Friends, I hear from people every day they are overwhelmed with life; emotionally or physically fatigued and even flat-lined in their faith. I have always believed that the enemy of best is good. So as we enter late spring, and end of the school year with ten thousand activities, let’s examine ways to reposition ourselves so that we work from a place of rest.
Jesus never taught that we could say yes to Him and yes to everything else. He actually said to seek Him above all else (and His kingdom) and everything else would have to line up behind that. He was giving us the formula for working from a place of resting in Him.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be giving to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
Jesus spoke these words after telling his disciples not to worry about the things we worry about- what to eat, wear… you can fill in the blank with what you worry about. He told them not to worry about tomorrow. Today has enough to worry about. In other words, He taught us how to live our lives from a place of rest by seeking Him first. I can tell you that I have tried it both ways. When my children were little, I had a mindset that I could do all things but all things wore me out.
Paul suggested we do it differently:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Oops.. I left Christ out of the equation. Yes, I knew the Lord, but I was there to help Him out, not the other way around. One day I collapsed. Now that is rather dramatic. I did not literally collapse. But I did wear out.
He picked me up (not literally either) and His Word spoke deeply to my heart. “Joanne, seek ME first. Work from a place of rest.” Sounded good but how? The Holy Spirit gave me direction through a series of questions:
- What am I carrying that is creating me to become anxious, stressed? Is this something that I need to do? Is this something that I am doing for the wrong motives? And from that question came another question.
- What is my motive for doing ———(fill in the blank). That question was very telling.
- Am I being a perfectionist? A people pleaser? Trying to be all things to all people?
Friends, the questions above are a tool to do a self exam, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart, find peace and a way to give the burdens of life to him. Keep in mind, often we are unable to release some of the things that we must do, however seeking Jesus and His kingdom first ensures that we are following kingdom rule rather than self rule as we step out into the work of the day. Working from a place of rest simply means to seek Him first. The Holy Spirit will lead, guide and direct your path and the result will be peace. Making space for God means telling our sassy-can-do-self that apart from Jesus we can do nothing. So go to His vineyard and strap yourself on to His vine. Better to be a branch at rest than a wanna be vine usurping God’s place in your life.
I am the vine and you are my branches. The one who remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5-6)