My wife, Jessica, recently wrote a blog about the importance of slowing down and getting rest. It meant a lot to me and so I thought I would share it with you. If you’re interested in reading more of her blogs, visit www.mycoatofmanycolors.com.  – Danny

The Stoplight: Friend or Foe

It is to my husband that I owe this entry–for noticing and pointing out a blessing in disguise:  the stoplight.

As is known by this point, the word “rest” is foreign to my vocabulary unless it is being used to tell Big Boy and Little Man to let their argument lie fallow.  Inasmuch as I refuse to let my body rest (after all, a body at rest tends to stay at rest, right?), my brain is far worse off.  Not only will it not rest, it seems to fight the idea of rest like a bull fights the rider off its back.  Akin to a dog determined to get that blasted tail at any cost, my brain spins and twirls with utter abandon.

Though it can spew out many a beautiful thought, most often, I just wish it would STOP.  That my brain–not my body–would REST!  It’s wearing me out!  I’m going to go ahead and say my over-active mind is the result of mommy-hood:  trying to come up with fun things for the Peanuts to do, making sure they know Jesus loves them, keeping them safe, protecting them from the world, protecting them from themselves, worrying about them, praying for them, guiding their steps, teaching them their ABC’s, and keeping track of all the errant shoes.

That would be a viable excuse for crazy brain, right?

If I stick with mommy-brain as an excuse, then I don’t have to admit that I’m worried about what other people think, if I ate enough vegetables today, if I put that note in Little Man’s backpack, that strange-looking mole, another flight, or if I’ll be forgotten.  Right?  Mommy-brain will do, won’t it? We will go with that.

So, in the midst of this brain-crazed life I lead, I am grateful that God gave me one special gift:  to see Him, to see life, in the small things. By some miracle, I am able to actually stop and smell the roses.  To notice Angel Baby’s smile.  To hear the cardinal’s happy song and light with the color of his wing.  to breathe in the salt-laced breath of the Gulf as it washes ashore and to let it fill me. To have the world come to a mental standstill.

God gives me–gives us–these gifts every day, and I am so grateful to have them.  Ann Voskamp, in her book “1000 Gifts”, displays the amazing ability to recognize these moments by creating a list of 1000 things she sees for which she is thankful.  She takes the time to revel in “eucharisteo”, celebrating joyfully the gifts God gives us by His grace. It is a frightening realization to know that if I’m not careful with this frenzied mind, I could not only miss the collective 1000 gifts, but I may actually miss every single one of them.

So I’ll start with #1:  stoplights.  The bane of my existence; it never fails that I will hit every red light possible to mankind during my trek from hither to yon.  My red light expertise is so profound that Hubby even prefers to drive if we are in a hurry, just so we can get the green lights.  No joke.  However, it dawned on me the other day that red lights are indeed the only time I STOP and REST. I have no choice!  Traffic lights are the only time I let the world come to an actual standstill. So maybe, instead of gritting my teeth and creating yet another row of nail marks in the steering wheel, maybe–just maybe–I can breathe a moment’s peace.

In my post on Resting, I mentioned that I had been considering (*gasp*) asking God to actually make me rest, if that is what I needed.  I am happy to report that, at this point, He is instilling moments of rest in my life that have not included body casts or tuberculosis (Thank You, Jesus!).  And I have been able to capture those moments as I recognize them further:  the stoplight being a perfect example.  Moments for me to breathe.  Moments to let my brain take a break.  Stoplights.  Slow-as-molasses-I-want-to-throw-my-computer-out-the-window-internet. Walking Peanuts to school and waiting for them to jump off every rock God put on the earth.

The challenge now is to see those moments as gifts (God forcing needed rest without ambulatory assistance) and not as yet another opportunity to pull every hair out of my head.

Seeing as how upon my creation, God left “patience” as one of my spare (and therefore, left out) parts, this practice of savoring the paused moments does not come naturally to me…sort of like asking Big Boy to whisper.  Yeah, right!

Would you like to practice with me?  What “stoplight” moments has God placed in your life this week?  How have you thanked Him for them? 

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