Do you ever feel as if you can’t possibly squeeze one more thing into your head? Your eyes glaze over. You can hear what is, at first, a distant humming sound which gradually increases in volume until it drowns out the voices around you.
Please tell me I am not the only person who ever feels overloaded with information, noise, things that need to be done; other people’s stuff – their good news, their bad news and their needs.
The other night I noticed my computer was backing up data – I stopped for a moment to watch the icon – copies of all those folders and documents flying onto the backup device.
And I wished I could do the same with all the stuff in my head! I wished I could make a copy and deposit the information somewhere safe – knowing it was there if I needed to recall it – but feeling the freedom of not having to actively hang onto it all!
Rest – we all need it.
We all need spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional rest.
We need what God calls a “sabbath” - a regular time in our week when we stop our everyday work and rest.
This is a pattern God established when he created the world - we are made to work for a while then stop and rest for a while.
We have been created with the biological need to stop and rest – and when we don’t we are more likely to have accidents, sleep too little or too much, experience fatigue, irritability, organ failure, mental health and other health issues. When we don’t stop, and rest our relationships suffer.
When we don’t stop, and rest we find ourselves longingly staring at the back up icon on a computer screen!
What action will you take towards the regular habit of stopping and resting?
Maybe you will stop and rest listening to or playing beautiful music.
Perhaps at the beach, in the bush, in your garden.
Maybe stopping and resting happens for you when you are sharing good food with good friends
Perhaps rest comes for you with the taste of communion bread and wine and the pages of the bible open in front of you
Maybe walking, or swimming, or riding - playing with children or grandchildren
This week is a good week to start taking some Sabbath time – time to stop and rest.
On one of the first warm spring days last year a group of us were enjoying lunch on the lawn at a friend’s home. I sat chatting with another guest – a man well into his 80s on holiday in Perth with his wife.
The man had been telling me about an airplane he had built and he was fishing around in his wallet for a photograph of the plane. He came across another photo before he found the one of the airplane that he was actually looking for. He passed the accidently discovered photo over to me saying, “Ah, that’s my girl.”
It was a photo of his wife who was sitting a little away from us talking with our hosts. As I looked down at the photo he’d passed me, I expected to see an old snapshot of his wife – you know the sort I mean. A picture of his now elderly wife from when they first met – a picture of what she looked like when she was a young bride.
But the photograph was obviously very recent. The woman smiling from the photo looked just like the woman sitting across from me laughing and talking – and I was both surprised and moved.
“That’s my girl” the well on his way to 90-year-old man had said of his wife of similar age! His words were filled with love and pride and contentment and these things – love, pride, contentment – were all clearly for the woman in the photo – his wife – not as she once was but as she is now.
It struck me that this simple declaration over a very recent photo was a beautiful picture of genuine love.
Love that wasn’t glamourized, idealised or sensationalised. Love that wasn’t wishing things were different.
Real – ‘this is how it is’ love; safe, familiar ‘I see who you really are love’ and it reminded me of God’s love which is described by one of the bible writers, John, as real love – love for us just as we are.
Do you know what it is like to be loved like that?
Who in your world needs you to love them like this? It’s always a good time to start to love someone well.
I know how to swim. I love swimming in the sea
But I am not a confident swimmer and the ocean frightens me a little!
I blame the movie ‘Jaws’ which I saw as an impressionable thirteen-year-old! As soon as I get out of my depth in the ocean all I can hear is – da-da; da-da; da-da, da-da, da-da!
A couple of years back I visited Esperance for the first time. Wow! We went to Twilight Bay on a 35-degree day and it was just as the tourist site had described it “impossibly white sand meeting unbelievably clear turquoise water creating a beautiful vista and perfect swimming conditions” - I couldn’t wait to take a swim.
About 100 metres off shore there is huge rounded granite rock rising up out of the water. I really wanted to swim out to the rock with my family but that would mean a lot of swimming out of my depth with the Jaws theme music ringing in my head!
My husband, said he’d help me and so we set off. It was hard to keep my fear in check but Hadyn kept making conversation which focused me on our beautiful surroundings and the activity of others in the water; from time to time he told me how well I was doing and how close we were to the rock. He stayed close but not too close - I guess in case I really panicked and grabbed him!
It was a pretty cool feeling to make it to the rock but my fear mounted again as it was time to get back into the water for the return swim.
Turns out the swim to shore was a lot easier because we noticed other swimmers taking a different route than the one we had come by and within about 30 metres I was in water I could stand in!
I’d actually put myself through a whole pile of angst I could have avoided if I’d noticed the shallower route earlier.
But you know I am glad I didn’t take the easier route.
I did something I was very afraid of doing
I did it in the company of someone I trust and who loves me
The fear didn’t go away but I did it anyway
And it felt good – really good
The swim reminded me that fear need not define me or my actions as long as I can face the frightening situation with someone I can trust; someone who loves me.
The poet who wrote Psalm 56 knew this.
3 But when I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you (God).
What frightens you?
Who can you trust to help you so that the fear does not define your actions?
You can trust God. Why not start by telling him the story?