When We Want to Live Our Lives Less Like a List and More Like a Lyric

“I will praise You
because I have been remarkably
and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.”
Psalm 139:14 HCSB

Freed to Fly

“I just want to live my life
less like a list and more like a lyric.”
Emily Freeman

“What might it mean to live life like a lyric rather than a list?

Maybe it means releasing yourself to live as the person you most deeply are rather than who you think you should be.

It could mean embracing your smallness by bringing your ordinary work to Jesus, knowing He does miracles with little offerings.

It could also mean releasing the outcome of your interactions with people and the results of your work.

Would your shoulders relax? Would your jaw loosen up? Would your fists open up in your lap?”

Excerpt from Seven Little Ways to Live Art by Emily Freeman.

“As you learn to recognize, nurture, and protect your inner artist, you will be able to move beyond pain and creative constriction. You will learn ways to recognize and resolve fear, remove emotional scar tissue, and strengthen your confidence.” Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way

The Garden
by Kari Jobe

“I had all
But given up
Desperate for it
A sign from love
Something good
Something kind
Bringing peace to every corner of my mind

Then I saw the garden
Hope had come to me
To sweep away the ashes
And wake me from my sleep

I realized
You never left
And for this moment
You planned ahead
That I would see
Your faithfulness in all of the green

I can see the ivy
Growing through the wall
‘Cause You will stop at nothing
To heal my broken soul

I can see the ivy
Reaching through the wall
‘Cause You will stop at nothing
To heal my broken soul…”

Whispers of Rest: A Book Review

“Then Jesus said, “Come to Me,
all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 NLT

I sat down at my desk to reply to comments from last week’s post. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t write. Anxiety and worry churned and thrashed within my spirit like stormy waves crashing against the shore. Knocking the wind out of my sails. Triggers of past abuse and pain for abused souls weighted me down and overwhelmed me.  I gotta get out of here!

I left my computer, grabbed my camera, and drove to one of my favorite walks along a bike trail.

Voices in my head added to the storm inside. So loud and persistent. Voices of inadequacy, worthlessness, and condemnation. God, I can’t take this anymore!

As I started out on the path, a butterfly circled me, flew further away, then returned to my side. I couldn’t get a clear picture, so I just stood and soaked in the refreshing sight of a beautiful swallowtail fluttering God’s peace into my heart.

Only a few feet away were Canadian Geese with their little ones.

Wow, God! Thank You! I just started walking, and He already showed me His love. Birds remind me of His faithful and loving care over us. And butterflies remind me of being freed to fly in Christ Jesus. Freed from the cocoon of abuse that so tightly held my wings together. Peace filled my heart, and the negative voices and heavy burdens of my heart slid away.

As I walked to a bridge over the river, I scanned the woods carefully, looking for deer. Nothing. As I returned, I felt disappointed. God, I really wanted to see a deer today… At the same time, I had to thank Him for already showing me so much and speaking peace to my heart.

Then suddenly, there they were. Three of them! Thank You, God! 

In Bonnie Gray’s new book – Whispers of Rest – she encourages us to take time for what brings us joy. Walking in nature is mine. I can’t begin to count how many times God’s creation has refreshed my soul. It always reminds me that God is still in control in all the messiness of life.

Whispers of Rest is a 40-Day spiritual journey that guides us to a place of rest where we can more deeply experience the Savior’s presence in our everyday life, invites us to come away to a quiet place and surrender our hearts to Him, and encourages us to embrace our identity in Christ Jesus and live as His beloved.

“God’s whispers of rest guide us to
a beautiful destination of hope,
an anchor for the soul in a stress-filled world.
Our destination for this journey isn’t something, but Someone.”
– Bonnie Gray

 Each day includes God’s Story, God’s Whispers to Us, a Prayer, questions to prompt us to reflect on and journal our stories, tips to practice, a challenge, and soul care tips.

One of my favorite practice tips is the One Word Prayer, a suggestion Timothy Keller shares in his book Prayer. This practice is used throughout the book. It’s to reflect on a word or phrase that draws our attention, and then to use it as a prayer prompt to spark a conversation with God. As we think of the word, we ask ourselves what feelings, questions, or thoughts emerge. Then share them with Jesus.

Already on Day 1, I knew this book was for me. The first quote that connected with my heart was:

“Don’t listen to those voices.
Step closer to the One Voice who knows you.”
– Bonnie Gray

I struggle a lot with those negative voices, and I long to let them go and follow that One Voice. This book nurtures my soul as it points to Jesus and His unfailing love for us. He loves us so much that He wants us to nurture ourselves. And He doesn’t want us to condemn ourselves or feel selfish about it. (That’s really a tough one for me.)

I believe you will not be disappointed when you read this book. In this busy world, we can so easily push aside the necessary soul care we need each day. But we need vitamins for our spirits even more than for our bodies.

“Come away with Me by yourselves
to a quiet place and rest awhile.”
Mark 6:31

“Here”
by Kari Jobe

“Come, and rest here
Come, and lay your burdens down
Come, and rest here
There is refuge for you now…”