Get Some Rest

get some rest

Hey you. Yes you. The one who is always available to help. The one who always assumes a leadership role. The one who is periodically on the verge of burning out but feels bad about taking time off. God wants you to sit down somewhere.

Church culture often reminds us that “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” It is quite common for us to experience an abundance of work being done by a handful of people. Being overwhelmed for the work of the Kingdom is to be expected. If you have grown up in a Church setting, or if you’re just a common Type A person, we often grow accustomed to the feeling of being overwhelmed by tasks. So much so, that we sometimes don’t feel validated in the work that we’re doing unless we’re stressed out and on the brink of nervous breakdown.

Some would have us believe that feeling of having too much on your plate is a feeling we should strive toward. That if there’s work to do and it must get done, YOU must be the one to do it and you must do it without complaint even to the point that it can be frowned upon to request a moment of solitude. While it is true that there will always be work to do and that there will always seem to be a shortage of people doing it, the idea that we should always be eager to take on more than we may be able to bear can be dangerous to our mental and physical health and, quite frankly, is not what is pleasing to God.

31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Mark 6:31

The above verse is taken from a text in which Jesus and the disciples had been traveling and working hard to win souls for Christ. Jesus saw the work they were all doing and noticed that they were overwhelmed so he tells them to go take some quiet time to rest. As simple as that is, this is what is pleasing to God. We all have so much work to do and the work will always need to be done by someone. While it is certainly God’s will that we do the work and that we excited about it, we are only human and humans get tired. We should never be ashamed to admit that we may have overextended ourselves and need a moment to recharge.

My prayer for all of us is that we commit to the following things:

  1. Be mindful of our minds and bodies when they tell us we need a break.
  2. Say no and be intentional about it. You don’t always have to be responsible for every single task available. If you feel like you will not be able to handle too many tasks, you can decline a few responsibilities to save your sanity.
  3. Hold your brothers and sisters accountable. When you see that someone you love has a lot on their plate, offer to help when you can so that they can take time to themselves and help them to feel good about doing so.
  4. Get some rest. Whether it be taking a vacation to enjoy your friends or family, or taking quiet time alone, we all need time to replenish ourselves after we have give time and service to others.

Just as Jesus was divine he was also human. If he had to take time to rest, so should you.

 

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Shift Your Focus

Shift Your Focus and

According to Dr. D. W. Johnston, a common characteristic of people who identify with a Type A behavioral pattern is “They [we] strive toward goals without feeling a sense of joy in their efforts or accomplishments.” This particularly resonates with me. I’m always trying to accomplish something but rarely am I able to enjoy the accomplishments because I’m always thinking about the next thing I want to do. Where this has gotten me in trouble in my walk with Christ is that I tend to center my own personal wants more than anything.

The biggest hang up here in my walk with Christ has been the motivation behind my striving for goals and accomplishments. If I’m not careful, I’ll center myself in my ambition, meaning I’m making decisions and advancements strictly based on how I feel about pursuing them and how they will improve my general lifestyle. It isn’t wrong to want better for yourself, but if you’re claiming to be a person after the heart of Jesus, you can’t be your primary driving force.

“Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:16

If I base my ambition on strictly how others will receive me once I’ve accomplished something, I will never be satisfied. Seeking approval from others will always leave you empty. People are very hard to please and their support is as wavering as wind. So instead, focus on the blessing that can come from your actions. When you do whatever it is that you are called to do, will someone be blessed by what they’re seeing you do? Can someone be blessed by the outcome of the goals you’ve set for yourself?

Whether you are able to bless someone with material things or encouragement to continue through life trusting in God, if you are showing God to be present in your life you are succeeding even when it may appear to others that you are failing at things that are of Earthly importance. When it becomes difficult to find joy in the progress toward your goals and the process seems to bring disappointment, remember to rejoice in the simple fact that someone will see your life, your actions, your successes and your failures and be blessed by your journey.

Pause at moments along the way and celebrate what God is doing in your life. Even when you can’t tell exactly what God is doing, God is never doing nothing and everything always has a purpose. The challenge is to shift your focus from the importance of your own abilities and success to viewing your abilities and successes as tools toward pointing to God’s greatness in your life and you can never fail.

Out on a Limb

 

August 8, 2016 I officially moved from my home town of Louisville, Kentucky to Leesburg, Florida. It was both exciting and scary. The move was quite sudden, but an opportunity presented itself so I decided to trust God and by Gut and just GO. After reflecting on my first year here I thought I should share some of the things I learned, in hopes that it would inspire someone who may be considering making some kind of leap of faith. My advice is, get with God and JUST DO IT! I hope this video blesses you!

A Heart’s Desire

What Does Your Heart Desire-

Few things compare to the feeling of praying for something and even putting forth effort to work toward it, only to have it fall through. You pray, you work, you claim it, you move forward as if it’s already yours and eventually you’re deflated when that thing doesn’t come to pass or doesn’t turn out the way you wanted. Then you spend days and nights asking God if this is some cruel joke. Pleading with God to tell you why you weren’t allowed to have this one thing you really wanted and that you worked so hard toward.

As Christians, many of us are taught that whatever we ask God, if we ask it in Jesus’ name it will be given to us. We’re essentially taught that God is here to provide for us so the formula goes, tell God what you want and God will give it because he loves us and that’s what he’s here for. Although, it is true that God is our provider and that God loves us and wants us to be happy, it is also true that God is the authority. God isn’t a genie whose sole purpose is to pacify us by giving us everything we want but that’s sometimes how we treat God.

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

We often hear an abbreviated version of the above verse to support the idea that God is here to please us. But “God will give you the desires of your heart” is only half the scripture and it comes with a condition. The verse begins by telling us to take delight in the LORD. That doesn’t simply mean to be happy about Jesus. It means to get to know Jesus and to be excited about who Jesus is in your life. Get happy about the fact that Jesus is LORD over your life.

LORD is an Old English term used to refer to someone who had power and authority over land and the people who worked on it. Jesus being LORD of our life means that he has power and authority to not only give us what we want, but to decide what we should have. As control freaks, this sounds like a bad deal. What’s the point of being able to ask things of someone who is all powerful if they can just not give you what you asked for? I want what I want, when I want it. The good news is that Jesus loves us and someone who truly loves you only wants what is best for you. Jesus has the power to give you the desires of your heart but the desires of your heart need to be in line with what is best for you.

Not only do we ask God for what’s on our hearts, we first have to open ourselves to allow God to literally place desires in our hearts. To replace our selfish desires with ones that serve our best interests as it relates to our purpose.  So, when asking for anything, the first thing we need to ask is what the LORD desires for us. The closer we can get to Jesus, learning what our purpose is and what kinds of people, places, and things support that is the first step to receiving the desires of your heart.

So when we are disappointed not to have received what we asked for, ask “was that person, place, or thing in my best interest? Is it something that would help elevate me in my purpose?” Sometimes the answer to that is a clear “no.” Other times, maybe what we asked wasn’t anything bad, it just wasn’t what God would have for us. But you can always trust that if God has our best interest at heart, for every “no” there is a yes that is greater than what we would have asked for.

The challenge today is before we ask God for a specific thing, ask God to enter our hearts and remove what’s contrary to who God is in our lives. Then we will be able to delight in the LORD and he will give us the desires of our hearts.

God is: Chasing After You

I once listened to a Christian comedian talk about his understanding of his relationship with God. I wish I could remember his name, but his message is something I will never forget. He talked about how he had gone many paths in life but everything he had ever done eventually lead him exactly where he needed to be. He said that God’s love, grace and mercy are like our GPS. When you’re using a GPS and it is giving you turn by turn directions, when you happen to take a wrong turn the GPS doesn’t just turn off and quit trying to direct you. Instead, it sees what you’ve done and immediately begins rerouting to take you where it originally intended for you to go, just using a different route now that we’re a little of course.  He said he believed that though he hasn’t always gone where God would have wanted him to go, he was always headed toward his purpose because God’s love, grace, and mercy are perfect and were always leading him there.

Honestly, this post could end there. Imagining a love that will always lead you toward what’s best for you is enough to be excited about. But to take it a step further, I recently was listening to a worship song called “Reckless Love” that took this to another level. The Chorus says

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine

The later part of the lyrics is in reference to Luke 15:4 which says “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” to basically say that each of us is valuable enough to God that God would look for us when we are lost. So not only is God guiding and directing us, God is chasing us down when we’re too lost to even know we need guidance.

As people who like to control every aspect of our lives, we have to admit that we sometimes get ourselves in over our heads. We have a period when it looks like everything is going according to our plan and we often neglect our relationship with God and start to do our own thing, only to realize we don’t have full control and things were much better when we were doing them with God. The idea that God sees this and doesn’t leave us hanging to just figure it out on our own is a true example of selfless love. Of course God sees what we do and knows that we have a tendency to get beside ourselves and abandon our relationship. But thankfully God is not like us and doesn’t hold that over our heads. Instead, he’s chasing us down, never leaving us, sticking right with us until we’ve found sense enough to turn around and acknowledge him in our lives.

The challenge today is to be sure you’re beginning and ending your day with God. Include God in all your plans for the present and future. Allow God’s purpose to lead and guide you even in your daily life so that you stick close and are careful not to abandon the relationship. God has already shown us that he will never leave us and continue to chase us until we’re ready to have him. But let’s make a conscious effort to stay close.