stop and eat your muffin

We are creatures who find satisfaction in doing and seeing. We live in a culture where every waking hour is scheduled, and there is insane pressure to fill it with all things valuable.

And unfortunately, real rest isn’t valued or encouraged like it should be.

But here’s the deal: if we don’t ever just stop, then we will eventually burn out.

So here I was, insanely exhausted from the past week. I rushed out of work Friday to get home, finish packing, and then Mitchell and I headed off to Estes Park to camp for the weekend. We hit traffic getting up there, and didn’t end up setting up camp until nine at night. Because we were both exhausted, we set up camp as quickly as possible, got cozy in our sleeping bags, and tried to squeeze in as much sleep as we could before the alarm went off.

At 5:30 AM we busted our humps to get up, get ready, and head out to find the elk. For the next three hours we hiked and marveled at the elk.

Both with grumbling tummies we climbed into the car and decided we just couldn’t wait any longer to eat something. So, we pulled over on the side of the road, set up our camping chairs facing an incredible view, pulled out our yogurt and muffins, and savored every bite.

Best decision ever.

Here we were, in the middle of a free day at Rocky Mountain National Park, while endless cars zoomed past us, elk were rutting, there were mountains to climb, and things to do, and we decided to just stop in the middle of it all to breathe and eat our muffins.

And while I was sitting in my camping chair, blueberry muffin in hand, gazing upon the glorious Rockies, it hit me.

Sometimes in life you just have to stop and eat your muffin.

Not while driving, not during a meeting, not while standing in the elevator. But truly stop everything to sit and eat.

I am insanely guilty of filling my every moment. I just want to experience so much of life, that I overplan. Even though many of the things I am doing are things I love, it still isn’t rest.

Our Father designed us to stop and rest. Genesis 2:2-3 tells us this.

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Our Father found rest so vitally important, that he modeled for us what it looked like.

He designed His children to stop and breathe for a moment.

Our Father did not design us to go go go. He does not put the pressure on us that we can’t ever slow down or stop. We do. We have begun to convince ourselves that those who rest are weak. That those who rest lack the stamina and willpower to keep going. That those who rest are just lazy.

But, I would never deem our Father lazy, and He rested.

It is in those moments of rest we slow down enough to hear His voice, listen to our breath, or simply reflect on the joys of life.

I’m not trying to tell you that you need to find massive chunks of time continually to just completely stop everything, but rather find those little moments you can give up and intentionally carve rest into your days.

Maybe for a busy mama, instead of cooking dinner one night, they pick up pizza for their family and just enjoy each other’s company. Maybe someone could let their to-do list wait at work, and instead have a real lunch break with no work involved. Maybe for that busy college student, it means not attending that other event so they can spend a night watching their favorite show. Maybe it means leaving the dishes in the sink after dinner and enjoying an evening walk.

Whatever it may be, we were all designed with the need to stop and breathe and refocus and refuel.

And we can’t feel guilty about doing it.

We will be worth nothing if we don’t. We will be worth nothing to our family, our friends, or our coworkers if we slowly let all of our vigor for life drain out of us by never taking that moment to eat our muffin.

Most importantly, we won’t be able to be the servant and disciple our Father calls us to be if we don’t allow ourselves the moment of refreshment and renewal that is needed to go love His people and seek Him.

Value yourself enough to say no to whatever needs to be done. It can wait. You deserve a moment or two to breathe and relish in the simple things of life. You will be a better person for it.

What is your purpose?

This is one of the most sought after questions in the world. Humans run to this question as though the answer to it will give them life and solve many of their problems. They believe that once they find their purpose, they will find joy.

From early on, we ask children what they want to be when they grow up. Then, at eighteen we force them into feeling as though they have to choose their life path. After that, when they graduate and step into a career, they convince themselves that this is it. This is how they must spend the rest of their lives.

They feel pressure. They feel fear. They feel panic. And then they feel stuck.

We wonder what we were created to do? What is the legacy we will leave? How will people remember us? What is our purpose?

There are people who spend their whole life searching for the answer to this question. Switching careers time and time again. Seeking out money believing it will take care of all. Clinging to the dream of moving up the ladder and being at the top. Desiring to be recognized for their hard work and accomplishments. Finding satisfaction in their paycheck and title.

It is human nature. We sinfully desire to be recognized and have whatever we want. We believe this is our purpose and it will bring us joy.

But our Father leads us in a very different direction, and leaves the guesswork out of it. He tells us exactly what we are to do and gives us a very clear purpose.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

There you go. We are to be kingdom builders. Plain and simple.

As followers of Jesus, we are gifted with the opportunity and privilege of helping Him build His kingdom. He does not need our help, but instead, He wants it. He desires to partner with us in His work.

Therefore, our purpose is clear. We are to make disciples. We are to go out, be love, share the good news, live as we are called to live, and draw others to the conclusion that Jesus is their Savior and that our Father desires to be a part of their life.

Here’s the beautiful part about it- we all get to do it in different ways. Each through our own gifts, talents, and passions we were created with.

Daily, I have to remind myself of my ultimate purpose. To build His kingdom. So often, I allow lies to enter my mind and take over. Lies that it is my job to “fix” all of the kids that come into my room. Lies that tell me I am not doing enough, and will truly never be enough for what these kids need and deserve. Lies that tell me my purpose is to be sure they are on grade level, do their homework, and behave.

The other day though, I was reminded of my real purpose.

I have a boy in my class who battles many obstacles on a daily basis. Emotionally, mentally, physically…there is a lot going on, a lot to keep up with, and a lot to improve. But let me tell you, he has a heart of gold. I have never met a child who is so loving and has such a tender spirit. Day after day, he makes my world brighter and causes me to stop and smile when I need it most.

We as teachers had to pick one student from our class who we felt best demonstrated compassion, and they were to be recognized in a school assembly. It was an obvious choice for me.

It was a surprise, and I wasn’t quite sure how he would respond. I wasn’t sure if he would understand it, if he would want to go up front to receive his award, or if he would try and become invisible as to not be noticed. Really, I wasn’t expecting much of a reaction.

But I was so wrong.

When his name was called, without hesitation he jumped off the ground, shot his fist in the air, and yelled a very loud and enthusiastic “Yes!”

He RAN full force up to the front, and with overflowing joy, he began to dance in front of the whole school. Not for attention, but truly out of sheer happiness.

He got his award and stood up front with the biggest grin on his face.

Of course, I was struggling as I tried to hold back the sobs that wanted to escape.

There was a lot of clapping and cheering to follow, and the whole time, he glistened.

When they were dismissed to go sit back down, he ran straight into my lap, wrapped his arms around me, and said, “I won! I won!”

After explaining to him why I chose him, he gently leaned into me and sweetly thanked me.

And then it hit me. This was my purpose.

Not getting them to their reading level. Not teaching them to add and subtract. Not teaching them to remember their homework. But rather encouraging them in their kindness and loving spirit, and essentially making them feel loved and noticed.

As the tears pooled, I sat there and thought, “This is what it is all about.”

Moments like this where a person feels cherished. Where they feel noticed. Where they feel our Father’s warm embrace. They might not recognize it, but they feel it.

Maybe it’s making a patient feel heard when they come in feeling sick. Maybe it’s snuggling up with your kiddo in bed and reading a book with them. Maybe it’s helping someone with their finances and giving them the assurance they are not alone. Maybe it’s sharing a smile with someone on the elevator to make them feel noticed.

Whatever it may be, the purpose is the same for us all, but the means to get there is different. We must embrace the season of life we are in and the people that surround us. It requires us to take a step back and evaluate what our true intentions are. What is our end goal? What is it that we need to accomplish? Better yet, who is it that we need to reach?

How can we be kingdom builders?

If you want to feel alive, this is your answer. Doing the work of our Father is the most life giving task there is. Loving His people and fighting for His glory is the most honorable and humbling thing you can do. Simply do your best to make people fall in love with Jesus and join us in the race we are all running.

That is where your true purpose lies. That is what you were created to do. That is what we were all created to do. To join our Father in His mission to build His kingdom by turning His children into warriors for Him.