"Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit."
Have you had some days when you’ve been so busy fulfilling commitments and managing all of life’s daily demands that it didn’t occur to you to stop for a moment, or even slow down a little? Have you ever, at the end of a non-stop day of doing for others, sat down on a bench, or a sofa, or even the closest concrete ledge and thought, “I didn’t realize how tired I am!”
When I have a lot of unchecked entries on my to-do-list, I don’t venture anywhere near the old loveseat in my den: you know, the one that is custom-molded to my right elbow and my backside! Because I know that once I settle into that little “nest”, that is all she wrote! On a couple of embarrassing occasions, I have made the mistake of parking there to fold clothes or peel some potatoes…only to be shaken awake a few minutes or a couple of hours later (depending on how badly my husband needs his socks or his supper!).
It’s not that I need a nap every time I get a little busy. I am one of those women who, depending on how you look at it, is a procrastinator or “one who works better under pressure”. I prefer the latter (it makes me sound less like a procrastinator!). But I do know that way too often, I find myself way too busy. I can say I just have lots of people who depend on me, and that I have too many interests for my own good. But if I’m honest, I can usually blame my over-busyness on two things: failure to plan ahead, and -- this one’s a biggie -- failure to spend time with Jesus.
I was reminded of this just this morning as I searched the internet for a gift for a friend who collects Coca Cola memorabilia. One of the scores of items was a vintage poster featuring a pretty brunette perched at the ice cream counter sipping on a soda. I love vintage “stuff”, so it caught my eye right away…but then my attention was drawn to the slogan, stretched in swirling script across the bottom: “The Pause That Refreshes”. The Lord nudged me just then. “That’s my specialty,” He whispered.
How true that is! Whenever I determine to step off the ever-steeper incline of my "commitment treadmill" to sit a spell with Jesus, He always leaves me refreshed. I try to bring my Bible, or go and sit where it already waits for me. I breathe in deeply, pulling in more than just oxygen. I breathe in His presence. I exhale deeply, breathing out more than just used-up air. I breathe out the dirty dishes in the sink, the overflowing hamper, the overdue car tag renewal, the million thoughts competing for attention in my busy head. I spend some time adoring Him, then some time thanking Him, then some time reading His Word, then some time spilling out my heart: my worries, my fears, my desires…and then the same list for the people I love! Too often I allow that precious time to be cut short by the here-and-now, but when I resist, I sit there surrounded by the Peace that only He can give. And it is inside that covering of my time alone with Him that He smothers me with love. Then, like a child who’s come inside with a scraped knee, all dirty and sore, He sends me back out: loved on, patched up, washed off and ready to go again.
Intrigued by that Coca Cola poster, I tracked down a list of the advertising slogans used by the company since the 19th century. I recognized many of them (I will not say how many!), but they were all catchy and inviting. Many reminded me of Jesus! If “Coca-Cola” or “Coke” was used, I replaced it with His Name. Wherever “taste” or “thirst” appeared, I replaced those words with “life”. For fun, I thought I’d share a partial list of the resulting phrases:
1904: “Delicious and refreshing.” 1905: “Jesus revives and sustains.” 1922: “Jesus knows no season.” 1923: “Enjoy Jesus.” 1927: “Pure as Sunlight.” 1927: “Jesus: Around the corner from anywhere.” 1929: “The pause that refreshes.” 1938: “Jesus: the best friend life ever had.” 1938: “Jesus: Life asks nothing more.” 1942: “The only thing like Jesus is Jesus Himself.” 1948: “Where there’s Jesus, there’s hospitality.” 1949: “Jesus: Along the highway to anywhere.” 1952: “What you want is Jesus.” 1956: “Jesus: Makes life taste better.” 1959: “Be really refreshed.” 1963: “Things go better with Jesus.” 1969: “Jesus: He’s the real thing.” 1976: “Jesus adds life.” 1979: “Have Jesus and a smile.” 1982: “Jesus is it!” 1987: “You can’t beat the feeling.” 1993: “Always Jesus.” 2000: “Enjoy (Jesus).” 2008: “Live on the Jesus side of life.”
Speaking from experience, I can say that all of the above are true! When I forget to (or just refuse to) stop and indulge in the Peace Christ died to give me, I rush through life trying to manufacture some of my own. I can “taste” the difference. He is the real thing”!
Let me encourage you to find a few moments each day to enjoy Jesus, the “pause that refreshes”. Can’t you feel Him right there next to you, nudging you gently, pointing to the menu? “Peace, served with a generous helping of refreshment,” it reads.
“That’s my specialty,” He’s saying. “There’s no limit here…and it’s on the House.”