There have been times in my life when I would have loved to have the flu. Yes, you read that correctly. Once or twice I have found myself so busy, so overwhelmed, so just plain tired of tired— that I would have nearly enjoyed an illness just so that I might spend a day or two in bed, with my pajamas and a book.
Now of course no one really wants to be sick, even if it means peace and quiet. But I am certain we can all agree that we often do not realize how badly we need rest until we are completely maxed out, worn out, and stressed out. Our edges frazzle and fray until we feel the unraveling in every area of life. And, often it does take a season of sickness or utter exhaustion to really get our attention.
But how do we get this way? Many of the responsibilities we have are necessary. The people we serve need that service. We have commitments we cannot easily get out of. Much of what we do seems good and right and God-honoring.
And after all, if we have these gifts— should we not we be using them? Often we think it righteous to be completely exhausted as long as you are completed exhausted serving God. How do we go from being involved in good things to being 100% overwhelmed?
Scripture is clear that God does not call us to a life of ease, to be on a perpetual spiritual vacation— only doing those things which are easy and require little sacrifice. But many of us have one particular problem and it is not a lack of sacrifice, but instead the inability to say “NO.”
When we choose to say “yes,” to every single good thing anyone offers us, we often miss out on God’s best REST.
All of these good things can sometimes add up to being overwhelmed and unable to absorb any outside bumps. This leads to not enough rest, not enough soul time, not enough margin. This is a problem.
In elementary school when we learned to write, our teachers often said, “Skip Lines.”That space between the lines and the margins on the paper gave them space to correct, adjust, and make changes.
Friend, this is what our God wants from us. Room to breathe so we are free to hear Him speak. Room that God can use to move in us. Room to adjust our day to suit His purposes. Margin to insert the things into our days and weeks that HE would have us do. Things He would have us be available for.
We often may miss divine appointments and the needs of others, because we are just too distracted with ourselves and our schedule. When we live our lives from the top of one page to the very bottom of it—with no white space, no breathing room, no margin—we miss out on the rest that strengthens us.
This rest that saves us, the rest that strengthens us to continue, is something that God knows we need so desperately. He created us with humanity woven into our deepest parts, and that humanity cries out for His rest and refreshing.
- Are there things in your life you know should not be there?
- Are there commitments which God did not call you to but that you assumed for yourself?
- Are there elements of your life that are constructed in such a way that leave no room for God to work?
May I encourage us both to do one simple thing this week?
Open your schedule before Him and ask Him what should be removed or adjusted to make room for Him to be the schedule maker.
When He is the schedule-maker and we check every new commitment with Him first, we will find that His plans are better. We will find not that everything will go according to plan; but that the God who truly has planned our future and orders all our tomorrows will have His rightful place in our lives.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. —Jeremiah 29:11
NEXT WEEK— Addition & Subtraction: Making Adjustments to Create Space
Cynthia is a member of our Women’s Ministry Leadership Planning Team. To read more from Cynthia visit her blog, happygostuckey.com.