On this hot and muggy, North Carolina August day I’m recalling the blizzard of 2016. A storm that managed to disable our city. Life as we knew it froze (literally) for a few days. I hate winter but I love snow days! Why? Snow days are those times that Mother Nature gives us all a time-out, escape with no excuse necessary.
We’re all on a fast ride called life, ups and downs, twists and turns and nobody wants to be perceived as the wimp hitting the eject button for a day or two when you need a breather. We’re known for piling more into today than yesterday, crazy but it’s actually how we rate our sense of accomplishment for a day well spent.
So when a big storm came into town, the businesses shut down, and the police asked people to stay off the roads; all expectation was removed and we were given a pass to just rest. To just be.
In my own life, expectations without boundaries have proven themselves a force begging to be reckoned with. If I’m not careful, others expectations of me will be driving and I find myself riding shotgun. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been there, allowing my world to place demands on me that I never agreed to. And then, just like that, I feel trapped, joy-less, and powerless. I thought the solution was running harder, meeting more expectations of others, hustling and wishing the day I was currently living was over because I had exhausted my own strength – only to start another identical to the one before.
That right there, what I just explained is a cycle many of us find ourselves navigating when our life is out of alignment. Just like a car will veer to the right or left when it’s out of alignment, we do the same. We veer towards control, doubt, anxiety, fear. I know what the safe place of rest in Him feels like, it feels like the absence of fear, striving and worry. It’s the perfect alignment for my soul, that’s where I want to be.
In Hebrews 4:10-11 Paul writes:
“For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did his. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
To cease from works doesn’t mean we stop working, it means we stop striving to make it happen on our own strength. Whenever we find ourselves veering to our own strength, when our thinking shifts to how WE can make something happen – we’re trusting our own power and not His.
God never called us to live the fast, twisting ride of exhaustion and striving. He invited us into a partnership of rest with Him.
A place where rest is our number one priority. A place where the actual evidence of a lifestyle of rest is more fruit in our lives. That’s a crazy thought, huh? When we live with the awareness that the enemy desires to gain ground in our lives by our living a self-powered life void of dependency on the Holy Spirit. Perhaps the next time we’re drawn into self-sufficiency and striving mode we’ll draw from this passage:
“For if you live after the flesh, you shall die, but if you live after the Spirit and you mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Romans 8:13-14).
There is a reward for learning to live a life of rest because it’s a life of being led by the Spirit of God. Through Jesus we have the mind of Christ. The wisdom of God IS the mind of Christ for every situation that arises.
When my daily priority is falling into rest with the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom of heaven responds by producing MORE fruit in my life.
Oh how I get it so backwards at times.
So on this hot August day, I’m inviting you to take a ‘snow day’. Realign your focus and invite His resolve to your heart. Let’s hold ourselves to choosing the better thing, resting over striving.