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Bible Food For The Soul Ink Slingers Linda Prayer Spiritual Growth

Nourish My Body, Nourish My Soul

Food for the Soul

Although what we eat plays an important part in nourishing our body, where we eat and with whom we eat nourishes our soul.  This month we’ll dig into the weeds of our triggers and temptations and be more mindful of the lies and truths we have to choose between in our relationship with food and eating.  This month, we’ll focus on the importance of the table.  Eating together was an important aspect of early Christian life and we can see throughout the New Testament how Jesus found significance in sharing a meal with others.

So far in this series, we’ve taken a broad view of our relationship with food and an understanding of where we’ve learned to place its importance in our lives.  Just as Eve took her eyes off of God during the fall, we too need to refocus and learn from Jesus’ example of his response towards temptation.  We turn to God in prayer, invite Him into our struggle and acknowledge where we are and where we want to be. 

Our first step comes from the scene in the Upper Room, our Eucharistic story where we will focus on the words Take, Bless, Break, and Share and the significance they play in our desire to trust God to nourish our body and soul.

At every Jewish ritual meal, the main points are the blessing and the sharing. The blessing recognizes that this bread is set apart for holy things. The sharing is a sign of communion with one another. For the Jewish ritual, the taking and the breaking are of secondary importance. You can’t give the bread to others unless you break it, and it’s hard to break the bread unless you take it into your hands.

(Taken from a homily by Paulist Fr. Rich Andre)

TAKE – To Be Set Apart For A Purpose

In Fr. Andre’s homily he likens the word taken to the word chosen and points to Matthew 18:20 where Jesus at the Last Supper tells the Apostles, It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.  Each of us is chosen for a unique purpose, but we need a community to carry that purpose out.”  That sentiment is not lost when we consider that we, too, have been given the people in our life for a purpose.  We have been chosen to “do” life with one another for a purpose and what better way to communicate and grow than around the table.

The table has always been an important place of connection for my family.  Hospitality is my love language.  Preparing a meal for those I love and care for brings me immense joy.  One of the most consistent things my husband and I did, as we raised our family, was to eat together every night.  Over our 30 years of parenting, there was a small percentage of time that we were unable to do this.  It provided our children with a place to be known, understood, accepted, and loved – even on difficult days when life was less than perfect.  Whether the conversations were deep or silly, our connecting with one another created sacred space where God provided wisdom, healing, and joy.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:8-9

However, this tradition came to an abrupt halt as our children left home, one by one, within a few short months of one another.  My ten-foot table, the center of our celebrations and everyday conversations, was extremely empty.  As you can imagine, there were a lot of emotions as my husband and I learned to navigate this new part of our lives. For me, it was a time where mindless over-eating became the ritual that fed the emotion of loss.  In my journey towards better health, I began to realize that the emotion wasn’t going to go away with whatever I was feeding it – I needed something bigger and deeper.  I needed God’s truth.  By turning to scripture, I found passages that spoke God’s truth to my emptiness and fought the lies that were drowning out His message to me. I saw that although my mind viewed this change as loss, it was merely a change; a chapter’s end where another was to begin. Once I moved past using food to feed the emotion, I came up with a plan and/or mindset that was a better fit.  For instance, Sunday dinners with the family, a dinner party with friends, and romantic dinners (candlelight and all) with just my husband and I.

I fear, in our fast-paced world, that we have forgotten that the table is more than a place to fuel our bodies, it is a place to nourish our hungry hearts as well.  The table has a significant purpose so keep those conversations going.  Ask questions. Share dreams. Ask if there’s someone they know that needs prayer – then pray, right there and then.  Share stories about your childhood or teen years. Talk about family members who are no longer here or those who may be alone. Better yet, invite someone who may be alone over and listen to their stories.  The important thing is to build memories!  Memories connect us, teach us, and comfort us.

BLESS – To Acknowledge God’s Providence

We are a relational people, made for community. God created us to be in communion with one another. Throughout scripture, God chooses to gather us around a table to celebrate, to listen, and to learn. For our family, being together at a meal meant more than nourishing our body, it was where we gathered to connect our lives to one another. It was a place where we thanked God for providing us with the gift of food and each other. 

When I think of the Upper Room and how scripture recalls, with such detail, how the Passover Sedar was to be prepared, I’m reminded of the great love God has for His people as He feeds their soul. And Jesus always showed his gratitude by giving thanks to the Father and blessing however little was before him. God always manages to multiply the blessings when our hearts are grateful.

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thesselonians 5:18

The importance of thanking God for the gift of food and not taking it for granted.  In every account where Jesus fed people, scripture tells us that he gave thanks. He teaches us that the table is the place to remember the blessings of God.

To truly give thanks is to understand that there is more to be thankful for than just the fact that the meal made it to the table on time. We are so disconnected from our food sources.  We hop on over to the nearest grocery store or make a phone call and magically food appears at our doorstep.  It’s easy to forget the true privilege we have been given.  To stop and think about the process of God creating the earth (the rain, sun, and soil), which the farmer cares for and harvests, brings a much deeper meaning to the blessing.  Then add the people who deliver the food to the grocer and those who have prepared the meal. Take time to remember those who do not have easy access to food sources or cannot afford such luxuries. Pray for the friends and family that are seated with you to share a meal and remember those who are truly alone.  With generous thought, comes generous gratitude.

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.  Deuteronomy 8:3

As our bodies are nourished through a communal meal, memories are made and we are drawn closer to one another. Just as Jesus appeared to Cleopas and the unknown disciple, we too, see him in the breaking of the bread.

The feeling elicited by food’s memories are powerful and should also be taken into account as an emotional eater.  Perhaps you don’t know why you are “powerless” with certain foods.  Ask yourself, “did I enjoy (or not) this food previously in my life”?  Does steak on a grill bring back great memories of picnics with your mom and dad?  Or coffee brewing or cinnamon buns remind you of special moments with a grandparent?  Asking God to reveal those memories to you can open a door to understand why you may have a weakness in that area.  Just remember, food doesn’t feed the emotion.  Turn back to God’s truth about the emotion.

Next month we will touch on the last two words of our Eucharistic blessing – Break & Share.

 

Nourish My Body, Nourish My Soul

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Food For The Soul Ink Slingers Linda Prayer Series Spiritual Growth

Food For The Soul: God’s Plan For Structure

God'sPlanforChange

Some call it discipline, others control, but mastering techniques for healthier habits takes more than our own strength.  Jesus’ act of redemption was a part of God’s plan to build a solid structure for our lives.

Last time we spoke we entertained the thought of how God used the fall of Adam and Eve to teach them (and us) to become more dependent on Him; to keep our eyes fixed on Him. When presented with temptation, Eve took her eyes off of God and with one bite, His plan unfolded.  Here, God begins a plan to draw humanity back to Himself.  Did you hear that? He had a plan, and so must we.  But before we make plans for a journey, we need to know where we are.

Jesus prepared for his journey by connecting with his father first, alone, and in prayer.  Jesus understood that his journey was a mission.

The definition of mission is a strong assignment; a strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling. 

He also understood that he needed a team; a support system.  So he stopped at the Sea of Galilee, where he gathered his team and told them to leave their nets behind. It’s scary to leave behind the things we’re used to. For the first apostles, it was their very livelihood.  But they were leaving behind what looked good for the promise of something better.  Jesus told them to fill their nets with the impossible and that is the same message he wants for you and for me.

So how do we prepare for our journey and who are we bringing with us?  We, too, need to start with a plan.  Where are we now?  What don’t we have that we want to create?  Is it weight loss, is it removing a food addiction, is it better blood work, or improving inflammation or disease?  Understanding where we are and where we want to go will be the catalyst for the important choices we make along the way.  It will always answer the question “Is ‘this choice’ bringing me closer to what I want out of life?”

Everything Jesus did was intentional, and he did nothing without bringing His Father with him. He knew the plans his Father had for him and he responded according to those plans.  This is the stark contrast between Adam and Eve in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament.  He answered the call for a new covenant by responding differently.

  • Acknowledge where we are
  • Invite God on the journey through prayer
  • Seek others to support us in our journey

How do we allow the strength of God to help us respond differently and master the behaviors that create healthier habits in our lives? In Matthew Kelly’s book Perfectly Yourself, he describes how fasting during Lent denies us of our own pleasure in order to replace it with something better.  This fasting often becomes a lifestyle change for many.  The reason for this is that we increase our freedom to master the behaviors that prevent us from creating healthier habits for our mind and body.

“Remember, whether a bird is tied down by a thread or by a chain, it still cannot fly.

What is the master of your life?”  ~ Matthew Kelly

Our brain is programmed to seek pleasure and avoid pain.  It’s just the way it is. The messages and experiences we have received over a lifetime have created neuropathways that direct our responses.  These responses are the habits that are set on autopilot. For example, we don’t need a reminder to brush our teeth daily, it’s a habit set on autopilot. That’s a good habit worth keeping, but for those habits that do not serve us – they can be changed!! So, reprogramming our brain and the way we think about food will create habits where we respond to old problems in new ways.  We begin shifting from the comfort of food to the comfort of God. 

If understanding where we are is the first step in our transformation, then here are some questions to contemplate for where we want to be.

  • Who is this person that you want to become? 
  • How would you show up in a room?
  • How would you inspire others?
  • What would you be able to do?
  • How would your life be different?
  • Who would you influence?

God hears the desires of our heart, so if any of these questions resonate with you, use that as a starting point for your conversation with Him.  Ask Him what’s missing between where you are and where you want to be.  That answer is where the shift happens.  That answer is where the work begins in asserting dominance over the body and mind.

THE MOMENT BETWEEN EVENT AND RESPONSE

So how do we shift from feeling that we NEED whatever it is before us to trust that God has the answer?  We acknowledge it! “Yes, I know you want that cannoli, but today we’re going to have a cup of fruit instead and enjoy the sunshine outside.”  Our bodies are our servant, not our master. This little step slows us down enough to then pause, take a few short breaths and become mindful of what is happening around us. Pausing for just a few, short minutes and discovering what we are really in need of and ask God to help us gain freedom from our negative thoughts. 

  • Is this “thing” bringing me one step closer to what I really want?
  • Is this “thing” what I really need right now?
  • Am I tired, bored, lonely, scared, angry……….?

We Live Out What We Take In

Earlier I said the brain seeks pleasure and avoids pain.  If we are going to reprogram our negative habits, we need to replace them with healthier habits that feel like rewards.  So think of some triggers that you may have and before they happen, have a plan in place for some fun and healthy replacements.  We can also learn to love and nurture where our feelings come from because we know that God is with us in each and every one of them.  Food cannot feed an emotion – God can.  The most powerful thing we can do is to read Scripture and be nurtured by His truth.  Write down the negative emotion and the lie (this cannoli will make me feel better), then find the truth in God’s promise that tells us that we are NOT that emotion and that this “food” won’t help us work the emotion out. Then ask yourself, how do I feel like when I make a good choice?  Do you feel more in control, proud, happy, more aligned with your goals?  That’s one small step towards freedom; one small step towards becoming who God intended you to be for the task only you were created to do. 

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Food For The Soul Linda Prayer Series Spiritual Growth

And With One Bite, God’s Plan Unfolds

And with One Bite Gods Plan Unfolds

 

It started with a pound or two after vacation, then a few more after the birth of my first child – little by little it crept up and before I knew it, I weighed 8 more pounds than the year before. For so many, like myself, that simple grab and go snack had now become an unhealthy addiction, or at the very least a mindless replacement in times of doubt or busyness.  We believe whatever is tempting us at the moment, will fulfill what’s missing and with one bite, completely unaware, God’s plan unfolds.

My faith and willingness to surrender life’s challenges to God has been a continual work in progress over the years.  Marriage, parenting, and finances took their place in line as God waited patiently for me to let Him join the journey.  It’s no surprise that it took so long for me to give Him this struggle with a healthy weight?  Why is this so hard for so many millions of men and women?  And where does God fit into the equation?

As I mentioned in last month’s introductory post, God often uses our challenges, struggles, doubts, and fears to teach us something about Himself.

For those of us who, for whatever reason, struggle with our relationship with food, there is hope.  Don’t beat yourself up over trying over and over again – focused on failed attempts at being perfect.  Use salvation history as a source of strength and hope.  Our biblical ancestors doubted, fell, and started over again – many times!  But God knew all of this and had a plan! With the redemptive act of Jesus’ sacrifice, came God’s most precious gift to us, the living force of God within us; the Holy Spirit that dwells in the temple of our hearts.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. Cor 6:19-20

To learn to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength begins with surrender and trust.  As we begin to dig into this series on discovering a healthy dependence on food, by embracing God as the source of our strength, we will start by unpacking the truth that God created all things, including us.  We were created in His image and likeness, therefore, our wholeness incorporates our body, mind, and spirit. All were created to work together.  We are His masterpiece! 

For we are God’s masterpiece, He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,

so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. ~ Eph 2:10

We cannot be whole, as God intended, by just working on one of these areas. They all need to be in balance. Diets alone don’t address the cause of weight gain.  It’s no coincidence that the very first book of the bible starts with the creation of man, a garden, and a fall. Hmmm, I think there’s a lesson here, don’t you?

So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them;

male and female He created them.  ~ Gen 1:27

God created a pleasurable world of food. Food is meant to be an instrument that points us to God, not something that takes His place in our heart. In the beginning, God created the perfect environment for His people, in fact, Garden of Eden translates to Garden of Pleasure. 

God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed … every tree whose fruit yields seed. …

Of every tree of the garden, you may freely eat”  ~ Genesis 1:292:16

Yet even within this environment of perfection, Eve faced temptation and doubt entered her heart.  The serpent twisted God’s words, creating doubt and exposing a weakness in Eve.  In that moment, she took her eyes off God. Adam and Eve were given the first test of faith and with one bite, they disobey and lost trust. Here enters the fall. BUT again, friends, there is hope. 

So often we wonder why hard things, hard choices, or difficult moments have to be part of our journey.  We put so much energy in the why’s of life that we fail to keep our eyes on God and ask him the what; “what are you trying to teach me here”?  Even in the midst of Eve’s fall, the serpent served God’s purpose.  Despite Adam and Eve’s weakness, God’s love was so great and He used this opportunity to teach them, and us, how to trust and rely on Him alone; how to become more dependent on His provision in our lives.  God said you cannot stay here, but I will place you somewhere else where you can live, but life will be hard.  Yes, life will be hard but NOT without purpose.  

God now places responsibility on Adam and Eve to learn the skills to work with the garden. In their work, they find their purpose and how to nurture one another. It was the beginning of their journey to discovery and knowledge, through physical work and mental choices.  I believe the combination of physical work AND mental choices placed in God’s hands will help us remove the barriers that lie between us understanding why our hearts reach towards other things for satisfaction and are not satisfied with God.

We are called by God to be good stewards of all He has given us, including our physical bodies.  Each of us has been designed uniquely with a purpose; a unique gift that we bring to the world for God.  To carry out that purpose, we must be strong and healthy.

THE WEIGHT IN OUR HEAD – Keeping our heart and mind aligned.

I believe that the first step in living a healthier life is changing the way we think about ourselves and our health. Once you have made a mental shift, making and maintaining the physical change will be much easier.  If the body is misused, the mind and spirit cannot become what God planned they should be. God intended for us to an abundant life; life to the fullest.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. ~ John 10:10

When working with clients, I often hear the weight of their words become as great a challenge as their weight loss efforts.  Sometimes it’s the negative self-talk that we’ve become accustomed to, and other times it’s the doubts, lies, fears, shame, and guilt that we carry around.  For some, the pleasure of food has such control over how we interpret a good evening, a successful celebration, or a remedy to our sadness or discomfort.  This anxiety is real and bringing it to the table, literally, opens up a door for prayer. In researching the word anxiety, I found it literally means to cut into pieces. The effects of our “stinking thinking” can actually cut into pieces the peace and satisfaction that God wants to give us.

I recently read the book Perfectly Yourself by Matthew Kelly and found his description of happiness and pleasure profound.  He states “The difference between happiness and pleasure is subtle but real.  Pleasure cannot be sustained beyond the experience producing it.  You eat, and you experience pleasure.  You stop eating, and the pleasure stops. That’s why we don’t stop eating.  We’re not hungry; we enjoy the pleasure that comes from eating. We have disconnected eating from the function that allows us to fuel our incredible bodies and have turned eating into a past time.  Happiness is different.  Happiness can be sustained beyond the experience producing it”.  This, however, takes making a choice.  To choose between the momentary thrill and the satisfaction and well-being that lasts beyond the activity producing the happiness”.

So how can we begin to live life to the full and grow in our desire to be satisfied in Christ? Let’s look at how Jesus responded when faced with temptation.

Redemption – God’s Blueprint For Structure

God knows and understands our challenges and weakness.  He loves us, as He did Adam and Eve, and doesn’t let our “falls” separate us from Him.  He had a plan all along – His son, Jesus.  In contrast, to the test in the garden of Adam and Eve, Jesus was also tempted in the desert with food, however, his response changed the direction of mankind; he used scripture to respond to the temptation.  When you arm yourself with scripture, you begin to see yourself as God sees you.  No longer is food the central focus of your comfort or pleasure, but you re-direct towards God.

Next time, we’ll unpack some practical steps we can begin to take to keep our focus on God and create a foundation of structure.

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Bible Faith Formation Food For The Soul Ink Slingers Linda Series

FOOD FOR THE SOUL: Cultivating a Healthy Dependence on Food and God

Food for the Soul

God is great; God is good

Let us thank Him for our food. Yay God!

Yep, this was one of the first forms of prayer my husband taught our kids when they were young.  I was just grateful to have everyone seated around the table and a husband who was attempting to teach them to be thankful for the food before them.  These moments were food for my soul.

Food for the soul is a journey that begins from the inside out. A journey where God speaks the language of our heart.  The place where our spirit, will, emotions and self-understanding converge; the very places that may be starving to be fed.  This is where transformation begins.  Every individual has a unique journey – some may involve eating disorders, auto-immune diseases, food sensitivities or allergies – so just as each of us is a unique individual created by God, our journey towards health has its own unique path.

After years of struggling with this love-hate relationship with food and the life changes happening in my body, I did as millions of others do – I entered the diet craze.  Go ahead, quiz me on any diet program out there – I’m sure I’ve tried them all.  Despite all the changes I tried to make, I just couldn’t seem to find a healthy relationship with food.  That is, until one day I fell to my knees and realized it was one area of my life that I was trying to control on my own.  It was that day that I packed up all the hurt and frustration and surrendered it to God.  Each step, each failed attempt was a learning experience of who I was and who I wanted to become. I needed to apply the same spiritual tools to my eating and health issues that I used for other areas of my life.

What this series isn’t

This series isn’t about vanity and how we look on the outside.  It is about making better choices for our health as keepers of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us; it is about practicing daily how to cultivate a healthy relationship with food while we discover a deeper dependency on God. As with all things transformational, God teaches us that we need to start where we are and let that move us towards a behavioral and mindful shift and that begins deep within.

“The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground–

trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. …

The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

~Genesis 2:9

Food isn’t bad for us, how could it be, God created it.  Food is a reminder that God is the source of that food; His grace and provision for His children.  He is also our creator and he created us with hunger, cravings, and temptations. So, this very creative God of ours not only gave us food to nurture our bodies, but He also wants to use it to teach us something about Him. 

When we encounter unmet needs and emotions and self-medicate with what is readily available to meet or desensitize that need, we often reach for things to fill that empty space inside.  For some that may be drugs or alcohol, for many, it’s food or other unhealthy behaviors. We are starving to satisfy that hunger.

Throughout Scripture, there are thousands of references to food as a source of sustenance but also as sacred symbolism and spiritual events.  Approaching Scripture from this perspective opens up a dialog for prayer and an ear for God’s guidance. Together, we will break the bread, so to speak, and unpack the process of moving from an unhealthy mindset towards food and a greater dependency on God by listening to His truth, making wise, healthy choices and better self-care.

As a health coach, I guide clients towards becoming the best they can be, equipping them with resources to empower them to envision their dreams and skills that move them into action.  The power of God is ignited within us when He is our source of strength, His Word affirms our worth, and His love and acceptance draw us closer to His heart each and every day. 

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Doctrine Faith Formation Ink Slingers Linda Spiritual Growth Ten Commandments

His Creation is My Chapel

It’s mid-week and I’m struggling to get to morning Mass. Not because I don’t want to be immersed in the sacrament, but because of the connection I feel outside. The sounds, smells, and sights of being outdoors are intoxicating to me. I feel God’s presence surround me in this chapel of His creation.

June seemed to have slipped through my fingers. One day morphed into the next, with activities and chores in the garden. In the center of it all, my daughter and son-in-law purchased their first home and once again, God asked me to hit pause on my plans. Sometimes we simply have to do ministry in the space that surrounds us. So I put aside my writing projects and dove in to care for the things God placed in my path. After all, isn’t that what I pray every morning? “Lord, who will you send me today? Where will I serve?”

I wish I could say I did it all without guilt, but I didn’t. I critiqued my plans and felt the pressure of getting behind, of letting people down. The work at my daughter’s house took more of a toll on my body than I thought and in my spare time, I chose to simply rest and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. I chose to re-energize with my feet firmly planted on the ground.

I imagine God would approve of this time. Didn’t He feel the need to rest on the seventh day and command us to honor the Sabbath? Few people remember the old days when businesses shut down and honored the Sabbath. What good can possibly be gained from one more day of busyness? This notion caused me to pause and really meditate on the fourth commandment and how I do not honor it and keep it holy, as I should.

We first hear of the Sabbath in God’s commandments given to Moses for the people of Israel in Exodus 20:8-11:

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord; you shall not do any work – you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

So many words within this short text to unpack. Let’s start with holy. Here, God is telling us to set this day aside from all the other ordinary days and keep it special. He gives us six days to accomplish the work we need to perform for our needs on earth, but on that seventh day, our work must cease. This commandment is rooted in scripture, too–in Genesis 2:2-3, God Himself rested after all He created. He paused on that day to look at all He had done, for you and me, and marvel at how good it was.

God is calling us to celebrate all He has given us and learn to rest in His love, not our labor. He calls us to let go of our need to work and control our outcome and rely on Him instead. For this was His plan all along. The book of Exodus is the revealing of His faithfulness to the Israelites. In Genesis, we watch as God’s people begin to lose their way through sin as they rely on their own strength and veer away from God’s ways. Don’t we often do that–get tired of waiting for God’s blessings and think that we can do things better or quicker ourselves? Four hundred years of slavery and bondage was the consequence for their lack of trust in God’s plan.

The book of Exodus introduces the Israelites’ departure from Egypt toward freedom from slavery. God wanted to create a nation set apart from the surrounding empires, to be an example of depending on and trusting in God. The other nations practiced self-reliance and God hoped to show His strength and power through His people. This is what relying on Him looks like and the result is goodness and prosperity. Do we live out God’s plan to show the world it can trust and depend on Him? Do we stand out in our communities as people of God? Do others know this from how we carry ourselves?

I sometimes imagine what it was like for generation upon generation of Israelites to have been entrenched in a life of slavery, of constant work. God wanted to take His people away from that life and teach them a new way of resting and relying on Him. Perhaps this is where we are in our lives today–working day in and day out to get ahead, to create a life of wealth and prosperity. Or perhaps you do rest, but your rest consists of secular things with no focus on God. I’ve been there, but like the Israelites, I’m now trying to be more intentional about seeing God’s miraculous works around me. I’m moving toward trusting and relying upon His power and grace more than my own. This has come to me in the times I have carved out time for prayer and reading scripture.

“Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.” When God blesses and consecrates something, it means He will make it rich and holy. He commands us to take a break and immerse ourselves in this gift from Him; to see all He can do for us. The prophet Isaiah reminds that keeping the Sabbath is not meant to take away our fun, but remind us of His provision and love for us:

If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs, then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (58:13-14)

So I missed daily Mass this morning. I chose His creation for my chapel. I found Him in the silence and began a litany of praise for the gifts He lavishly pours over me each day. No, today is not the Sabbath, but it is still a lesson in learning to rise up in the midst of the demands to do more and retreat again to dependency and stillness with the only One who can offer true rest for my soul.