The fuel gauge on this soul wasn’t on E for Enough, it was on E for Empty and Exhausted. How do we restore the soul?
Life is exhausting at times. Demands come from everywhere. Things start to fall apart and you’re that little less patient. Anxious and depressive thoughts gain a strength of their own, but you have to keep going.
David the shepherd scribes these words that have brought hope to many.
He restores my soul. Psalm 23:3
Seems David also knew what it was like to have an empty soul.
No superman cloak on him. He was flesh and blood like us. Subject to making bad choices and reaping whirlwind storms of havoc.
Yet he knew who restored him.
A dose of ye·sho·v·vev naf·shi
The word ‘restore’ in Hebrew is the word ‘ye·sho·v·vev’ meaning ‘to turn back, return’.
When I first read that definition I immediately thought of returning back to being with God in the Garden of Eden. That the call was to return to where the life flow came from.
When I asked in the Turning the Page facebook group about how people restore, many of the comments had a feature of connecting with nature.
The word ‘naf·shi’ means ‘a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion’. Would that capture the deepest desire you have? A desire, passion, an appetite and emotion.
Only God can return me back to whom I was always meant to be. Fully alive with holy desires, passions, appetites and emotions.
A time, a place, an activity
If you want to empower God to restore, you will need to allow them to guide you in three areas.
- A time. It could be a long length of time from a few weeks to just a few sweet minutes remembering God is the holder of all time.
- A place. The place of restoration could be anywhere because God is everywhere.
- An Activity. ‘Not another activity’ you might well cry, but this is different. Doing ‘nothing’ is actually doing something. Sitting still, silent, and mindfully listening is just as much as an activity as making a cake or writing a poem.
My friend Tim Page wrote this response in the Facebook Group.
200m from shore on a kayak, on a sunny day.
Playing a resonant acoustic guitar with new strings.
Riding waves on a west coast beach.
The greatest barrier to the restore is you
We can put up all sorts of excuses.
‘I’m too busy, I’ve got all these things to do and I just can’t squeeze in anytime for me.’
Well, this is not just about you. It’s about time with the presence of God wanting to do good things in the relationship.
Let me put it this way.
If you knew that Jesus, Spirit (Holy) and Father was physically sitting in your lounge wanting to spend some time with you, wouldn’t you leave household chores (not saying they aren’t important) for a few restoring moments? Luke 10:38-42
If you were out fishing on a boat and you saw Jesus on the shore, wouldn’t you jump into the water and swim to be with him. John 21:7-9
It’s all about noticing the invitations from God to a time, a place and an activity.
A permission slip
As a child, I often had to leave school to go to various appointments. My parents would give me a permission slip to hand to the teacher so I could leave school and attend the appointment.
God has a permission slip ready for that part of you that needs to restore.
The Spiritual practice of restoration is an invite not just to restore who you are, but also to add strength and resilience to your relationship with God. There is an invitation with an R.S.V.P that should not be ignored.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:29-30
Quotes to consider
- Almost everything will work if you unplug it for a few minutes … including you Anne Lamott
- Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee. Augustine
- Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest. Mark Buchanan
Question to answer
If Jesus was to come up to you and hand you a permission slip. What would it say?
I give permission for _____ to leave _____ at this time ______ and join me at ____ (place) to _____ (activity).
Image: Ciprian Boiciuc