Whoever invented micro fiber furniture, boasting its stain resistance, obviously didn’t do any thorough research with a family of small children. Let’s just say, our rocking recliner is now more of a magnet for messes than it is a repellent of them. But to be fair, we’ve probably allowed far too many snacks to be eaten in it, so I digress. While I often cringe when I think of all I’ve cleaned off of this recliner, including multiple types of bodily excretions, this worn out, stain ridden chair has some lessons for me.
This past week, my youngest came down with a tummy bug. She’s already a bit on the needy/snuggly side as it is, so when she’s sick, all she wants is to be in our arms. And when she looks to me with the droopy eyes of fever, asking me to hold her, of course I swoop her up. I’m happy to report that she’s feeling all better now, but my lower back is still feeling all the holding of the past few days. And that’s where the stained recliner comes in. As I was sitting there, rocking my sweet girl, trying to take the edge off her misery with my love, I couldn’t help but look around at all the messes that were not being tidied, going down the mental check list of all the tasks that needed doing that I just couldn’t do. And then the whisper came, that this chair, this rocking, this girl is the best task I can be accomplishing in any given day. Certainly, there is a time and place for cleaning and creating a place of peace for our families, working together on those tasks. But sometimes the greatest way we can create peace for the souls we love in our homes is to just sit still. When Autumn was sick, when she needed me to just sit and comfort and stroke her forehead, something I do in snipets all the time, it made me think about how much my kids would love it if I did this more. And this compulsion to keep working and doing and accomplishing, I’m learning something about my heart in it. I think, if I’m really honest, I’m often doing those things to impress others, not with the simple motive of blessing my family. Thoughts riddled with insecurity, equating my worth with the job I’m doing as the cleaner/organizer of our home, creep into my mind throughout the day. But what if molding and filling hearts is more important than laundry and crumbs and papers in disarray? What if cleanliness is really not next to Godliness as the saying goes? I think my times of just sitting with my children, who long for those special times with me, reminds me that seasons are short, and children are little only for awhile. But how do we really live for an audience of one? How do we stop, in self-focus, always worrying about what others think of us?
I don’t doubt that we will always struggle with this in a world that likes to keep us busy, that tells us that moving and doing is the only work worth doing. But we find some great encouragement straight from God in His Word that fights the world’s prescription. Let us not forget that when we are still, to just be with and focus on the ones we love, we are following the example of our God, who longs for us to crawl up in His lap, to hear His Words, and to just be. I’ll leave you with these verses that encourage my heart to enjoy moments of Sabbath in my days.
Luke 10:38-42 “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
This passage always reminds me that none of the other work I have on my to do list is as important as sitting at Jesus’s feet.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
This verse reminds me that just as Jesus is my place of rest, I need to be a place of rest for my children, not the busy, frantic, “just a minute” mom that I can be.
Psalm 46:10 “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
This verse reminds me to rest in God’s sovereignty. Could it be that my stillness bring Him more glory than my busyness?
Matthew 22:36-40 “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
And this passage, one we’ve all heard many times, is a good reminder of God’s priority for our time. Giving Him the best of ourselves, and giving our best to others (children/family/friends).
None of these passages us tell us to be lazy, but rather to rest with purpose. There are many scriptures that warn against laziness, working is good, don't get me wrong. I think where we often get it wrong is when we see times of rest and being still as a hindrance to what we see as more important, the doing we have idolized. Rest serves as a recharging for the work God has given us, it's needed fuel we often neglect.
Meditate with me on these verses today as we ask God how He might be leading us to slow down for the sake of what’s most important.