What if we did…less?

Howdy, friends…

Just a few thoughts to share with you on this lovely Spring day. Many are crazy busy this time of year. School functions seem to accelerate. Tax season descends upon us. And the change of weather inspires a bevy of activity…we re-arrange closets, de-clutter cupboards, throw out old or unused items, and attempt to clean and organize the garage. All while continuing to manage our family responsibilities, work commitments, and church life. Day in and day out, we run ourselves ragged trying to keep our heads above water. We long for a simpler life with more time and space to enjoy the things and relationships we work so hard to maintain, but somehow we struggle to obtain it.

What if? What if in all this exertion, we decided to stop…to pause…to breathe?

“What if instead of doing more, we did less?”

This was the scandalous notion I submitted in a room full of corporate leaders recently at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee. I had been asked to speak at the Prayer Breakfast for the propane industry’s largest gathering of its kind…the 2016 NPGA Southeastern Convention and International Propane EXPO. They wanted someone who could both deliver an inspirational message and sing a couple of songs as it was their first time to assemble in world famous Music City USA. Not wanting to disappoint, I chose to wear my snazziest jeans, cowboy boots, and something with fringe on it. The faux suede vest I bought from Stein Mart. Gotta represent. IMG_84671-1

As you can imagine, I was excited at the opportunity and approached it prayerfully. I know how these conventions go. I’ve attended the equivalent in my own industry. It’s all about networking, expansion, increased productivity, advanced technology, and spreading your message to the masses. Essentially…bigger, better, faster, more.

Ironically, I felt led to counter this emphasis by challenging them in the area of rest. And this only because I myself had to learn it the hard way (READ: My Burn-Out Blog). I suspected that many of them, particularly at the end of an uber-packed week, were likely running on fumes (don’t miss the industry humor). I shared from my own experience and read several scriptures to reinforce my point. We looked at what is perhaps one of the most ignored Commandments of all Ten. The Fourth. To remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. To honor and observe what has been referred to as the capstone of creation, the Seventh day.

Word nerd that I am, I utilized my Webster’s dictionary app to discover several synonyms for “capstone” and rattled them off in list format: the crowning achievement, the climax, the pinnacle, the summit, the zenith, which is the strongest or most successful period of time. Then, I posed another question…

“What if the Sabbath day was as important, if not more important than all the other days preceding it?”

I quoted Priscilla Shirer who said, “Overwork is a form of unbelief.” I confessed how convicted I felt when I first heard that statement. Does my striving indicate an innate sense or underlying belief that I don’t really believe God is going to take care of me? Could I risk a weekly day of rest without fear of falling behind or appearing lazy or selfish?

Richard Swenson, in his book Margin/the Overload Syndrome, wrote, “God does not have to depend on human exhaustion to get His work done. God is not so desperate for resources to accomplish His purposes that we have to abandon the raising of our children in order to accommodate Him. God is not so despairing of where to turn next that He has to ask us to go without sleep five nights in a row. Chronic overloading is not a spiritual prerequisite for authentic Christianity. Quite the contrary, overloading is often what we do when we forget who God is.”

20160412_120654The day after the event, I decided to remember.

I lit a candle in my living room, pulled out my box of crayons, and set about to do some coloring. I’ll not likely win the award for Most Artistic or Best Color Choice, but I thoroughly enjoyed filling in this “HOPE” illlustration declaring what has become one of my favorite verses of late…”We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” (Hebrews 4:19).

Frivolous? Maybe. Necessary? Yes.

Fun? With no less than sixty-four fabulous colors to choose from? Absolutely!

In closing, I’ll leave you with two poignant questions presented by a Presbyterian pastor by the name of Jack Miller. I had listened to probably a dozen or more of his teachings and this always seemed to bring it right on home…

What have you ever stopped doing because you love Jesus?
What have you ever started doing because you love Jesus?

Mmm.

I invite you to watch, listen, and ponder…

https://youtu.be/GG_Dtezl1ws

Jesus said to His disciples in Mark 6:31, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Will you accept His invitation?

Grace and peace…

Cheri

14 comments to What if we did…less?

  • Dr. Jim Crowder

    Cheri,

    Great discussion and reminder to… “be still and know that I am God.” We need to just stop sometimes and renew our spirits – being quiet and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to us. I find that when I do, I am refreshed and ready to move out again and be productive. Also – occasionally in these times the Spirit inspires be to write psalms. I will share a couple of them with you.

    Your Friend,
    Dr. Jim
    _________________________________
    Psalm of Spiritual Revival

    Revive Your Spirit in us…
    For we’ve been building walls so long
    It’s become hard for Your Spirit to touch us.
    We become trapped in a strong fortress
    All the time we are longing to be set free.

    Revive Your Spirit in us…
    Walk down the avenues of all our life
    Take your place, Spirit, in the throne of our hearts.
    Tear down the strongholds of unrighteousness
    Bring us an awakening of Spirit-filled lives.

    Break these hearts, Holy Spirit…
    Show us again what it means to be alive,
    Help us to learn to truly know you.
    Set our captive hearts free to embrace you,
    Lord I ask you… break these hearts.

    Open our chains, Spirit of eternity…
    Make our lives a living sacrifice,
    Make our souls vulnerable to Your Spirit
    Use us as vessels of your love
    Live again in every part of us.

    Open our minds, Spirit of wisdom…
    The pain of the past will no long master us,
    All have been covered by the blood of the Lamb,
    You tear down our walls and open us to healing,
    And allow us to be people of compassion, once again.

    Psalm of Praise

    We give You praise, oh Lord;
    It gives life to our body,
    And is the purest form of love
    We will ever know.

    We give glory to Christ Jesus;
    And unto God the Father,
    For Your Spirit dwells in us,
    Bringing us to you.

    You alone are worthy;
    Worthy of glory and honor,
    For we are but Your servants,
    Yet Your children forever.

    We lift Your praises up;
    We show ourselves as Yours,
    We lift our hands and join our hearts,
    Forever to Your praise.

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    Thanks for sharing, Dr. Jim. How good and right it is to praise Him, particularly when it comes as a sacrifice. Continue in Him…Cheri

    [Reply]

  • Ouch! That stung! Thank you so much for this.
    Mia

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    Hopefully the good kind of Holy Spirit prick that makes us more tender toward the Lord’s will! Bless you, Mia!

    [Reply]

  • Thanks, This so difficult to do. I get it truly is an act of faith to take a real Sabbath.

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    Indeed, David. Grace and peace to you.

    [Reply]

  • Chris Wallace

    Wow you’re just hitting me left and right aren’t you lady? Hurts so good. Great companion to my reading of “The Grace Walk”. Thanks again #

    Chris

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    Ha! I believe it’s a Holy Spirit punch, brother! Continue in Christ…

    [Reply]

  • Karen J Dewhirst

    Cheri- You just can’t imagine how I needed to hear this! This has been a problem for me my whole life. Reminders like this are so helpful! Thank you, my friend! Love you! (I’ve kind of become fixed on that Heb. 6:19 vs. as well 🙂

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    Glad to help you remember, sweet Karen (even as I’m reminding myself!). Everywhere I go, I keep spotting anchors…

    [Reply]

  • Wow…this is a GREAT word for everyone of us! Thank you for sharing it in such a powerful way! It’s funny how the Holy Spirit has led me to read your blog today after going through this very thing yesterday! This was great reinforcement from Him! Thank you Cheri!

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    Love it when He does that. Happy Sabbath, Randy!

    [Reply]

  • Nancy

    Thanks for the rminder, Cheri! As a serial multi-tasker, I too often get caught up in the doing, and forget about ‘being’….

    [Reply]

    Cheri Reply:

    Yep. Me, too! Funny we are called human beings:)

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  

  

  

*

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.