Rest Stops on My Journey

My Recalibrate Life Read for July is Even God Rested: Why It’s Okay for Women to Slow Down by Kim Thomas. This book centers around the themes of ceasing and feasting in the three areas of Emotional Rest, Physical Rest, and Spiritual Rest. There are suggestions, Rest Stops at the end each chapter to guide you in the process.

I have read this book slowly, a little at a time to let it soak in. I am left with a several takeaways but I will just share a few from each section of the book.

I am seeing as I move through this year that my four main priorities in recalibrating my life are to:

1. Learn to linger, savor, and slow down.

2. Learn to be present in the moments of life.

3. Learn to live in simplicity.

4. Learn to rest in the Lord’s love, abandoning outcomes to Him.

They all fit together like the pieces of a puzzle. They are interrelated, and as I grow in learning to live more like this, I am realizing that this growth in learning requires both ceasing and feasting.

Thomas says, “…we have neglected the pursuit of the eternal in pursuit of the temporary.” Looking back on my life I can see this as being true.

It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. The expectations and obligations send us running and in the hustle and bustle of it all, we miss much of what really matters. We are consumed by the stressors of life. And quite often we never really stop to look at what the causes of our stress are, we just keep pushing on.

Stress is the very first thing Thomas deals with in her book. She suggests that we look for the stress triggers in our lives and figure out ways to deal with them. I am learning to recognize where my stress level is at and what the triggers are. I think often in our busyness we may not even be aware of how we are living with overwhelming stress. One book I read said that stress can become like adrenaline to our bodies, pushing us on.

Stress changes how we act and interact. It causes us to react, often in ways that may be harsh. When I am stressed, I often react with frustration out of feeling overwhelmed. Thomas suggests that once we learn what our stress triggers are, that we try to anticipate what is coming rather than reacting. When we do this it is easier to respond in a softer way.

As I learn about my stress triggers I’m learning to respond rather than react. I recently realized how frustrated I was getting when my brother called. All I could think of is what I needed to be doing, and I was short and edgy with him. After thinking about it I recognized that he was always calling when I was in the middle of getting dinner ready, and that irritated me. So the next time it happened I responded by telling him of a better time to call, and since then it hasn’t been an issue. Such a silly little thing caused me so much frustration, and there was such a simple solution. But in my initial upset, I didn’t think about a solution, I only reacted.

Thomas says, “…an unbalanced woman has nothing to offer herself or those around her.” So it is helpful to begin to find some balance in the areas of stress that have kept me teetering.

Along with that Thomas reminds her readers to remember to “replenish your well.For me, replenishing my well means taking time to relax, to read, or journal, or on occasion, even take a nap. I am choosing to gift myself with those things in between tasks on my to-do list. Replenishing my well does a lot for my attitude.

Some other areas Thomas discussed ceasing from in the area of Emotional Rest, are noise, negativity, numbness, and anger. I find that often my negativity and anger arise out of stress. She asks three important questions in the areas of Ceasing from Anger, Feasting on Flexibility. Each of these are important, especially to me, because often I have trouble being flexible. Maybe you will find them helpful as well.

1. “Is it possible for us to become more flexible, to survive the conflicts around us by adapting more appropriately?”

2. “Can I find myself surrendering my need to control in favor of relaxing in God’s ultimate sovereignty in my life?”

3.”Can I put the small stuff in perspective and flexibly move through my day?”

Good questions to take into consideration when learning to choose Emotional Rest.

The next section is Physical Rest. And in this section we learn about ceasing from busyness, hurrying, over-consuming, and crowds. Busyness and hurry were the areas of most interest to me here. As we learn to cease from busyness we learn to feast on leisure, and as we learn to cease from hurry Thomas discusses feasting on slowing down.

In the section on Ceasing from Hurry, Thomas reminded me of something I am slowly learning. “God’s love and acceptance do not depend on what I do. His grace is not opposed to my efforts, but my efforts do not earn grace.” Oh, how I need to remind myself of this when I forget about walking with “slow feet” and begin rushing about.

I know I often have heard myself say, “there is never enough time for all I want or need to get done.” But using the Bible story of the feeding of the 5000, Thomas reminds us, “…if we give God what is in our lunchbox, he will make it be enough.” I need to give my moments to Him and let Him lead me in making the time I have to be enough.

Thomas suggested in this section to make a time pie relating to how you spend your days. She asks, “Which pieces should be smaller, which pieces should be bigger?” This is so helpful to really see how your time is being consumed and to see if you are doing what really matters. I know I seem to easily waste time on things that distract me during the course of a day.

Finally, in the area of Spiritual Rest, she writes about ceasing from fear, hard-heartedness, the need to know everything, and anxiety.

Here ceasing from fear and anxiety interested me most. When we cease from fear we need to learn to feast on trust. In the Spiritual Rest Stop here, Thomas gives a long list of scriptures to feast on. Thomas says, “Putting away fear and feasting on trust, we rest in the reliability of God.” How very true! That is what I am learning as I seek to know His love for me in a deeper way.

In the area of Ceasing from Anxiety, Thomas reminds us of these important truths:

1. “The first step to ceasing from anxiety and feasting on peace is recognizing our need to surrender control.” (Yes, I am slowly learning to abandon outcomes to the Lord.)

2. “We have to remember that even though we have relinquished control, we are not sent untethered into life’s anxious circumstances. God secures our tether and he is still in control.”

So, with these things in mind, knowing that God is in control, Thomas suggests that we can only do what we can do. Anxiety gets us nowhere. But in the Lord we can find peace and we can definitely trust in Him!

Thomas shares the story of the fiery furnace from the book of Daniel. She reminds us of the courage of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as they said “if their worst ‘what-ifs’ came to pass, ‘even-so’ they would praise God.” Oh, Lord help us to look at our “what-ifs” in this way, with a willingness to praise you!

This book was another great read on my journey of recalibrating life. I hope you found something helpful here for you as you journey with Jesus.

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The Breaking

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24 NIV

Do you ever question why things happen to you? I think, especially, if we find similar things happen to us repeatedly we begin to wonder why.

I have noticed recently how it seems how things constantly are happening that change my plans. Someone else chooses for me, and it all is out of my control leaving me feel angry and frustrated.

I am a planner, sometimes down to the hour. I blame it on having been a teacher and always needing to have a lesson plan. A certain plan for every moment. So, I feel anxious when things are left unplanned. And I feel more anxious when things I have planned are randomly changed by someone else. This means I have to rearrange my entire schedule to accommodate the new plan. But it keeps happening, and I keep feeling anxious and frustrated.

Interesting. I just realized that the Lord is trying to get my attention. Now recently two days in a row in my time with the Lord, in two different studies, He has brought me head on with the verse printed at the beginning of this post. It seems that a part of my life’s recalibration will be about being broken and learning to surrender. Once again, I must willing to abandon control.

Jennifer Kennedy Dean explains what true brokenness means in this way:

“True brokenness means losing all faith in your own abilities, abandoning all dependence on human resources, and disavowing all outward pretensions of righteousness to cling to the Spirit of God as if to a lifeline.” (from He Restores My Soul: A Forty-Day Journey Toward Personal Renewal p. 27)

Definitely not an easy lesson. It screams trust and letting go and I am not good at either one. Even so, I know, God’s lessons are always for our good and His glory.

Just last year, the Lord showed me that trying to change someone so things can be accomplished in my way and timing is a recipe for frustration. Besides He has a better way! I was amazed at how the He worked in the midst of the situation when I released control to Him. He worked it all out in ways I could not begin to manipulate. So now, once again, I am seeing there is more He wants me to let go of.

The struggle is and has been for a long time about “my time.” I want to and have continued to try to control what I think is “my time.” I am realizing that I am working really hard to please others, to do the right thing, yet I continually come away frustrated and resentful. Those feelings come out of doing things that feel like obligations in order to people-please and having the doing of them use up “my time.” So then when I come to the end of my day, or my week, and I find that my personal to-do list is left unfinished it leaves me feeling upset. Angry, resentful, and frustrated! But His way is different, it is all about being reckless in love, not about me and my list and timing!

“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go,  reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. “

John 12:24-25 MSG

When something is reckless, it is not necessarily planned out carefully. This “reckless love, ” He is calling me to live out, is all about being Spirit-led not planned out according to my timing. This means that the breaking is about breaking my will to control and have my way with “my time.” Surrender. And I have learned and continue to recognize the need in me at the bottom of all of this is still the need to earn love and hold tightly to it so as not to lose the love.

The problem is that my fists are clinging so tightly and I am trying to clutch the love I so desperately need but it seems that being reckless in love can only come out of trusting with reckless abandon. I cannot control it all. The Lord wants me to let go of control and trust Him with reckless abandon, and then in His gracious tender-heartedness He will provide the love I seem to so desperately need.

He has shown me this, and even so, I struggle with letting go, I continue to grab on and hold on to getting love in my way as if my life depends upon it. Like a little child I throw a tantrum when my life or plan is interrupted. I am obviously not there yet.

So, as I travel this journey to recalibrate life I can see that it is going to involve a breaking of self, a lot more trust, and more letting go than I had initially anticipated. Once again, I thought I had it a planned out, but God is showing me it is all about His timing and His plans. And, oh, His plans and timing are so very different from my own! My way is comfortable and safe, but it seems that will not be the road I will be travelling.

There is so much we must release to the Lord. Learning to trust is a life-long lesson, and often the breaking requires challenges that are very uncomfortable because we must learn to live by His ways. Thankfully, the Lord knows the path of brokenness and surrender, He has travelled it to the cross, and He is the One leading. So I can be confident in His wisdom and learn to follow, growing in trusting, even though the way produces fear in me as I slowly follow.

How about you? How is the Lord challenging you to change and grow? Are you with me learning on the path of brokenness and surrender?

Roadblocks and Forced Stops

Have you ever taken a road only to find it’s a dead-end or there’s a roadblock keeping you from traveling on? It can be extremely frustrating, especially if you are running late or just in a hurry! Or if you are dead-set on having your way!

I was all ready to go, and so looking forward to the women’s Christmas event, then I went to the garage only to find my left front tire extremely low on air. I immediately knew I couldn’t drive my car like that without ruining the tire. So I went back in tbe house in tears, I had so been looking forward to attending this and now I was stuck. I felt sad and frustrated, and rather than seeing my being stuck home as a gift, I saw it as me not getting what I wanted. I pouted like a little child after being told a final “no.” I cancelled the other plans I had for the day and pushed through working at Saturday housework.

Now this past weekend came with our church’s Christmas sing-along, and early on in the weekend I found myself coming down with a cold, my sinuses plugged and a throbbing headache. I went to sing-along sick, but only sang a few songs. It felt disappointing.

I have been pushing hard through life being all-responsible in making sure my mom has gotten the care she needs and taking care of everything involved in that. I didn’t stop doing anything else in my normal schedule, my “plate” overflowed with too much. I refused to say “no”, I refused to give in to my exhaustion, I pressed on.

I had breakfast with my brother last week. Sometimes the Lord speaks through the unexpected. My brother and I have been arguing about how I am handling things. I felt misunderstood, unappreciated, and angry. He finally told me, “You have to stop, you can’t do it all, either you choose to stop or you will be stopped,” He went on to list ways I could be stopped, telling me it could be a heart-attack, or cancer, or a car accident…and the list of horrors went on. I heard his words and set them aside, I didn’t have time for any of that! Well, when you refuse to listen the first time the Lord will repeat His words.

I am reading Shelly Miller’s book “Rhythm’s of Rest” and a few days ago I read about forced stops. She says,”We can interpret interruptions as roadblocks to peace or as moments for deepening relationship, trusting in the path God dictates.” Reading it made me stop and think about what my brother had said as well as the things that have been happening. I interpreted both “interruptions” as roadblocks to peace, because I only wanted my way. Later in the chapter Miller goes on to say, “God wants our attention no matter the circumstance, we must be willing to surrender.”

The tire with low air, and the sinus gunk were opportunities to say no to good things because the Lord knew my body desperately needed rest. I didn’t get it. Like a stubborn child, I wanted what I wanted!

The Lord loves us so much and wants the best for us. He knows the fragility of our human bodies. He knows we just cannot keep going and going pushing on overwhelmed with stress.

He lovingly gave me two opportunities to take time to rest and I chose my own way. The first time I set to work out of anger and frustration. The second time I chose to go to an event even though I was sick.

Sometimes the good things we plan are not really the best things for us. I see now that I need to be more aware, and look and listen for the Lord to really show me what He wants for me. When my schedule is already overflowing and I am already beyond exhaustion, I do not need to add more to my to-do list even if it seems like they are fun and relaxing activities.

My eyes need to be on the Lord rather than on all I have to do or want to do. He wants relationship with me, He wants to show me His loving-presence. He wants the best for me. He wants to take care of me even when I forget or lose sight of caring for myself.

How are you doing this busy Christmas season? Are you taking time to listen to the Lord? Are you finding time to rest?

Letting Go

Are you carrying too much?
What do you need to let go of?
I ask you this because I have been carrying too much. I temporarily took a break from posting because my life felt overwhelming. And now I come back to writing still feeling overwhelmed and stressed but I have learned something. This thing I learned is not earth-shatteringly new, in fact it is probably something very evident to you that you may have recognized in yourself in your own life. I should have known, but instead when it became apparent to me I actually was shocked. Shocked that I knew the connection intellectually but had not applied it in my actual life. Let me explain.
You see, it became apparent that I am very controlling. My thoughts tell me that if I don’t do it, it won’t get done. Nor will it get done according to my timeline unless I keep pressuring myself to push through. You see, I realized that I must think it is all about me, I am responsible for it all. And then the really tough thing I realized is that it is not everyone else “stressing me out” as I thought, but rather it is my need to control it all that is at the bottom of all my stress. And all of this stress is causing problems. Anger, frustration, hurt, and guilt are frequently at the forefront of the way I feel and respond. I have been complaining to others that they are the cause of my stress when in reality it is me and my attitude about life.
I recently read a beautiful prayer that spoke of abandoning outcomes to the Lord. It was that prayer that gave me a clue about what was going on. I decided that I need to be praying for help to abandon outcomes; to let go, and really put it in the Lord’s hand. What happened to trusting Him? You know the little verse, “Be still and know that I am God” from Psalm 46:10. That is what this is about. But instead of trusting in His will, I clutch on to my own will to make sure everything turns out the way I think I should. Choosing to abandon an outcome to Him would demonstrate trust in His sovereignty. I trust Him with some things,  but I guess I pick and choose which are safe to trust Him with and which ones I need to control. It is quite obvious to me there are way too many situations where I feel the need to be responsible for things. I can tell by the tightness in my neck and shoulder muscles. My need for control keeps me striving instead of surrendering.

The “what if” questions bombard me, and I tighten my grip on control rather than giving the outcome to Him. But the pressure is off, isn’t that the promise of Matthew 11:28-30? Aren’t we asked to learn “the unforced rhythm of grace” (The Message)? Reading those words brings tears to my eyes. There is nothing unforced in trying to control. The Lord is here to carry the burden and lead me through it all, so why do I hold on so tight?
Letting go is hard. I know I am carrying too much. I know I am feeling so overburdened. And it is all because I am trying to control so many outcomes. Yet, as I said, it all surprised me, it kind of slapped me in the face with a realization I have been oblivious to. I mean, I know the Lord’s love for me, why does my trust waiver?
I know that there are pressures and expectations constantly coming my way from others. And my stress starts when I first hear about another to-do, another obligation. But my need to fill the hole inside leads me to press on, work hard, and take control. I try to make the outcome feed the need within rather than find my satisfaction in what the Lord has to give me apart from my striving. And all of this leaves me exhausted from racing on the treadmills of performance and people-pleasing.
Are you exhausted and feeling overburdened?
This month’s posts will center on the theme of letting go of negative attitudes and emotions that keep us from peace within. I hope you will join me in this exploration.

The Path of Surrender for God’s Greater Glory

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done.”  Luke 22:42

Beautiful surrender to the will of God for the glory of God, that is what Jesus shows us there in the Garden of Gethsemane. He shares the sorrow and agony of His heart, asks for a different path, but surrenders to the wisdom of His Father’s will.

Oh, Jesus, what lessons we can learn from You there in the Garden.

1. Jesus took the pain and deep distress He felt and shared the reality of it.

Jesus took with Him His three dearest friends, His inner circle. Jesus did not hide behind a facade of “I’m fine,” or “Hey, I got this one guys, no pain, no gain.” He was real about how He felt, He didn’t hide His agony.

When you are in agony and distress what do you do? Do you go to Your Heavenly Father and speak to Him out of the place of your desperation, out of the cellar of your soul?

Our Father in Heaven wants us to freely come to Him with our pain, worry, fear, and hurt. He wants us to know His presence and to trust Him with our needs and our concerns.

2. Jesus prayed with earnestness, yet He prayed with a great desire to bring His Father glory.

His prayer was a prayer of surrender, “not my will but your’s be done.”

Jesus asked for the cup to be taken from Him, but He left the decision in His Father’s hands.

I think the difference here, at least sometimes in my prayers, is that I tell the Father how to accomplish my will. And all the fear in my heart, all of my worry, all of my inner distress shadows the light of God’s love. Jesus knows the Father’s love, He does not question it. And Jesus speaks to the Father out of a place of deepest humility. When we come in humility, it no longer is about getting our way, it’s about God getting the glory.

3. Jesus lives up to His name Prince of Peace even when He is arrested. He lives and dies to bring glory to God.

Jesus gets up from praying and soon His betrayers are at hand. He sees the army of men coming to get Him. He doesn’t become alarmed or put up a fight. He remains peaceful. In fact, when an ear is sliced off of one of the soldier’s that has come for Him, Jesus takes time to heal the man’s ear.

When I get up from prayer and I sometimes leave feeling unsure of what will happen. I leave with fear, I question my Heavenly Father’s love, I leave that place in a mode of self-protection. It still is all about me and I want to fight for what I want. But, not so with Jesus.

I am sure Jesus left His place of prayer knowing He was going to the cross, knowing He would face separation from His Father, and that He would carry the heavy burden of the sins of the world. Yet, He left empowered to bring God glory. He didn’t self-protect and fight against the coming cross. He wasn’t interested in taking revenge by fighting or hurting the soldiers. He only stood strong in His Father’s love and walked peacefully in a continued ministry toward the mission of greater grace.

4. Jesus goes with the soldiers to His trial and does not argue, He let’s Truth be truth. 

Do you want to fight for your way? As I have said, there are sometimes that I do.

Fighting with words or with power is the way of fear, but “perfect love casts out fear.” And Jesus walks in perfect love, fully trusting His Father’s will to be best. He goes to the trial, He goes to the cross as “a lamb to the slaughter.” He has no need to defend Himself. He knows Who He and Whose He is.

5. Jesus endures the agony of the cross still filled with love. 

I don’t know about you, but I have trouble dealing with pain, and my natural response when I am in pain is not often one of love.

But Jesus, even on the cross, responds with love. He sees the evil, He feels the heaviness of the sin, and He prays. He prays for His Father to forgive them, “for they know not what they do.” Jesus has sympathy and empathy, He again shows love and gives grace even there on the cross. He surrenders to the way of the Father even then. He lives out love and showers us with grace even today.

6. Jesus’ body is taken to the tomb and on the third day He rises from the dead. 

He surrendered to the point of the cross and death and then comes forth from the tomb.  HE IS RISEN!  And all glory goes to our Heavenly Father for giving us Jesus as our substitute.

Only Jesus could surrender in humility and love for the purpose of grace and glory.

Only Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, could be slaughtered for our sin, risen to give us His righteousness and hope everlasting.

All our faith and hope must be in Him for He alone is our Savior. He walked the path of surrender to give all glory to the Father. He is our perfect example. 

Lord, help us to follow in the way of our Suffering Servant. Help us to walk the path of surrender as we know the magnitude of Your love. May all glory be given to You. Amen. 

Have a blessed Resurrection Day as you remember all that Jesus has done for us. 

Surrendering: Letting Go of the Unnecessary

I had the joy of spending much of the day with a dear friend a few days ago. She moved out-of-state a year ago, and I have only seen her one other time since the big move. We did all the girl-friendy things women do when they get together; lunch, shopping, coffee, and nonstop chatter. It was so good to be together, to have time for long conversations.

During the course of one of our conversations, I mentioned that I was getting rid of some clothes that no longer fit. I told her how difficult it was for me to part with things, because I become too attached to them. She agreed, saying she struggled with the same problem. She said that she attached “a memory to things” and that is what made parting with them difficult. Yes, that is exactly, what I do.

Yesterday, I took a few bags of things to a donation center. It felt good. But there are still too many things in the house. There’s a lot more to be sorted through, a lot more unnecessary clutter around. Clutter that gets rearranged in different piles or different baskets to look nice.

So much freedom and peace is lost in having too much stuff. So much stress grows in living with too much clutter. There are so many things we cling to that we don’t need, yet we hold tight to them.

I wonder what attachments I have to things that keep me from attaching more deeply to the Lord?

How much time do I waste rearranging things to make it look nice? Time that I could be using for His purposes.

How many things do I have duplicates of that never get used? Items that others may be in need of.

It has been my goal for a while to work at decluttering. I make a little progress, but all too soon I am finding new items that I feel I can’t live without replacing the things I gave away.

What a vicious circle! It all seems to be to fill an emptiness inside, a hunger for something to satisfy a need.

I think, often, it is also a problem of lack of focus, of wanting to try to many things, and of course, of impulse shopping.

Surrendering my heart to the Lord means allowing Him to use what I have for His purposes. It is all His.

How about you, do you find yourself struggling with too much stuff? Do you spend too much time rearranging and end up feeling frustrated? What will surrendering your heart to the Lord mean for you as you consider the things you cling to?

 

Surrendering: Being Pure in Heart

1 John 3:6 AMPC “No one who abides in Him [who lives and remains in communion with and in obedience to Him-deliberate, knowingly and habitually] commits (practices) sin. No one who [habitually] sins has either seen or known Him [recognized, perceived or understood Him or has had an experiential acquaintance with Him].”

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

The word pure is defined as “free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind; free from extraneous matter.”

After the psalmist David sinned with Bathsheba, he wrote Psalm 51. He cries out to the Lord in verse 10, “Create in me a clean heart.” His heart was contaminated, it wasn’t pure, and David knew only the Lord could change that.

Our hearts are made pure in Jesus, as He is present in our lives. We are sinful humans, our hearts are filled with evil and wickedness (see Jeremiah 17:9) apart from forgiveness of sins in Jesus.

1 John 2:16 AMPC “For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh [craving sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]- these do not come from your Father but from the world [itself].”

Bible commentator William Barclay describes the heart that is “free from adulterous motives” as being pure. 

Our hearts are divided, there are too often many things clamoring for our attention, pulling at our heartstrings. So many temptations.

John Piper says, “The aim of a pure heart is to align itself with the truth of God and magnify the worth of God.”

Do you find your heart divided? Is it contaminated by this world? Are you pulled away by temptations?

I see it in my heart, in my life.

My prayer is for my Heavenly Father to help me in being pure in heart. My heart needs to be bathed in His Truth, washed by Christ’s blood, and the plumb line for each choice needs to be Christ’s righteousness.

I want to grow in purity.

– to really love Him with all of my heart, soul, and mind, rather than being distracted and pulled away by the things of this world.

– to set my heart on things above, and not become discontent and dissatisfied here. It is too easy to “set my heart” on desires here on earth.

– to have an eternal perspective as I live this life on earth, looking forward to what Jesus is preparing for me in heaven. Does anything matter more than that?

– to rest in Him, knowing the full assurance I have because of the belonging He has given me. I have been bought with Christ’s blood. I don’t need to look for reassurance in things here in this world, not in money, not in status, not in power, or in anything else.k

I want to be solely focused on living for Him, glorifying His name, and being the light I am called to be in a dark world.

The promise is that the pure in heart will see God. Yes, of course we will see Him in eternity because we have salvation through Christ, but it goes even beyond that. When our hearts are pure, our wills are aligned with His, we see Him at work in our lives, we see Him answering our prayers, we recognize His hand in circumstances more readily, we grow in knowing Him more deeply when our hearts are focused on Him. We have the opportunity to see Him now as we live on this earth.

What a beautiful promise!

 

Surrendering: Seeking God’s Agenda

I am a planner, I love getting my calendar out to plan a get-together, or mark down an appointment. I like writing out my to-do list, because I enjoy marking off what I have accomplished. I enjoy planning menus and having it all organized for easy meals. I love planning retreats. I look forward to planning coffee shop stops on a trip to a certain destination.

I often consider time to be mine. And, too often, I desire to use it for my purposes.

One area of surrender that I feel prompted to work on is seeking God’s agenda. Thinking about what is important to Him? I get so focused on what I want to do or feel I need to do that I hate interruptions and miss opportunities.

But what is the agenda the Lord has for me? Finding that out requires delving into knowing God’s heart deeply. The more I look into the subject of surrender, the more I see the importance of abiding in Him. So, I am going to use that word ABIDE as our acronym for how to seek God’s agenda. I think that what we need to remember is that it isn’t so much about what we have on our agenda but how can we choose to use it for God’s purposes. We can choose to ABIDE in all we have to do.

Administer grace- As you go through your day, choose to do what touches other with the grace of our Lord and Savior. Even that rude driver that pulls out in front of you and cuts you off can be offered the grace of a forgiving heart.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as Christ also has forgiven you.

 

Be in unity- Seek unity in Christ in your relationships with other believers. We speak with others often, but not all Christians, so  how can we choose unity over division? When we show love we unify. Draw others in so they see how Christ’s love binds heart and minds together.

1 Peter 3: 8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. (Peter is speaking to believers in this verse.)

 

Increase kingdom growth- Be ready to share His Gospel wherever you go, with those you share time or those you happen to run into.

1 Peter 3:15 But in your heart honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and respect.

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

 

Delight in Him and in His Word- Use any few quiet, spare moments you have to meditate on the Lord and His Word. Think about the verses you read earlier in the day as you wait at the stop light. Let His truths permeate your being so it seeps into and throughout your life.

Romans 7:22  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law.

 

Edify others- Encourage and build one another up. Share in others trials and suffering. Touch others with the peace and hope that the Lord has given you. Comfort others with the comfort He has given you.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

 

Each of these are important themes of God’s Word, they are close to God’s heart. They are what really matters to Him.

I know there may be specific things the Lord has for each of us on a given day that He wants us to do, He will share those as you seek Him in prayer. Yet, every day we can live out His agenda, by living life according to His Word, by the Truths of His heart.

Surrender your life to Him by letting each moment count for His glory.

 

 

 

Surrendering: Growing Meek in Spirit

Meekness is not a term used very often today. Jesus used it to describe Himself in Matthew 11:29 AMPC. He said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart…”

The word meek is defined according the HELPS Word Studies as “not weakness” but rather referring “to exercising God’s strength under His control – i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness.” It is a “blend of gentleness (reserve) and strength.”

It seems that often meekness is acquainted with weakness, but this shows that to be meek really is to demonstrate harnessed power. It would be having the power to plow over someone in words or actions but to harness that power, to keep emotions in tack, to remain humble and set aside personal rights.

Jesus had all of the power in the world to change things for His purposes, for His self-protection, but He gave into the will of the Father. He had perfect trust in His Father as His Advocate. He put aside His rights and privileges.

Philippians 2:5-8 NIV  describes it like this: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; But made Himself of  no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man; And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. ”

Let this mind be in me. I have a lot of surrendering to do in order to demonstrate meekness. There are so many areas where I need help in living out meekness.

I need the Lord to help me surrender my need to have my way.

I need the Lord to help me stop seeking to advance my cause or be given my rights above others.

I need the Lord’s help in harnessing the power when I have opportunity to use it for my purposes rather than His.

I need the Lord’s help to keep my anger from boiling over.

I need the Lord to help me keep my pride from bursting out, and instead lead me to humility.

I need Him to teach me meekness. It is only as I trust Him to be at work on my behalf that I will have the strength to be meek. When I trust that He will accomplish what is best for me, then I don’t need to have my own way or advance my cause, because He is all about doing just that.

I need to trust my Fathers’ heart of love as Jesus did, and then I will know meekness and how to live it out.

Surrender is costly. Meek is such a little word, but but requires great strength to live up to it in our daily lives.

Are you recognizing areas that you need to surrender in your life as well?