Nothing {day twenty-eight}

Early Saturday morning, the day after Jon’s memorial service, I snuggled into the couch with my cup of coffee and Jesus Calling and read this:
"Rest in My presence, allowing Me to take charge of this day. Do not bolt into the day like a racehorse suddenly released. Instead walk purposefully with Me, letting Me direct your course one step at a time."
Huh. What exactly would that look like, I wondered – to let God direct the entire course of the day, one step at a time? I realized I’d probably never done that before. I’d never relinquished an entire day to God.
So I did. I let God take my entire day. I sat back and said, “It’s yours. Do as you wish.” And you know what he had me do?
Absolutely nothing.
I contemplated hopping on the treadmill for a couple of miles or heading out for a brisk walk around the lake in the crisp Minnesota air. But God said no.
God definitely said no when I considered a quick jaunt over to Anthropologie to rummage through the sale rack.
He even said no when I thought about helping Brad sort random items in his dad’s bedroom closet, dividing a lifetime of accumulated stuff into the “keep,” “Goodwill” and “trash” piles on the floor.
Later, as I ruminated guiltily over the fact that the kids were zoned out in front of the television, God said no when I considered taking them for a hike in the woods. 
No matter what activity I considered, God insisted that I stay put. So that’s exactly what I did.
Sprawled on Jon and Janice’s bed, I pulled a fleece blanket over my shoulder and gazed out the French doors onto the snowy, wooded hill in the backyard. I watched Brad sort and debated with him over which treasures to keep and which to let go (he’s a keeper; I’m a tosser).  I read a bit of Jeremiah and took a long nap.
On Saturday I let God take my day. He gave me absolutely nothing to do, which, as it turned out, was exactly right.
Do you ever listen when God tells you to do nothing?

Mary Bonner  – (February 28, 2012 at 5:20 AM)  

I love that book!  I bought it at Relelvant last year.  It has been a great investment for me.  Her reflections are so pertinent and on target, at least for me. 

You ask a very good question.  I wonder if God has asked me to do nothing and I wasn't listening.

SouthernGalThoughts –   – (February 28, 2012 at 6:18 AM)  

I don't believe I've ever let God direct my entire day.  I have an agenda, you know.  I imagine God just watching me do this and that while all He desires is for me to be still and listen to Him.  I need to purchase that book.

Sheila Seiler Lagrand  – (February 28, 2012 at 6:49 AM)  

God-given rest. 

What a gift. I need to listen better. 

donnapyle –   – (February 28, 2012 at 7:34 AM)  

Isn't it amazing? We feel like God is calling us to go, go, go for Him, but so often He just wants us to be still and know that He is God. He refuels us on those wonderful days. Thanks for this great reminder.

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:11 AM)  

I love the book, too! I saw it for sale at Relevant, but didn't buy it. Then a colleague and friend came into work one day and said, "I have the perfect book for you - you HAVE to read this," and when I looked at the book, it was "Jesus Calling." I finally stopped resisting and bought it on Amazon that day, and I've found nearly every day's devotion since then to be spot-on!

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:12 AM)  

Oh yeah, I typically have an agenda every day, too. I think I was so exhausted from the funeral the day before, that I didn't even have the energy to resist the message I was hearing. But that's rare -- usually I am go, go, go.

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:12 AM)  

Me, too, Sheila -- I think this was the first time in my life that I really, truly heeded.

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:25 AM)  

It was definitely a refueling day - I had no idea how much I simply needed to do nothing.

Thanks for stopping by, Donna!

Sheila Seiler Lagrand  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:58 AM)  

And how rich the reward! You inspire me, Michelle. 

Sharon O –   – (February 28, 2012 at 9:19 AM)  

Yes doing nothing is wonderful. It is where rest comes in and nurtures our hurting hearts, it is where creativity can begin again as we are quiet and listen, it is peaceful. It is healing. Yes when God says 'do nothing'... that is a command that is worth listening to. 

Mere –   – (February 28, 2012 at 10:09 AM)  

Just finished emptying Grandma's house, closes tomorrow. I know all about the sorting of a lifetime of treasures and it is tough. I am a month behind you on the month of quiet but that is how I plan to spend March, resting and looking out my new balcony window at the well-populated birdfeeder across the street. Peace!

pastordt –   – (February 28, 2012 at 10:14 AM)  

I cannot begin to tell you how deeply proud I am of you for listening, first of all - and for being obedient We are sometimes called to days like that and given your usual speed and enthusiasm, such a call is undoubtedly tough for  you. But such days are true gifts - and given what you have been living through these past few months? I'd say it was long overdue. I actually used to give my kids days like this about once or twice a year. I called them mental health days when I could see they were getting thrashed by school. Jammies all day, lazy activities, no pressure anywhere. Sounds like that's what your kids needed, too. Believe me when I tell you, such days pay enormous dividends in your life. They really do. Thinking of you a lot these days and praying for all of you.

Nancy Franson  – (February 28, 2012 at 11:13 AM)  

I just finished watching a live-stream conversation with Eugene Peterson, talking about Sabbath. The main idea I took away is that Sabbath is God's way of reminding us that He is in charge, and we aren't. Stopping. Ceasing. Resting. All are ways of affirming this truth.

I bought a journal version of Jesus Calling, on clearance when Borders was going out of business. So many of my friends have recommended it. I'm still working my way through Peterson's Solo, though, and have stopped for a Lenten devotion series. I guess I sort of stockpile devotionals. Trusting the timing will be right when I work my way to it.

soulstops –   – (February 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM)  

Good for you, is a hard thing to do...listen then obey God and rest when we want to do...could so relate ...cheering for you :)

Linda Chontos –   – (February 28, 2012 at 12:00 PM)  

I wonder why it is so hard for us to believe that He really doesn't require us to be busy every moment. I love this Michelle.
I am also loving your Devotional for Lent. Thank you so much for making it available to us.

mamaabby –   – (February 28, 2012 at 1:17 PM)  

Oh friend.  I had a smile on my face reading this whole post...smiling to know that you listened and obeyed each 'no' and that he led you the sweet way of quiet and literal rest.  Sometimes, so many times, this is the most counter-cultural, radical thing any of us can do...and I smiled to think of how much of this extended time for me has been resting and quiet and just being with Him.  Rest and preparation.

And I love the wilderness post...I don't think that I had read it before?  But it is just so beautiful and one for you {and us} to keep coming back to.  I love the words of Jeremiah:

Thus says the Lord:“The people who survived the sword    found grace in the wilderness;when Israel sought for rest,3     the Lord appeared to him from far away.I have loved you with an everlasting love;    therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." Jeremiah 31:2-3 

Jan Macy –   – (February 28, 2012 at 1:55 PM)  

Yes - WE have an agenda every day.  And too often I don't ask God about it ahead of time.  I just expect that he will bless me & will be with me in it.  

This post reminded me that I'm so selfish.  I need to be asking God for my agenda every day.  

What a beautiful post.  
Thanks so much

Gaby  – (February 28, 2012 at 2:25 PM)  

God is so good to us that He even knows when we most need to rest. I am glad to know you did. 

Megan Willome  – (February 28, 2012 at 2:49 PM)  

So glad you did that. It's pretty darn wonderful, isn't it?

Harriett –   – (February 28, 2012 at 4:02 PM)  

He tells me that a lot. *tee hee*

Glad you got a day of rest as He wants them for us --

God planned the week for us by His model, and boy did we turn that into being just another day of the week.

Still thinking about you and loving on you and your family with this loss .... from afar.


Dea Moore –   – (February 28, 2012 at 8:32 PM)  

The one thing you did other than nothing was this: you obeyed. And that is a beautiful thing.

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:46 PM)  

So glad you like the devotional, Linda! I was worried it would be too dark -- I wrote most of it after we learned of my father-in-law's terminal cancer. (but don't worry, it gets brighter as you make your way to Easter -- which is fittingly symbolic, right?).

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:46 PM)  

Well that's true -- I hadn't even though about that, Dea! I'm usually not very good at obeying...I must have been really tired! :)

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:47 PM)  

Feeling loved, H, feeling loved. xxoo

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:47 PM)  

I have to say, spending all those hours lounging in bed was pretty great. The kids were happy watching TV, I was happy in bed.

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:49 PM)  

I'm reading Jeremiah right now -- haven't gotten to 31 yet. Thank you, thank you for sharing those words here -- I will think of you when I get to them in my reading!

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:50 PM)  

You are so right, Jan -- it SHOULD be an every day thing, asking God what He wants me to do. Why should it be such a rarity that I do that? Really good point.

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:51 PM)  

I stockpile devotionals, too. I have one by Richard Rohr on my bedstand, plus the Lent one I wrote for my church, and now Jesus Calling. I have Solo Remix, too, somewhere -- need to dig that out!

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:53 PM)  

Congratulations on a big job done, Mere. Man, it's tough, I know. My heart and thoughts are with you -- and I love the picture of you relishing a month of quiet near the window in your new place. We love bird-watching around here! xxoo!

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:55 PM)  

Diana, you are the sweetest. Thank you for loving on me so well from afar!

The rest was indeed long overdue. Even in this month of quiet, a lot of my days have been a blur of stress, worry and sorrow. That's exactly how it felt, too -- like I was called to rest. I read that devotion, on that very day, and I knew exactly what I had to do.

Thank you SO very much for your prayers and love, Diana.

Michelle DeRusha  – (February 28, 2012 at 8:56 PM)  

Oh I like that Sharon - "it is where creativity can begin again." So lovely. 

Audra Marie  – (February 29, 2012 at 12:25 PM)  

'Be still and know that I am God' - that is so hard sometimes. I'm glad God gave you rest. Enjoyed your post. :)

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