At the beginning of this year, the words God gave me for this year was rest and trust. In January, I had no idea how that would how literally this would play out in my life this year. And honestly when God gave me these words I did not understand why He gave them to me.
Ten weeks ago when I quit my job, my plan was to take a week off (that was going to packed full of things) and then start a new job the next week. Key words here is MY PLAN. Not God’s plan. I did have a job offer but I turned it down for numerous reasons. So I ended my last job with no new job. During the week after I quit my job, God pressed it on my heart to take a significant amount of time off before I start something else and for me to go away by myself.
In the first month of not working, I had no desire to work any job. And it caught me by surprise that I did not want to work. Anyone that knows me personally knows working is something that I have always done and I see value in it. And it would give me anxiety when I do not have an ongoing income to pay bills and live on. But not having the desire to work showed me that I needed this time to rest. I needed time for my physical body, emotional being and my spiritual being to be able to rest and heal.
Six weeks after I quit my job, I went on vacation by myself for 12 days! Yes, you read that right, I went by myself to the Finger Lakes region in New York. During this time I was able to sight see, meet up with a total stranger to trade a photoshoot, I visited a new church twice, chased the sunset one night, try iced custard made out of duck eggs, sit at a local coffee shop and work on my business for a few days, read a couple books, go see a movie alone, reconnect with some family that was in the area, and most importantly I took the time to connect with God and listen to his voice. Where I was staying there was not internet or TV to distract me from hearing God’s voice. In these 12 days God spoke to me and I learned what it means to rest and just stop without rushing to the next thing.
I am grateful for this season of rest. I do not regret that I took time for this season. It was a season that I needed. In this season, God has provided for me in more than just finances. And He has given me clarity and direction as to where He has called me to. He met me in the moments that I was anxious and unsure that I had done the right thing. He has spoken to me through the Bible, my time with Him and through other people. God has walked with me through this season of rest and healing.
Out of this season I have gained and learned some things:
It is important to take time to rest and take time alone for anyone but especially for those in ministry or in a profession that helps others.
“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)
“Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.” (John 6:15)
Jesus did this on a regular basis. And if Jesus had to do this how much more important is it for us humans. We need to have a rhythm and focus in our life that allows us to have rest and focus on our relationship with God. We need to slow down in life and not always be rushing off to the next thing. While you may not be able to take time off of work for a couple months to rest like I have; it is still important to integrate rest in our lives in a regular basis.
***This is part of a series of blog posts of me sharing about my burnout and things I have been learning through this. They are numbered in the order that they are written in and to indicate that they are part of this series.***
Recently I have been faced with one of the hardest things that I have had to go through in my adult life. While I am still in the midst of it all, there are a few things I have learned in last couple weeks.
He is here with me in my sadness.
He is here with me in the joyous moments.
He is here with me in the moments that I don’t understand.
He is here with me when I pretend to be ok and ignore my feelings.
He is here with me when I don’t understand my feelings and can’t put a name to it.
There is a song that I have been identifying with the last couple weeks.
Maybe it’s ok if I’m not ok
‘Cause the One who holds the world is holding onto me
Maybe it’s all right if I’m not all right
‘Cause the One who holds the stars is holding my whole life
“Maybe It’s Ok”by We are Messengers.
While I don’t know when this will end, I do know that God with me in the midst of the storm. He is teaching me new things in this storm. I trust Him in the midst of the storm.
If you are going through a hard season in life, look at what you can learn through it all. Look to the peace in the storm rather than focusing on the storm.
God has been teaching me patience and to wait on his timing for probably the most of my life. There are times in life that I have felt like I was in the waiting place(according to Dr. Seuss) for a long time and in many ways I am still in the waiting place. Excerpt from Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss:
“You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.”
It is in this waiting place that we often get impatient and frustrated with God and life. And we can ruin what God make have in store for us. Granted God can use us in all situations to even if its not in His plan but for His glory. But where we may end up might not be as good as God intended us to be. We humans have a way of getting in the way of God because we think that we know best for us. But in reality the creature(us) does not see the whole picture like the Creator(God) does. So how can we know what is best for us over the Creator that created us into existance.
Sometimes we need to stay in this waiting place for God to prepare us for something greater than we can imagine. The waiting place is not an easy place to be but it is in that waiting place we can experience the peace and love of our Creator. Even though we may have no idea what is going to happen next. In uncertain times, there can be peace and joy because we have our Creator walking beside us in life.
Do I have life all figured out? No, I will never on this earth but I do know that I am a child of God who has a God that loves me more than I can imagine and fathom. (It still amazes me that God would love me and that He wants a personal relationship with me with millions of people on this earth.) And I would rather be in the waiting place with my Creator than in a place on my own. When we are in this waiting place, we need to sit back allow God to do the work and be ready to follow His calling for our lives out of the waiting place.
Recently life has thrown some challenges at me and my family. Some of the challenges could be enough to shake someone’s faith. Some of the things are big and life changing. There are a few things I learned along that way or that I have been reminded of; as I deal with and process the events that have been happening.
First, that God is still good and sovereign no matter what life puts in my path. And He walks right beside me as I walk through the trials of life. These trials in life did not surprise Him. He knew they were coming. I am grateful that this is a foundation in my life because without this life would be much harder than it already is. “The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” – Psalms 145:9
Second, the peace of God is worth more than the most expensive item on earth! If you don’t have peace it robs you of the amazing things that God has in store for you and your life. I am grateful that I have His peace as I journey through life. “For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken, says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” – Isaiah 54:10
Third, my strength come from the Creator of all things. There are times I feel weak and do not feel strong enough to go through the battles of life. I have realized my strength comes from Him and not from myself. On my own I will never be strong enough. I will always be weak on my own without Him. This is a relief knowing that I do not have to strong and that I can go to my Father for the strength I lack. “The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless his people with peace. – Psalm 29:11”
Fourth, my emotions and life circumstances will not dictate on whether I have joy and peace. Sure I will have days where emotions will be strong and life circumstances will be hard. Because I am human! But they can not take my joy and peace away. I will have joy even in the moments that I would rather have a pity party for myself. “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.” – Psalms 5:11
Life is full of lessons and reminders. And there is a joy and peace when it does not makes sense to have it when you are walking the journey with your Creator. What lessons or reminders has God given you when life is crazy and tough?