Friday, July 15, 2016

take pause, give ALL

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. (Psalm 62:1)

Sometimes I forget to take care of myself.  Sometimes I forget that I cannot serve as God intends if I am not first a good steward of my own health and temperment.  For how effective am I if I am broken down?  How helpful can I be if I am defeated?  How fully can I love when I am cynical, and wounded, and frustrated?

When I am called to give with ALL my heart, ALL my soul, ALL my mind, ALL my strength... what "all" am I offering? Is it the obedient "all" of a flourishing garden, full of ripe fruit and encouraging beauty?  Or is it the thorny "all" of a poorly maintained plot, full of rooted weeds and unwanted growth that suffocates out the light and causes premature decay?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)

Friends, it is easy to lose track of how to best to manage our time for this purpose.  It is easy to forget our life's focus and run ourselves ragged with distracting work schedules and daily to-do lists.  But at the end of the day, we are servants of the Most High God who are called to love for the purpose of His glory.  Sadly, many of us find ourselves collapsing on our couches with little left to give merely because we do not make our well-being a priority and thus fail to biblically manage the care of our health and happiness.  Perhaps it is because we feel to do so would be selfish?  Perhaps it is because we are simply too busy to know up from down?  Sure, each of us has a reason.  But trust me when I tell you, the Lord created everything to function under the authority of His perfect balance.  So just as we must be careful not to over-indulge or live undisciplined, we also must not under-indulge ourselves to the point of becoming void.  God has given us so much to enjoy and praise Him for that we must make knowing His peace (physically, mentally, and spiritually) a true priority.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  (Psalm 23:2-3)

So often I forget this lesson and get snared into a rut of exhaustion and despair.  But my God is not a God of exhaustion or despair, is He?  No, He is The Way... The Truth... The Life.  He is the Giver who calls me to feast and enjoy every blessing at His table.  He is the Vine - and my branches cannot reach their highest or spread their widest without His communion.  I need His peace to prune and refresh me.  I need His rest so that I might give Him my very best.

Yes, sometimes we all can forget to take the necessary time out to wisely care for ourselves.  Sometimes we forget that we cannot serve well, as God intends, if we fail to wisely steward our health and temperments.  Simply put, Jesus told His disciples to take time out in order to rest... so we must also make the time to privately familiarize ourselves with His offered peace.

And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.  And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.  And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. (Mark 6:30-32)

Why is this important?  Because, it is in our restful moments that we are able to reboot and refocus our eyes back onto Christ.  It is in our restful moments that we are able to be refreshed in the bounty and goodness of the Creator's proven peace - thus reviving our faith and leaving us ready to serve with the best "all" we have to offer both King and country.  When we take pause under the quieted care of the Master... our hearts are refilled, our souls are refreshed, our minds are refocused, our strength is renewed.  Yes, when we stop to steward after ourselves in worship, the generous Savior redeems and returns the time with His fruitful and blessed blooms of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29)

Lord, teach us to take good care of ourselves so that we are available to love mightily in your Name.  Help us learn to live under your perfect discipline, balanced and ready to give our "all" for the benefit of your kingdom.  We wish to be healthy, able, effective, grace-filled vessels full of your abundant joy.  Teach us to treasure every moment deliberately paused in your presence.  Teach us to be still and know that you are our restorative, life-giving Redeemer-God who will be exalted and praised.  Amen.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)




© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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