It’s his favourite resting place.
I have a large comfortable chair in my office. With solid armrests and comfortable cushions sometimes it’s a tussle between myself and our two dogs who gets to sit on it.
Our nervous pound pooch Tyler particularly likes it. He climbs his large body into it, does a little dance circle of three spins then plops himself down. Tucking his whole body, legs, tail, nose into a ball, he makes himself a nest where he can rest and feel secure.
He feels secure. In that little nest he feels secure.
You know what, I also need a nest. A nest of secure people, secure relationships where I can rest.
Secure relationships are where you don’t have to prove anything, be anything or do anything for acceptance.
Do you have a relationships like this? Do you provide relationship quality like this for others? Can others rest in your presence?
Years ago a counsellor called me with a request for a client. In their recovery they needed a nest of supportive relationships. I had not heard that term before so I asked further.
They explained that a nest has many different strands of building material. Each important in its own right. In recovery, they explained, there needs to be a wide range of people involved. Each person bringing something special to the recovery journey. The expertise of the psychiatrist, counsellor, nurse are important, but so are friends, family, and workmates.
Then the penny dropped. I was being asked to provide another strand into the nest of recovery. The counsellor was going to be doing his talking therapy whilst others on the team were to provide other forms of support.
We all have a nest. Relationships that nurture the process of change and formation.
Who, in your nest, invites you to a place of rest?
My mind immediately flits to the story of Jesus with Mary and Martha. Here was Mary, just resting at the feet of Jesus, secure, taking it all in. Whilst Martha was hurrying and scurrying around busy with all the guests.
As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”
The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” Luke 10:38-42 The Message
For that moment, that time and place, Jesus pointed out to everyone how Mary had chosen to rest at the feet of Jesus. There was an invitation to rest
Sometimes I want to tell some people to just stop and rest. To push pause and be silent. To take in the moment and feel the presence of God.
Resting friends know how to be still even in the midst of a storm.
In the weave of nest strands there must be those whom I can rest with.
I want to be part of, and provide the type of community that Larry Crabb describes here.
When spiritual friends share their stories, the others listen without working. They rest. There’s nothing to fix, nothing to improve. A spiritual community feels undisturbed quiet as they listen, certainly burdened . . . but still resting in the knowledge that the life within, the passion for holiness, is indestructible. It needs only to be nourished and released. Larry Crabb, Becoming a True Spiritual Community: A Profound Vision of What the Church Can Be
3 observations about people who invite others to rest.
1. They have decided that are not there to ‘fix’ others. It is so easy to slip into solving the problem, giving the answer and ‘quick-fix’ solution. Often though people just want to be listened to, acknowledged and be given space to breath.
2. They see themselves as just one strand of a relational healing community. They have a role and it’s not to be God! Seriously though God calls many different people to play various roles in the recovery journey. For the most part much of this is done by those without the degrees hanging on the wall.
3. They have a compelling vision for others that can only come about by supernatural means. Oh I just love this idea of having a compelling vision that goes beyond the here and now. Yes, the present situation may look bad, real bad, but what could this person be like in 4 or 5 years time with the right type of help, encouragement and support. The vision feeds hope into the present trouble. If you want to learn more about to develop a compelling vision then here is a free gift along with a bunch of goodies.
In this busy ‘always on the go’ world we need to have people who can call us to a place of rest. Perhaps this is something you need to cultivate in yourself. To be that person for someone else.
Quotes to consider
- The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community
- The requirement for true intimacy is chunks of unhurried time. If you think you can fit deep community into the cracks of an overloaded schedule –think again. John Ortberg
- Brokenness precedes intimacy. People relate to others at their place of greatest brokenness. Seth Barnes
- There’s a kind of a wholeness that’s missing when you try to live your life always in that place of perfection or striving. Louis Newman
- A vision we give to others of who and what they could become has power when it echoes what the spirit has already spoken into their souls. Larry Crabb
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