Written January 21, 2015: Rest: - Repose, sleep; a bodily state with minimal function/activity - Freedom from labor - State of inactivity - Peace of mind or spirit - Free of anxieties “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” Matthew 11:28-30 Rest.
A word I have been chasing after for as long as I can remember. Trying to plan and figure out how I can get there…. If I can only do "X", then I can rest. If I wouldn't have done "X", then I could have had rest. My engine has literally been in overdrive my entire life. I am exhausted. Both mentally and physically.
It is simple to see how when we live our daily lives so full of tasks and checklists that we are quickly walking down a path to destruction. We cram our days so full of everything other than the most important thing. It’s no wonder why we are all in a state of disarray. If you are like me, you have looked for rest is every place other than the only place to find it.
Insert guilt. If I only trusted more or believed more then I wouldn't be so stressed. It is a guarantee that most of the time I create my own stress. I would say for the most part, I spend a lot of time serving others. My day is centered on pleasing others. My husband, my children, my patients and their families. I love giving of myself for others. I love serving people. I believe God has given me the gift of serving others. In these “good deeds”, I am searching for fulfillment, satisfaction, contentment. I mean, how can doing "good things" be bad? I love Jesus, with all my heart and soul. There is no question. Then why in the world wouldn't I fill my tank up with him? Pride. Guilt. Fear. Satan distracts me and continually is following me around reminding me that I am not worthy to deserve Jesus.
I can say I've grown tremendously in some areas of my walk with the Lord. He has healed many different wounds and proven time after time that He is faithful. Yet I still find myself chasing after Him. The best way I know how to describe it is this. Imagine Jesus inside a circle and I walk around the circle all day long. A religious ring-around-the-rosy. I never even allow myself to cross over the line into his circle. Or if I do, it's only like a toe or sometimes an arm. Then I jump back out. Never fully allowing myself to dive in face first. Because then if I was to jump in, would he actually be there to catch me? I mean he surely would most people, but me? Hmm...
January 1, I started reading through the Psalms. As I discussed in my last blog post, I have always been one to suppress my feelings and emotions. Never really allowing myself to "go there" in most cases. One thing that drew me to these series of passages is that in these writings the authors have no problem expressing their emotions. They are happy, sad, angry, scared. You name it, it’s all there. The chapter always starts out with the author expressing his or her struggle. Yet they all end the same way. Always praising the Lord. What a beautiful picture. You mean I could actually be brutally honest with the Lord and he would still meet me right where I am and listen to me? He wouldn’t judge me? He would still love me?
I love how King David is so honest with God. He faced numerous trials and suffered tremendously. I mean he committed adultry and murdered a man. Yet his writings are filled with hope and praise. True worship. The Lord honored that and used him to change the world.
I was reading the other morning and I had one of those "ah-ha" moments. In the commentary of the passage I was reading it said, "You may well find that your awareness and appreciation of God will grow as you are honest with him." Talk about being smacked right in the face!
Confession: I am not always honest with God. With the suppression of my feelings, I experience fear, stress, and worry. I don't bring it any negative emotions to him because I'm prideful or ashamed. Because I'm still living like I have to perform and not just be me. The "me" that he created Rather in these psalms, passage after passage the Lord comforts these writers as they pour out their hearts and souls to him. He meets them where they are, whether raising their hands in worship or on their knees in tears. What a beautiful picture of His love. I want to be honest with him. My goal is to be honest with him. He will still love me. I just have to trust that. When I can be honest with Him and completely trust that He will always love me and protect me, that He is completely sovereign over every detail. In that moment, I will have complete rest.
Confession: I struggle with anxiety. Haha! I know you can't Imagine how after reading all this. In my worst times, I have chest pain, my extremities will go numb. Awesome, right? Add In the fact I am a nurse practitioner that only makes things worse. Ignorance really is bliss is most situations. The Lord never wanted me or any of us to struggle like this. Jesus came to be the Savior of the world; He is the one who has paid for my sin so that I can have life. So that I may completely rest in the Father. Thank you Lord for the reminder, even in the chest pain, that I am broken and desperate for you. That I can do nothing in my own strength and I am nothing apart from you.
There is nothing more calming than simply uttering the name "Jesus." There are times I will just close my eyes and repeat His name over and over again. Because I know there is nothing that can defeat Him. Luke 10:17 shows us how the demons even obeyed the disciples by simply calling out Jesus name. Jesus has given us authority over the power of Satan. The enemy knows this, yet tries his very best to make us forget that by filling our minds with his lies.
Just today, I had a small victory. After Will was born, we found out he had something in his heart that was most likely never going to be a problem, but it is something to periodically look at. Well, it’s been two years since we looked. As I was driving Will to get checked out today by one of my physicians, I felt the panic creeping in. In that moment I called out to the Lord and asked for help. To not allow Satan to take hold of my thoughts. To not let him beat me down with the “what ifs?”. Because to be honest, what is something had changed? What if he would now need surgery to fix it? Satan would want me to think that there is no hope in this situation. But I know in any situation my God would still be the same person He has always been. Faithful and committed to our very best interests. Just saying that out loud to myself was such a comfort. That even if the what-if, worst case scenario happened, then God would still overcome that battle. That was a victory for me! Typically, I would have fallen into the vicious cycle of fear and been suffocated by my own thoughts. By the way, his heart looked awesome! Praise Jesus! If you have struggled before with anxiety or worry, then you know that at moments it literally feels like you are drowning. That you are losing all control and there’s no way to get out of that state. Just last night I was reading in Psalm 18. What a perfect picture it described of the Lord rescuing us. “He reached down from heaven and rescued me. He drew me out of deep waters.” Psalm 18:16 He rescues me. All I have to do is ask for help. Surrender. I can never do enough to get to this place of rest. In fact, the Israelites were never allowed to enter the Promised Land because they didn't believe. So they wandered around for 40 long years.
"They were not allowed to enter his place of rest because of their unbelief." Hebrews 3:19 Lord, I pray I am not still wandering at 40. Thankfully I don't have to do anything other than simply trust and believe Jesus is who He says He is. I will leave you with this simple truth. My prayer is that we would all allow this verse to saturate our lives and that we would find complete rest for our souls. “Those who believe can enter his place of rest”. Hebrews 4:3 Here- Kari Jobe