Thursday, April 14, 2016

Unforced Rhythms of Grace

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. ”Matthew 11:28-30  (MSG)
What causes us to fret?  Could it be that sometimes our own anxieties or troubles are brought on upon ourselves? 
Have you ever opened your eyes in the morning and the first thing on your mind is the day’s to-do list?  Now, shouldn’t it be Jesus?  Instead of waking up and saying “thank you Lord” for a new day, sometimes our thoughts are more like, “uhhh look at all I have to do today”.  If that’s not bad enough our great invention of trepidation beeps with just one more thing for us to do!  It really is a “cell” phone; a prison at times.
Jesus said, ” Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your soul”.
This Scripture is so often quoted but how many of us are actually at ‘rest’ today?  Jesus’ words draw me; meek and lowly.  In other words, quiet, gentle, yielding, submissive, not wanting to fight or argue.  A place of rest and harmony;  Jesus is Peace!
I think when we have too much on our “daily plate” we become grouchy and resistant to “rest”.   It’s as if I am in a race, but with who?  Sometimes we are racing the world and all its imposed deadlines to earn a prize of recognition. Who are we trying to impress?  I like the MSG translation that reads, “learn the unforced rhythms of grace”. 
Who are we trying to impress?  What are we trying to win?  What unrealistic goals are we trying to notch off the list? 
We often wrestle with the “rat race” of the world and wonder why we are tired and worn out.  “Hey world, I am not a rat and I will not run on the wheel!” Unfortunately, sometime the Lord has to push me off!
The “rat race” in my definition is not just an endless financial pursuit but anything that is consuming us to spend all our resources to a fruitless end.   
Did you know that there is a “stress awareness month”?  Yep, it’s April.  Great, one more reminder on my cell phone! 
Ok, back to what Jesus said.  Today when I read the words “meek and lowly in heart” I once again realized that Jesus is not trying to impress anyone.  When we operate like the world, naturally we have to “prove something”.  We have to let the world know who we are.  But, the truth is Jesus already knows who we are.  We are weak, at times frustrated; we operate in pride and put ourselves into unrealistic schedules and races.  We are the adopted sons and daughters of God! Let's REST in that!
He is calling us to rest; to breathe and enjoy the earth and relationships he has given us.  Pride chants, “do it” and “reach it”, “push yourself”.  Humility says, rest and ask for help.  The children of God are to work together in His Kingdom
So, take a mirror; better yet, turn on your cell phone’s camera :)  and invert the image.  Yep, your personal mirror. 
Remind yourself,” I am a child of God. I do not have to prove anything to this world.  I can operate to the “unforced rhythms of grace”.  Thank you Jesus for reminding me again and pushing me off the “wheel”!
I love the painting above by Andrew Wyeth.  I saw this many, many years ago.  Such tranquility in this humble setting.  REST my friends, REST.
God bless you!~Liz


 Acts 9:32-34 As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas,...