This is a guest post from my dear friend, Susan Browning. Susan lives in Sydney with her husband Richard and their two adorable boys. A worship leader, mentor and vocal coach, Susan gathers church worship leaders to equip and support them. She also travels around NSW coaching worship teams and leading worship. I would count Susan as one of my all-time favourite people, and it is a pleasure to have her as a guest blogger today.
Also, fun fact: Susan and I have never met in person. God just used the internet to put us together and now we skype and pray for each other. C. S. Lewis was so right when he said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” Susan and I say that pretty much everytime we talk.
Sydney 2018 is a major goal for me. (I’ve got a piggy bank going…)
It’s like this perpetual reminder.
You’d think I’d have learnt by now.
But no, it’s a constant current in my life and, like a thorn in my side, doing just doesn’t stop.
The art of being intentional restful is so profoundly lost in my life. I’m always thinking, always going, a hundred miles per hour. And suddenly I hit a wall. I have these moments in my life, and they somehow anchor me. They somehow remind me yet again God is the One who has this, so I can stop: striving, trying to make it happen, all that doing. But yet, it’s partly how I’m wired and partly my heart not fully trusting and knowing just how much He really does have it. It’s funny, I’ve heard it said we often preach around the messages we need to hear the loudest in our own walk. I’m not preaching per-say from a typical Sunday platform. But my life certainly does send an ongoing message. My words say: “Just be; find rest, it’s so good for you” my life says: “I can’t rest, I’m too busy with all that doing”. Whilst hustle is this weirdly glorified thing in the world these days, I feel like I’m going against the current within my own self. Constantly wrestling with how to stop, stopping for too long and getting bored or deciding I’m not stopping for nobody, or I can’t there is too much stuff for me to be doing. And that’s just it, it’s stuff. Not actually (most of the time) all that important. Not as important as making room for Him.
But then I hit a wall. Late 2016 I had Glandular Fever accompanied with chronic fatigue, and if that wasn’t enough, I had six recurrent tonsillitis infections – one hospitalising me within as much as eight months. I slowed down, needless to say. But I still felt incapacitated. Like there was this forced new rhythm in my life that I needed to bow down to. Yes, Hey Spirit was prompting me. Yes, I listened. Yes, I complained. Once I thought I was better and I started to pick up the pace, like dredging through mud I went at full speed, somehow seemingly not getting too far. And then it hit again, the six-month cycle of ongoing sickness circled about relentlessly. The all-encompassing fatigue made my legs feel like lead and doing life seemed to be at the all time snail pace I was dreading, yet my brain was running countries ahead of me and I simply couldn’t catch up. Or catch my breath. Or let’s be honest… breathe.
Being a worship leader (and one that travels) has its own limitations, it’s such a great output being a worship leader week in week out. You can only serve His Bride from a healthy overflow. This outpouring is infilled from a place of rest. He just keeps whispering: find the still waters and you’ll find me. True rest, is found in finding Him. Set my heart at rest, in His presence. Establish those deep-set roots by the stream and it is there, where strength and goodness flow into our lives. When we run at such a fast pace we can’t ‘set’ anything. It’s in the rest we reflect and we see Him fully. It’s in the rest we are fully known. Rest matters in our faith. It matters because Sabbath is commanded of us. Its demands are met only when we are obedient. We reap such a great reward and a boundless energy that boasts of His greatness and keep us running without getting weary.
If I’m honest, I’m actually weary… I’ve been running in my own strength for a little too long. I’ve been thinking somehow I knew it all, and again I’m abruptly reminded, I don’t. BUT He does. He knows everything, He knows the state of my heart along with my deepest desire to serve His kingdom wholeheartedly. It’s in those precious moments when we take it in, write it out, sing the song, dance the dance, nap, enjoy playing with our children, breathe in the autumn air, crunch a few leaves and giggle at the beauty around us. It’s in those breathtaking moments He fills our cup. Our reservoirs. When we deplete ourselves we can’t operate in kingdom mentality, because we begin to dredge up the ground where we settled all our dirt. Dirty water serves no one, and especially not a King. My heart is constantly reminded to find those places of pause and relish in them, for when we do we are exactly like the tree in Jeremiah 17:7-8:
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
We have to trust that God knows what He was doing in modelling sabbath at creation. Even He foresaw we’d be awesome at doing – because He just spent the week making the world, and that’s a lot of doing! God knows that our systems, our bodies, our fragile hearts won’t function if all we do is go. So sweet one, perhaps it is time to find some slow, to ponder in a place of pause and relish in His goodness. Find what refills your reservoir and let it pour in. We only pour out from the source we fill with. Hustle isn’t a medal to be earned, or one to be worn with pride. But a heart operating from a place of rest, now that’s something I want the world to see.
That’s something I want to model for my children.
That’s something I want to honour my Lord with. xox
For more of the good stuff from Susan, visit: