Where Are You Dwelling?
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” - Psalm 91:1
A few days ago, my five-year-old and I were taking a walk around our neighborhood. As we climbed a huge hill, she began to talk about cars and the gas that gives them energy. She lamented the fact that that wouldn’t work for her, too. Amused and curious to see what she would say, I asked her how people get their energy. I expected her to say Coke (she may have seen her mama drink a few), or maybe sugar, but her answer stopped me in my tracks. She confidently said, “Resting.”
Energy from resting.
I found myself convicted and honestly dumbfounded by what my sweet baby had just told me. Because, y’all, I was so very tired that day. I had almost fallen asleep on the couch earlier, when for a rare moment, I did have time to sit down and take a nap. But I stopped myself and got up to continue the task list before me. Switch the laundry over, return emails, check homework, go exercise... and oh, drink a coke to keep me going. Pushing through in my own strength, with a little help from some caffeine, was what I felt I had to do. And I felt anything but rested.
So, as I thought more about our conversation, I remembered Psalm 91:1.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
And I began to examine my heart. I clearly needed rest, but I wasn’t finding it... or on second thought, accepting it. So, was I where I needed to be? Was I dwelling in the shelter of the Most High?
The truth is that I wasn’t. Most mornings I look at my “verse of the day,” pray over my husband, kids, friends, and whatever is on the agenda, listen to praise music while I get ready and then go on with my day. If you gave me a Christian good girl checklist, I’d be able to mark most of the boxes. So why wasn’t I receiving the rest spoken of in Psalm 91? Because I wasn’t dwelling, or making my home/camping out/living specifically, under the Lord’s shelter as I went about my day.
It’s so very easy to try and pick things up in our own strength, y’all. But don’t be deceived into thinking you can do it on your own. Your energy comes from allowing your physical body to rest as well as your soul receiving time to reconnect and meditate on God’s Word and presence. As I sit typing under a big oak tree right now, the branches surround me, and the shadow is protecting me from the heat of the day. The Lord does the same thing for us.
So what are some practical things we can do to “dwell” in the Lord’s shelter?
1. Make your home in His Word.
You may be thinking, “Ok, Maggie, that sounds great, but I can’t read the Bible all day long.” And no, you can’t. But you can post scripture around you wherever you may be, so that it’s easily accessible and catches your eye. In your cubicle or office at work, above the sink or washer and dryer, and on the dash in the car. Wherever you live, allow God’s Word to go with you as a reminder of His presence and promises.
2. Listen to music and media that will draw you to Him.
I personally love some music in a variety of genres, but country would be my favorite. My kids love the pop/R&B type stuff that’s out there, and there’s a place for all of those. But if you listen to the radio for very long, you’ll find that many of the lyrics are not very uplifting. And believe it or not, that affects your day. Choose music and podcasts that will lift you up and allow your soul to find comfort and encouragement in knowing the Lord is with you.
3. Surround yourself with people who point you to Jesus… and will call you out when you are slipping.
My family and best friends are those who love me, listen to my heart, laugh with me, and just do life with me…but also hold me accountable to the life I want to live for Jesus. If I have stepped out from under the shelter of the Lord, it’s usually pretty noticeable. At bedtime last night, my kids began to ask, “Why are you so grouchy? Why are you fussing at us so much?” I had to take a step back, apologize and explain that I was just really tired and was sorry I took it out on them. It was a needed call back to the safety of the Lord’s shelter.
Have a time-out when you need it, y’all. Take the nap. Watch your favorite show. Do something that you enjoy for a brain break. But make sure that over all of that, you are covered in the shelter of the Lord’s presence. True rest for our souls can only come from Him.
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mom, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book “Bumper” and blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her through her children and everyday life. She contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has twenty years experience working with young children. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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