Running, but not Worn

“A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life.”(Proverbs 13:7 MSG)

This scripture is becoming a life verse for me. The Lord has been talking to me about rest for a while now. At one point, I’d fallen into the trap of thinking that busyness equated significance: “If I don’t have enough stuff on my plate, I’m not doing enough. If I’m not doing enough, I’m not enough. I must do something to prove that I’m not just sitting around idly. Literally, any [good] thing will do!

Towards the latter half of 2017, I really started to feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit to pull back and to rest. I was actually a little relieved because not only was I was on the brink of burn out, but I literally longed for rest. I’d never been good at it, but I kept feeling this yearning to learn to live a slow life. However, I also knew that there were a lot of things in my schedule that wouldn’t allow me to rest, but the Holy Spirit slowly started revealing that rest had a lot more to do with my heart than my schedule. Over a few months’ time, I started to learn what rest looked like.

  • Rest meant intentionally seeking the presence of God, while simultaneously allowing God to define distractions in my life (which actually included my second job, and pulling back on being in so many small groups!).

  • Rest meant embracing healing while being reminded of my identity. (A plain and simple life is a full life, not a showy, pretentious one that is reaffirmed through pride.)

  • Rest meant being intentional with my time. It was (& still is) a busy season, but He’s taught the importance of intentionality.

  • Rest meant allowing the truth to settle in that real rest is only found in the Lord.

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him,” (Psalm 62:5 ESV)

Real rest is only found in the presence of God.

Brady Boyd says is so well, “Recently I heard a pastor in Maryland talking about the difference between amusement and rest. We tend to do one better than the other, and the one we do well is not rest. Case in point: last year my family and I went to Disney World for a full week, and I came back more exhausted than before I left. And I was really tired when we took off. I may have escaped the stressors of daily life, but had I even rested at all? This is what God is hinting at here, that restfulness is tethered to the state of our souls.”

Can I tell you what happens when we learn to truly rest in the Lord?

Our identities are restored to us, and fruitfulness flows from us.

Heidi Baker writes, “I watch those who have learned the mystery of the secret place too. They understand that when they seek more time with God, they will bear far more fruit and will have the grace to keep running, even in the midst of great pressure. They thrive over the years because they have earned to abide in the realm where we are called to live.” 

We can use other outlets to relax, but there is only one type of rest that produces fruitfulness. In past experiences when I thought of rest, I typically thought of only my spirit being refreshed, but the truth is that ALL fruitfulness flows from rest. So, when we take time to sit with the Lord (even if we feel like we’re sitting too long, or that we have a list of things to do), fruitfulness flows from it. He gives strategy as to how to make our to-do lists a lot easier and He gives wisdom in how to operate out of areas where we’ve found difficulty. It’s time we realize that we can have a CRAZY schedule in a busy season, yet still be refreshed and thriving enough that we can RUN yet not be worn.

I’m learning to live from that place: Running, but not worn.

Step Out

Lately, more than ever, I’ve heard so many stories of people (including myself) wanting to step out on faith & start businesses, take risks, make some leaps of faith, etc. I can’t speak for others, but for me, it’s not necessarily fear as much as it is a thought process of questioning whether or not this step of faith is responsible. Or am I really equipped for this? 

This morning I was reading in Exodus 14, and the Holy Spirit ministered through the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. I love verses 13-14, but verses 15-20 really ministered to me today.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry out to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.” 

1. The Lord is asking us today, “Why are you swaying? Have you come all the way to the edge only to be frozen in fear? I’ve created the provision for you. I know what the circumstance looks like. Step out, anyway. Move forward.”

“Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.” 

2. What is in your hand? Start with it. He will bless the works of your hands. “Do not despise the day of small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,” (Zechariah 4:10) Not only will He create the miracle in your life, but because of your obedience, you will pave the way for the people who will come behind you. (SIDE NOTE: I’ve read this story plenty of times, and noticed it said “dry ground,” but it never clicked until this morning.. Can we take a second to take in the fact that dry ground meant that there was NO dampness from the sea? & that no sand was sticking to the bottom of their shoes? The Lord took every ounce of water, as they walked out in faith.)

“And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” 

3. Unbelievers are watching you move, & in the end, they’ll know the true living God.

“Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel….. and it lit up the night without one coming near the other.” 

4. The LORD is saying to each of us today, “I am coming up the rear, guarding you against your enemies. I am the barrier between what I’ve promised you, and what is trying to hold you back. There is nothing to fear. I will light the way. Keep moving forward” 

So, I encourage you today, in whatever the circumstance, STEP OUT. Take the leap!