Rest, Oh the Struggle!
Rest is a concept that I struggle with. The Enemy knows my Martha heart and makes every effort to pressure me to run faster and do more. As a goal setter and a go-getter, the temptation to run at the world’s pace instead of the Lord’s pace is always before me.
As I’ve spent time with the Creator and running this Hebrews 12:1-3 race, I’ve discovered that this need to run faster and to do more stems from a spirit of lack and feeling unworthy. (Nothing but transparency over here.) However, this spirit is not of the Lord. Jesus said that he came to give us life to the full (John 10:10) and God reminds me that I am worthy because I am in Christ (2 Cor 5:21). I can only defeat the lies of the Enemy when I claim God’s words.
I share how I’ve learned to use God’s words to create affirmation in Unlabeled. Friend, this Spirit-led strategy saved me as I encountered wrestling with the Lord over my goals for me verses His goals for me. You can find more info on how I use those affirmations here below.
Today, my friend, I want to share with you how I heard God’s whisper amid the Enemy’s shouts, how falling down and crying out at the feet of Jesus has restored my soul, and my best tips for how you can create rest cycles in your life so that you can run with perseverance the race marked out for you. So that you can run and not grow weary.
I’ve been running as if the Enemy has been hot on my heels, pursuing me with the angry, piercing shouts.
Words echoing in my mind sound like this:
- “Run Faster, girl.”
- “You’ll never run fast enough at this pace.”
- “All the others will get ahead.”
- “You’ll never finish this race!”
LIES. ALL LIES.
And friend, just as Jesus countered the Enemy in the wilderness with the words of God, so must we.
The words of the Lord return to my mind. They sound like sweet music to my ears:
- My Savior says, “Come to me for rest.” (Matthew 11:26-30)
- My God says, “I will fight for you. You only need to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)
- My Lord says, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Finding Rest | Learning the Hard Way
As I ran as fast as I could go, I tripped over every obstacle, I stumbled, I fell, I grew weary, I became consumed with running faster and faster to prove myself, to prove my worth, to know that I had the strength and stamina to run with perseverance. This, dear friend, is PRIDE. SO MUCH PRIDE to think I could run the race at the Enemy’s pace without the Lord’s true direction in my life.
Consumed by weariness, I ran straight to the arms of Jesus, the Author and Perfector of my faith. I broke open my weary heart and pour my vanity and pride and lay it all at his feet.
The Enemy cannot touch me here in this sanctuary. The Lord whispered, “Be still and rest, my weary child. You are not meant to do this alone. Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
Countless verses like Psalm 46:10 came to mind to “Be Still”.
The Hebrew writer tells me, “Fix your eyes on Jesus.” And it was here that I found rest and restoration at the feet of Jesus. As I leave the Lord’s feet to return to the race, I am reminded that the Lord sets my pace, not the Enemy. I remember this thought and can go in peace. I am reminded to keep my eyes fixed on him and his purpose for my life. I am reminded that He will fight for me that I only need to be still. (Exodus 14:14)
His peace floods my soul because I know that He has marked out my race. I am His workmanship, created to do the good works He set before me. He is fighting FOR me!
This frees me to remember that He will never ask me to run alone, to run ahead, or to run until I am so exhausted to get to a goal. This mindset shift is the peace that surpasses understanding.
This mindset also seems in direct contrast as to what the world will tell you when it comes to setting goals.
A Hebrews 12 Race
A Hebrews 12 race is not about running to the goal as hard and as fast as possible. A Hebrews 12 race is about knowing our purpose, to know our appointment, and to run at the pace the Lord has appointed us to move.
It is about seeing others the way that Jesus sees them. We cannot serve others if we can’t see them. Slow down, sister, and SEE THE PEOPLE you serve with the eyes of Christ.
By fixing my eyes on Jesus, I quit comparing my pace to the pace of other sisters in Christ. By fixing my eyes on Jesus, I learn to pause and to be still when He commands. By fixing my eyes on Jesus, I relieve my Martha heart to be just a little more like Mary. By fixing my eyes on Jesus, when he says, “Go in peace,” I know that my race is not yet finished and it’s time to return to the race he marked out for me with my eyes on Jesus.
For this is the true goal: to fix our eyes on Jesus while we run at his pace and to help others fix their eyes on Jesus as they run the race marked out for them.
Be intentional with REST so that you can hear His whispers.
Here are 4 ways that you can create a Rest Cycle while Setting Christ-centered Goals:
1.| Daily. Be intentional with creating a DAILY routine to allow the Lord to restore your spirit. For me this is using the “In the Word” bible study sheet, and spending time in prayer and meditation.
2.| Weekly. Create a weekly time for rest with honoring the Sabbath. Again, this is so hard for my Martha heart! Also during the week, create a pause with a “Race Reflection”. Ask yourself those questions I mention while writing about Hebrews 12:1-3.
- How did I run at the pace God asked me with my eyes on Jesus?
- How did I bless others in their own race?
- What hinders me?
- What sin is entangling me?
- How will I throw these off the next week?
3.| Monthly. Create a monthly “mini-sabbatical” in which you unplug from the world and the pace it’s running to rest in the arms of Jesus. Use your Race Reflection Questions to see your weak areas. Take time to pray over these and fast from the hindrances.
4.| Yearly. Attend a women’s retreat or conference for a weekend in which you completely leave the pace and pressure of the world and your Hebrews 12 race to fully rest in the arms of Jesus. Fellowship with other women. Pour into them. Allow them to pour into you. Pray. Meditate. RESTORE your soul. Reflect on the past year. Pray over your future goals and where God would have you to continue to move.
Other Helpful Tools
To be able to focus on ourselves each morning and not feel guilty, we may need a few things in place. I know you, girl. That house, that job, those kids are all vying for your attention too. Let’s talk about boundaries for these.
1.| Simplify Your Space. Once I got rid of the clutter hanging about my mind stopped racing about what needed to be different. There’s a huge correlation between clutter and cortisol (your stress hormone). I have a FREE DOWNLOAD for that here.
2.| Implement a Chore Chart. One of the very first Spirit-led strategies I began in my life was to bring order and peace into our home with solid routines and focused habits to restructure the chores.
3.| Set Fierce Boundaries. You’ve promised yourself that you’re going to do this. This means fierce boundaries in other areas of your life too: bedtime, social media, creating menus, etc. Evaluate other areas in your life to determine what needs to change so that you can reclaim your mornings. Remind yourself every morning that you are made for more (John 10:10).
THE STARTING POINT
I know what it’s like to start from scratch when we’re ready to change our lives to simplify and live intentionally for the Creator. And without the right tools, it can be almost overwhelming.
When I first moved into the realm of living as His handiwork I found difficulty balancing contentment and complacency. I knew I was called to live more abundantly, but how did I do that living in godliness with contentment?
I want to help you begin this journey without the struggle. If you’re ready for more resources, then read on here.