It’s not all that surprising is it, that my way of doing things is seldom the way of the Lord? He is such a mystery to us. His ways so much higher and wiser than ours.
When I started this new year, I wanted to practice rest this year. I wanted to learn how to Sabbath. I truly wanted to learn how to rest in who I am in Jesus more this year.
But you know what? That wasn’t the only thing I really wanted. I wanted to rest, after all the other things got done. I wanted to pick the day to rest, and set it apart and look forward to it. It was not my plan to be knocked flat on my back by morning sickness and three back to back colds the entire month of January.
As a result, the website updates took longer than I planned. The blog hasn’t had any new content in over a month. My Instagram posts have been less than polished or beautiful. And it felt like all my New Years resolutions were going out the window; even though my main resolution was to REST! How is that possible?
Because I was trying to control it. To clean it up and make it pretty. To rest seemed like a well deserved luxury, after a hard day’s work. When I had to spend the past month resting because I had no other choice, I think I glanced up at God and said, “You know, this isn’t really what I meant.”
I imagine He smiled and chuckled at me.
Me and my plans. Me and my need to control. Me and my attempts to manufacture a faithful life, when all he wants is for me to ride on the waves of His daily mercies.
Because that’s my season. Two small kids, 4 and 2 and another on the way. Newly pregnant smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season and my immunity has been shot, and all I can do is parent from the couch some days and be glad for the mischief that is teaching my kids how to get into the snacks in the pantry on their own.
Not that there is anything wrong with pursuing a life of intentionality and purpose. I am all for it and I think the Lord blesses that. But for me right now, God knew that the more important lesson that needs to keep getting hammered hard into my thick skull is that I am not in control. I am not the boss. I don’t get to decide what I want to do with my days, God lays them out before me and asks me to walk fully into them, leaning into the strength He daily provides for me.
He knows that I’m dust. He knows the quiet times I’ve skipped. The half whispered-desperate prayers I’ve never finished. He knows the inner turnings of my heart and soul. He knows the frailty of my physical frame. Why am I trying to impress Him?
Isaiah 30 surprised me a couple weeks ago, and the verse keeps coming back to me.
“For thus said the LORD GOD, the Holy One of Israel,
‘In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’
But you were unwilling, and you said,
‘No! We will flee upon horses’;
therefore you shall flee away;
and, ‘We will ride upon swift steeds’;
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
A thousand shall flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you shall flee,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill.
Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the LORD is a God of Justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.”
Isaiah 30:15-18 (emphasis mine)
We are such rebellious children. He tells us to wait; to return, to rest. And we shout NO! And go flying off the handle to try and make our own way. We inflict fear and flight upon ourselves. Yet, he waits to be gracious to us; to bless those who wait for Him.
My journey with trying to control things isn’t over. My fight against the lies of perfectionism and people pleasing isn’t over. Every once in a while I believe the lies to get on my horse and ride for my life, when all I really needed to do was curl up in my Father’s lap.
When I am battling the lies that I’m lazy and worthless, because what I am “doing” doesn’t look like “enough” to me, I will try and remember that it is in returning and rest that I will be saved. When I wish hard for physical strength and energy to do what I think needs to get done, I will try and remember that quietness and trust will be my strength.
When I rest in what God has for me, and in who I am in Him, that frantic voice starts to grow quiet. I can stop perceiving the messy condition of my house, the fact that I’m still in jammies at 3pm, and that I have to have my husband pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner (again), as an emergency. Because you know what? None of those things have any bearing on my identity. I am still who I always was, and always will be; Beloved Child of the King of the Universe. And no amount of laundry left to fluff for three days can take that away from me!
When I humble myself before the Lord who already knows how small I really am, I don’t have to fret, or be frazzled. I don’t have to make excuses. I can be still, I can cease striving. I can rest knowing that He holds my days, as He holds me.
I can let that frantic heart rate come down to a resting one. There I find peace, and rest in surrender.
If the end of this month has you feeling frazzled, distracted, or despairing; you are SO not alone. But don’t let those voices make you flee when all you need to do is rest. Take a minute to be still with your Father God, and realized how deeply He has been longing to shower you with His mercy once more.