Friday, May 20, 2016

Are You Ready for the Summer?

New Smyrna Beach, FL

Rest & Relaxation

Ah, the beach. For me, there is no better place to relax and unwind after a busy school year. As a former school teacher (this was my last year...), I found much solace in sitting on the beach and listening to the waves last summer in New Smyrna Beach, FL. It was the best way to decompress. 

What about you? How do you prefer to rest? Do you even rest at all?

I tend to have many projects going at the same time. I'm crazy that way. I think I find busyness as a way of avoiding things...primarily completion. But I have improved upon that little hiccup in the system. I actually do complete novels, paintings, or blog posts. I know many people who never complete a project. They just go on to the next. 

He Makes Me Lie Down in Green Pastures

Lately, I have been working on a project that speaks to my heart. I am writing a women's Bible study based on Psalm 23. The part I focused on today is the concept of rest. In the first verse, David writes about the Lord our Shepherd.

"He makes me lie down..."

Curious isn’t it how David wrote that the Lord makes him lie down? Wouldn’t one want to lie down in green pastures?
Think about it. When was the last time you stopped and rested. I mean really rested? The good shepherd would stop his flock and make them lie down to rest.
I, myself, understand this idea perfectly because I usually am against resting.  I am very good at multi-tasking. Aren’t most women? It is hard for me to stop and take a break from anything. My brain is usually going one hundred miles an hour. 
As a runner, I almost feel guilty when I take a day off from running even though I know my body needs rest to recover. Rest is the best way to avoid injury.
So, I can easily understand why the Lord has to make us lie down in green pastures to rest.
That’s a sad reality, isn’t it? But we women tend to become so busy that we do forget the importance of resting.

"Pastures of tender grass..."

The phrase "green pastures" is translated as "pastures of tender grass.” You know the kind of grass: soft and cool to the touch. It reminds me of that rye grass we plant in winter here in Phoenix.
Imagine your bare feet on the soft cool tender grass shaded by a tree. Who wouldn’t want to lie down on that grass and rest? Contrast that to the dry harsh desert landscape: The coarse sand and rock burning in the sun. The Good Shepherd seeks out the green pastures for his sheep to enjoy. 

He seeks out the land for us to enjoy! 

Why would we not follow our Shepherd and find that rest? My challenge this summer is to make the time to rest. It will be a challenge, too. I want to finish three books and self-publish them this summer, start a drawing instruction YouTube channel, and also write and teach this Bible study. 

Oh and did I mention I am also looking for a full time job? Tired yet?

See what I mean about crazy busy? It can become overwhelming and the Shepherd must lead His sheep to the green pastures, stop them, and bend their legs to force them to lie down as a good and loving shepherd does. 

It's up to you and me to actually follow His lead. He knows best. Who are we to fight Him?

So, are you ready for the summer? Are you going to be so crazy busy with projects and plans that you will forget to stop and rest? Or will you truly heed the Master's call and spread your bare feet in the cool shady grass that He provides for you?

I hope you heed His call and find rest.

Enjoy your break!