There's something that we, as a collective human race, have a hard time doing. We are busy. We are going, going, going. It's not often that we take a moment to simply be still. We have schedules. We have meetings. We have deadlines and projects and things that have to be done.
Being still is not something I do well, especially on a Sunday. I wake up, I go to church, and I serve. Now don't get me wrong, here: I love it. I absolutely love what I do. It is such a blessing to be a part of such a vibrant church that truly cares about seeing their kids move in the power of the Holy Spirit and learn about Jesus!
One particular Sunday morning, I was running around. On Sundays, that's my normal mode: I am setting things up and getting it all ready so families and our Sunday school teachers have an awesome Sunday.
So, Sunday mornings, before everyone comes to church, a mental to-do list is often running through my head. It's mostly routine by now. On this Sunday morning, though, I felt frazzled. I kept forgetting things that I needed to grab, and that often results in feeling behind.
During this time, I must've been looking particularly stressed or rushed. One of the greeters smiled at me and said, "Breathe deep."
Breathe deep? Who has time for that? Nice sentiment, though. I am not one for deep breathing. I have always been one that would rather be doing something so I feel useful. Along the way, I have realized the importance of rest. The importance of breathing deeply, expanding my lungs to taste the goodness that Jesus offers through restoration.
I am reading a book called Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist and this passage hit hard. "Many of us who have found ourselves to be useful in Christian service have found ourselves, unable, if we're honest, to connect with God in any other way. We do for him, instead of being with him. We become soldiers, instead of brothers and sisters and daughters and sons."
I am not condemning acts of service in any way, but when we place our desire to do over our identity and right to rest, we end up feeling overworked and under filled.
Friends, we cannot serve from an empty cup. Another point from this book that hit me hard was that Jesus himself modeled this beautifully. He was not always constantly going. He lived a rhythm of rest, prayer, service, and work.
This book focuses on being present, rather than being perfect- choosing connection over pretending that we have it all together. In my own life, the times I chose to be present and real with friends lead to the realization that I am not alone. If I had it all together, I would've missed out on connection. I would've missed out on relationship and what it means to be a part of the community of Christ.
So friends, breathe deep. Choose to be present. I know this is easier said than done. The Father invites us to rest, and then to serve out of the overflow of that rest.
"God hasn't invited us into a disorderly, unkept life but into something holy and beautiful- as beautiful on the inside as the outside." 1 Thessalonians 4:7, The Message