I have always loved the book, 14,000 Things To Be Happy About, because it reminds me to pay attention and to be grateful for the little things. I have added two pages from the book below, so I challenge you to read and try not to smile and nod as you realize that you, too, love some of those details of life.
For this post, I'm going to step back and let you drink in some wise words from four of my friends. I thought it was interesting that many of them hit on the same truth: meet God in the ordinary, right where you are.
We are learning that for soul rest to happen, we don't need to escape our lives, but we do need to retrain ourselves to use thankfulness as a trigger for worship as we meet God in the ordinary.
My first friend, with 3 children, shared:
"I am being challenged to keep my ears open throughout the day for 'kairos' moments. These are moments where God breaks through into time and space to get my attention. Whether through something my kids say to me, circumstances that surround me or whatever other way the Holy Spirit stops my heart in its tracks and makes me pay attention to what He wants to say.
It makes me uncomfortable to say that this is just what I need at this stage of my life because I don't have as much time to focus on Scripture as the main way that I hear from God...but I know that the years that I spent studying God's word, hours at a time, are what the Spirit is now using to guide my thinking as I submit it to Him throughout the day."
A second friend of 3 said:
"Make every decision every day with Him in mind. Serving Jesus is not easy, but it is rewarding for your soul. When you change the fifth poopy diaper of the day, do it with Jesus in mind. Think: he's called me to this servant position. He's called me to serve my children in this way.
When you switch your focus, it's like finding instant rest...or at least it usually is for me.
When I stop worrying about what I'm accomplishing during the day and instead stop and think about what Jesus wants me to accomplish, it's a game-changer. Thinking this way always makes me stop and think about my attitude first. If my house is clean but my attitude is lousy, what am I teaching my children? What am I accomplishing for Jesus? Nothing. But if I have a good attitude, I usually end up accomplishing a lot, and my kids aren't collateral damage, plus I end up feeling "at peace" with my day instead of regretting the angry words I yelled at my kids. For me, thinking this way just changes my whole outlook.
I know that there is no humanly possible way for me to accomplish even life basics and still have time for actual quiet rest at this stage of parenting.
So instead, I look at Jesus. Take his burden. Ask Him to help me see what he wants me to do in each situation--even if that means choosing something that seems uncomfortable or hard. It's always rewarding in the end."
My third friend, with 9 children, shared:
"I am giving myself freedom to enjoy this season of walking with Christ. Here are some beautiful and helpful words from Jen Wilkins's book Women of the Word:
'...any number of circumstances can usher us into a season where time with our Bibles happens in stolen moments at irregular intervals...for me, these seasons have sometimes lasted for years...some months, just keeping body and soul together for myself and my family seemed to occupy almost every waking moment...they deepened my desire for study...
Give the Lord what you can and trust that he will honor your faithfulness in the small things. Trust that the Lord knows your circumstances better than you do and that he sees your desire to learn and grow. And trust that those times are being used to mature you - to teach you that it is a privilege to be able to devote yourself to learning and studying and to write more deeply on your heart the truths you have already learned.'"
My doctor friend said:
"I find spiritual growth really hard because the mornings are so rushed and early getting up with the kids and also getting out the door for work. I try to find time either during my lunch break at work or during nap time on my days off to read and pray. It is really hard though, and I often feel pretty spiritually tired.
I feel like God often speaks to me through interactions with my kids, friends, or a verse.
One thing He is teaching me, too, is to give myself grace and not fret about not being able to have long quiet times--He can speak through the chaos/busyness of life."
|I met God through the gift of this sunrise one morning when my kids were up at the crack of dawn (literally).|
I have been reading through the book, Wonderstruck, by Margaret Feinberg. She asks,
"What are the wonders of God in your own life that you fail to marvel or even sleep straight through? How often do you pass by God's presence and handiwork unaware?"
Later, she says,
"And so I prayed for wonder. Palms extended, wide-eyed with expectation, I waited for an answer. And God did not disappoint. For me, a prayer for wonder asks the Lord to expand my capacity to see and savor the divine gifts all around...I still relish the striking and curious ways...God employed to alert me to the beauty awaiting in the most mundane moments of life."
Lord Jesus, we pray that you would meet us in the ordinary and in the mundane. Please open our eyes to the beauty that is already all around us and teach us to use those divine details as a trigger for worship. Show us how to abide in You and find our rest in You and You alone.
Four Ways You Can Create a Life of Awe and Wonder
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voskamp
Do you have any other resources to add to this list? How do you meet God in the ordinary?
out all the other posts in this series:
Introduction to the Series
Day 1: Three Secrets of Soul Rest
Day 2: Moms Are
Day 3: Permission for Self Care
Day 4: Ordinary Moments
Day 5: Creative Spirituality for Busy
Day 6: Planning a Personal Retreat
Day 7: Sabbath Rhythms
Linking up with Faith-Filled Fridays and Literacy Musing Mondays
Labels: 7 Days of Soul Rest, Soul Rest, Spiritual Lessons, thankful