Rest: Rooted in thankfulness

A restful heart is a thankful heart.

The person who is truly at rest, and also continues to seek it, is full of gratitude and thankfulness for the situation they find themselves in.

This is because true rest is rooted in Jesus Christ Himself, and in an understanding that He is a sovereign King who always is at work for our best.

The restful heart gives thanks because we don’t know how it will turn out

Some of my greatest discouragements have come not from the situation in which I find myself, but in my reviewing that situation and presuming that it will continue on as it is.

I look in the mirror and think, “I’ve gained forty pounds….and I’m going to keep on gaining weight until…until…” and I imagine in my mind how bad it will be, one day, and am more discouraged than ever. Or we look at the situation our country or our world is in, and we lose heart because surely God will not intervene, and we as human beings will only continue to destroy ourselves, so therefore it’s not only a current disaster but an ongoing one.

In all these circumstances, the restful heart can choose gratitude. When we are exhausted, and the baby is crying, and we have to go to the doctor again, and the bank balance is lower than it has ever been, we have the option to say, “It’s bad, and it’s going to get worse.” But we also have the option to say, “It’s bad, and God is the King, and He is in charge of it”.

Think of the times when you were most at rest. On holiday. When the house was suddenly quiet. In the middle of a worship service. On a long walk by yourself or with the family. Playing a game with friends. A great part of your sensing rest at those times is that you are currently thankful, and for a moment the whole world is tinged with that sense of goodness. “If only it could always be like this,” we think – and we are often wise enough to say, “Well there’s no good thinking on the end of this good thing: I’ll just be grateful for what I have right now.”

And that’s what true rest does. It is grateful, and thankful, and at rest in the soul because of what is, not what might be: and that which is before us now is reviewed in light of deeper truths than what the eyes can see. “Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind,” said King Solomon. And he had much to delight his eyes.

The restful heart chooses thankfulness because it may be the only way to find rest at this time

This also serves you in good stead if you are in a season of life where rest feels impossible.

First, rest is always possible.

When we cry out that it’s not possible, that we can’t sleep because of this or that family issue or health reason or whatever circumstance we find ourselves in, we’re not understanding what true rest is.

Rest goes far beyond sleep. Far beyond a space of quiet in the house. Far, far beyond a holiday or a good film uninterrupted by children screaming.

Naturally there are practical options – asking for help, taking a day off, getting some quiet space, trying a new medication, changing your work shifts.

But when you’ve either exhausted these options or, because of a particular season in your life none of these are truly possible, thankfulness can bring you to a place of rest – sometimes, within moments.

Lying awake at four in the morning. Standing in the midst of a flooded basement with a baby screaming in your arms. Staring at the computer screen with three days of work to do and only four hours in which to achieve it. About to start another twelve hour shift. In a prison cell.

Thankfulness is always possible. Always. And it is one of the ways that the Lord brings us His rest.

Because it centres the heart – just for a moment, sometimes – and is a reminder that He is the one who brings rest. Anytime, anywhere, in any circumstance. One of my favourite verses is, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5.16)

The end of that verse is where the hope and rest is found. Your rest is in Jesus Himself. In the very personification of rest, the One who is organising all these things for your good in the end. It is for your good now, but not the way we understand good. “How can it be good if….?” we cry. But we give thanks – in everything.

The restful heart knows that unthankfulness breeds more unrest

One of the greatest reasons to give thanks is that if you are not at rest now, the single best way to destroy any hope of it is to stir up complaint.

How can you be content and quiet when your heart is a maelstrom of anger and frustration?

How do you sit at peace when you are picking and choosing the very things that destroy that peace?

You can’t, and you don’t. Because the destruction of rest is found in envy, and covetousness, and unthankfulness, and complaint.

I’ve been reading through Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy recently. I will admit to you now that it is heavy going. I find myself easily discouraged by just how much death, and anger, and striking-down, and failing, and complaint that there is. The people of God had been set free from four hundred years of slavery, but it didn’t seem to get better as they moved to the promised land.

Paul tells the story when writing a letter many thousands of years later to the new and growing church:

“Do not complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition… Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (I Corinthians 10.10)

We often take that last verse as a support through a particular kind of temptation – to seek more money, to lust after that car or that woman or that body, to take that bribe or ignore that lie. And that support is there, and the way of escape is there for those.

That way of escape is also made available for us when the temptation is to reject rest and to be ungrateful and angry.

That’s how we are able to bear it: whatever ‘it’ may be. The temptation to grumble and moan and tell the world how hard our life is: it’s “common to man”. It’s typical. We all face it, every day.

But God is faithful, and He will make the way of escape.

He has made the way of escape, through Jesus Christ.

And that way of escape is thankfulness.

Take the way. Take the escape. Come out of the dark, echoing, dripping, miserable tunnel of complaint and step out on the path of rest.


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Well. So. Small update.

Was out hiking on mull and slipped on a rock crossing a burn, and broke my ankle. (I remember hearing an audible “crack” as I went down.)

No signal on phone. Managed to climb down a ravine to get to a more open place and hopefully signal. At that point still convinced it “wasn’t that bad”. Tried to walk along the path and realised yes, it was that bad.

Phoned coast guard, who were utter legends. Sent a boat AND a helicopter. Sun was setting and they didn’t want me sitting in the dark. Oh my word it was cold. Helicoptered out to fort William hospital (nicest people ever), then down to airdrie where I got a cast.

Ankle broken in one place. Doctors pleased (as much as you can be!) it’s a clean break & lining up well. I’ll be down for 4-6 weeks.

I’ve repeated myself a lot over the last few days so here’s the short version to all the questions, with appreciation for the care.

Yes, I’m okay. I’m also utterly exhausted & have hit the “damn, this is going to be a long road” phase. Taking it one day, one hour at a time. 

I’m being looked after. Very kind friends and things being delivered. My amazing sister @secondsunrise2 flying in tomorrow from america to be with me for a few weeks. SO grateful.

What do I need? I’m good on the basics. There have been unexpected costs and more coming so if you want to PayPal monies for deliveries or getting my car & belongings back or all the taxis or whatever, feel free. I’m hardly destitute so only do that if you want to send something useful and aren’t sure what. PayPal username karenlreyburn. Amazon wishlist in bio. Random care packages also happily received!

My car & belongings are up on mull. I have people to help and we are working on timing. But if you’re on mull and want to return a car near Glasgow, let me know :)

Shout out to the Coast Guard for being so swift, & that beautiful combination of sympathy and practicality.

Download the @what3words app. Literal lifesaver.

That’s all for now. All the love. Oh - and no, I don’t hold this against mull at all. It’s still my happy place. Things happen & the mull community has been beautiful. Shout out to @treshnish who couldn’t have been kinder. ❤️
Morning walk. I stood and watched the ferry come in and the sun lighten this little edge of the world.
Been going through old photos and letters - the last of the boxes i had stored at my sister’s house in america. 

When I first moved to Scotland, I only planned to live here for a few years and then go back. Then after a few years I wasn’t ready yet…then I got my residency…still not quite ready….then started a business…then Scottish citizenship…bought a house …finally accepted this is my home and I wasn’t moving back. 

And with every visit back to the states I would go through more boxes, more photos and letters and memories. I’d keep some and throw others away; take photos out of frames and give away the frames; and as time went on I was able to distinguish between the ones I definitely wanted and needed to keep, and those which were lovely at the time but didn’t need to be saved anymore.

Over twenty years on and this past trip I went through the very last of the boxes. I joked to my sister that I’ve now officially settled into Scotland 😆 

This photo of me and my Gramps is a fave and definitely a keeper. Most of the photos and letters I’ve kept are those of family - parents, grandparents, sisters, nieces and nephews. And as much as I love taking landscape photos, I noticed that 20 years later it’s the people photos I am more likely to keep. Thankful for the traditions and patterns of seeing family every year or so since moving to Scotland. They’re small things - baking Christmas cookies and going for walks and going for road trips - but it’s the time together and the continuing family jokes and the memories which remain. And a few photos.

My grandfather (and all my grandparents) have now passed on, but I remember with fondness sitting around at their kitchen table, eating fresh vegetables from the garden, playing scrabble, laughing and talking and drinking coffee.

It’s the small things, and the rhythms of family, which last. ❤️ 
#family #memories #grandparents #oldphotos
Made fresh mince pies for the first time ever. Over twenty years in Scotland and I’d never tried to make them from scratch, so I figured…now is the time! I’m doing lots of thanksgiving baking (yes, we stretch it out here so I’m still prepping!) and decided to buy the ingredients. 

Dried fruit…mixed peel…lots of spices…and Venezuelan rum :) I made up the mincemeat last night, and then today put it in the little pastries and even cut out the wee stars to go on top!

I think I can safely say they’re the best mince pies I’ve ever had. Fresh out of the oven sprinkled with icing sugar and with a glass of said rum alongside :) 

Now we are curled up with a Harry Potter marathon, with plenty of mince pies AND a thanksgiving feast still to come. Happiness! 

#mincepies #homebaking #maryberry #maryberryrecipe #happythanksgiving #happychristmas #harrypotter #hpmarathon