Rest, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Get Some Rest (And some Takeout)

Lately, when I wake up, before I even open my eyes, my mind forms the words, “Lord, send back-up. I’m pooped.”

He hasn’t.

I’m still waiting.

Today, I got a little aggravated. It isn’t every day that I openly acknowledge running out of steam. It isn’t every day that I cop to being too exhausted to run the world, or my itty-bitty portion of it. I rarely admit to being overwhelmed or unable. I know, silly me. But, since I did cop to it, I figured God would send in the troops. I imagined him proud and waving off his angels to aid me, saying, “Yes, go. She’s finally learned a new word: Help.”

Well, I did learn a new word. So where the heck is the help? Are the angels delayed as they were with Daniel? (Daniel 10:12) Fighting off the kings of Persia? Is Persia still a country?

I started looking around. Maybe I was missing something. You know, one of those cryptic things right in front of you that you never see or saw. There was nothing, and here I need someone to write garden notes, clean out the grill, dig out the old boards around the now-gone cherry tree so the stump grinder can get in there, detail my car, and go buy some groceries–or better yet–cook. It’s been weeks since I had an actual meal. Cereal and microwave popcorn only get you so far. And, I’m way past the 3 weeks Daniel had to wait.

Come on. One angel that can clean or garden or cook? It can be a runty angel. It doesn’t need to be the warrior angels, Gabriel or Michael. Although, let’s face it, they’re probably getting up there in years by now.

I needed insight into why no extra hands were being provided, so I did my daily Bible Study with the intention of getting to the bottom of it. I was in Mark, chapter 6, when I read verse 31.

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he [Jesus] said to them [his disciples], “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Jesus’ disciples were overworked, overwhelmed and likely way over all the people that came seeking Jesus. People who didn’t need a specimen tree in their new landscape, but a miracle for a sick and dying child. Loved ones pleading for loved ones, calling to Jesus for a healing touch. In the midst of that enormous need, Jesus pulled his disciples away to eat and rest.

It explained the missing troops. God wasn’t sending troops. He wanted me to pull away, rest and eat. So okay, but, I literally don’t know how to stop working.

There’s a reason for that. I’m not a workaholic. I have trust issues.

I work hourly. That translates to: If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. That’s a tough pill to swallow for a girl that used to have a benefits package, and a vacation didn’t equal less income. Makes for a sweeter vacay. But, I’m not generally a griper. I’m more of a pragmatist. My reasoning is simple. Since I don’t get paid to take time off, I don’t take time off.  Not even Sundays. My friend, Julia, said, “Sounds like a trust issue to me.”

What does does that even mean? Trust issue about what?

Okay, breaking down Mark 6:31 is easy. We can translate this one literally.

  • First, find a quiet place. My bedroom fits the bill.
  • Second, get away from the hoards needing something from you NOW. Turn the phone/IPad/computer off.
  • Third, maybe get some food, an actual meal. Take out!
  • Fourth, hang out with Jesus. He really can restore a weary soul.
  • Fifth, no work. Just rest. Seriously, do something creative or get some sleep.

But, what about the missing paycheck and the to-do list? What about those people who needed Jesus to give life to the dying, cure the lame, restore sight, and stop bleeding?  What about, what about, what about? Also, in Matthew 6:

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

These are Jesus’ words. He wants me to know that my heavenly father knows my needs, and he has the benefits package. And, there’s the trust thing. I want to trust him with my plan (extra troops and back-up or unlimited sick and vacation days (SAS anyone?)), not his plan (go to a quiet place, eat and rest in the midst of the chaos of life). But, since no troops have arrived, and Persia is now Iran, which could really hold up some angels, my options are to have a nervous breakdown, or get some rest, and trust God to provide.

I’m going for the rest.

Phones are off. Computer is going off. Chinese take-out boxes are on the nightstand. And, hopefully, clients needing it all done now are resting, too.

 

 

Apple Gentleness the fruit of surrender

God’s Will in Our Lives

Kindness begins toward God. It is that attitude of the spirit by which we accept God’s dealings with us as good and do not dispute or resist.

In Galatians 5:22, gentleness is listed as one of the 9 characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit. It is from the Greek word, prautes, and is defined in the NIV Key Word Study Bible as “meek…but not in a man’s outward behavior only, nor in his relations to his fellow men, or his mere disposition, but in an in wrought grace of the soul expressed primarily toward God.

How much of life is spent disputing God? Not that he is God, but his dealings with us?

The opposite of resisting is submitting, and who wants to do that? Whether in regard to other people–submitting to their needs first–or to God? Submission is complete surrender. It is letting go of your right to decide and putting your life into God’s hands. Many say, “If I knew God’s will for my life, I would submit to it.” The fact that we’e searching for God’s will is evidenced by the extraordinary number of Bible studies exploring this very topic. Walk into any Christian bookstore and some variant of “Discovering God’s Will for Your Life” is front and center.

Back up a minute. Submit to his will first and then know his will? That’s confusing. 

Before we begin seeking God’s will in our lives, we need to first submit to God’s will in our lives. If we don’t, we’re only playing games with ourselves and with God, because what we’re really saying is, you tell me what you will for my life is first, then I’ll you if I will submit (or resist).

The NIV commentary goes on to say, “Prautes is the acceptance of God’s dealings with us, considering them as good, considering that they enhance the closeness of our relationship with Him.” In other words, God is first seeking a relationship with us, one built on trust and submission, before we get down to any business of what His will is or is not.

Let’s be honest: when we say we’re looking for His will, generally we’re either looking for a way out or a way in. We want into, or out of—a marriage, a job, a ministry, a neighborhood, a house. It’s all about solving our immediate problems, but God’s Word says, “Seek me first and all this will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

There should come a time in every believer’s life when we finally understand that God is good and His dealings with us–even when we cannot understand them and they bring us to our knees sobbing–are good. Disputing this with Him assumes your thought processes are either like His or better than His, and your reasoning skills and understanding are like His.

Isaiah 55:9 clearly states that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than ours. Sometimes you will not understand why He allowed something to happen. You don’t need to understand to submit. You only need to trust.

Trust is a big scary word, especially when it means releasing control. We are fallible, fearful human beings, and we don’t trust easily. The Lord knows that. Our lives are precious and deserving of our best in living them out. Let’s not cast our pearls before swine, instead be cautious in a world where there are so many ways to spend a life. In seeking the Lord and relating to Him and letting Him relate to us through His Word, we begin to trust Him enough to submit to Him. It’s a process. It’s a relationship.

As he designs our circumstances to give us an opportunity to trust him–to show us He is faithful–do we resist him because it is too hard? Too scary? Do we dispute Him? Or do we draw near and submit?

Let us yearn to be like Peter, saying, “Lord, to whom else shall we go?” (John 6:68)

People, to whom else shall we go?

We look for peace, we ask for joy, we desire understanding, and we yearn for purpose. We believe all these things are wrapped up in some mystery called God’s will for our lives. We believe that if we could unravel it, our lives would be good, not understanding that the mystery is in God alone. We find joy, peace, purpose and understanding not in jobs to be done or questions answered, but in the “attitude of spirit by which we accept God’s dealings with us as good and do not dispute or resist.” We will find it in complete surrender and gentle submission to our Lord.

Kindly,
Cinthia

I Was Lazarus Tonight (and for once I had nothing to say)

Tonight I went to a Bible Study where I played Lazarus. It is a Bible Study that bases it premise on the fact that 95% of communication is non-verbal, and is played out through the roles, positions and places we all assume within the circles that form our daily lives. Of course, playing a dead guy was an easy role. I got to lie on a pillow on the floor with my eyes closed, while those who played Mary and Martha or Thomas had to act out their parts.

Only acting is not the right word. This isn’t acting but literally stepping into someone else’s life and attempting to feel what they may have felt. It is a flannel board with real people. Everyone is participating in telling the story that is read out of Scripture. It is quite interesting, and I found that for the first time, I had no questions.

What I mean is, I always have questions. I’ll explain.

Lazarus has always appealed to me because well, what was it like to be dead? He is the only person who ever lived who could answer that question because this guy was dead-as-a-doornail type of dead. This was dead for four days dead. This was buried and in the tomb dead. None of this near-death experience. The man was D.E.A.D. dead. Then he was completely alive. So, yeah. I have got some questions for this guy. So, I figured, when it came my time to “talk” for Lazarus, I’d have a lot to say.

I did not.

What I came away with was pretty simple. Jesus is life. Remember Ponce de Leon looking for the fountain of youth (and we think we’re stuck on youth)? Well, it is sort of like that. Everyone is always looking for life, real life, real I FEEL ALIVE life. I think Lazarus felt more alive than he’d ever felt after they unraveled the grave clothes off him. I think food tasted awesome. Sleep must have been so sweet. Grass was way greener. The sky bluer. Life got very big and very real and he stopped being a robot while living it because he was DEAD, and now he was ALIVE. I mean, geez louise, that is big stuff.

I’ve heard it said that it is easier for God to raise the physically dead than the spiritually dead because of our pride, our sin and our desire to be God ourselves. We’d rather raise ourselves, thank you. But Lazarus could not will himself out of that tomb. He could not unwrap the grave clothes. He couldn’t wash the stink of four days of dead off himself. He could only lay there in death and wait. Wait for the words, “Lazarus, come out of the tomb,” spoken by Jesus. Jesus speaks life because he is the source of all life. He created it, gives it, takes it away, gives it back.

I am often asked why Jesus the only “Way”. Why can’t there be lots of ways? Because there is only one source of life, and it is him. Who else calls dead people out of tombs? Who else, after three days in a tomb himself, unwraps his own grave clothes, and walks out of his own tomb?  Once dead now totally alive. And, he needed no one to stand outside his tomb and command him to walk out. Why? Because he is life and he laid his life down for us. Then when the time came, he picked it back up again. Because he is God. Because he is life.