Returning and Rest

What do you do on days you feel worthless? When you're striving and getting nowhere? Or when you don't strive at all because you can't stand the hamster wheel syndrome?

I want to do nice things for several reasons, and yours may be similar: honor God, please my husband, make a friend smile, etc. But nice things are just that: nice things. There's not much there. Sometimes it feels so empty.

I'm feeling empty today. Well, I'm feeling full of whatever virus made my tonsils swell up and my head cloudy and my feet cold. But empty at the root.

Here's the back story. Last night before bed, I was full of giggles. My poor husband was bewildered. He hadn't told a joke, wasn't making funny faces, and we certainly hadn't watched a sitcom. Still, I could not stop giggling. It just broke out suddenly and remained for several minutes while I attempted in vain to regain my composure.

Then it hit me. There was too much in my brain. It was all good stuff: Bible study, Bible reading plan, blog ideas (I wrote down about eight while catching up on my reading plan in Isaiah last night), organizational ideas, home decor, recipes, parties I want to host, friends I miss and want to grab coffee with, and the list went on and on. As I lay on the giant fluffy pillow in our living room trying to process my giggling fit, one thought would lead to another until I realized I had stuffed an unmanageable amount of good and bad stress into my mind. So it had exploded with an attempt at the best medicine known to mankind: laughter.

And the laughter was good, very good for me--endorphins are a beautiful thing. But when I woke up today with this sickness and had to stay home from praise team practice, then from Bible study, then from a work meeting, then from picking up our clearance Christmas tree, I had a good deal of time to sit (or lie) around and process all those stresses some more.

The conclusion I came to? It happens to be related directly to something I read in Isaiah last night: I'm trying too hard.

I'm striving and seeing no fruit, putting in too many hours of effort during the day and not of hours of sleep during the night with very little to show for it. I'm acting like the frightened Israelites who say they'll flee from their enemies and devise plans for their escape. But God says they won't get far.

Isaiah 30:15
15 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.”

God is telling the Israelites to come back to Him, to rest in His shelter, even though it looks crazy and scary and like a death-trap. And He wants you and I to rest in His salvation, too. Resting looks like we're going nowhere. If you want to make progress on a road trip, you can't pull over at a rest stop and just hang out all day. But we're not going to make any progress either if our tires keep blowing, or the engine overheats, or we run out of gas.

I've burned out not because I'm doing bad things but because I'm doing good things the wrong way. I'm not finding strength through trusting in God. I'm trying to muster up strength to just get it done. And while I trust in Christ for my salvation from eternal damnation, I'm struggling to trust Him for my sanctification, thus my elaborate Bible reading/memory and healthy living plans for the new year.

At the end of my life, I don't think God is going to care how many bunches of kale I ate or 5Ks I ran or parties I threw or times I read through the entire bible in a year. I think what's really going to matter is how well I know Him. So what is it this new year that will make me know more about my Jesus?

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Hello! I'm Faith. I'm a verbal processor who wants to love the Lord and love people with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I write to think and think to write. I don't drink coffee. I am a dogless dog lover. I enjoy hosting large parties in my home, and I enjoy being alone. Join me in looking to Him and pursuing A Radiant Face.


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