Save your sanity aha’s to finding rest in the lord. Learning how a short-term hospital stay left me questioning how to rest in the Lord.
It started off as any typical Tuesday, pick the kids up from their school after I get off work. Only this day as I was waiting in the car line for one of my kids to get out, I was rear-ended. The jolt was jarring and left me in complete panic because I was six months pregnant. Already flowing with emotion due to the life growing inside me, I developed back, neck, and head pain and was urged to go to the hospital.
At the hospital, I was told a whole bunch of scary things that could be wrong with the baby that they wanted to rule out. What was supposed to be a few hours of observation turned into an overnight visit. The experience was traumatic, to say the least, but after settling into the reality of what was going on, I knew God required me to rest to get me through this.
#1 Submitting to Rest
Throughout my life. God has drawn me back to rest. At first, I examine rest as if I were trying to see it from all possible sides. If I were to rest, what would that set me back? How would I operate moving forward? Who would pick up the slack? How much more work would be on my plate after the rest was over? At this point, I weigh if rest is a feasible option. When I don’t listen to His gentle nudge and continue to operate in my flesh, He forces me to rest. He does this with forced hospital stays and temporary bodily injuries. When I finally submit to God’s lesson on rest, I find myself getting out of the way so He can teach me a lesson or two about how to operate in this season of life.
#2 Busy and Rest
Rest is an opportunity to be reunited with God, a chance for us to slow down our busy lives and sit before the Creator. Even in the seasons of being busy, we can focus on prayer, fasting, and resting in God’s presence. Rest goes as far back as God’s creation. It is our gift from the Lord. The Bible tells us in Psalms 46:10 to “be still and know that I am.” That “be still” part is the beginning of rest. It’s only when you are still that He moves on your behalf.
Rest in God’s eyes is not to be seen as an afterthought but as a way of life in cohabitation with animals and nature. Rest takes us further with God. It is needful and necessary to know God on a more intimate level.
#3 Open Hands and Rest
When I had my overnight hospital stay, I finally realized, in order to rest in the Lord, I need to give up the control I thought I had. A lot of why we don’t rest in the Lord has to do with our need to control the things we think we can.
In my case, God showed me I was lacking trust in the Lord.
There’s a beautiful image that one of my friends told me about years ago. Control is like a closed fist. You’re holding onto that thing so tightly you can’t see the blessings God wants to put in the palm of your hand. When you open your fist (release control to God), you’ll be able to receive what He has for you. Some of you are good at resting in the Spirt, and others need to be reminded that it is okay to rest. Ultimately, being still is a good thing, one in which God wants to show us new things. The question is this: Are you willing to be still enough to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit?
Are you searching for the things that will make you whole? There was a time I was seeking identity and found Jesus. I thought being married—or having kids—would make me whole. But I found out Jesus is the ultimate hole filler. While I was seeking identity, I found Jesus. Maybe you struggle in this area too. I want you to know you are not alone. Join me as you learn to reflect on His truth.
Seeking identity, Finding Jesus
If you knew me back then, you’d think I had it all together. According to society, I had the ideal life:
Two kids? Check.
Business owner? Check.
From the outside, it looked like I had no problems. All the while, I was suffering from what I call long-term memory loss.
I actually didn’t know who I was. My identity was wrapped up in the things I thought I was supposed to do—and who I thought I was supposed to be.
The running narrative that played in my head at that time was doubting my ability in everything: my effectiveness as a wife, parent, friend, and business owner. Further, I felt guilty all the time for not being enough or doing enough.
God stopped me one day. It felt like a lightbulb came on, and everything from that point forward made sense. He started playing a highlight reel where I showed others kindness and generosity, where I was obedient to Him and served others happily.
And you know what took me by surprise?
It was all true!
He brought to mind the times I loved others, served them, and was kind.
In this highlight reel, I was loved beyond measure, from when He formed me to my dying breath.
Reflection: Seeking identity and finding Jesus requires you to reflect on how you see your identity vs. how God sees you.
Your Identity vs. God’s Truth
The loop you choose to play all day can either be hurtful or edifying. If you’re suffering from long-term memory loss like I was, start to listen to your loop and become aware of the things you’re telling yourself. Then start to think about the things God thinks about you. The Bible holds wonderful treasures He’s waiting for us to find and delight in.
Just in case you’re not sure, here are a few things your Father says about you:
You’re a royal priesthood.
You’re His heir.
He calls you wonderfully and fearfully made.
You are the light of the world.
Your Father takes delight in you!
God’s Truth in Action
Let’s have a little fun! Leave a comment below about how God sees you. Simply close your eyes and meditate on His goodness, love, and faithfulness. Let’s call it our “I am statement.” Who are you from God’s perspective? It can be a verse from the Bible or words or phrases that God is laying on your heart or both. There is no wrong answer. Drown out the negative reel that’s been playing and replace it with God’s truth!
Scriptures to help you delight in God’s Word:
“If any of you lack wisdom, ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).
“For the Lord takes delight in His people He crowns the humble with victory” (Psalms 149:4).
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
“Swimmers take your mark”, calls the announcer from the loudspeaker. Beeeeep sounded the buzzer. I dove into the water and glided effortlessly until I took my first stroke. Coming up for air in a fluid motion of succinct breathing, arm strokes, and kicks. I kept a steady pace down the lane, then curled up into a human ball, summer salting underwater known to swimmers as a flip turn and powerfully pushing through at the end of the wall. Then gracefully gliding once again. The art of swimming this heat would be 19 more laps until its completion.
Lap 17, no one on my left, no one on my right. Suddenly I hear the crowd roar as I head in to take my last flip-turn. Just then my thoughts creep in. That loud cheer couldn’t be for me. Someone must have just won I thought.
I had more and more time to think. To second guess. For the enemy to settle in with the negative self-talk. To tell me what I had already been playing in my head. I am the only one who looks like me here, I am not good enough to win this race. My body doesn’t look like theirs. I am not a swimmer.
Succumbed to the doubt I began to slow down. The lead that I didn’t know I had was gone. I had lost the race that I later learned I was actually winning. That loud roar… was for me, they were cheering me on neck and neck down the last lap. Only I couldn’t see it.
Instead of going faster when the crowd cheered I self-sabotaged, I stopped trying altogether.
Have you had moments where you begin to shrink or hold yourself back, too?
It was a sport that I absolutely loved and yet I had convinced myself otherwise.
The Bible tells us in Romans 8:1 that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So why do we continue to condemn ourselves?
If you haven’t started already let God show you who you are through His eyes. You are not your failures or condemned. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.
I want you to acknowledge your shrinking stories, the ones you tell yourself when you are all alone with your thoughts.
If you are harboring those stories and letting them guide you as your truth, you are going to remain stuck. Instead, ask God to speak His word into your life, ask Him to reveal His truth of you.
When you do this, you will go through a change and transformation that God has been calling you to. Then, you will be able to move forward with a renewed identity in Christ.
One of the most asked questions I get is how do you hear God’s voice? Some of you may wonder if it’s your voice or God’s you think you hear. In an email to Dr. Charles Stanley, the writer asks the same question. “I have prayed for God to speak to me, but I don’t hear him. My faith is strong, and I know he will do for me and what the Bible promises. But I have never heard him say, go buy this gallon of milk, go buy this car, wait for what I have for you”. Am I not listening in the right way, or is He guiding my everyday decisions, but I don’t realize He is speaking?
Here are the 5 ways to hear God’s voice
1. My sheep hear my voice verse
John 10:27-28 says, my sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me. As Christians, remember that you are one of his sheep. Since you follow God, you can hear his voice. Believe that he will and does lead you, even though you may not see it yet.
2. Build your relationship
Go on a date with him. Create intimacy. Just like a relationship, it needs attention, or it will die out. The only way to hear his voice is to spend time with him. Spending time with him is crucial in hearing his voice. The more obedient you are, the more you will hear His voice. For example, going to the gym may not be the most enjoyable thing to do. However, the more you go, the more you build muscle, and you feel so much better. You have to flex the muscle to get muscles. You have to spend time to hear his voice. Create the space and time to make the habit. Then you will hear His voice which will lead you to what, where, and how.
3. Meditate on the scriptures
Joshua 1:8 says, Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. More verses in the Bible instruct on the benefits of meditating on God’s word too. Hearing God’s word requires diligence in staying in the world, to glean the understanding of God’s wants to you. He knows what you need when you need it, so let him share his wisdom with you. He will speak if you will listen.
4. Be Obedient to Hear His Voice
Being obedient to the word of God will set you up to hear him repeatedly. When you seek out His wisdom from the Bible and follow it is easier to hear what he says.
For instance, my friend Lauren at creativerecovery.net felt compelled to read all these books people would give her for her coaching business. She felt exhausted by all the books she thought she was supposed to read. Then she asked God what insights he wanted her to learn from each book. God showed what to glean from each book. Lauren is afforded more time because the reading load has lightened. Now, more time is allocated to doing the things that God actually wants her to do.
5. Be still to Hear His Voice
If you really want to hear God you have to get still. When there is so much chaos or business and distraction on the mind, you might find it hard to hear God’s voice. You have to learn how to declutter the brain to pursue what God wants you to hear.
In conclusion, be open to the way God will speak to you, his precious sheep. He will speak when you seek Him through the scriptures, become obedient, and are still enough to listen. Let God lead you because he wants you to succeed and prosper!
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I heard God whisper the words consistently faithful after praying about being a better leader. He told me how to be consistently faithful in a season when I focused on the strategy of marketing. As a result, I wasn’t consistently faithful to him.
Have you been in a season too, wrapped in getting the work done you have neglected the creator? As a Christian who leads herself or a group of people, you might think marketing, strategizing, or productivity in business will help you become more successful. However, God desires you to be consistently faithful to him first.
Be Consistent in Your Faith
Being consistent in your faith is to be fully in God’s presence. Further, not looking to the right or the left but continually focusing on him. Through being consistently faithful, the work that He has designed you for can take root.
As a Christian, you probably know the importance of God’s presence. Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16, “rejoice always, pray continually give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Focusing on Jesus seems counterproductive when you need to move closer to your goal or feel like you can not seek God through difficult moments. However, focusing on Jesus is the only way He can move you forward in the call he has for your life.
So this season of life, I urge you to the words “consistently faithful.” Try surrounding yourself in God’s love by being close to Him in your prayer. By focusing on being consistently faithful, you will cultivate a relationship with Him. Thus, your journey will be made clear.
He Will Consistently and Faithfully Take Care of You
Let God take care of you and help you become consistently faithful. As a Christian, you are not here to earn God’s love but to be consistent in your faith with Him. Let this season be the season you surround yourself with Him and let Him lead you to the fruit he has for you.
The New Year is an opportunity for a fresh start, the only problem is 80% of us fail to uphold our New Year resolutions.
How can you ensure you are part of the 20% that do uphold their New Years’ resolutions?
Stop making New Year resolutions and start following God’s plan for your life
Getting to Know God
Before you can follow God’s plan you have to get to know what God thinks about you.
Have you ever had an artichoke? It’s a vegetable common in California. When you peel back all the leaves you get to the heart (the most delicious part). Imagine you are like His artichoke, you have many layers to shed but eventually, your heart is transformed by God. The situation you are in now might be helping you shed something. When it’s over you’ll be able to see how God helped you shed that layer and become a better person.
So today think of yourself and situation as an artichoke that God is always trying to get to your heart by shedding the lies and things that we believe to be true about ourselves.
What lies are you needing God to shed in the New Year? I’d love to hear from you
When you know what God wants you to do then He can guide you in the direction you should go.
Prayerfully listen and wait
God’s guiding hand in any situation is so much more effective than your own, for this reason, it is important not to get ahead of yourself and go it alone.
Prayer, listening and waiting for God’s timing is a skill, and for many of us, myself included is really hard.
However, I have learned that even though I want to do it my way, in my timing; it is always better when God’s hand is in the mix.
Prayerfully listening and waiting for God is asking God what He wants you to do.
After that, wait for the answer to be revealed in His timing.
Remember, God wants to get the center of that artichoke. So let Him peel back the layers and produce the good work in you. God can’t produce fruit in you if you don’t let Him.
Act according to His will
Now that God has guided you in where you must go, carry out His mission. What big or small thing God is calling you to this year?
By building a relationship with God you’ll know what He says about you. Then you can stop setting your own New Years’ resolutions and start listening to what God has planned for your life. Focus on seeking God, praying and spending time in the word in order to accomplish God’s plan this New Year.
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Sara Chinakwe is a Christian writer who believes every woman has the power to live out God’s plan for their lives. She enjoys helping other women shed the negative lies they think about themselves in order to live out God’s truth. Sara resides in Sacramento California with her husband and two kids. You can read more on her blog sarachinakwe.com