Many years ago a friend told me that she felt like she was riding in the car with God.. making Him sit in the backseat while she was driving. I am constantly reminded of that picture these days.. How many times recently have I said to God..” get in the backseat.” I want the wheel because I think I know how things are supposed to go.. I want the control because I am afraid to trust that You know where You are going.
Writing this has also reminded me of a story that Corrie Ten Boom tells in one of her books. She is riding in the car with someone who came to pick her up from the airport.. she is in a foreign country and the driver is drunk. Instead of worrying, she decides that God is bigger than her situation and falls asleep. What a picture of peace in the arms of our Heavenly Father!
So God is teaching me to LET GO.. continually of everything. It is actually tiring to be reminded constantly that I am holding on to things that are too heavy for me..but I want to learn the lesson. It is very related to my word “Rest”… We can only rest once we are have released everything to Him.
Trust Thing to Him
God gave me these acrostics at the beginning of 2014. By the end of the year, I want them to be deep in my heart. Praying for His work and my obedience to produce this fruit in my life. Do you want to walk with me for the next 3 months.. learning to rest and trust and sitting peacefully in the backseat?
A simple truth.. but profound. Lord help us learn to trust you fully and release our worries and cares to you..You are faithful.
I’m focusing again on my word for this year ” Rest.” It is elusive.. hard to truly find in this world. When I think about resting, I envision a place where there is no pressure.. or stress and lots of time that is not filled with responsibilities. Definitely not life on earth, is it? No, while we are here we will have trouble.. that is what the Lord has said and He said it for a reason. We cannot escape the pressures of this life.. when one lets up another seems to take its place.
For me, I just want a season where it is less intense..some space to recover from all the changes of the last decade. I am asking God for this and hoping that He agrees. Meanwhile I am taking a couple of weeks to reflect on my life.. a practice that I totally believe in. It is helpful to look back and see what has happened..especially when you are weary. Instead of feeling condemned for feeling tired and worn out.. I can have grace for myself. It is absolutely OK to need ” rest.” I know this is counter intuitive when it comes to our busy culture. but God invented rest and rested Himself. It must be important.
So I am learning to ” rest” outwardly and inwardly. To trust God when I am too exhausted to accomplish anything.. to contribute..to make a difference. He understands my limitations and all the pressure comes from my own expectations.. not from His heart.
“And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.”
“Calm me O Lord as you have stilled the storm, Still me O Lord, keep me from harm. Let all the tumult with me cease. Enfold me Lord, in your Peace.” ( Felgild compune in Celtic Daily prayer)
“May the Lord bless and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His Peace.” ( Numbers 6:24-26)
I have these two prayers on the wall near my desk and have been reading them every morning. I’m not usually one for written prayers.. but these two bring me such reassurance and peace.. I had to share them with you.
We need reminders all the time.. of His faithfulness.. His presence. We forget that He is good.. that He loves us and cares for us and for those we love and care for. This busy world leaves little time to take in the things that really matter.. those truths that strengthen us and help us through the trials and tests.
Our God is with us.. He has His hand on us and He hears the cries of our heart. He knows our pain and struggles. He holds us.. whispers to us..heals us and protects us.
“Lord.. forgive us when we forget about you.. when we try to control our own destinies.. when we put you on the back burner and run around like crazy. Renew our faith today Lord and give us hearts that hunger after you.”
That’s what we did yesterday..we drove out to the coast. There is something about being near the ocean..something magical. When you get out of the car and walk down the path..suddenly there it is. The beautiful ocean..the waves come rolling in over and over. The sound of the breaking waves is powerful and at the same time peaceful.
The ocean reminds me of God.. He never changes.. He is beautiful. He is powerful and peaceful. He created the ocean in all its majesty..for us..I’m sure of it. He wants us to remember that He is our refuge in the storm.. that He is with us in the midst of the trials. He is our safe place and our refuge. His loves us and we belong to Him. He stands near us with His hand of protection surrounding us no matter how difficult it is..
When I saw the ocean.. it took my breath away.. I wanted to stay there forever just soaking in the fresh air and breathing in His peace. Wish I could go back today..Here’s a glimpse for you.
God is in the business of restoration. He delights in taking the old and making something brand new. It is never too late to change. As a senior citizen and a grandma.. I know this personally. I have to remind myself that God does not stop working on our behalf because we reach a certain age. I’ve watched God change my 91-year-old mother. I know He is busy doing things in the life of my sister.. she is in her sixties.
God is not limited by time.. He exists outside of it and will work in us throughout our lives if we cooperate with the process. In this season of my life He is teaching me to rest in Him.. to slow down and enjoy life more. I’ve always been a striver..someone who wants to be productive every single day. So..the Lord gave me a very easy-going husband..someone who enjoys life and knows how to relax. He is a very good influence 🙂
This is a season of change for me and time to lay down some of the old ways. Not because of my age.. but because God wants to bless me with a life that is not filled with constant activity. There are plenty of older people who never slow down and rush through their lives. Activity and busyness are idols in our country( and in the church) and I believe they keep us from truly taking in life the way it was intended to be. I found my significance in activity and feeling needed..God is releasing me from that and teaching me to realize that He is pleased with me.. not my accomplishments or my service. After 30 years in Christian ministry..He is releasing me into a less stressful season.
Of course that does not mean that I am doing nothing meaningful. I work as a counselor and He brings me clients. I spend time with friends, family, and have found a healthy community of people in the local church. Relationships will always be the center of my life..they make life rich and meaningful and God will always give us roles in other people’s lives..as long as we are here.
What type of season are you in? What is God teaching you and how is He leading you? Ask Him so you can cooperate with the process..it is worth it!
Do you ever say that to someone? I do and I mean it. What does that really mean? Does it sound selfish or self-centered? It is not. We are designed in such a way that if we don’t care for ourselves, we cannot care for anyone else.
So why is it so difficult? especially for givers. Users have no problem taking care of themselves.. in fact that is their life’s work. We can call that narcissism..a very big problem in our culture. Then there those of us who like to give and care for others. It is so easy to do this at the expense of our own well-being. We are adept at putting ourselves on the back burner..and we think it is the Christian thing to do. After all the Bible seems to be saying that we must put others before ourselves.
We are walking on a tightrope right now..because this is not a simple thing to understand. God does want us to care for others and to focus on the needs of those He puts in our lives..but not without caring for our own needs. We need to come and get filled up so we can give out of the overflow. If we put everyone else first our life will be out of balance and we will inevitably become grouchy, overly emotional, and just plain depressed. That is not God’s plan for our lives.
The most convincing argument for this comes straight out of the gospels. Jesus himself escaped from the crowds when He needed a break. He said no when it was the time to say no and He had boundaries with those around Him. If we look to His life we see an example of how to live..it still works 2000 years later.
Take a look at this scripture.. you’re read it before.
“The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
Notice anything?.. it presupposes that we love ourselves..it doesn’t say to love others instead of ourselves.. food for thought isn’t it?
My car has been in the shop for the last 10 days and I decided not to get a loaner. Instead I am taking this time to slow down and rest and to be alone. Today as I was walking in the valley, I began to realize that God had given me a personal retreat over the last week.
I am fortunate to live in an area surrounded by open space..walking here is so beautiful..trees with fall color and animals of all kinds. Since it is so dry, the deer are coming down lower and lower and they are very tame. It is an interesting experience to be walking along and suddenly come almost face to face with a buck..huge antlers and all!
I am reminded that my life is part of something bigger..and that somehow I am connected to both the beauty of nature and the amazing deer that roam this valley. Their life is simple..they eat, they rest, they walk..they are not worried and apparently not afraid. A good example of how our lives can be if we walk in faith and let God lead us. I am so thankful for this time.. for being set aside to remember what really matters..to be with Him and to enjoy the gifts He has given me.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?’”
This is the buck I saw today.. He let me take his picture! Isn’t he amazing?
Maui is a wonderful place. The colors are vivid and the people are warm and friendly. It is a perfect place to escape the pressures of life and soak in something beautiful that God has made. It is a place of refreshment and renewal.. an island that seems to say ” relax, slow down, and leave your cares behind.” I was able to do that and I wanted to share a few of the sights with you!
“The act or process of withdrawing, especially from something hazardous, formidable, or unpleasant.” Interesting definition. That word came to mind as I sat down to write. I am on an extended retreat..given by God.. a resting place. In some ways I am doing living out the word ” retreating.” My life is quiet.. I am working to keep it that way so I can recover from the stress of the last few years.
Being in a quiet place can be difficult for those of us who have spent much of our lives rushing from one thing to another. Busyness is the idol of our culture and often the idol of our churches. There appears to be a contest among all of us..who can live the most significant life..serving, giving, doing, doing, doing. I know all about it.. I was one of the contestants.
Not any more.. I quit. No more worrying about my life being meaningful..about God using me..about accomplishing more for His kingdom. God has slowed me down so I can remember..relax..rest and recover. He is reminding me that I belong to Him..that I have followed Him..that He is pleased with me. He is pursuing me to rest in His peace and remember His goodness. He is the Good Shepherd who knows everything about me. He has all my tears in a bottle. He holds me in the palm of His hand. I am His daughter and His friend.
We just got back from a few days away. .away from our normal routine and away from the phone and computer. There were stressful moments while we were gone.. it takes more than a couple of days to relax and unwind. Actually I have no idea how long that would take.. or if it is even possible anymore. The world is a stressful place. People drive too fast and too close. Everyone is too busy and too loud. What has happened to our culture? We seem to have lost something very important in our rush to accomplish it all before it is too late.
It was wonderful to come home to our quiet, peaceful home. I am grateful for this place.. I know many people do not feel relaxed..even in their own home. Learning to slow down..to enjoy each day fully..a challenge for all of us and very counter-cultural in our technological age. Almost everyone I know is busier than me, except my 90-year-old mother. Coming home yesterday, I felt so fortunate..so thankful, and so amazed at this season that God has given me.
You may be in a very busy season, with little time to yourself.. I remember those days. Find a way to take a little break..to enjoy yourself..to be still..to relax..to be refreshed..to enter His presence. Put the phone down, turn off the computer or TV.. listen, remember, believe.. He is with you.
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”