Is anyone else finally settling in to this slower pace of life? I know I am. Even if you’re still working, you don’t have all the extracurricular activities keeping you busy. Yoga pants and t-shirts have been my daily wardrobe. I’ve introduced more variety in our meals. There’s less rushing around to go here and there. Although I hate that this rest period has come due to the virus, it’s certainly been a refreshing time for our family. As a result, I’m not extremely interested in returning to business as usual. Much creativity has stirred up within me during this time. Can we maintain this slower pace forever without the virus? I know we must return to the grind at some point, but I’m hoping that all this rest and restoration has positioned us to go and love better than we ever have.
Being home more, I’ve had time to consider some much needed chores. There are pockets of clutter in every room of my house. Please tell me you have them, too! There are little spots on shelves where random electronics hang out. There’s the counter top next to the coffee pot where pens and broken toys await their turn to be fixed. We won’t even talk about the dining room table. It’s a full time job keeping my house clutter free, and I am more of a part time employee when it comes to cleaning. I’m self-employed actually, so I make my own hours. I do love a good, clean, organized home though. It’s just easier when someone else is keeping it all up.
Last week, my in-laws said they wanted to come over. We hadn’t had anyone over in weeks due to social distancing, but we’ve really missed them so we made plans for them to visit. They said they wanted to bring their lawn chairs and suggested that we all sit spread a part, yet together. There’s nothing like company coming to get your rear in gear for cleaning. Before they arrived, Josh and the kids got to work in the yard. Several areas had some overgrown vines that needed to be cut back. Underneath the deck was a nightmare of dead potted plants and trip hazards. They were hard at work hauling off broken yard toys and pressure washing the concrete as I was watching them through the window. I had just showered after a run, and I wasn’t about to go out there and get all sweaty again. Something inside me felt motivated to work on the inside of the house even though his parents weren’t coming inside. Seeing them hard at work encouraged me to want to work too.While I was organizing the kid’s books and tackling some of the cluttered corners, I got to thinking about how I’m much more likely to be productive when I’m being influenced by others who are being productive. It happens when I’m working out with someone else instead of by myself. When I see someone else rising to the challenge, I tend to push myself harder and I’m able to do more than I thought I could. Knowing they were outside working their rears off, I thought to myself, are you going to just sit around while they’re getting stuff done? I think this applies to the work of the kingdom, too. Do you ever feel inspired or encouraged when you hear about someone making a bold move for Christ? Reading books about missionaries going all in for Jesus sparks something in my heart that makes me want to go and change the world one person at a time. I need a constant flow of this encouragement and inspiration to stay focused.
While cleaning and organizing my house seems insignificant compared to the work we’re called to do as Jesus followers, my family working hard outside inspired me to tackle some piles that have been glaring at me for months. My precious family was spurring me on without even knowing it! How much more could we encourage one another by continuing to put our words into action? Like my house has constant demands requiring attention, our neighborhoods are filled with never-ending needs. My house is so much more pleasant when I’ve kept the clutter piles to a minimum. If we all got busy with the work the Lord has put on our hearts, our neighbors and communities would be less weighed down and burdened.
It can sound overwhelming. The reality is, I only cleaned a few rooms that day, but every single room has something that needs to be tackled. This is often how I feel about addressing all the needs around me in my community. When I start to feel the weight of it all, I remember that I can choose what to do with that burden. I can continue to let it weigh me down, keeping me inactive, or I can ask God for His strength and guidance. I can let that burden keep me paralyzed or I can let it move me to action. When we are moved to action and we don’t rely on our own strength to sustain us, others are watching and remember the burden on their heart doesn’t have to be carried alone. When we see others acting out of freedom, we realize we are free to act.The work of a Christian is unending and can seem impossible at times. It is impossible by ourselves, at least. We’re not meant to do it alone! We can’t provide on our own what it takes to help a community thrive. We need the constant flow of encouragement from others and a willingness to allow God to direct our hearts throughout the process. He really does care about the small things and wants to walk with us through it all. Who do you think might be waiting for you to get to work on that idea the Lord has placed on your heart? I know when you act, it will inspire me!
While I’m still struggling with the idea of interacting with others any time soon (because face masks and germs aren’t my jam), I’m reminded that we aren’t meant to stay in this season of rest forever. The Lord builds us up so He can send us out. My prayer has been that when this is over, we won’t be the same. I don’t want to be held back by fear, but I’m going to need your help. When I see you loving others like Jesus, it sets me free to do the same. I hope we can encourage each other.
Here’s a related message for you to enjoy:
Edited by: Tricia Callihan
Trail Photo cred: Josh Sanders
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