Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Striving for Rest

Most days, at any given moment, there is potential for the picture below (my Blogger app won't let me move the picture to the top...hmmm) to be the scene in my home. If I stop to rest. Or go potty. So the show must go on. And I'm sad to say, many many days I perform my "motherly duties" (spoken like Nacho Libre) with a scowl on my face. Whether I realize it or not, my children are watching. Reagan often asks me "mommy, are you ok?". I assure you- it's because of some face I'm making. I'm intense, I'm sometimes a little bristly, but that is NO excuse to walk around showing the sinfulness of my heart or lack of joy in my "faces". There should be a verse that says: For out of the abundance of the heart the expressions of the face are formed. Ha. I SO don't want to be that person who is just known for her drama and faces. Lord help me!!

My sweet friend and bible study leader sends me lots of good reading material.

I've recently had a huge struggle with joy. I work hard...sun up til sun down...not because I really want to, but saying I do it because I HAVE to. In my mind I tell myself things like "you don't have a choice" "keep going, this too shall pass", "it's just a phase"...

That's NO way to live, just going through the motions, waiting for the next phase of life. I tear up at the thought of wishing these baby years away. I will regret that.

I am in a very real spiritual battle. It is most certainly a war against Satan, sin and self. It is by the grace of God that I'm even able to recognize that.

It is a fight for Joy.

Though I may not speak it, in my heart and on my face are written the words of a complaining spirit. The real battle for me is in my thought life. It is still sin. It is still terribly wrong.

I have perused John Piper's When I Don't Desire God book recently. I love. Such a good practical read.

The lady over at Heart of the Matter wrote a wonderful post about the fight for Joy in the midst of our hectic lives...

Here it is:

Striving to Rest

Motherhood is hard work. Can I get an amen? I don’t care if you stay at home full time, if you work from the home, if you work full time outside of the home, if you send your kids to public or private school, or if you home school, motherhood is just plain hard. (Thank you, Captain Obvious). It is work. It is good work, to be sure, with plenty of rich rewards. But those rewards do not diminish the fact that someone needs to do a whole lot of work. And that someone is likely you.

And yet, in the midst of that work we are called to rest. We are called to take up the “easy yoke” of Christ. If you’ve read my blog, or my articles here on Heart of the Matter, you will hear me speak of this frequently: the need to rest and submit and to receive from the Lord the good and easy, as well as the difficult and tiring, with open-handed joy. It is a striking paradox. And one that requires some thought and meditation.

In the book of Hebrews, there is a passage that catches me every time. It says this: “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest” (Heb. 4:9-11).

Did you see that? There is a way of resting that enables us to cease our labours. But we have to labour to enter that rest. Obviously we think of this in light of our salvation: Christ accomplished what we could not do, and so we rest on Grace, believing that his Work is sufficient to meet our eternal, spiritual needs.

But what about daily life? What about the hard work of motherhood? Is there a way to ‘strive to rest’ in that also?

John Piper says this:

The essence of the Christian life is learning to fight for joy in a way
that does not replace grace. We must be able to say at the end of our lives, “I have fought the good fight.” But we must also say, “It was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” I have pursued Christ as my joy with all my might. But it was a might that he mightily imparted. We must fight for joy in such a way that we prove Jesus true when he said,
“My yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30). We will succeed in this battle when we can say with Paul in Colossians 1:29 that we are “struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” We struggle to bear the burden and carry the yoke. But he gives the power. All burdens are light to him. All yokes are easy to him. This too is something glorious to see in him. This too makes us glad in him. Trust him for this. Our joy in him will be the greater because we see him as the one who gives both the joy and the strength to fight for it.

(When I Don’t Desire God, John Piper pg.45)

Is this not what we want in our parenting? In our daily routines? In our workplace relationships? In our marriage?

I want to be able to say that I laboured hard for my family and for their good, but that I did so in His strength, with His spirit working in me, for His glory. I want to say that the hard work I’m doing feels like a light burden and an easy yoke because He carried it with me.

Lord, teach me to fight for that rest. Teach me to strive for the ceasing of striving that will let me be at peace in the work you’ve given me. May you put to death the enemy of my mind and my flesh that tells me I need to be more, do more, work more. Show me what you mean for me to do. Place on my your yoke and your burden. And then carry it for me. For my good, and your glory, Amen.

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