Words. Words are powerful. If I say puppy or kitten, most people will have some kind of thought and feeling that goes alongside with a word they have an understanding of. Thunderstorm: for some, the mere news of a thunderstorm can trigger fear if they have experienced a thunderstorm in some traumatic way. For others, it might elicit a romantic notion of an invigorating rain, dazzling lights mimicking a flickering candle, with a rumble for effect.
Words conjure thoughts and feelings.
For me, the word rest conjures deep meaning. I cannot take the word rest at face value, at all. There are many types of rest and context is important. But all rest, every kind I can think of is invaluable.
What would a musical score be like without a rest, but noise! The punctuation mark called a period, is a rest. What would sentences be like without a rest? They would run on and on, like I occasionally do! Then there is physical rest, emotional rest and spiritual rest. My January Rest brings me physical, emotional, and spiritual rest. These concepts are so fascinating I’ve been studying them for around 15 years.
The word rest mean so much more to me than it did years ago. So much more.
When I started My January Rest, it was an attempt to restore rest. Now it’s a huge part of my yearly rhythm, with one word—rest—as the desired outcome.
I love words and I love traditions!
I have heard of another yearly tradition where someone picks a word for the year: They pick a word to focus on, meditate on, and allow it to become incarnate in them. I love the thought of this practice, but to be honest, I already had a word—rest—for years! Picking a new word never seemed necessary. Nice, but not necessary. And nothing really popped out: God didn’t “give” me a word.
This year that changed! It started with a song that touched me. Make Room by Casting Crowns. Initially it was a sweet song, that seems at first listen to a Christmas song. But, as I listened again and again, it was so much more: The lyrics of the song tenderized my heart. More than a Christmas song, it became a commission. As I headed into Christmas, it became apparent to me that God was calling me to make room for Him, and the things that He was inviting me into. As I approached the new year, I realized that God had given me “a word” and because I am such a wordy girl, I guess He gave me a double portion—two words—make room.
The admonition of the song is to make room in your heart. It asks over and over, “is there room in your heart? Make room in your heart.” Make is an active word. Make takes effort, like make your bed, make dinner, make time. Or make peace. The Bible tells us to be peacemakers, not peacekeepers. Peacekeepers keep the peace at all cost. It is a passive role. Being a peacemaker takes action. Brave action. So does making room.
Over Christmas, there were times that He gently encouraged me to make room for some things that were challenging, or painful, or at first response, simply unwanted—like the Christ child. Yet each time I made room, my heart softened a bit. I felt the beauty of the Lord.
When I realized that “making room” and MJR were significantly tied together, it was awe-inspiring. In December God gave me two words, two words to roll over into January, and extend the whole year!
My favorite line of the song is, “Is there room in your heart for God to write His story?” Due to multiple family crises, I didn’t write for nearly a year. Now, here I am, writing! As I write, I make room for Him to write my story.
This post, is a hybrid of My January Rest and the concept of finding my rest in Christ. God knows the best version of myself is when I am integrated: He’s grafted My January Rest into finding my rest in Him.
My girl had surgery on Thursday. My plans have been put on hold. I am back to a full time caregiver. My January Rest points are somewhat pointless at this point in this month. I’ll update you as to what is working and what hasn’t.
Where am I with all of this? Making room! I believe making room is what is being asked of me, required of me. My heart is being renovated as we speak. The pile of Kleenexes aside my keyboard attest to it. Behind me, my husband and girl watch TV, and have no clue as to the silent deluge of tears.
And that is ok.
Often the interior renovations, no one sees…yet. Hopefully, someday, people will see I have more room in my heart.