“As he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves—but Jesus kept sleeping. So the disciples came and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to die!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!” – Matthew 8:23-27, CSB
This world is a vast ocean and your life is but one of countless boats on it. Currently, it’s rough seas—you’re either below deck trying to hide or ride it out, or you’re up trying to steer and control everything while rain stabs your face and ferocious waves toss you from left to right. There are so many storms in life… and they all feel different yet the same.
2017 was a rough year for me. I looked at Philip and said, “I am so ready to close the 2017 chapter of my life.” I think we both were. And so far, 2018 is starting out a little bit rocky. I’ve spent this last week really focusing on God and his #1 best seller. But before this week even began, He gave me two strong commands for this year, and they have become my 2018 One Little Word (even though they are really 3).
Rest + Be Present
Last year, I really didn’t rest. Yes, part of it had to do with having 3 kiddos under the age of 5. But a lot of it was on me. I ran myself into the ground too many times. I also wasn’t as present as I wanted to be.
You see, I fell into blaming the environment around me—the winds, rain, lightning, waves… Some seasons of my life, I hid in fear. Some, I tried to ride the storm out while ignoring everything else going on around me. Other times, I tried to take control and steer for myself, taking the windy punches while putting on a fake smile in front of everyone. But all along, I just needed to do what Jesus did. He kept sleeping.
In the midst of a natural disaster where Jesus’ homeboys thought they were on the verge of losing their lives and minds, Jesus was getting some supernatural rest. He knew that they had just come out of working hard and that more was to come. He knew that this storm would pass just as they always do and that there would be more on the horizon. He knew. And He also knew that if He didn’t rest, He wouldn’t be physically or mentally able to continue His ministry. Jesus IS THE perfect example when it comes to taking moment-after-moment to rest and pray as you give and make, climb and grind, serve and sow. He would withdraw and take time for Himself after, before, and even during any of His work. And yes, He would even snooze on a boat that seemed like it was going to capsize.
How many times do we get so focused on what is happening to us that we fail to rest? That we just pump in the caffeine and do one more thing for someone else, work just a few more extra hours—giving away all the small and big moments that we could have rested. There will be violent storms in life, it’s for sure, but we only get one life.
And rest…rest is pertinent to being PRESENT.
Before Jesus could be present with His crew, He needed that shuteye. With the physical and mental recharge, He was then able to come up and have FAITH to calm the storm around them. He was present when the time was right. With rest, He could be present more with His family.
I want to be present more with my husband and children. And when I do get a chance to spend time with friends, I want to be present with them as well. I can’t if I am not rested. I find myself with a glazed-over look, absent-minded, falling asleep while trying to listen to a story, or flat out grumpy. I don’t want to be that person anymore. When I am with people, I want them to feel like they’re the center of my attention. I want them to feel heard, uplifted, and walk away more peaceful and joyful then when they arrived. And with my family, I know that when I am rested, I can be more present to color with Emmy, chase Elly with a dinosaur, or push Enzo on a swing. When I am rested, I can give Philip my undivided attention and unequivocal love. When I am rested, I can create more for my beloved Creator.
This year, I am placing the mark of REST + Being Present on it. If I say no to you, that’s why. If I choose to work less, that’s why. If I choose to skip an event or party, that’s why. If I don’t post on social media, that’s why. It’s not a copout or excuse. In fact, if you know me, you know I give 200% to everything I do. All while God is only asking for 100%.
I deeply desire to be ever-so-present in this life. And you know what I’ve realized, you can’t spell PRESENT without REST.