the third point I need to make. Silence. God speaks to us in the silence. If we can shut down our mind from distractions, God will meet us in the silence. This is such a hard practice for me to get into. My mind is full of to-do lists and ideas, but what I need to do for myself is shut down every once in a while and sit in silence. The silence makes us more apt to hear from God and feel His tugging on our hearts. Silence can be uncomfortable because it does force us to be aware of ourselves and surroundings. Silence goes against my nature, but it is a discipline I feel led to pursue.

A good leader takes time for themselves. You cannot constantly give,give, give without somewhere receiving. We receive from God when we reflect, wait, and observe silence. God can use us when He can work on us. I challenge myself as well as my readers to set aside some time to allow God to work in your life. Stop telling God and talking to God and truly wait on His work and answers. If you’re anything like me this is a hard practice, but it is so worth it to know that God has spoken over your life and you are following the will of God.

Reflect…

Wait…

and pursue Silence.

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