My word for the year 2016: Thrive.

 
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I'm going to start by saying I was never one of those people that self-designated a word to describe "their year". It seemed too calculated and planned to be true. Besides, so much can happen in a year! How do you know which word really captures what a year holds? Basically, I was a nonbeliever. Until last semester that is.

I previously shared with you how stretched I was last year and then, my responsibilities actually multiplied in December. I made legal changes that allow me to photograph the way I wanted to, I got a promotion at work, I took an extra class/credit at school and I was asking God to provide the time to accomplish it all. I knew I didn't want to let the workload overwhelm me like it did last semester, nor was I going to let it consume me and end up burnt-out. It would require a little bit of hustle upfront and a little more sacrifice when it came to social hangs, but it would be worth it. I thought this was all I needed to survive and conquer. God probably laughed at me because I was wrong.  It would require so much more.

Most of us are more tired than we know at the soul level. We are teetering on the brink of dangerous exhaustion, and we cannot do anything else until we have gotten some rest...we can't really engage [any spiritual disciplines] until solitude becomes a place of rest for us rather than another place for human striving and hard work.

With the new year making its way through, I decided to write down some goals and traveling plans, what I wanted to accomplish this year. I picked up the book Sacred Rhythms and God began to use that book to give me insight (aka slap me with kindness) and lead me to the everlasting way [Psalm 139:24].

It all begins with rest. Which made no sense to me. But I put it to the test and I found that I did more by resting than by not taking any time off. It blew my mind. God kindly spoke to my heart and told me that this year I would thrive. And He wants the same for you. Keeping the Sabbath gave me a renewed sense of God's calling and purpose for my life in such a way that my tasks benefited from this. I could do anything—actually, everything—that demanded my attention.

Sabbath-keeping is more than just a day of rest; it is a way of ordering one's entire life around a pattern of working six days and then resting on the seventh. It is an approach to living in time that helps us honor the rhythm of things—work and rest, fruitfulness and dormancy, giving and receiving, being and doing, activism and surrender.

If you're at the brink of being burnt-out, restless and tired, this post is for you. You're not alone. You are being stretched but not beyond what you can handle. God is just trying to get your attention and realize that you can't thrive outside of Him. You can't do it on your own. Find rest.

If we dig down a little deeper we might see that our unwillingness to practice the Sabbath is really our unwillingness to live within the limits of our humanity and honor our finiteness. We cling to some sense that we are indispensable and that the world cannot go on without us even for a day.

All quotes from Ruth Haley Barton.