Journey of Rest: It’s Time to Stop Running

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“Rest became a battle to run away from the things that break me
– instead of allowing the brokenness to bring me to Him.”
– Bonnie Gray

That’s me. Running away. Fighting against the remembering. Spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere but empty and exhausted. But I don’t want to live like this anymore. This numbness, this shutting off my feelings because it hurts too much. This putting on a strong front and saying, “I’m fine.” This letting the words and actions of others give me my identity. This robotic living controlled by what was or is expected of me.

As I write this, steady rain is falling straight down in a peaceful rhythm, replenishing, refreshing, brightening the dependent earth. As I sit and watch, I listen and let the sounds soothe my soul. I breathe in the freshly laundered air, begging God to fill me with the rain of His Holy Spirit. To breathe life into my soul. To break the shackles from my soul and set me free.

Please, Dear God,
May Your Holy Spirit flood my soul,
Wash away all my self-sufficiency,
All the lies about who I am,
Whatever keeps me from resting in You.

I don’t want to be strong anymore,
I want to relinquish all control,
The control I let people hold over me,
The control of wanting my own way,
Not trusting Your plan for my life.

I don’t want to run away anymore,
I want to embrace the vulnerability,
To find the real child in me
You created me to be,
To lean into You trusting and unafraid.

I want to open the doors of my heart,
To journey with You,
To layer by layer
Expose to Your healing rain
Those deep places of pain.

Please break away
These embedded shackles
That trap me –
This shame that poisons my perspective,
This fear that freezes my faith,
This unfounded guilt that eats me alive.

I want to be free, Lord,
To feel, to want, to need,
To allow myself to be loved,
To love myself as You desire,
To nurture my depleted soul,
To open my heart to the power of Your love.

justrestAre these the longings of your soul, too? Do you need rest? Then come on a journey with us to find it. Bonnie Gray’s new book – Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest – has come out this week and is packed with so many insights that I have to read it slowly, trying to process one revelation at a time. It is already changing my life. It has shaken up beliefs that have been instilled into me. This idea of doing God more service if I forget about me and concentrate on encouraging and nurturing others. This doing and not just being. I always feel selfish when I take time to nurture myself, not realizing God wants me to take care of myself – to nurture myself in His bottomless fountain of love and security. I’m beginning to understand why it’s not selfish, because it is only through accepting and nurturing myself as the precious beloved of Jesus who wants me to bare my entire vulnerability to Him for healing that I will be able to nurture others with reckless abandon with the same love Jesus gives.

True rest is not running away from all our vulnerability, brokenness, and hurting emotions. It is leaning into Jesus, allowing Him to love us fully and freely. To go to Him just as we are, not trying to be strong, but raw with all our pain, shame, and fear, not trying to minimize any of it. Baring our hearts to Him, letting Him cut away the cancer in our souls, and wash and restore us with His healing balm of grace and love. 

“But there comes a time
when it takes more faith
to fall apart with Jesus
than to stay strong enough
to stop it from happening.”
– Bonnie Gray

“Whitespace. It’s the space on a page left unmarked used to make art beautiful. It gives the eye a place to rest, to bring out all the beautiful colors and images. You and I are God’s artwork. We need space to rest, so we can live a beautiful story.

I’ve written this memoir-driven guidebook — with chapter by chapter journaling prompts and group discussions questions so you can:

~ move beyond surviving to find rejuvenating rest

~ uncover the you God made: explore what feeds your soul

~ discover practical ideas to create space in your heart and schedule to rest

~ understand how your personal story shapes how easy or hard it is to receive self-care and soul care.

~ be inspired with hope, peace and encouragement”

– Bonnie Gray

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Joining Up With


A Soft Gentle Voice

Fear Flees to Safe Arms

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The eternal God is your refuge,
and His everlasting arms
are under you.”
(Deuteronomy 33:27a NLT)

A bunny runs for her life. The dog is gaining ground. So close his breath feels hot and his bark rings in her ears. My emotions entwine with the bunny’s. Heart-thumping, stomach-clenching, bone-piercing fear.

My husband was surfing channels just as I walked past. I stopped and stood like a statue, waiting to see what was going to happen. I love dogs, and they were my best friends as a child, but in this picture I did not see the dog as a friend. I could only see myself from the perspective of the bunny as fear pounded in my ears and tightened up my muscles.

Hurry, bunny! Run! Run! Relief flooded my veins as the bunny got to a hole where the dog couldn’t reach him. But the dog stuck its head in the hole and kept on barking fearlessly, ferociously, forcefully. Tension again, then “Whew!” He could only fit his head in. And yet he persisted, and I could almost feel the razor-sharp snap of his fangs.

Bats swinging from above screeched and flapped, adding frightening notes to the scene. The dog was unrestrained while the poor bunny shrunk tiny against the back of the hole. Just out of reach.

Then in a flash one bat swooped down and bit hard into the dog’s nose. Yelping in pain, the dog couldn’t get his head out fast enough.

Apparently this was a prelude to a movie. I don’t know for sure, because my husband surfed on. I don’t know why, but for some reason I identified with the bunny. Maybe because my emotions have been more raw lately. I suppose the ominous music in the background didn’t help.

I had to watch until the scene played out. I just had to root for the bunny’s safety. I just had to make certain he was out of danger. Okay, I know this is just a natural scene of everyday life, but it stirred up emotions in me.

When deep emotions get triggered, I have to process why. So I stop and think as I sort this out. I know I often over-analyze, but this dog reminded me of the evil of a perpetrator and the devil himself (though I hate to think of a dog as a devil). The hole was the grace of God holding him back, not letting him reach me.

I am the “bunny” running in fear from demons of the past, then scrambling for refuge in the arms of Jesus. I run in and the devil can no longer torment me. I cry out, “Jesus!” And the devil yelps and takes off with his tail between his legs.

The bats? Ok, maybe they were just angry from being disturbed. But I like to think they were protecting the helpless bunny.

Do you sometimes feel like this bunny? Flee to the wide open arms of Jesus. And you will be safe.

The devil is a liar and loves to hit us in the vulnerable spots, shooting his arrows of lies into our thoughts. God describes him as always lurking and prowling around us, roaring like a lion, ready to devour us  in a weak moment.

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

But a comforting TRUTH is that Jesus has already conquered the devil. We are safe in His arms.

“The Lord also will be a refuge and a high tower for the oppressed, a refuge and a stronghold in times of trouble (high cost, destitution, and desperation).” (Psalm 9:9 AMP)

A Child's Trust

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Soul Rest Sunday

Choose Authenticity

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Do we live authentically? Do we show people who we genuinely are? Or does shame consume us and not allow our true selves to come out?

Brene Brown immersed herself into the research of shame. Shame is the “swampland of the soul” – the voice that always says to us, “Uh-uh… You’re not good enough.” Unlike guilt that says, “I did something bad,” shame says “I am bad.” We don’t make mistakes. We are the mistake.

In the course of her interviews and research, she came to a shocking revelation. The people who do have a strong sense of belonging believe they are worthy. They carry these characteristics:

  1. Courage – They believe who they are with their whole heart.
  2. Compassion – They are kind first to themselves, so they can be kind to others.
  3. Connection – They connect as a result of authenticity.
  4. Vulnerability – They fully embrace it. They believe what makes them vulnerable makes them beautiful.

This conclusion brought Brene to a perplexing standstill in her research. While she knew vulnerability is the core of shame, fear, and a struggle for worthiness, her eyes were opened to see it is also a birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, and love.

Four tidbits of advice she now offers are:

  1. Let ourselves be seen.
  2. Love with our whole hearts.
  3. Practice gratitude. Lean into joy.
  4. Believe we are enough.

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Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

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Brene Brown: Listening to Shame

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Brene Brown’s Free Posters