Relax a little

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31

This morning I woke up tired of the rat-race. I’ve been feeling tired of always thinking, always boring forward, always concerned with the next thing. Work, events, task lists, get it all done quick quick quick…

I woke up and made my way to the living room with my coffee and sat in the dark, watching the stars – waiting for the sun to rise. All the while the words on my heart were, cease striving and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10 NLT).

The Lord invites us to a slower pace and to a life that is managed and directed by him. I believe that he’s not just to be our first priority, but our source.

He’s the one that needs to be our source of answers, direction, clarity, stability, energy, and willpower. He’s the one that needs to be our source of love, hope, and peace.

Today I feel lead to slow down and breathe. I feel the invitation to live each moment and be at peace with it. I feel like Jesus is whispering to my heart to be present with him and to let him go with me through whatever lies ahead.

Jesus gives us the option to lay it all at his feet and let him take the lead. I think he even prefers it when we slow down and hop in the back seat, surrendering to his leading and instruction. Doing it all on our own is exhausting. What God offers us is full of hope and life.

Read this verse again, slowly. I hope it’ll give you something to hold onto today.

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31

Featured photo by Andrea Reiman on Unsplash

He leads us through change

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
— Psalm 37:23 NLT

Life changes are rarely brought on gradually – unless, of course, they are of our own making. But unless the change is something we’ve considered and then instituted, change is typically an abrupt thing. Almost everyone can remember a time when, in the blink of an eye, everything changed. It’s usually in those moments that you realized how good you had it, and you’d give anything to return to the way things were.

Life is always changing. Nothing ever stands still. Relationships, jobs, seasons…they’re all constantly evolving.

But if we’re paying attention and following our Shepherd, we have the possibility to see things grow and flourish – changing for the better. Jesus didn’t save us from sin and then leave us to fend for ourselves; he is inviting us to journey with him.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
— Psalm 23 NLT

In all things, we can find hope by following not the fleeting things of this world, but the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who is the same today as he was when he walked this Earth. He was the same then as he was when he created the World. That Jesus – that creator, savior, and redeemer – is just a breath, just a prayer away. He is always by our side, and he is always leading those who put their trust in him.

I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
— Psalm 16:7-8 NLT 

 

 

It’s time to go

It takes more faith to follow than to wait.

Have you ever noticed that?

Well, Ok. I digress. I don’t think it takes more faith, but it definitely takes a different kind of faith. I’m finding that obedience looks one way when you’re in a “waiting season”, and a different way when you’re in a “following season”. To be honest, I actually don’t have much experience with “following” seasons.

Let me try to explain what I’m talking about. Most of my twenties were spent waiting. I can give you a few quick examples to help clarify:

  1. We waited about a year on a specific job offer for my husband.
  2. Then another year waiting for that job offer to evolve into a full time position.
  3. Many years were spent waiting for the right time to buy a home. The first time we looked into it was in year one of our marriage. We bought our first home in year eight, after living in five apartments in two states.
  4. I spent a couple years in a very difficult job, pleading with the Lord to move me to something else.
  5. Four heart-breaking years were endured trying to find community after a cross-country move…

A time of waiting could be explained as a time of unfulfilled dreams or unmet desires. In all of these situations, I had to learn to be content where I was, and believe that God would bring things about in due time.

I’ve found that when you’re waiting for something – for God to move in some way or to give you a green light for something – often, obedience is trusting God’s timing and letting go of your expectations of what it should look like. It’s resting in peace, knowing that he’s working in ways that you very well might not be able to see.

It’s also having an open heart and being willing to be made more like Jesus. There’s never a shortage of things he wants to teach us (like love, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control…). He has provision ready for us every single day, regardless of the season or stage of life we’re in. We just have to both submit to him and partner with him.

But then when he’s finally moved in that big way or he’s given us the green light…?

Yup. It turns out this is new territory.

lili-popper-29472-unsplash

I feel like I’m back to square one. Like I said earlier, I don’t have much experience in this. All of a sudden God is on the move, and he is beckoning me to follow.

And I find myself flailing about and stumbling with every step I take. He’s leading me, but I’m tripping all over myself as if I’ve forgotten how to walk. I’m falling down and getting my hands bloody and ripping my clothes. I’m collecting bruises. I learned how to be obedient in those waiting periods by surrendering to Jesus and putting him first, but I’m having trouble applying the lessons from the past season to this new one. I know they translate and that God has given me everything I need to continue and learn, but it’s tough figuring out exactly how.

To put it bluntly, I feel like I’m being a bad follower. I feel like my faith should be stronger and I shouldn’t be so easily distracted.

After crying out of frustration to my husband and seeking his advice, he reminded me of what Paul said in Romans 7:19-25,

I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?

Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus has died for me and set me free from my sin. I’ve sought forgiveness and he has given it to me. So even though I stumble, even though I fall, I can rise up and keep going because of his grace. Even though I am attacked, I am not defeated. Even though storms come, I am not overcome. If I have to war with sin, it doesn’t mean that I’m a failure and I can’t do this. Jesus has forgiven me. Not only that, but he’s ready to help me. Paul couldn’t get it right all of the time. I can’t get it right all of the time. But Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

There are new lessons to learn in this season of following. But it turns out that the first one I need to learn is to trust in Jesus. The very same thing I had to learn in the waiting season, but with an added level of difficulty, coupled with the added bonus of his grace and the double added bonus of the history of the last sixish years.

Maybe this doesn’t look so different after all.

My first lesson in obedience is to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.


Featured Photo by Lili Popper on Unsplash