Learning to Rest

The topic of work and rest has come up a whole lot recently.

My heart has been searching for what work I would enjoy.

Where I should work, what I should do next is a constant thought.

In our home group we have been digging through Ecclesiastes.

A recent lesson in Sunday School was about energy and the importance of rest.

The topic has been in sermons, books, articles, and conversations that have come up.

And one of my favorite artists, Andrew Peterson, released a new album a few months ago with a song called “Rest Easy.”  It simply speaks to my soul (which is the case for the majority of his songs).  Here are the lyrics:

You are not alone
I will always be with you
Even to the end

You don’t have to work so hard
You can rest easy
You don’t have to prove yourself
You’re already mine
You don’t have to hide your heart
I already love you
I hold it in mine
So you can rest easy

Do not be afraid
Nothing, nothing in the world
Can come between us now

You don’t have to work so hard
You can rest easy
You don’t have to prove yourself
You’re already mine
You don’t have to hide your heart
I already love you
I hold it in mine
So you can rest easy

You work so hard to wear yourself down
And you’re running like a rodeo clown
You’re smiling like you’re scared to death
You’re out of faith and all out of breath
You’re so afraid you’ve got nowhere left to go

Well, you are not alone
I will always be with you

You don’t have to work so hard
You can rest easy
You don’t have to prove yourself
You’re already mine
You don’t have to hide your heart
I already love you
I hold it in mine
You can rest easy

 

Last year I was working two jobs and planning our wedding.  But a few months ago I had to say goodbye to my job at Lifeway.  I loved the people I worked with; I really enjoyed the job and thought I was fairly good at it.  But with the combination of an exhausting full time job, learning how to be a good wife, and migraines, Spencer and I knew I had to step away from my part-time job there.  As hard as it was to let that go, it was needed in order to provide time for me to not constantly be working.

I’ve been known to overcommit myself and work too hard.  It has been a struggle of mine since middle school.  And now, Spencer has been teaching me so much about how to rest.  As crazy as it sounds, I have to learn how to rest.  I am constantly making lists and working on something or figuring out what I need to be doing.  I am just really aware.  I always see things that need to be done.   So it is hard to not be anxious.  Stress can easily start wrapping its nasty roots around me.   I struggle with feeling bad for sitting down or not being productive.

But my view of productivity needs to change.  I need to slow down.  I need to not work so hard all the time.

I’ve been reminded that just as work was given in the garden of Eden, so was rest.

Just as we are called to work, so are we called to rest.

We need to provide time for restoration: emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Ecclesiastes talks about enjoying one’s work throughout the book.  Basically, if you are able to do something that glorifies the Lord and that you enjoy…go for it!  Just do it.  I’ve thought about this so much as we’ve studied Ecclesiastes.  And I’m asking myself all sorts of questions.

What do I enjoy doing?

What am I passionate about?

Where should I look for work next?

I don’t have solid answers yet.  But I’m so thankful to have Spencer to work through things with.  We can talk about anything, share ideas, and pray together.  He teaches me constantly.  He is amazingly supportive, extremely smart, and filled with humor.  I wouldn’t want to be on this journey of life with anyone else.  I am so thankful to be able to learn from him and learn with him.

I am learning to rest.

And I am learning that it is okay to do what you enjoy, to chase after dreams.

I am learning how to not get stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed so easily.

I am learning.

I know this was a random assortment of ideas and sentences.  But sometimes just writing them down helps so much.

 

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Support Small Businesses Today!

Starting and running your own business is hard work.  Really hard work.  And takes lots of time and energy and loans.  We have seen my parents have a vision and turn it into a reality.

My dad has always wanted to own his own business and have it be a family venture.  And even though this is a complete 180 degree turn from what he used to do, he has dove in and swam with all his might in the small business pool.

My mom was blessed to be able to raise her four kids as a stay-at-home mom, so going back to work might have been a bit out of her comfort zone.  But she has done a tremendous job putting in her share and working way over full-time to help this be successful.

This is not something where you reap rewards right away.  You pour a ton of time, money, and exertion into starting something, unsure of how it will turn out.  It takes faith, strength, patience, understanding, flexibility, and perseverance.  Thankfully the Lord has allowed the Mitchel’s to go through many things that have taught us all, especially my parents, those things.

Today has been deemed Small Business Saturday.  So go out and support small businesses!  Because in doing so, you support the families that invested so very much to see their dream become a reality.  Instead of making purchases at big chain stores and instead of eating at overrated chain restuarants, buy quality merchandise and food at small, family owned stores and restaurants.  Your money will help them buy a house big enough for their family, visit their relatives, help their children go to college, let their daughters have nice weddings, support missions, and so much more.  And you help give people jobs.  Believe me.  It’s true.

Show your support of small businesses today!

Thanksgiving Mitchel Style

This year for thanksgiving we traveled to Franklin to spend it with my family.  It was a full house with us and Chaco (our lab retriever/husky one and a half year old dog), Chip, Alli and Austin, Amy, my parents and their two dogs Oakley (the 80 pound lab puppy) and Rudy (the old and wise Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) and the cat named Kitty.  It was a completely full house.  Times can get chaotic when everyone is together in a not so large space, but we appreciate times like these because only the Lord knows where we will all be in the future.  So we treasure this time together.

My dad has always stressed the importance of family.  He worked so hard with every job he had in order to provide for us.  Family means so much to Spencer and I.  We can’t wait to see how God knits our family together in the upcoming years.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite times.  We have a tradition of passing around a bowl of corn kernels   after the meal, and you some out and for each kernel share something you are thankful for.  It has always been a sweet time.  This year we didn’t have any kernels; they are probably packed in a box somewhere as my family is in a rental house.  So we used rolls instead 🙂  But it was a very special time.

It has been so nice to have a break from work.  We needed this time to relax and rest.  Even if our bodies won’t let us sleep in, it is nice to have the option of just staying in bed.  Watching cable tv is a luxury.  Wearing sweatshirts brings comfort.  Sharing laughter brings happiness.  It had been a treat to be able to help the family out with a few things for the business adventure as they opened store number two Wednesday.  We were so glad to be able to pitch in and do little jobs to help out since my parents and sister work so very hard all the time.  But of course we find time to have fun together too!

Even though there were several things about this Thanksgiving that seemed out of the ordinary (like spending a couple hours cleaning yogurt machines), and some might have changed certain circumstances (like trying to cook the meal in a small kitchen), if there is anything my family has learned through the years it is how to support each other and stick together.  You never know what to expect with the Mitchel family.  And I’m so thankful I was raised in it.  And now as Spencer and I continue are journey together we can’t wait to start our own traditions and continue ones we hold dear from our families.  We definitely have so much to be thankful for…daily.

on this day of thankfulness, don’t forget about the least of these

Americans tend to get swallowed up in themselves.  Food, toys, tv, cars, phones and data plans, and so much more engulf us quickly.  Materialism is an epidemic.  That is obvious by how crazy people get on Black Friday.  Stores are even opening tonight, which we have heard called Greed Thursday.  People can spend a day, or part of a day, in gratitude, and then just a few short hours later can literally run people over in the name of a good deal, and greed.

But there are major crises going on around the world right now.  As much fun as gathering with friends and family, cooking, and parades are, the body of Christ cannot lose sight of what people are enduring outside of our kitchens and homes and stores.  Don’t get me wrong, I will be the first to day people need to take time to be thankful.  Gratitude is something that has also been lost in our American culture.  I’m thankful people are thankful today.

But it seems crazy that there is a parade going on in New York City when just miles away are people who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy.  What would happen if all the money that went into the parade and all the people standing around watching it went and helped those who were left homeless and hungry and cold?

What would happen if the church started to intentionally pray for the people in the Democratic Republic of Congo?  So many are even oblivious to what is going on there right now.  It is horrific.  Read about it here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20427682  I have dear friends who have been in the adoption process and are so close to bringing home their son, Tyson, from the DRC.  They just await the final ok to jump on a plane and get him.  He is in the city of Kinshasa, which is where the rebels are threatening to go next.  Please join us in praying for Tyson and the people of the DRC.  If you would like to financially help our friends be able to travel to the DRC, you can buy these wonderful ornaments.  100% of the proceeds go to their adoption of Tyson.  http://www.adoptionisgood.com/?p=439

 

 

 

What if Gentiles reached out to the Jewish people?  Israel has always been in turmoil.  And since I traveled there with a team from Union in 2010 it has gained a special place in my heart.  Recently, they have endured much.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20444499#TWEET384692

Part of my heart was left in Haiti when I went there after the earthquake.  And it constantly astounds me how the poorest country in the world can be so very close to the richest country.  This article talks about how Americans make up half of the richest 1% of the world:  http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/04/news/economy/world_richest/index.htm

As we give thanks today for our lives of abundance, let us not forget to fall on our knees and offer these hurting people, these dire situations, these tragic events to the Lord.  May we not forget the least of these.

My First Dabble in Painting

I’m not very artistic.  But I love figuring out my own ways to be creative.  We had a canvas lying around and I had a thought.  I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a pack of 2 canvas’ with a 40% off coupon (of course).  They ended up being about $5.  And I had some acrylic paint already.  So then I got to work.  It was a fun process.  And they didn’t turn out too bad.

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I used a paint pen for the words, which are lyrics to three hymns which were sang at our wedding.

The middle one has two lines from “In Christ Alone.”  My dear dear friend Natalie sang that during our ceremony when we had eucharist and washed each other’s feet.

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The one on the left has lyrics from the first verse of “Be Thou My Vision,” sung at our wedding when our grandparents walked in by our sweet friend Alice.  (Definitely definitely check out her music:  http://www.alicecalvery.com  and you can find her on iTunes.)

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And lastly the one on the right, sung before our ceremony by Alice, has lyrics to “Come Thou Fount.”

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Well that’s it.  They aren’t perfect.  But I’m ok with that.  I had fun.  And they hang in our house, and we like them.  Maybe I’ll come up with another painting soon.  We shall see.

Lincoln

We rarely go to the movies.  It’s expensive.  And we have quite a collection of movies and shows on dvd to watch at home.  But every once in awhile we see a good movie out and go.

On our first official date summer 2011 we met up in the middle of where we both were, in Lawrenceville, GA.  I was in Montgomery, and Spence was working at Ridgecrest in North Carolina.  We spent the day together and went to see X Men: First Class.  It was the only thing worth seeing.  When we got back to Jackson that fall we went to see the last Harry Potter.  We saw the Avengers in theaters.

And this weekend we went to see Lincoln.

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We hadn’t heard much about it, but the little we had heard was good.  We both love history, and so we thought going out to the movies would be a fun way to celebrate our 5th month of marriage and Spencer’s birthday.  The movie was a long one, at 2 1/2 hours.  But it definitely kept our attention.  It was so well done.  The acting was incredible.  It was pretty historically accurate.  And it made us both leave with a greater appreciation for American history.  We left wanting to learn more about that time period, which wasn’t that long ago.

The movie makes you cringe at some parts, as you wonder how people can think certain things.  It makes you want to cheer at some parts, as you see men stand up for what they believed in and knew to be right.  And it fosters great conversation afterward.  We would definitely recommend it!

Adoptions

Recently we have had so many conversations about adoptions, been involved with fundraisers for adoptions, or been researching for our own adoptions.  It just seems to be an abounding topic these days.  It brings so much joy to my heart to learn of people in our community of Jackson adopting.  And I love learning about the creative ways they are all raising money to fund their adoptions….cookbooks, clothing swaps, earrings, and all sorts of wonderfully creative things.  In fact, some friends in Montgomery, AL that are very dear to my heart are coming quite close to bringing their son home from the DRC!  And they have a friend selling these awesome ornaments as a fundraiser for them.  Definitely check them out here (and buy some!):

http://www.adoptionisgood.com/?p=439

Adoption is a topic that we are passionate about.  Hopefully we can start the adoption process in the near future.  And my sweet little sister has started a fundraiser for us.  I cannot describe how proud I am of her.  She is selling some really wonderful burlap wall art pieces with Bible verses.  She gave one to me last year for Christmas and I just love it.

Check out her website here:

http://amy4orphans.webs.com

It will be an exciting journey these next few years as the Lord unfolds His plan for our lives and family.  He is good and faithful, and we will proclaim that no matter how hard circumstances get.  It is a beautiful thing to see the church working together to look after the orphans of the world.  May the Lord continue to stir a love for the least of these in His people.