Monday, May 14, 2012

what if it's not the end of the world? and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

It's time to pull up your chair.  Do you know you have one here in this space we call Soli Deo Gloria?  You do.  It's reserved every week only for you.  This place would be different if you weren't here and we miss you when you are gone.  This is a place filled with women who seek to honor your words, you heart, your tears, and your laughter.  Scooch in close.  You won't want to miss a word.

To read more about the Soli Deo Gloria community, please click here.
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Finding Heaven

My best friend and I share a birthday month and this year, we shared a birthday PRESENT from her mom -- a night's stay at a really nice hotel, complete with dinner out and room service breakfast (my first time for room service!).

I found the relaxation groove by the pool with  my May edition of Real Simple Magazine.  I don't know if any of you read Real Simple, but when I finally get the chance to crack the cover, it is a MOMENT.  There can be no kids around, nothing to rush off to.  Still and silent when I open this cover and begin to peruse the pretty advertisements and articles.  Oh, yes.

Everything was glorious.  It was rest and no responsibility.  
After breakfast I headed back to the pool and read my book, chatted with Jenny, and found myself drifting off in thought.  True to form, about thirty minutes before it was time to leave and head back into the real world, panic started to well up in my belly.  I thought of things I needed to do at home, for the retreat, for Soli Deo Gloria, Abby's eighth birthday party.  In only a few minutes, the whole 24 hours of relaxation had been undone.

But God interrupts this period of self-destruction with a simple question:

What if it's not the end of the world, Jen, if something gets left undone or put off for just a little while?

What if it's not the end of the world?  I think to myself, over and over again.

Of course, it's never the end of the world if everything is not put away as soon as I get home.  It's not the end of the world if the grocery shopping doesn't happen today.  It's not the end of the world if I don't have this piece written or if the carpets aren't vacuumed.  It's not the end of the world if my computer sits upon a dining room table that is dusty.  It's not the end of the world if the phone call doesn't get returned or if the email goes a day without being answered.

It's a perspective shift that brings the restoration of the weekend flooding back.  It gives me permission to continue on with a slower pace, even when I take on my responsibilities again.  The air floods into my lungs and I realize that those burdens and bags that I left at the entrance of the hotel don't have to become attached to my back again.  They can simply rest in my hands.  When they are in front of me, I can see how God is working with me to accomplish this or that.  When they rest in my hands, things can be given and taken away freely.  They don't have to be unstrapped or untangled or unstacked, as they would be if I have them hefted onto my back.

I realize the release of unhealthy pride as I reposition my responsibilities.  Somewhere along the way, I have put a whole lot of stock in what I do and when I do it.  Maybe my timing is not so important after all.  Perhaps my agenda continually steals the restoration out of the rest.

I compare what I looked like walking into the hotel -- dingy, dirty, sweaty -- to how I have emerged:  clean, bright-eyed, filled.  If God had not intervened in that moment of the last thirty minutes by the pool, if I had re-strapped everything on as I walked out the doors, I would have wasted the intentions that God had for me.  The polish He had given me would have tarnished before I had even gotten to my car.

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  1. Time away is so important. Glad you got to "unplug" and recharge a bit.

  2. never thought of it as a pride thing when i get bent out of shape over MY timing....

  3. I have to purpose everyday to live in the present... and slow down. I have learned more and more to let go of the urgent for the sake of the important.. and usually the urgent is a "thing" in my life and the important are the "people" in my life.

    I love your honestly in sharing your struggle and how you rest in His grace... He is never in a hurry, is He?

    Love this..

  4. Those pesky transitions ... it always helps me to think them through. Glad you got those moments to rest and those moments to transition.

  5. Ooh, I need this, Jen. It's not the end of the world...that's a perspective shift to give me permission to trust GOD instead of trying to keep all the balls in the air by myself.

  6. I know, for me, that Satan uses my agenda to keep me from just enjoying Him! It is a constant struggle to clear my my mind of all I think i have to do.

  7. I always feel that way at the end of a vacation. Rest is a challenge to have and seemingly impossible to hold onto. Doing always seems to trump being. The real work of life is finding the right perspective on what really matters in the Bigger Story. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Rest is a struggle for me. I think 24 hours of nothing would do me good :)

  9. I am familiar with this feeling...the one that dreads returning to the real world of responsibility. I wonder if its ever possible to come home rested? I think the key is to live in His rest whether on vacation or not. I am working on resting... :}

  10. Your message reminds me of a message I took away from the hobbit - that after every great challenge, God provides a period of spiritual, emotional and physical refreshing. Kind of like you experienced on your trip - before we head back into the challenge of the journey.

    I'm glad you didn't put the backpack that wasn't yours to carry on your back!

  11. So True Jen, I often get caught up on things that are not the end of the world. thanks for this encouraging post :)

  12. you speak true words to another heart that is so quick to jump on that bandwagon right with you! we could form the "end of the world" club. . . and i bet we'd have a pretty good membership! "Perhaps my agenda continually steals the restoration out of the rest." yes. and that is what i will take away and ponder. my agenda. and the need to constantly give it back over to Him.
    thanks so much for sharing this. and what a blessing to have that time away with your friend!

  13. I used to be so stressed out, but now I take breaks from my schedule, even at work. we need breathing space! It's not worth it! Patsy from

  14. Beautifully said, as always. I love the image of us regaining our luster, our glowing and refreshed inner selves shining through to the outside, only to be stripped by our worry and hurry, if we allow it to happen.

    Being mindful. Intentionally resting. Letting go and allow him to lead. A wonderful message to start this day!

  15. Somewhere I picked up this tactic when worry sets in, just ask what would happen if...(answer), then what? (answer), then what?...(answer) and keep asking that until you get to the worst case scenario and you realize that a. the worst is really not that bad, or b. it'll never be as bad as you fear. It sort of dis-empowers the worry.

    Oh, girl, I understand. You have a lot on your plate! I'm so jealous that you got a way for 24 hours with a friend. What a gift!

  16. Love this post. It is so true how what we think are priorities become things that control us and take away our rest. As a Martha, I let this happen way to much and wonder why I'm wound so tight and ready to burst. I'm so happy you were able to get a day of rest. I'm looking forward to my week of rest in two weeks for my birthday.

    PS: I totally get the Real Simple quietness.

  17. Jen - I like the image you presented of moving the burdens, the responsibilities, the "to do's" from my back to my open hands. That is incredibly helpful to me today. Thank you, friend :)

  18. so glad you had this little get away...all shiny now:)...blessings to you~

  19. You know I'm with you. I had a good conversation with another mommy friend at church last Sunday. We talked about how both of us have been on a journey of learning to move at a slower pace. She said, "I realized that I can do one - just ONE - extra thing each day, in addition to the meals, laundry, house cleaning, husband-loving, kid-loving, kid-dressing, everyday duties of my life as a Mom." That has been rolling around in my head. What would my life look like if I shifted my expectations to only achieve ONE extra thing each day? I think there would be a lot less condemnation, don't you?

  20. Just what I needed to read - as I am working on landscaping & cleaning & prepping for a friends WEDDING that will be at our house in exactly one week. ACK!!!
    We had snow the past two weekends, so the deck did NOT get re-stained. But y'know what? It's not the end of the world!!!
    (thanks for that, Jen!)

  21. I've struggled with anxiety and guilt, if I didn't keep up with what needed to get done. But, then I was realizing how tired and grouchy I'd get if it didn't or if I wore myself down getting things done. It's not worth it! Not only am I less grouchy, but my family is happier, too. Thanks for sharing this!

    In His Lo♥e, Ann

  22. Thanks, Jen, for the reminder that it's OK to just rest once in a while! God's in control all the time.
    God bless,

  23. I tend to fret is things go undone, but I am still learning. Thank you for allowing me a space to share here.

  24. Hmm, I had never thought of my need to get things done in just the right way at just the right time as a pride issue, but you just made me realize it definitely is. My toes hurt now, thankyouverymuch! ;)

  25. Oh my gosh, I'm so bad at birthdays, but happy, happy day, my wonderful friend. I so wish I was there hanging in a lounge chair with you. Only not with REAL SIMPLE, I'd be reading something trashy like US Weekly or People.

    I know that uneasy feeling of returning to real life. I used to get it every week "Sunday-itis". I would honestly let it ruin my entire Sunday because I would start thinking about the week. Good take on this and um pride, not that I have any or anything. I just talking about your readers. Ha!

  26. Happy Birthday! What a fabulous present. So glad God got your attention there at the end.

  27. "It gives me permission to continue on with a slower pace, even when I take on my responsibilities again." I love this line! Yes! I love it when I can take the rest with me. And Happy Birthday, what a memorable occasion for you.

  28. I know I am very, very late but I finally got my post up and want to sort of "link up" now here in my note. I am feeling up and able to go visit my small group too.
    I love you all, ~ linda @ Being Woven


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