Just Relax

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“Just relax”, is the advice that a few close friends have been saying to me.  How true it is that while we are trying to figure out the solutions to our many problems, that relaxing is really the solution that we seek.  We all really just want to rest, yet we think that worrying and rushing will bring us there.  Worry never brings rest.

There are many ways to find relaxation though.  One way to gain the ability to relax is by way of accomplishment.  Sometimes we are stressed because we have something pressing us that we want to accomplish.  This is actually a good anxiety in a way because it can be used to motivate us.  Sometimes I get chores done only because the anxiety that begins to build up and cause me to feel bad if I don’t.  These types of burdens can really weigh us down until we deal with them.  When we understand that the only way to bring relaxation under this kind of stress is through accomplishment, then we can seek to figure out how we can overcome.  When we have accomplishment, then we can have rest.

What about the times when we are unable to reach accomplishment though?  Like, what happens when accomplishing something is beyond our control?  Yet, the burden to overcome lingers there and we try to press forward, yet we just don’t have the resources?  What then?  Many of us encounter such barriers that prevent us from reaching that place of relaxation and rest that we seek.  These burdens seem to bring about shame, dishonor, and fear.  Sometimes it can lead to anger, frustration, and impatience.  Humility, trust, and patience are what the burdens are meant for.  Just as God saw that humans could accomplish anything when they worked together as they built the tower of Babel, and he stretched out his mighty hand and frustrated their plans, sometimes he frustrates our plans.  The reason being that the trials and testings of the life force us to slow down, otherwise we might spend all of our time and energy building something that really is futile after its all said and down.  The Tower of Babel was meant to reach heaven, however all that would had happened is that it would have reached high enough to take their breath away, but they would have never reached heaven no matter how hard they tried.  Sometimes it is what we are reaching for that will defeat God’s given purpose for our lives.  Maybe it is a God given purpose we are striving for, but God allows us to be slow downed so that we can develop some character as we wait.  “It is in the waiting”, God says.  It is in the waiting that we get strong and gain necessary perspective.

“You just need to relax”, they say.  I have been told this multiple times, yet I keep forgetting and continue to need to be reminded of it again because I keep getting ahead of God.  I was given a prophesy years ago by the pastor’s wife, who told me that God would grow me up fast, but to not get ahead of him.  Since she had told me this, I have always ran ahead of him.  I hate waiting.  Yet, running ahead is like racing to get to a red light or stop sign.  That stop sign comes whether we expect it or not, whether we like it or accept it, it comes.  Racing to come to a stop sign won’t change the pace of our distance, rather it just influences our restfulness.  Racing to get anything done is not restful.  We must run our race with endurance and assurance that as we do what God has asked us to do, God will bring us to the finish line, that this is not a race of quickness, but it is a race that needs to be finished.

Waiting on God is an art that leads to resting.  When we race ahead at high speed, it is because we are afraid we wont finish.  When we wait on God, and enter into his rest by not worrying about what we don’t know, and not focus on the finish line so much that we get frustrated and fixated on the reward more than the creator, then we slow down to the speed that will ensure that we will finish.  We rest because we have faith and believe that God is in charge and his plans are the best for us.  God, thank you for always being patient and reminding us of your truth, and your willingness to repeat yourself over and over again.  When we believe and obey, we enter his rest.

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Rejections, Acceptance, and Waiting

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I could go into detail about my own personal trials, but I don’t think the details matter, plus they might bore some.  I think that we all experience rejection of some kind, when what we seek after or hope for ends in disappointment.  It turns out that the things that we think we need or want are not always part of God’s plan.  Sometimes when we really want something, Satan will tease us with a counterfeit that at the moment seems like everything we ever dreamed up.. but wait.  Then, after we set our heart on it, our hopes are disappointed.  I suppose part of the difficulty in waiting is actually  waiting.  I could have said yes when counterfeits presented itself, or pushed for them, yet I didn’t.  For that I am grateful.  The times when I would have clung to that counterfeit blessing, God closed the door or intervened somehow.  We can be confident that all things in are God’s control.    One thing is clear that despite what our personal trial is, as we wait there is something greater in store for us.  James 1:4 explains to us that when we experience trials and are forced to wait for better times, then it makes us perfect.  Once we are made perfect, then we don’t lack any good thing.  God is certainly able to give us what we need right now, he could bring us riches, a perfect partner, a child, fame or popularity, restored health right now.  Surely his word even explains to us that it is his plan to make us prosper.  Yet, it is God’s plan to make us truly prosper and we are also told that any good thing we have on earth, is only momentary.  Even when he finally gives us what he has promised to us, we won’t have what is needed to be truly perfect and have lasting wellness, until a greater work is done within our heart, our understanding, our soul.  As I’ve waited to have the perfect relationship, hoping to get rid of the loneliness I feel or adding increased satisfaction to me and my family, something has happened.  My needs and desires have changed, and are still evolving.  For surely our light and momentary afflictions are truly only light and momentary compared to the greater glory that will result (2 Corinthians 4:17).  We have three choices the way I see it, we can either rush the process, taking control and grabbing hold of the counterfeit, which will lead to even greater disappointment.  We can be miserable and sulk while we wait, getting angry, rebellious, having a bad attitude, becoming hopeless and frustrated, which does not rush the process it just only adds to our suffering, or we can wait, pray, praise God and focus on what he wants us to focus on.  Hebrews chpt. 12 have much to say about enduring hardship and sufferings, in which we are encouraged to think of our trials as God’s discipline, not the kind of discipline that we call punishment, but rather discipline as in training.  In Hebrews 12:11 we are told something very important, that “if” we are trained by it, we will reap a harvest of righteousness that will be so satisfying.  The key word is “if”.  This has told me that my attitude during personal trials will determine “if” I am being trained by them, or if I am just being like a child and having a tantrum.  We have a choice.  Trials are allowed from God for one purpose, and that is to train us.   The old testament is full of evidence that supports that God used trials to win back his children, to bring them to repentance and to train them, changing their hearts, but many of his children grew rebellious.  The crew that were delivered from Pharoh in Exodus are an example of children with stinky attitudes that chose to have disbelief, despite the miraculous works that they had witnessed, who lacked trust though they tested God repeatedly, and who God finally decided to not allow them to inherit the blessing that he was leading them to in the first place.  I don’t want to become that obstinate, willfully rebellious child who God finally decides not to give me the inheritance he had promised.  I want to be trained, I will take my licks and learn my lessons, and afterwards I will be grateful and trust him regardless of what he dishes out to me.  You want to give me manna rather than meat, ok God done.  Yum.  Am I getting irritated again, ok Lord I’m sorry my flesh grows weak sometimes please have mercy on me and please don’t stop guiding and correcting me, but do what you feel is needed so that I will repent.  I am yours Lord, I want what you plan to give me, and if it is only the desert place then I will praise you for it because father knows best.  I trust God.  I believe.  He is my portion.  Change me Lord, amen.

Waiting On You

It is true that there isn’t always an immediate fix. As a matter of fact there is not an immediate fix for a reason, because you don’t change. To think that we need something new, or something to change before things can be different for us, is to think that God made a mistake in the first place. He made the world and everything in it including us. To say that we are not enough is to say he made a mistake, and God does not change. Rather than trying to change things in our lives, we should change our outlook. Rather than looking for something new to make us happy, we should appreciate what we have already been given. True happiness starts with being happy with where we are and with who we are with. The grass is only greener on the other side, because that person has been watering and taking care of it maybe. Maybe we need to embrace what we have. I am so grateful that no matter what happens in the life, you Lord remain the same. Your words are constant no matter what we face, your word says do not worry, do not be afraid. Appearances might tell us that things won’t be ok unless we jump rock to rock, but your word says that You are the constant rock. It is not you God that is the problem, but it is our choices. We are told that the greatest commandment is to love you with all our heart, soul, will emotion, strength, yet how many of us obey this vital command. That command alone would resolve every problem that we face on earth. We would have world peace and no more wars. We would be happy and whole. We would have no more world hunger, if every person on the planet simply just obeyed the single most greatest command. I cannot solve world hunger, but I can however choose you. Please help me to mold my will to yours. Help me do what you command and always be willing.

If I wait upon you and obey your commands according to my strength then I am fulfilling your greatest command. This is that I do it to my fullest ability, it does not require perfection, but rather true effort and determination. We cannot attain perfection, there is nothing that we can do that will ever come close to being good enough, however because you love us you credit our faith as righteousness always. You look at our actions which show you our love, and you will justify us and then glorify us. Because you are good and faithful. Your word does not tell us to seek perfection, but what it does say is to seek you first, to concern ourselves with your kingdom and your righteousness and all that we care about will be added unto us. You are faithful I know this.

When I wait upon you this means that you are my source of security. If you are my rock I will not be shaken. As soon as I get my focus on something else such as my home, my job, my partner, my friend to be my rock, I find that those things can be shaken. On my own self as well, this too can be shaken. I am reminded lately that you are the source of my strength and that I cannot even rely on my own strength. My work is to seek you and obey you. That is my part and the rest is yours. Do I trust you? Then I will show it be waiting upon you and obeying you even when I am afraid, even when my head screams that I am foolish. I will keep my trust in you as my source and my security alone. The world will tell us a different story always. Your friends, family members, teachers, even fellow church members will tell you to put your trust in something else, and maybe suggest that putting all your trust in the God of earth is foolish, however God has a way of proving his word. His word will not return void. Lord please let anything that I ever think to place my trust in be shaken. I am so grateful for my relationship because it teaches me that you are a solid rock and foundation and my reliance on anything outside of you will prove to be shaken. I am so grateful that you promise to not abandon your loved ones to the grave. Whatever is consistently you, that I can trust.

Help me trust in you in depth. Please expose the times I might be reaching for something other than my secure rock and remind me of your life and faithfulness. Sitting on this rock might prove challenging until we find that it is actually comforting to trust in you. To rely on you. At first the rock seems hard, cold, silent. Over time we begin to feel your warmth, your attentiveness, your care and your ever enduring love. What is even more is that we find that even if we slip and fall off, or even if we choose to get off the the rock, this rock will seek us, and it will find us because there is nothing, no height, or depth, or width or power, no magnet, no distraction, no other love that can separate me from this love. The magnitude of that love is so important and powerful for us to understand. So much so that we have been prayed for so that we will know how high, and deep, and wide is your love for us. Because you are love. Even if we are unfaithful you will remain faithful. Lord I don’t know if I’ll ever truly be worthy of your love. But right now while I’m of sound mind I am saying thank you. Help me learn more about the depth of your love. Help me always choose life and be willing to loose my life so that it will be saved. Amen