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I opened my Jesus Calling devotional book the other morning, and the first sentence read, "You have been on a long, uphill journey, and your energy is almost spent." And I said, out loud, to page 296, "You. are. not. kidding."
I don't know about you, but sometimes I just get tired of climbing.
It's vital to have a healthy balance of work and rest, and I've learned how to set boundaries in my schedule. Technically, I'm doing all the right things to keep from working myself to death, but guess what...
I'm still tired.
Or maybe weary is the better word.
I'm learning that I can set all the boundaries I want, say "No" more than I say "Yes", and create the perfect rhythm for my life, but still not feel rested. At all. Why is that?
Because life is hard (profound revelations are free today). All the stuff I can't control presses in on me and wears me down. I worry, I stress, I freak out. I just can't help myself. And when I ask God what to do about that, He keeps saying the same thing.
Come to Me.
Rest in Me.
Oh, is that all, God? HOW can I do that? It's so much easier said than done.
But I've found a few things to help me get there:
1. Release and Receive - Find a few minutes of quiet and literally assume a position of releasing anxiety and receiving blessing. In his book Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster calls this exercise "palms down, palms up." Hold your palms down and tell God exactly what you're releasing ("Lord, I give you all my anxiety about our finances. I give you my frustrations about my job.") After you've released everything that's weighing on you, turn your palms up and ask God to fill you with His peace or wisdom or whatever it is that you need from Him. It's such a simple act, but it really helps me let go of all the worries and fears that have my shoulders in knots.
2. Remember - Remind yourself of all the things God has done for you. If you don't know where to start, the beginning is always a good place. If you're breathing, it's because God gave you life and breath in the first place. Think back over your life and list the ten biggest things God has done for you. Write them down. Talk about them at dinner. If He's already done all that for you, just imagine what He'll do next!
3. Remain in the Truth - Find a verse that speaks to you and keep it in front of you at all times. Memorize it and say it out loud whenever the stress of life threatens to suffocate you. The Psalms have been my anchoring place lately.
"A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all." Psalm 34:19
"I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him." Psalm 62:5
I definitely don't have it all figured out, but the more I practice these things, the easier it is to truly find rest in God.
How about you? Is this a season of energy or exhaustion for you? How do you find true rest when you need it?