Friday, May 17, 2013

The Hard Stuff - Part 1

Let's be honest. Life is hard. No one ever said it would be easy - unless you have the money to buy the things you want. But for those of us in the day-to-day rat-race,
 it gets boring, exhausting, tiring, hurtful and wearing. We face demands on our time, our affection, our energy, our very selves - we deal with pettiness from ourselves and each other, we work with people we don't like and we find ourselves being drained daily: moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour, get the drift. 
Dr. Hawkins' Concentric Circles - Liberty University
Downhere has a song simply titled "Rest"; a friend of mine mentioned it and I found a link for it here: Rest - Downhere; Youtube - it is based on Jesus' Words.
What does this rest and the "peace that passes all understanding" look like? To some, it is immersing oneself in the Scriptures, the Word of God. To others, it is a certainty, a faith and trust in the promise of Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified [because of them] for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." It is a simple trust, a child-like faith, that allows them to call God our Maker by the title "Abba" - Daddy. For others, it is being in the midst of the storm and still able to praise - knowing that even the rocks will cry out to Him. It is hiding in His Shadow, in the embrace that one can imagine and sometimes even feel. It is surrounding oneself with loved ones who know how to simply be there to offer one encouragement and support - just offering self and not demanding any time. It is entering into the presence of our Father, allowing His Spirit to recharge and transform us. 
It can come through meditation, putting on calming music, reading an inspirational or even a light-hearted book, enjoying a nice cup of your favorite beverage, lighting your favorite candles,
enjoying a long hot shower, soaking in the tub, or even through exercise. It can come through emptying your mind of all noise, all distractions, and filling it with lovely things, as Paul the Apostle states in Philippians 4. It can come with learning to be content and it can come with being thankful and joyful in all things. It can come with the simple (yes, there's that word again) act of forgiveness. 

Jesus says, in Matthew 11:28-29 (KJV), to "28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." 

We all too often labor under the misbelief that we must work towards this rest and this peace, that once our good works are done (Matthew 5:16), we'll find it - that someday "When We All Get to Heaven". But that's not what Jesus says. He says to come to Him NOW, not when you've earned it. He says to take His yoke - His lifestyle, His hopes, His expectations, His ministry, His Will (which is the Will of the Father) - NOW. He says to learn of Him - an on-going process, the learning, the KNOWing Him, but to learn OF Him can be done NOW and begin the journey. Jesus describes Himself as meek and lowly of heart. He was humble, putting His Father's Will before His own; seeking after the spiritual, mental and physical well-being of others; looking to complete that to which He had a Higher calling.
What does it mean to be meek? According to Merriam-Webster, it means: 

: enduring injury with patience and without resentment : mild - He chose to give up His divinity and live a life on earth. He chose to bear our burdens and suffer gross abuse. He chose to die on the cross and pay the sin-debt. He did these things without resenting the race for which He suffered and died. 
 2: deficient in spirit and courage : submissive - while this one does NOT describe our Lord, He was submissive to the cross and to that which His Father planned. He lowered Himself from that glorious state to become as mere man. 
: not violent or strong : moderate - Jesus was not violent but could definitely be strong; He spoke with authority, He spoke with wisdom and knowledge. 
Synonyms of meek, which describe our Lord: 
and Merriam-Webster even includes the following "related words":
Not all of the above words describe Jesus, nor should they describe us. He was acquiescent until the things others demanded went against what His Father laid out. He was compliant, He was deferential of others' authority, He was submissive to His Father's Will, He was quiet until a need for speaking arose. He was all these things, which only added to His own authority when He did speak. This is the authority and the certainty with which He speaks when He says "Come unto me, ALL ye that labour and are heavy laden...." 
Learn of Him and find that rest and that peace that He offers. Shall we journey together? 
Over the next several weeks, or even months, we will look at the application of the above post. I will ask others to guest blog for us, so we can share our journey with them and gain their insight. 
I hope to hear from people of all walks of life and learn how they handle their struggles, the day-to-day demands of their selves. And I hope that we learn, along the way, of this rest and it becomes a reality for us instead of a far-off goal to achieve or a dream that never comes true. 

    In Psalm 62:1 (NIV), the Psalmist states that "Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him." 

Meditation on the Beach -  basking in the Creator's glory


Matthew 11:28-29
Deuteronomy 31:6
Psalm 62:1
Anderson, N. The bondage breaker.
Hart, A. The anxiety cure. 
Hawkins, R. (n.d.) Strategy for intervention. 
Merriam-Webster. 2013. Meek. 

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