Cultivating Rest: Watching Fireflies and Sunsets

The Striving:

Emails, texts, and phone calls fill our days with noise that deadens our ability to focus on what is in front of us. The overwhelming hum of people’s needs in our circle plays as the background music to our lives. Ambition and the need to succeed—to be considered worthy or important to the blurry faces that never really existed but serve as an audience of doubters and nay-sayers—cause us to move when we should rest, and to strive when contentment would much better serve our souls.

How do I make it stop? Is there some way I can get off the merry go round that is our modern life? For me, the answer is yes. Obviously, I can’t fully leave it; there will still be emails to answer and phone calls to return…but if I can just find moments of quiet. Moments that remind me who I am in relation to my Creator. I desperately need this, and I believe you do too.

Finding True Rest:

For me, I find this outside. I find it in sunsets and fireflies. Have you ever sat on a porch in the heat of summer and watched as the fireflies begin to light up the edge of the woods and filter their way into your yard? Do you sit and watch the sun put on its last display of light for the day, in the form of a miraculous color-filled sunset? One of my most favorite things to do is wander barefoot in a garden: weeding, pruning, picking, and praying. I take every opportunity to leave my phone behind, disconnect, and fill my senses with the beauty of the outdoors. When I can get in these alone, yet surrounded by God’s beauty spaces, I find true rest.

The Rest in Creating vs. Consuming:

I realized some years ago that city living was not for me. I need to be surrounded by trees. Something in me says I must do more than consume, I need to create. This is how I ended up with a little farm. There is something so soothing in milking a goat, planting seeds, and even, cleaning out a chicken coop. The rhythm of canning and producing something that will feed your family is incredibly fulfilling. It’s small. It doesn’t change the world, but it slows you down and brings your focus onto a singular thing where your mind has space to wonder and be still all at the same time.

I know all these things lead me to a place of rest, but I find myself fighting to get there. Why, when I can feel the seams of my life coming loose, is it so hard to stop the spinning? Rest is hard for me. Like you, my life is full. There are so many moments of giving. I know that I need to stop and be filled to have something of value to give. I know that I will resent all the pouring when I feel utterly empty. Yet I plug on, as if this time will be different than all of the other countless times I have neglected my own peace of mind.

The Rest in Jesus:

Something that I see now (more clearly than ever), is that it is not my job to hold everything in place. I am not Jesus. Many times, I work and serve and say yes to everything, as though, if I don’t show up and be involved the world will roll off its hinges and fall into the abyss. So, I plug forward when I should stop.

There are people that have been on the bench and now need to get onto the field, but this piece is not for them. This is for the person who has been giving and working and showing up to everything. This is for the person who is constantly thinking “…The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Mat 9:37 (NIV) Take a moment, be still and seek God. Cultivating a rich prayer and study life is just as important as serving. I would even say it’s more important.

This may all look different for you than for me. Not everyone loves the feel of dirt between their toes and shoveling manure. Perhaps sitting on a park bench while noisy traffic rolls by is a place that you find solitude. Maybe you like to sit in the sanctuary of your church when no one is there; whatever it is, I encourage you to find it. Make space to be ministered to in the midst of ministering.

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Your Rest May Not Look Like Mine:

The sound of birds chirping, in the morning before the Florida sun has set the temperatures souring, is one of my favorite things. Rainy mornings that feel lazy bring rest and peace to my soul. Watching my goats eat grass, as the sun is setting, is so calming. All these things cost me nothing. There is no monthly membership fee. I just must stop and notice they are happening. Every evening the sun sets in the sky, putting on a beautiful display for us, but how often do I make it out to watch it happen?

Are you struggling to find rest? Are you longing to be outside more? Does your heart dream of growing plants and picking tomatoes? I want to encourage you to take the first step towards the life that you are longing for and catch that sunset. Go for a walk. Not to exercise, but to soak in the beauty of the world around you that God created for us.

True Rest is Not Physical But Spiritual:

Today I pulled the last bit of vegetables out of my garden from my spring planting. I spent the evening canning spaghetti sauce. I’m tired. My body aches. But my heart is full of gratitude for the harvest. With a bag full of seeds and a prayer to God I watched this garden grow over the last several months. I listened to classical music and audio books as I weeded or picked off hungry caterpillars. This little garden is where I poured my heart out to God and listened for His voice. As if all of that wasn’t enough to cause gratitude to overflow, I now get to save some of this food for dinners to be eaten months from now.

 

My prayer as I write this is that God will lead you to places of rest in Him where your gratitude will overflow. May you know Him tomorrow better than you know him today. May peace be your portion dear friend.

Emily Freeman is an in-house writer for HH. She’s happily married and not only is the Momma to goats, cows, and chicks but five children as well. When she’s not writing and homesteading, Emily enjoys speaking and ministering to the women of Central Florida. You can connect with Emily directly by clicking on the “About Us” tab on our homepage.

June 2021
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