Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Peace Days and Sailboats

I’ve declared today a “Peace Day.”

A day during the week where you give yourself the opportunity for some peace and quiet. Some soul rest. Some heart harbouring.

For anyone who lives with a mood disorder, {like chronic depression}, or illness or stress or grief, if we don’t allow a pause in the middle of the madness, we put ourselves at risk of winding up in the pit. And when I find myself near the pit’s edge, I have to acknowledge it and ask the Lord to meet me there, and supply the opportunity instead for respite.

This means you need to be present and paying attention, being in tune with what’s healthy.

Respite is one of the healthiest things we can seek.

I’m getting very good at knowing when I need respite.

And I’m getting even better at allowing for it.

It’s funny how we humans think respite is this sign of weakness, to be pushed against, to prove ourselves industrious and hearty. We keep denying it, while wearing ourselves out with all the denial. This stigma floats around suggesting that to dwell where there’s respite is just another form of lazy.

But at some point we all need respite. All of us.

When was the last time we heeded the Spirit’s whisper to be still?

It’s when we’re still, it’s in His shadow, that we confirm the truth that He is God the Father, and we’re His children, not more mini-gods who are invincible. It’s in respite that we shift our perspective back to acknowledging His grace, and faithful tender mercies, and whatever provision and teaching He has waiting. And that He is God alone.

The healthiest place to be.

And we can’t get that in the middle of the crush of the ongoing days.

I recognized yesterday, that I would need respite today. And it was made a priority. Not because I’m selfish. Not because I’m weak. But because He designed me that way.

And I’m spending today dwelling in His respite.

His wonderful shadow where I sit with a good book, some music, and a candle shining.

His warmth where the tiny pastry blossoms emerge from the oven, smelling like apples and berries and honey, making me drool if I’m to be completely honest.

His peace magnified while I take my time rinsing Tupperware and the boatwright’s lunch containers, and marinating chicken, shuffling around in my comfy clothes, singing with the stereo.

I’m not doing anything special really, but in this scheduled respite God takes the time to do something special in me.

Making yourself a do-nothing day leaves room for God to have an intimate do-something day. With your heart. With your soul. Respite and restoration rolled into one.

I love the word restoration. It embodies the very pulse of God. Restoration. That’s His delight. That’s His master plan.

My husband, the boatwright,  was commissioned with restoring an old and very important sailboat a little while ago. There is much planning, anticipating what might be hidden, what will have to be peeled back, what could be revealed, salvaged, saved, edited out, and tossed to make room for the new finishes and parts that will have to blend with the original.

You can’t just dive in and rip things out or patch surface areas over, willy-nilly.

The process can’t be rushed. Everything goes slowly, steadily, with beauty and seaworthiness as the final result in mind. Full restoration. And my husband revels in it. To see something given back it’s purpose. So it will shine.

How much more invested in our own restoration is the Father?

And while the restoration of that sailboat takes place, in the midst of the dust and sanding and replacing, there is what? Respite.

No slapping waves. No harsh sharp sun. No pushing and fighting across the winds.

Just respite.

Like us. Time to start making time for respite. So we can be properly and fully restored by the Master Builder and Life Preserver.

And it can’t be rushed. So allow enough time. Often.

I’ve declared today a “peace day.”

And more than body puttering, and soul cooking, and heart cleaning, I reach for His respite, and discover the next restoration.

The Bible says He will carefully and purposefully mold and shape me and fill me, so I can be used to the fullest extent of His purpose for me. That’s no small thing.

We can’t take that for granted. And we can’t allot a small amount of time for that. This restoration could take a lifetime.

But will be worth it. His respite for a lifetime?

Yes, please.

So, I guess my challenge is a tender one. Will you make time soon for a peace day, for respite linked within restoration? More than apple pastries or sailboats, will you make it about Him remaking you into His proper and divine purpose?

So when you are released from His care, into the raging, sparkling, tremendous life seas, you surge forward and shine like you’ve never shone before?

11 Comments

  1. I need to learn to rest, my mind is always going. Need to learn to take a step back but don’t know how.

    • Christine Duncan

      January 21, 2015 at 3:59 PM

      James, thank you for such honesty. Some days are harder than others when it comes to resting and finding respite in Him. I think some of that has to come from trust. Do we trust God to take care of us and show us how much He has for us. Will we rest in that trust? Scripture reveals Him asking us, to “be still and know that He IS God”… in all things, and at all times. There in the shadow of His mighty wing we find rest. Praying always that you will begin to experience that more and more, James.

      • Hi James. You don’t know me. But I’m a regular reader as well as related to Christine. If I can share how I “step back”. Somedays, all I can do is take my difficult circumstances, and go “boldy” before the throne of Grace (boldy, meaning holding nothing back, tell HIM all about it) Then I say, “there LORD, you know all about it”. Now I can leave it and be assured the HE has it under control. Then I turn on my scripture cd’s and really just listen and focus on His word. I call it “on purpose” worship. It causes me to rest and sense HIS peace. I hope that helps. I also read Christine’s blog, daily and put into practice all of the precepts. I even pray through some of it and speak those things to God. Hope this can bring some peace. Blessings!

  2. I love the idea of ‘respite’ days, oh I know I need them too and treasure those days when I can read His word, journal His word and sense Him speaking to me. I love those days but its been awhile since actually planning one so I think I will take your advice and look ahead on the calendar and plan for my respite day with Jesus. Will let you know when it is!

    • Christine Duncan

      January 21, 2015 at 6:49 PM

      Respite day with Jesus! Terrific Yes, let me know how it goes 🙂 I love your eager spirit for more of Him, Jeannie! I pray others will seek Him out with the same passion.

  3. Being able to recognize when we need to take a day is a huge life-skill that many people never develop. Too many times I have pushed myself to the breaking point instead of stopping. Learning to say enough, and taking that day, or week, or month, and in one circumstance year, is hard to do, but so necessary.

    Great reminder to be still and wait!

    • Christine Duncan

      January 25, 2015 at 10:25 PM

      Hey, thanks Carrie Ann! I know sometimes I struggle because I think in terms of everyone else’s pace around me, and then I pay for it when I try for too long to keep up the rush. But I’m learning to trust when the Spirit says, “you’re going to need rest soon…” and I force myself to pay attention to my health. And life is just better with days and moments of rest! lol

  4. This is beautiful. I have found that rest really requires trust. And more importantly, He can be trusted.

    • Christine Duncan

      January 25, 2015 at 10:28 PM

      Hi, welcome to the blog, Michelle, and thanks so much! That’s a great point, trust and rest go hand in hand don’t they? Trusting Him to supply every need, means we can really have peace.

  5. Good suggestion. We all need to take time to rest in His arms.

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