The first new friend I made at the Florida Christian Writers Conference this year was Lucinda Secrest McDowell. She beamed a smile and a southern welcome and gushed with excitement when she heard about my Edisto novel. Then she connected me with her Edisto friend who can help me get this book into the hands of readers.
All before we finished a meal. Lucinda is genuine, faith-filled, and delightful. When we met up again at Blue Ridge for another conference in May, it was my pleasure to buy her new devotional book before the bookstore had finished unpacking the box.
Dwelling Places offers a one word pondering for each day of the year. Categorized by seasons, and so very timely for my own life right now, it is my honor and pleasure to share Lucinda’s words with you today.
Driving through Pebble Hill Plantation I saw the road sign that caused me to grind to a halt.
“Slow Down. I Mean It!”
And Pansy Poe, the owner of this beautiful estate outside my Georgia hometown, had signed her name to give it more authority.
Actually, God could have authored that sign as well.
I believe He sends signs warning me to “Slow Down” all the time, but I’m usually running by too quickly to notice. Missing what God has for me – “My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” (Isaiah 32.18)
Or, as one seasoned pastor advises, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry.”
When was the last time you really rested? Hard to do, isn’t it? Our environment is constantly depleting us with noise, distractions and the compulsion to always be in a hurry. We are just too busy to rest.
“Busyness does not mean you are a faithful or fruitful Christian. It only means that you are busy, just like everyone else,” claims Kevin DeYoung, a pastor and father of six who struggles with finding true rest. “It’s not wrong to be tired. It’s not wrong to feel overwhelmed. It’s not wrong to go through seasons of complete chaos. What is wrong – and heartbreakingly foolish and wonderfully avoidable – is to live a life with more craziness than we want because we have less Jesus than we need.”
Do you want more of Jesus and His rest?
I believe our greatest threat is distraction. Did you know the root of this word is the Latin word distractus which literally means “to draw or pull apart?” No wonder we feel torn in every direction!
The author of “Sanctuary of the Soul” says that we have noisy hearts. “The fact that our schedules are piled high and we are constantly bombarded by multiple stimuli only betrays that we have succumbed to the modern mania that keeps us perpetually distracted. The moment we seek to enter the creative silences of meditative prayer, every demand screams for our attention.”
How can we quiet our hearts and discover these “undisturbed places of rest?”
Unplug. Sign out. Turn off. Hang up. Be ‘Closed for the Weekend.’ Clean up your surroundings so fewer projects call out your name. Put sleep and ‘nothing’ on your agenda and then keep those appointments. Determine your greatest distractions and energy-drainers and decide to be proactive about curbing their power over you.
And then go to Jesus and rest in His care. “Faith means resting – relying – not on who we are, or what we can do, or how we feel or what we know. Faith is resting in who God is and what He has done. And He has done everything.”
Slow Down. I Mean It!
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is passionate about embracing life — both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she offers “Encouraging Words” to all on the journey. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, Cindy is the author of twelve books, including Dwelling Places, Live These Words, Refresh!, Amazed by Grace, Quilts from Heaven and Role of a Lifetime. Whether co-directing the “New England Christian Writers Retreat,” mentoring young moms, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Cindy’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things. She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at EncouragingWords.net