[The Lord is with you. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love.] Zephaniah 3:17
Have you ever held a baby or small child who was crying, upset or very unsettled?
I have and have become aware of the fact that if I hold them close and whisper softly to them they would settle down and slowly I would feel the resistance leave as they lean into my shoulder and stop the fight.
I think this word picture could be the same for us and our relationship with Jesus.
“He will quiet you with his love.” I see this as a choice, HE WILL, because He wants to love deeply.
I had never thought of quiet love till Bonnie Gray challenged us in the book to think of it.
My personality gravitates more to quiet, peaceful people, I find it very disturbing to my spirit when people are loud and rude and non relational.
It probably goes back to some childhood issues; but really a quiet love is so much more relational and allows the freedom of growth and safety.
Learning to enjoy a quiet love is spiritual.
I often have no sound in our home, the quiet ministers to me and allows me space, like Bonnies first book, taught us about white space, in her book Finding spiritual whitespace.
It is freeing.
Many people are de-cluttering their homes and finding the process very healing and refreshing.
Removing things that have little meaning and that are taking up space that could be more useful.
In our retirement times I have chosen to have quiet interactions, walks without a lot of talking, driving with no sound on, just a quiet togetherness.
It is peaceful and surprisingly easy to do and as you find it to be a part of your every day.
We have so much that interrupts us, we must learn to choose a quiet love.
It is intentional and takes effort but it is so worth it when we make that choice.
[The Lord is with you. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love.] Zephaniah 3:17
In Bonnie Gray’s book Whispers of rest, she shares with us the importance of slowing down and forcing ourselves to rest, to breathe, (which happens to be my word of the year).
Life is busy and we can get so caught up in things that must be done we forget the healing power of rest.
[Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.] Deuteronomy 33:12
The word picture I get when I read this; is a parent carrying a child.
Remember when your little ones were small and they cuddled up to you and laid their heads on your shoulder and fell asleep in safety? Yeah that is the picture that I get.
[The beloved of the Lord rests in safety— the High God surrounds him all day long— the beloved rests between his shoulders.] Deuteronomy 33:12
[and you will have confidence because there is hope; you will be protected and take your rest in safety.] Job 11:18
[I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.] Psalm 4:8
Allowing ourselves time to rest and restore our weary spirits is vital to our health.
[And I say, “O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest;] Psalm 55:6
[He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”] Exodus 33:14
[Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.] Psalm 116:7
[Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.] Matthew 11:27-29
[so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.] Ist Corinthians 2:5
Are we getting the picture of rest?
Have you ever been so tired that your spirit aches and your fatigue is so over bearing you cannot think?
We must learn to rest. It is allowing ourselves the ability to stop and renew before pressing on.
Bonnie’s book Whispers of rest has challenged me to slow down, and listen to what my spirit needs.
Can I challenge you to do the same?
Jesus said for us to abide in His love.
What does that mean for us?
To remain steadfast and continue in faith; to wait for and accept; to reside or continue in a condition; attitude or relationship.
To abide in his love is to hold tight to what He told us.
To stay firm in relationship with Him.
When I was a teen there was a time in my life when I had a prayer answered in a very powerful and mighty way.
It made me solid in my belief. It fortified my faith. It strengthened my knowing and desire to know more.
After that experience I knew that nothing would ever remove me from HIS love; for He heard the cry of my heart.
He answered the plea of a young teen, it was actually more of a challenge.
Show me WHO you are, then I will believe. He heard and answered.
Was it deserved by me? No.
That didn’t matter to the God who heard my prayer.
HE knew I needed something concrete and solid so I could remain in his love and accept it.
It is easier for us to accept something from someone when we know they are sincere in their intentions.
Learning to abide is a life choice. It is where we choose to reside and live.
Just as we have chosen physical homes where we find comfort and safety, we can find that in God’s love too.
[O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides] Psalm 26:8
[You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty] Psalm 91:1
[My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.] Isaiah 32:18
[As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.] John 15:9
Learning to abide is a life choice, a decision from our heart, and a very peaceful truth.
[Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.] Psalm 37:4
[He brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.] Psalm 18:19
[Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver— let him rescue the one in whom he delights!] Psalm 22:8
It is clear to me and I hope to you that God loves us with a powerful love.
I looked up the meaning of delight for reference and this is what I found.
A high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture: to be pleased.
Isn’t it amazing that we give God delight?
He delights in you.
Have you ever watched a beautiful moment and had that ‘wonderful’ feeling?
I think we all have. We delighted in the person, or situation because it was good.
It left us with a warm wonderful feeling.
In Bonnie’s book Whispers of rest, she challenges us to accept and believe and begin to process how delightful we are in the eyes of God.
It’s not an easy assignment especially if one has had a struggle with esteem or broken images of ourselves.
Not many of us were told when we were growing up we are delightful to someone.
It is not a common word to use, yet God did.
Why did God use it? because it gives value.
When I turned fifty I purchased diamond ear rings for myself.
I still find delight in them for they meant something special to me.
Before that I was given a diamond band by my husband and it also gives me delight when I think of him processing how he was going to purchase it. How he involved our daughter in the secret to give me a perfect fit.
When I turned sixty I purchased a diamond vintage ring and band for myself to symbolize sixty years.
It still gives me a feeling of delight for it was special and meaningful.
We are special and meaningful to God. The God who loves us with a deep and intimate heart.
He says to us over and over:
[I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.] Jeremiah 31:3
Jesus said: [As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.] John 15:9
Can we begin to learn to accept how delightful we are?
It really is a heart choice. Words of affirmation are building blocks to healing.
Are we ready to accept them?
“You are my beloved…in you I take delight.” Mark 1:11
In Bonnie’s book, whispers of rest, she gives us a challenge to believe that we are the beloved of God.
I looked up the definition of that word so I would understand what I was grasping.
There is great depth to this simple word.
It is Beloved: greatly loved, cherished and precious, dear to the heart.
You are… that is identity. Who you are. YOU are loved.
Then the rest of the verse says “I”… that means who is saying it, that would be God for it’s his word.
In you, I take delight. The father says that to us.
Did you ever feel that or experience that growing up? I didn’t.
The reference verse is this:
[At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God’s Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”]
Read it again.
“You. Are. Chosen and marked. by my love.”
We can allow ourselves to grasp this for ourselves even though it was meant for Jesus.
Another version says:
[And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”]
Have you ever felt the feeling of pleasing someone in a deep meaningful way or felt like that for your children?
That is what this is saying. I take delight in you, I am pleased with you. I Love you with a deep love.
It is powerful.
I pray that as we continue to explore some of these word choices we begin to get a grip of God’s deep love for us.
This is a Ted talk, it is about 30 minutes long and really good. I challenge you, to listen and take notes.
I could listen to it again.
“If I make my bed in the depths, you are there…if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there…your right hand will hold me.” Psalm 139:8-10
As a survivor of childhood trauma it has been very hard for me to trust.
It has been even harder to share matters of the heart with anyone.
Have you ever had someone share something that was fragile to you and they nonchalantly shared it not thinking of confidentiality?
Yeah, it is hard to learn to confide when one has had a history of ‘non-trust’.
I have had to dig deep and learn to choose who is worthy or who has shown me their ability to keep confidences.
When I was in counseling I knew that whatever I told my therapist HE could not and would not share it to anyone.
The only way they can legally share, is if there is a life threatening issue or abuse that must be shared with authorities.
I knew that my ability to share was conditioned by HIS ability to listen and keep quiet.
In the book Whispers of Rest, Bonnie challenges us to share matters of the heart with the Lord.
To confide the deepest places so that it can be not hidden anymore.
The Holy Spirit is a good listener.
Bonnie challenges us to take a walk physically and talk to the Lord.
I find myself talking throughout the day, not in a prayer with my eyes shut, just an ‘I am here and I know you are here listening.’
As the verse says, YOU are HERE wherever I am and you hold me, you are present.
When we touch another one, it is says “I am with you.”
Your right hand will hold me.
Sometimes when we are sharing deep matters of our hearts, it is comforting to have someone lean in and show us they truly are in the moment with us.
I heard a wonderful Ted talk the other day I am going to post here.
It is about trust, confidence and truth telling. It is about choosing to confide and making a right choice.
It is incredibly challenging. Learning to confide is a gift we can give to ourselves, it is freeing.
So long as we confide to the right person.
Do you try to be that type of listener? Non judging, caring and sympathetic to the words?
Learning to confide is a gift. Let’s do our best to make it worth it to be a good listener.
The next word Bonnie uses in her book “Whispers of Rest” is come.
It is an invitation to move in a new direction and to take a risk.
“Come to me, all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk 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 will learn to live freely and lightly.
For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
The word come means to arrive by movement.
It is purposeful, with the intention of moving forward.
Bonnie challenges us to enter into a quiet space, so that we can be restored and rested.
I love the line ” learn the unforced rhythms” reminding me of a teachable moment.
In order to do anything well and often we must learn it.
Let us find rest for our souls as we learn to breathe and move forward.
In Bonnie’s book Whispers of rest, she said, “If we turned back to only what we know, we would miss out on the beautiful journey God has for us.”
I don’t know about you but I thrive in familiar places. I do not like to be out of my comfort zone.
I find safety in what is known, and what I am sure of. But agree with me that sometimes staying in that rut of familiarity hampers our ability to see things new or different.
When we went up to Seattle it was new, and noisy and I felt out of ‘my zone’ for sure.
Some of it was pretty but it was not home for me. I was not familiar with the town.
The same for when we flew to Hawaii. I learned to breathe and breathe more as our plane entered the air space.
I was not familiar with anything in Hawaii, but I allowed the journey to teach me lessons that needed to be learned.
As I ventured into the ‘not sure’ places such as wearing a swimsuit on a public beach.
Walking gently into the warm tropical water, and allowing it to be felt even if it was for a short amount of time.
I felt comfortable for the first time in years. Comfortable in who I was, as a middle age grandma, comfortable in my suit. I did not feel like I had to hide or withdraw.
I noticed other people had them on and no one was looking at me, in fact everyone was in their own space caring about nothing. That is the way it is, in Hawaii.
I felt comfortable as I quietly learned to breathe, and experience the tropical breezes and bird noises.
“Be Still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
I did not let fear remove me from what was to be enjoyed.
Be STILL as you move away from your responsibilities and breathe in the calm.
I did not let my to do list get in the way of what was to be experienced.
Be Still as you trust in the process of what is ahead rather than what your imagination brings to you.
I can be my worst enemy with imaginings of what could or might happen that is possibly unsafe.
Be still as you look around right where you are and see the beauty that is all around you.
I can focus on the sinking sand under my feet or look up and be blessed by the beauty of the tropics.
It is all about choice and learning to breathe. Learning to enjoy the moments.
Last year I wrote about our journey in our trailer exploring many different places we were not familiar with.
It is good to step away from our chores and our responsibilities and just rest in God’s love for us.
Mark 6:31 “Come away with me by yourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”
This book is life changing. Challenging. Truth telling and wonderful.
Author of “Whispers of Rest”, “Finding Spiritual Whitespace”, speaker & friend. TheBonnieGray.com
I challenge you to get the book and follow the guided videos.
You will be challenged and blessed.