Jan 272015
 

“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.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Today marks a day of change.  Fittingly, it is also the month which beckons it-January.  I had lost my self discipline somewhere along the way these last months.  All my “must have’s”, God driven passions have been put on the shelf.  But not today.

My inner commentary went something like this:

Writing.  Hmmm.  I know God would have me to be writing.  But I can’t seem to fit it in my day now with my new part time job.  And it would be a lot of work to start another book.  And it would mean getting up real early.  And I’m real tired in the mornings.  And it would mean getting up in the dark nonetheless.

Running.  Hmmm.  I know I previously found such life and intimacy with the Lord on my runs.  But I am watching my eating habits now and so I don’t really NEED to run for the weight loss benefits.  And I could sleep longer if I didn’t.  And my race is completed.  And running in the coldness is not a joy.  And it would mean getting up in the dark nonetheless.

Having a regular first fruits quiet, prayer, and God’s Word time.  Hmmm.  Sure I used to give God my firsts by talking to Him and reading His Word before doing anything else.   But with my new Pastoral position, I find myself reading God’s Word and praying with others sporadically during my day, versus having a regular-early- set time.  And I don’t want to “put God in a box” and say waking up with Him is a NECESSITY to do life with Him.  And my God is with me all the time and I shouldn’t HAVE to talk with Him privately at the beginning of EVERY day.  And I could sleep longer if I didn’t.  And it would mean getting up in the dark nonetheless.

So there is my mental list of excuses.  For NOT being obedient to what I believe God would have me to be doing.  To be honest, I was doing good for awhile.  My self discipline ranked real high.  Getting up early was part of my routine, it was never easy, but I had consistency.

I began to wonder where my consistency turned to complacency.  And here is what I think-I believe the game changed when I started listening to and acting upon my selfish, sinful desires rather than Jesus.  The rationalizations and excuses for NOT won out.  I chose flesh desires over Spirit desires.  I am a weak one, my friends.

And the enemy plays to my weakness.  Some themes from above came down to this, it is hard to obey Christ when:

  • I am afraid of the dark.
  • I have to get up early.
  • I don’t have accountability.
  • My life is undergoing change in routine.
  • The comforts of my body have to be put aside.
  • Regular self discipline is required.
  • Selfishness must be sacrificed.

Knowing my weak areas helps me to recognize when I am choosing complacency over consistency in Christ.  Knowing my weak areas is not something to be shameful of, instead, it is the reality of our human nature.  But the reality of my human nature does not mean I must succomb to it.  Because “when I am weak, then I am strong”.  Jesus in me is stronger “then he who is in the world”.  I have the ability to fight and win these spiritual battles when all the above weaknesses arise.  Always knowing, “there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus”, there is grace waiting when we are disobedient to the Spirit’s leading.

It gets me every time when I realize the enemy’s lie/selfishness tactics have worked.  I mean, it’s not like he is using new strategies.  He began with questions, self doubt, lies, playing to the desires, and a way to rationalize disobedience with Adam and Eve’s fruit eating episode.  And he continues to use what worked then, on us now.

The rub is this:  We will constantly battle an enemy who’s plan is to “kill, steal and destroy” us.  But-we serve a God who loves us SO beyond anything we could comprehend.  And, in turn, has fabulous, life giving plans for us here on earth.  It will not be easy to sacrifice our own selfish desires, while embracing God’s voice above other/our own, discomfort, risk, trust in Him, faith without seeing, a lack of control, hard work and self discipline.  But it is WELL.  WORTH.  IT.

Our loving Father says to us:

You need not fear the dark, my child.  Because I am with you in the dark.  When you feel bad-I am here.  When you battle selfishness and flesh desires-I am here.  When self discipline seems unattainable-I am here.  When excuses and rationalizations seem to reign, I am here.  When needs are beyond, I am here.  When rest is needed, I am here.  When waiting, I am here.  When hope seems far off, I am here.  When plans seem destroyed, I am here.  When weakness turns to strength, I am here.  When then enemy cowers in defeat, I am here.  When my Spirit equips you, I am here.  When my Word speaks real truth, I am here.  When mourning turns to dancing, I am here.  

When darkness turns to light, I am here.  

Come.  Walk with Me.  In the light.  My sweet child beloved. 

  

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 222013
 

I TWEAKED MY LOWER BACK. DROVE 3 HOURS WITH THE GIRLS IN THE CAR. FORGOT MULTIPLE ITEMS FOR THE TRIP.  CHILDCARE PLANS CHANGED.  I BROKE DOWN ON THE HIGHWAY DUE TO A FAULTY BRAND NEW TIRE.  I WAS LATE.  I WAS DONE BEFORE THE WEEKEND OF MINISTRY EVEN BEGAN.

By God’s grace I arrived at the women’s retreat in one piece.  But, I did not come in full strength.  I felt unprepared and mentally exhausted.  Not to mention, extremely angry and frustrated with my circumstances. I was ready to give up.

The verse,  Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.  (Zec. 4:6),  filled my mind as I walked through the cabin doors.

I asked the women on Friday night, “What obstacles stood in the way of you being able to come to retreat?”  Every woman I spoke with told me of at least one major difficulty she had encountered on her way to or as she signed up for the retreat.

Through the Lord’s strength, all of us sister’s overcame the enemies obstacles.  Through His Spirit, women were drawn to Jesus.  I give Him FULL credit and glory for our sweet time of salvation, healing, growth, and renewal.

God’s presence changes me.  And being with my sisters changes me.  Everytime.  Over the weekend, I had my: perspective altered.  Burdens and worries lifted.  Joy and hope restored.  Mind renewed.  Purpose confirmed.  I had the opportunity to pray, listen, worship, cry, and laugh with new and old friends.

But I didn’t take care of one key component: myself .  In my excitement to serve and fear to miss opportunities to show Christ’s love, I burned out.  I broke down in tears before leading worship Saturday night due to extreme exhaustion.

James Bryan Smith in, “The Good and Beautiful Community” teaches, “We need to have balance when it comes to the issue of serving others and taking care of ourselves.  I have many Christian friends who are so focused on serving others that they neglect their own needs, and sometimes the needs of their families.  We need to be aware of the condition of our own souls and bodies, and to take care of that first, without feeling any guilt about it.”

And so I learned something about myself. It is in everyone’s best interest if I take time out to replenish, to fill my cup.  And I can do this without stress or guilt because I am not the Savior, Jesus is.  And I take my orders of who, when, and where to show His love. 

Even Jesus took time away from His mission to make sure His needs were taken care of.

Jillian’s 5 ingredient recipe for her own personal sanity and wholeness:

       Ingredient                               Amount

  1. Sleep                                   Atleast one 4 hour block of sleep each night. (With a newborn)
  2. Prayer and the Word      Continual prayer and a daily alone time in the Word.
  3. Time with family             Weekly quality time with my husband, close friends, and girls.
  4. Exercise                              Go for a run a couple times a week.  I have more energy, and less stress.
  5. Use of spiritual gifts        Daily, weekly, monthly obedience to the Spirit’s voice in serving others.

After He (Jesus) had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.  Mt 14:23

What is your 5 ingredient recipe for sanity and wholeness? 

What specifically will you do this week in order to be at balance with God, yourself and others?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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