A couple weekends ago, we visited some friends who pastor a church in WV – Tim and Susan May. It was an incredibly relaxing and refreshing weekend. At the end, we prayed together and afterwards, Tim told me that while we were praying he pictured the woods behind our house that I had described the evening before, the woods that I don’t go into because there are snakes in there. He said he thought he received a word for me that went with the picture: that God has prepared a place of rest for me, but that I don’t go into it because of the “snakes.” However, I don’t have to be afraid of the snakes, and the place of rest is readily available to me if I would just enter into it.
I knew it was a word from God. What Tim didn’t know was that God has been impressing the theme of “rest” on my heart for the past 6 months. I’ve even taught on it twice! And I have been feeling very tired (spiritually, emotionally, physically), even though I’ve made significant advances in the area of rest.
On the way home, I was racking my brain trying to figure out what this meant – what was the forest? what were the snakes? what am i missing? i thought i had done enough to respond to and apply the “rest” message? have i failed? in what ways? what do you want from me, God??? if i could figure it out, i would have by now! please show me the answer!!!
As soon as I opened the door to our house, I got hit with this wave of emotion: “I hate this place. I felt more at home at Tim and Susan’s than I do here.” It was the first time I ever have felt this way about our home. In disgust and frustration and exhaustion, I set myself immediately to cleaning, organizing, and preparing – after all, we had a church meeting that was starting in 2 hours.
It was only a couple days later, when relating this story to a colleague at work, that I realized God had answered my prayer with that wave of emotion. The place that could be a source of rest for me, but I’m not preparing it or using it in that way, is our home. For 2 years, it has functioned as a convention center – which I have loved. But in serving as the Director of Operations for the convention center, I have neglected to take the steps to also have our house function as our family’s home – a place that is relaxing, rejuvenating, and restful for us.
Some of this will be alleviated when our church services move to another building (!!!), but there still are two essential elements to the word God had for me that I must move on now: 1) prepare your home to be a place of rest, and 2) use it as a place of rest.
To that end, I hung curtains in our room this past weekend — something I’ve been putting off for 4 years. And, wow, what a huge difference they made in how welcoming and relaxing our bedroom feels!