Sunday, 4 January 2015

Entering His rest

There's something special about listening for God's voice. Making way for the mellow moments of sacred pauses in our days.

Something infinitely precious when He speaks so hearts can hear Him and draws us close to His beautiful, compassionate and loving, Father-heart.

When I received 'Listen' as my one word last year, I found myself spending all of 2014 trying to hone the skill, and I ended the year still awed and amazed when He whispered close with words He longed to impart.

There wasn't a predictable pattern. God cannot be boxed. He is calm and loving but also gloriously wild and free. The Spirit goes where He wills.

Most times, I sat expectant with Bible, pen and prayer journal at the ready, at others He spoke soft during the mundane, messy moments of my day ~ whenever He had something vital to say.

The more we practise the art, the more we become a little bit accustomed to His voice and better able to discern it above all others.

Those times of quiet listening bore fruit inwardly, teaching greater inner restfulness, peace and patient endurance that He knew I so desperately needed, and still do.

They also yielded fruit to share with others in the form of 'Prayer Whispers' to help, encourage and bless. Some have made their way into the blogging arena and others I hope to eventually make more public via a compilation to share.

So you might think I was getting seasoned in the ways of listening to God and easily able to tell what He was saying to me, wouldn't you? If only...

Well, yes, occasionally that was the case. But my own wayward heart, doubts and fears so often tripped me up... just as they're doing now.

Because, after praying for several days, I was no nearer hearing God's 'word' for me for 2015 than I was before. Various thoughts played themselves out in my head then slid silent away.

Eventually, one word made its presence known more strongly than the others.

And I was quick to reject it as a mis-hearing, because it felt wryly ironic to be hearing 'Rest' shaping itself as my defining word for 2015 while laid up in bed with an unexpected, unwanted Christmas gift of a ferocious, fluey cold virus!

I prayed, doubted and prayed some more. Gradually, God penetrated the thick mucus curtain where my brain seemed to be lodging and made Himself known. 

Yes, there was no mistake. Far from being just my usual state as an M.E and chronic illness sufferer ~ where rest and pacing are the order of the day, and a particularly necessary one right now ~ rest was going to be a strong feature of the year ahead too.

Only... I had to appreciate its nuances more than ever before. Rest means different things to each one of us.

At this early stage I can already see the type of rest God has in mind for us is so much more than a Sabbath break in our week, ceasing from physical activity, putting our feet up, taking a nap, being on vacation.

His plans for us are complete, holistic, changing from the inside out. I sense rest is no exception.

My soul needs to learn how to rest easy in His word, truly believe who it says I am in Christ, lean peaceful on His love and grace.

Maybe discover how to actually live like I'm freed from guilt and anxiety, stay rooted and grounded in faith, develop trust that replaces tension.

Rest in the finished work of Christ rather than relying on self-effort and works to somehow complete the deal.

Rest in seeing myself as pre-approved, deeply loved and called to make a difference.

Quite a bit to mull over here! No doubt more will be revealed in time to come.

And it feels as if my main priority is physical rest right now as I seek to recover from the horrible cold symptoms and try to claw back some precious energy.

Perhaps priorities will loom large as I endeavour to save energy for all I am called to do rather than all I may want to do.

Maybe there will be encouragement to make room for more spiritual whitespace, for contemplative prayer, for continuing to listen to prayer whispers and to seek His face?

I hope so. 

My soul craves deep rest; my body cries out for it and my mind desperately needs it too.

One way or another I hope to enter His rest, in fact I long to; I need to. 

One thing I am certain of:as God gives me inspiration and strength I aim to be sharing the journey here and over at 'Poetry Joy', just as I did with 2014's word 'Listen'.

Here's a 'Prayer for Rest' that you can take and make your own. Feel free to pin or use as you need to:

Over to you:

Have you had benefits (as well as challenges) from listening to God?

Has God given you a new word to ponder over for 2015?

Whether or not you've heard a 'word' yet, what do you think your main focus will be for the year ahead?

As always, I really appreciate and welcome your input here and would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. As I turned to Jan.1 in my daily Bible, I found this penciled verse from Jeremiah 33:3 " Call to Me & I will answer & show you great & wonderful things that you do not know". I had forgotten about this wonderful promise, but am again praying it with great anticipation! God loves to show us more of Himself, enabling us to worship Him "in Spirit & in truth. I can't wait for the wonderful things He will reveal to me! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

    1. What a wonderfully inviting verse that is! Such hope and promise. I'm not surprised you want to pray it "with great anticipation" of good things. I love the positive way you have started this new year, Cynthia, and feel sure God will honour your hungry heart's seeking after Him. Blessings, love and prayers. :) x

  2. Thank you for this soulful reflection, Joy. It encourages me. Joining with you to "Rest in the finished work of Christ rather than relying on self-effort." And praying the prayer with you! I hope you get physical rest from that cold bug, too! Hugs!

    I struggled a lot with what word to pick, too, but I finally felt it needed to be "follow." I just posted it.

    1. Hi Trudy. Thank you for letting me know what has encouraged you here, and for your kind concern, hugs and prayers. The cold symptoms are abating a little now, praise God. I'm about to hop over and read about your word 'follow' as soon as possible! Bless you, sweet friend. :) xox

  3. Joy, I really enjoyed reading this and found myself nodding along with you in agreement. Love the prayer at the end. I will be posting about my word for the year which is "commit" from Proverbs 16:3 on my blog Monday, Lord willing unless He gives me a different subject to write about. I pray you get well quickly. Blessings, Marcie

    1. Hi Marcie. Thanks for stopping by and for the prayers. I truly appreciate it. These God-given words have a way of defining a year, don't they? I look forward to reading about your equally challenging one too as you commit yourself and the year into God's hands. Blessings to you as you listen, learn and write out what you hear. :) x

  4. Thank you, Joy, for your beautiful reflection and prayer. I will be sharing the image of your prayer on my blog and will link back to your original post. Thanks and blessings to you.

    1. Hi April. Thank you for visiting and being so generous with sharing this post! I'm pleased it spoke to you. Blessings in abundance. :)