Saturday, November 25, 2017

To Do List: Stop

It's a holiday weekend. And I'll be honest, I'm exhausted. My guess is I'm not the only one.

We know from Mark 2:27 that Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." And as I've said before, for the girl who never wanted to stop and just kept going, it's nothing short of a miracle that I now love Sunday's. It used to be that I'd feel guilty for continuing to keep working. Then I eventually reached a point where I'd stop working but obsess about the things I saw that needed done. Now I crave it. That's mind blowing to me. But also proof that God is the one that changes our heart, over time, when we are ready. His timing is always perfect.

All that said, since the end of October, I have been reading the Gospels. Y'all they are incredible. The plan said to read Matthew, Mark, and Luke 1 on day one, continue through until Mark dropped off on day 16 and then pick up with John 1 on day 17. On that first day I read Matthew and Mark but once I got to Luke 1, the first 4 verses had me backtrack and decide to go through them independently, 3 chapters a day. I finished today. (Some days I read 4 because I wasn't going to leave Mark 16 all by itself, just addded it to Mark 13-15. And yesterday, I got so caught up in it, I read four chapters of John by accident.)

First, what made me backtrack was what Luke says in verses 3-4.  I decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. Those words screamed right at me. Like loud. Why? Because I have always looked at my Bible as my favorite acronym: Baisc Instructions Before Leaving Earth. These two verses said this......this gospel is the biography of Jesus. I'm going to tell you everything I know to be true. This is the story of the life of Jesus.

Okay, in many ways I knew that but it never clicked like it did that day. And so I went back and saw it as if it were one of my kids sitting down with their grandkids telling them all about my life. The things I did and said. Totally changed everything.

Now, to be fully honest, for as much as I've read my Bible, I had never, at any point, sat down and read the Gospels. Have I read every verse over time? Most likely at one point or another. But this was consistent, back to back, chapter after chapter, and it was amazing. I mean truly amazing.

And at the end of it, as good as it has been, I have to admit, I am exhausted. My brain, my heart, my emotions are all over the place. I have seen things from an entirely new perspective. I have taken notes, written down some questions, and been challenged in ways I didn't know I needed to be challenged. I am so thankful for what my morning quiet time has been and can not encourage you enough to do this for yourself.

The point of all this is that sometimes, we can be exhausted before the Sabbath and need to stop. For as many times as I have heard or read about the woman at the well, the focus has always been on her. Why she was there in the middle of the day, the way she deflected questions, what she really needed and what Jesus could give her. But before the exchange even happens there is something so startling and comforting.

John 4:4-6 says: Now He had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as He was from the journey, sat down by the well.

Jesus was tired and He sat down by the well.

Ya know, sometimes we just need to accept that we are tired, and even if it's not the Sabbath or our rest day, we need to just sit down by the well. The exhaustion might be physical, it might be mental or emotional, or it might be all three. But if Jesus can sit down when He's tired, so can we.

And just like the woman who went to the well to get her physical water, we can choose to sit by the well and just drink spiritual water. We can let all that living water in us well up to the spring we know it is, and just let it refresh us and satisfy our thirst. We can just be still and quiet and let God remind us through His Spirit of everything He has taught us. No effort required. No energy exerted. Just let Him love us.

If like me you are feeling a bit stretched from a month of remembering to do a million little things, feeling like you were put on The Machine from The Princess Bride, and were brave enough to endure crowds, perhaps it really is okay to just stop. As much as we think the world will stop turning if we stop moving, it won't. And maybe, just maybe, if we stop long enough to let Jesus care for us, we'll come back stronger from following His example.

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