opportunity: when rest is an opening to God’s presence

Do you struggle with having tunnel vision of the kind where you get so focused on the tasks before you that you miss a golden opportunity for rest that is sitting within reach? I do. We struggle to see the light as our vision narrows and there seems to be no way of escape from where we are situated.

It happens frequently when my work with words consumes me. It’s hard to pause or come up for air when we’re dying to get things done and putting pressure on ourselves, even if our energy is limited and we’re chronically ill.

woman in a tunnel can see no way out - opportunity - quote (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

But what if we could seize an opportunity to stop, breathe, be in the moment, would we welcome it? Might we begin to notice more than we did before? Though I long to press on with those things that are important to me, I quickly tire and reach burnout before I know it. Before that happens, I need to slow my soul and take a break. We could all benefit from seeing times of rest as opportunity, rather than sheer necessity.

As I recently pulled myself away from a thorny writing problem I was wrestling with, and sat resting in my bedroom, I could feel sun’s warmth on my neck like a soft caress. It felt like an invitation and opportunity rolled into one. Soul-care spots are like refreshment stations, refuelling us when we get dry, depleted and drained.

While I rested, I sensed God’s holy presence permeating my soul, His voice whispering wisdom, and His love wrapping me in a holy hug. Just as the sun was relaxing my tense neck, God’s presence was ironing out the knots in my mind and heart.

opportunity - quote - Soul-care spots are like refreshment stations, refuelling us when we get dry, depleted and drained - garden - bench (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

Though taking opportunity to pause is something I have to practice on a daily basis, there was something different about this one. In sensing presence, I was reminded of other times and places when God speaks to me. And He will do the same for you too.

Sensing presence

You are sun’s warm caress upon my neck
wind gently rustling through spring leaves
chattering voices as people go off to work
each day’s gift of grace and opportunity

I sense you in the womb of my bedroom
I sense you when I am weary as can be
I sense you in days hard to get through
I sense you softly speaking love to me

You’re in the marvellous and the mundane
your footprints are just waiting to be found
my responses to you may not be the same
but we always meet on your holy ground

I sense you less when my soul is darkened
I sense you more when I’m washed clean
I sense you most when I’m not hardened
I sense you speaking in my dreams

You are reaching out continually
seeking to gain my soul’s attention
hoping I will finally hear and see
develop deeper comprehension
Β© joylenton

opportunity - sensing presence poem excerpt (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my five-minute-friday poem in community here, as we write on this week’s prompt of “opportunity.” You are welcome to join us and read the great variety of posts being shared here.

Let’s conclude by giving praise to the God of all our days, all our ordinary moments, whether they’re busy or restful, hard or hope-filled. God delights to provide the shelter, strength and wisdom we need to carry on.

20 thoughts on “opportunity: when rest is an opening to God’s presence

  1. I love reading your words. Seeing rest as an opportunity and not a necessity is something I’ve been working on. Winter hit me hard this year in a lot of ways and it’s almost as if God needed to get my attention to remind me I have everything I need in Him. Thank you for writing from such a deep place in your soul.

    • Mary, I am liking how this post spoke to you but not your winter of discontent. I’ve struggled through similar things and they can drain the soul of hope and joy. Yet even (especially?) our bleakest times serve to remind us of our dependence on God. It’s a pleasure and blessing to see you here and receive your kind encouragement. May you experience healing in the deep places and be able to rest in God’s all-sufficiency for your every need. Sending prayer, gentle hugs and love to you across the pond. xo πŸ’œ

    • Hi Jerralea, thanks for visiting and letting me know the poem resonated with you. May God grant you the ability to welcome rest and the opportunity it provides to heal and come into His presence. Bless you. 🌷🌼

  2. Dear Joy,
    Oh, yes, I have so much more to learn about seeing rest as an opportunity not as a necessity, or worse as a punishment! I have only begun on that road, and your words touched me so deeply. This stanza especially spoke to me:

    “I sense you in the womb of my bedroom
    I sense you when I am weary as can be
    I sense you in days hard to get through
    I sense you softly speaking love to me.”

    His voice whispers through the call to rest, as He has so much to give in that place where I feel least likely to receive. It is a mystery to me, still, but I am beginning to heed His call. OH that I would let Him take that deeper in me. Thank you for these precious words today my dear friend! Gentle hugs and love to you! xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, your words here truly hit home to me: “His voice whispers through the call to rest, as He has so much to give in that place where I feel least likely to receive.” Yes, it’s a beautiful mystery of grace I have experienced many times. Our weakness and weariness are no deterrent to God’s ability to work in and through us. If anything, they provide more room for Him to do as He wishes. I see that every time I read your posts. Though the subject matter can be painful, your words shine with God’s grace and love. His work in you is wonderful to behold. Thank YOU for yielding and listening so that others can benefit and be blessed. Gentle hugs and love returned to you, dear friend! xoxo πŸ’œ

    • Wow, really?! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such an encouraging comment, Andrew. It means a lot to me. And I have wondered if you’d considered compiling your superb sonnets into a book? They’re too good to lose. I admire your gift for poetic expression and ability to write such raw and powerful words, often laced with wry humour as well. It’s quite a talent you have. Blessings and grateful hugs! πŸ’œ

    • Hello Shirley, thank you so much for revealing what spoke to you in this post, and for your kind encouragement. God has given me the word “deeper” to focus on this year, and it seems to be drawing thoughts and poetry from the depths of my soul as I listen and learn. Bless you, friend! ❀

  3. Joy, I can so identify with you. It’s hard to stop and rest when we’re struggling with a writing project or just other busyness. But you are right, we need to stop, breathe and rest in God’s presence often, not just when we are so exhausted we have to stop. “We could all benefit from seeing times of rest as opportunity, rather than sheer necessity.” AMEN Blessings and love to you, dear Joy! I’m about to take my journal outside and sit on the porch for awhile without my phone, and just rest. Thanks for your sweet encouragement, as always!

    • Thank you for your encouraging words, Gayl. Once more, I am needing to pay attention to those God gives me to write. When they’re quoted back to me they hit me afresh and I feel convicted by not always putting those things into practice. Time to shut down the tablet and get some sleep! Enjoy your restful moments on the porch and the lovely view you have there. Goodnight! May God bless you with His peace as you savour the precious switching off time your soul needs. Love and hugs! xo 😊❀

  4. Good morning Joy, I saw you were back online. How are you my dear writing friend? Your poem here is powerful, speaking words of humanness to Him that I for one lack. Thank you. In Christ, Julie

    • Hello Julie, it’s lovely to see you here, my friend! I’m slowly dipping into a few people’s posts and places as energy allows, though I’m feeling just as weary as I was a few weeks ago. It’s taking far longer than I thought it might to become less exhausted and more rested. This post was written in June and I am still in recovery mode, not quite ready to resume blogging yet. I’m glad you like the poem! I’ve written a few since taking my break, so I will hopefully have something to draw on when I return. Sending blessings and love to you xo πŸ’œ

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