April 29, 2009

 

Slow It Down

T. Suzanne Eller

 

“God called the light day and the darkness he called night. And there was evening and there was morning.” Genesis 1:5 (NIV)

         

Devotion:

I was reading my Bible one day and noticed a huge mistake in Scripture. Everyone knows that morning comes first, and then evening follows. Right? But there it was in black and white. Genesis 1:5 reads, “and there was evening, and there was morning.”

Of course, it was no mistake. Somehow, God started with evening – a time of rest – and a day’s productivity came out of that.

We live in a culture where rest is often viewed in a negative light. When we work, we work hard. When we play, we play hard. We know how to fill our time with e-mail, activities, carpooling, cleaning, aerobics, and our to-do list. Our focus is work all da, and then eventually rest.

Seventeen years ago, at the ripe age of 32, I found out I had cancer. I mentioned to the doctor that I didn’t have time for cancer, but cancer didn’t consult my schedule. My life changed as I put aside a lot of things I once thought were absolutely vital while going through chemo, surgery, and radiation. Funny, but one thing that came out of that difficult time was a new list of priorities. The first? To balance my life.

I learned how to climb between the sheets and put aside my worries. To rest my body and my mind. To slow down when life becomes crazy and weigh what is important, and what is not. I began to see evening as the first part of my day. From rest, sprang morning.

It’s a concept that changed my life. Not just physically, but also spiritually. Recently I had two speaking events sandwiched together. As the date approached, my time with my Heavenly Father became “evening.” Of course I prepared, but spiritual time came first all week. Once I arrived in the city where I was to speak, I closed the door of my hotel room and listened to the heart of my Father instead of going over my notes. And out of that rest, sprang fruitful ministry. I was refreshed and filled by His presence, instead of my efforts.

How often do we run out of steam because we are out of balance? I wish that I could say that I became forever balanced. But I’m not. There are times that I have to slow it down and reconsider my priorities all over again. And if physical rest or spiritual rest has been pushed to last place, I have to put it all on the table and let God help me sort through it so I can put “evening” back where it belongs.

Dear Jesus, when I push You to last place, I miss out on hearing Your voice. When I keep going until I drop, I get all tangled up in my to-do list. I know that life is busy, but help me to discern between what is important, and what is not. Reorganize my life, and reveal true rest that only comes from You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources:

10 Minutes a Day with Jesus: Growing in Your Love for the Savior by Jim Reapsome

 

For more in-depth articles, check out our monthly P31 Woman Magazine.

 

Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity by Kerri Wyatt Kent

 

Visit Suzie’s blog where she shares tips from author, Kerri Wyatt Kent on creating a Sabbath rest for your family

 

Application Steps: 

Write down all the to-do’s that consume your time. Are there any that aren’t absolutely necessary?

 

Pray for direction. Do you need to say “no” to one or two so that you can say “yes” to a more restful family and a more rested you?

 

Reflections: 

As women, we often take care of the needs of our children, our community, our church, our spouses, our jobs, our homes, and we leave ourselves out of the nurturing process. What is one thing you can do today to nurture yourself physically or spiritually?

 

Power Verses:

Mark 6:30-31, “The followers of Jesus came back to Him. They told Jesus all they had done and taught. He said to them, ’Come away from the people. Be by yourselves and rest.’ There were many people coming and going. They had had no time even to eat.” (NLB)

 

© 2009 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.proverbs31.org