God's Best Includes Rest

I looked at my planner one Summer morning this year and realized **once again** I had filled every single free moment each day with something. Monday was a meeting at school, Tuesday was a doctor's appointment, Wednesday through Friday were flights and meetings for work, Saturday was research day for my new book, and Sunday had simply been penciled in, "Writing Day."

(Now, because my book talks a lot about Jesus I totally convinced myself that writing on Sundays was an excuse not to take a Sabbath. :)

As I looked at those days, there didn't seem to be a single thing I could take off my schedule. "What's a busy working mom to do," I asked myself. Immediately I remembered my devotional from that morning that said, "Rest one day."

I don't know how you interact with God, but sometimes I get a little bit sassy when I feel convicted about something, so I said, "That's easy for you to say. You're God. What do you suggest I take off my calendar?"

Of course, I know God isn't going to order my calendar. He's given me the ability to do that on my own. The secret to resting one day is to say no before every square on the calendar is filled up. It's so hard for me, to be sure, and I imagine it's a challenge for you.

But if we want God's best, we have to make rest a priority. The scripture says, By the seventh day God finished the work he had been doing. It doesn't say he finished all the work he would ever do.

God's best includes rest. It really is that simple. On the seventh day, he rested from all his work. Do you take a sabbath, a day of rest? If not, what would it look like for you to really take a whole day off?

That's your challenge this week, taking time off because God's best always includes rest.



PS - In case you're wondering, I combined research and writing on Saturday and on Sunday, I rested.


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Reduce your mess, reduce your stress

I was looking in my pantry the other day, and I couldn't help but think two things: "Boy do I need to buy groceries, and WOW this pantry is chaos!" Believe it or not, the two thoughts are related. When my life is a disorganized mess, it causes me stress. For weeks, I avoided the mess and the stress of my pantry, but in the end, I just made things worse for myself and my family. (You can only make canned peas and instant mashed potatoes go so far!)

I used to be the kind of girl that didn't really appreciate order. I bragged about my "organized chaos" all the time. "It might be a mess," I'd say, "but it's my mess." Over time, though, I realized my mess was stressing me out.

As I was praying one day, I felt God say to me, "Alli, I am a God of order. I *placed* the stars in the sky. I didn't just toss them out there willy nilly. (God uses words like willy nilly with me.) I knit you together in your mother's womb, which means I had a plan for you. I numbered the hairs on your head (talk about details). There is beauty and peace and freedom in order. In chaos, there is only stress."

I thought about God's words to me for quite some time and wrote this down in my journal.

The beauty of order is that it leaves no room for chaos.

Friend, keeping order in our lives isn't meant to be a burden, it's meant to be a blessing. When I feel the stress in my life rising, I take a quick look around and say, "Alli, reduce your mess, reduce your stress." And then I thank God for reminding me of the beauty of order.

He placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light to the earth. Genesis 1:17


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The Miracle of Today

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep . . . And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. Genesis 1:1-5

I have often thought about the fact that God could have created the whole world in one day. But he didn't. Each single day of creation was a miracle. A miracle. 

I can easily picture him sitting on the back porch of heaven, sipping a sweet tea and just taking it all in. He wasn't rushing forward into the next day's miracle, or stressing out about what to create next. I doubt he had a "creation to-do list" with color-coded checkboxes. He simply enjoyed the accomplishment of the day; and he did it each and every day of creation. 

But we aren't God, and if you're like me (at all!), you probably don't take the time to enjoy the triumphs of today. Instead, you run headlong into the next stress-filled day, your to-do list in hand, ready to cram as much as humanly possible into every second of tomorrow.

Dear friend, today's triumphs are better than tomorrow's to-dos. Let's follow our Creator's example and revel in the miracle of today. 

"God thank you that you so lovingly showed us how to enjoy each and every day. Allow us to open our hearts and our minds to the joy that comes with living in the miracle of today.  Amen."

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