Time is a precious resource. We all get the same amount of time. Unlike money, food, and material goods, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. I will acknowledge that some of us have less access to free time because of jobs, children, or caregiver responsibilities, but we all have 24 hours. Within this 24 hours, I’ve learned the value of rest. As I’ve intentionally focused on the word “freedom” for the month of July, I would like to spend this day, July 4th, to encourage you within the freedom of a restful state of mind. Is that even possible?
God is a precious, generous Father. He generously gives to His children. He is all about abundance. He turned water into wine, fed His children from heaven, and took a few loaves of bread and fish and fed thousands with baskets left over. We have a tendency to think of what we don’t have because of the evidence we see before us. A bill, a difficult relationship, stress on the job, mistakes we’ve made that have caused others difficulties or hurts, or a messy house. We see and witness the grief in our world around us feeling helpless. One thing we know, that if you live by faith, you also live by not really knowing what tomorrow will bring. You can’t live in rest and also be a control freak.
You can practice a different view–a new way of thinking. Don’t ever hold fast to patterns. Break them. Break them with your thoughts. Your thoughts influence your feelings, and your feelings are played out in your life through actions.
In Isaiah, we are reminded that “in returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
This verse captures the “how to”.
Return to your Father (Stop striving so hard that you wear yourself out.)
Rest (Remember you are enough because of Him, and He is guiding your steps.)
Quietness (From this day forward stop the negative talk about yourself, your problems, and how others are not measuring up. Share your heart with those you trust for support and help, but truly examine the time you spend with excessive talking and complaining that tears you and others down.)
Trust (Trust that God will show you the how and the what. Trust that every step in your day has a purpose not only in your life but in the lives of others.)
The last part of the verse in Isaiah, was the prophet’s message or reminder of “but you did not do this”. I had to laugh. My Bible study highlighted the first part of the verse for warm fuzzy, but the reality is that we are a people of growth and set backs. Sometimes we just don’t do it. I get that. I can be writing this post from a mountain top experience, and the next week something happens, and I am wrestling with God. Every root you establish in your work with Jesus makes you stronger, not perfect.
Freedom to be imperfect and rest.
Freedom to acknowledge your shortcomings when someone calls you out on it and not being defensive or self-loathing.
Freedom to realize you are not special, stop trying to be. We live in a world that demands that you win, rise, stand out, get selected. No. You are a child of God, and He is enough.
Freedom to see your abundance verses your lack.
Freedom to make mistakes and see the growth.
Freedom to be completely held and loved by your Father so you don’t have to find acceptance in others or things.
Freedom to laugh at the unexpected and roll with it.
Freedom to walk the valley of the shadow of death without fear for He is with you.
May this day bring you freedom and rest as you return to your first love.