Have you ever been rebuked by the Lord?
It’s different than guilt and condemnation…that’s never from Him. His word says “there is therefore now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
But rebuke, correction, and conviction He will do.
His word frequently spurs in me a desire to correct my course. But sometimes, it has to do a deeper work first.
I hadn’t felt well, my spirits were low, and my heart felt disconnected. He had been beckoning me for quite some time…through the gentle words of friends, lyrics in songs, and even through my own physical state. And yet I pushed, and put off, the very thing I needed most.
I could hear Him beckoning, and yet I bargained. I just needed to:
-finish the manuscript
-get caught up on patient reports
-schedule the flights for an upcoming trip
-clean off my desk
-return those pending emails
Friend, if I’m honest, the list would never be completed. I think that is why scripture encourages us not to worry about tomorrow, because each day has enough worries of its own.
Why did I think my way was best? My way looked nothing like He spoke of in the Word. My yolk certainly wasn’t easy, nor was my burden light. And yet I persisted.
I continued doing things my own way.
God calls us to rest
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’” (Isaiah 30:15)
He was right in His rebuke…I would have none of it.
What would happen if I just slowed down and heeded His call to rest? I might be renewed and restored, ready to face the worries of tomorrow. Or, I might come face to face with the very one I feared would see me as I was, in all my messy brokenness, and who might disapprove of all my scars. That was the lie the enemy screamed in my ear.
And yet the truth is, Jesus died for my brokenness and He gave His life for my scars. Because of His sacrifice, when God looks at me, He doesn’t see broken. He sees redeemed and righteous.
Still, I feared Him.
I feared Him knowing I haven’t been all I could have been in or for Him.
I feared Him seeing that I’m not really the strong, independent girl others see, but rather a scared and weak young thing who longed for love and acceptance.
I feared Him seeing all my mistakes and the shame that kept me bound to them in silent misery.
In my busyness, there was little time to think about such things or admit my fears. It meant admitting them to me–God already knew. Yet taking time to rest would mean stilling the chaos of my mind and hearing what He had to say. If I was being honest, that’s what I really feared.
I had a choice to make.
Would I continue to listen to the lies of the enemy that shamed me everywhere I turned, and condemned and accused me not only to myself but also to God?
Or would I believe God’s word that encouraged me to take refuge in Him for the very thing I longed for most…His peace.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
I had a choice to make. What the enemy offered would never provide peace, only more pressure. Hiding and running and doing were exhausting. What God offered was peace.
Exchanging the to-do list for God’s peace
Could I risk the to-do list?
Would I trust Him to help me get done whatever He deemed important to finish?
Could I risk facing Him and myself?
Would I trust Him to love me anyway, despite my mistakes?
Could I risk letting go of my attempt to control?
Would I trust Him that in surrendering my ways and my notions, that His plan for me is good? It is to prosper me and not to harm me?
Letting go and trusting God
I had to first repent of my fears and my disobedience, and then I had to be willing to embrace rest (“In repentance and rest is your salvation…”).
Then I had to surrender my mind and my heart to sit quietly in His presence and trust His way is best (“in quietness and trust is your strength…”).
What did I have to lose? Anxiety, worry, stress, the heavy burden of control, the weighty mask I had grown weary wearing, the tears that ached to be released from my heart, and so much more. Rest just might be my saving grace. It was worth the risk for rest.
What do you need to let go of, to embrace His rest?
Depression doesn’t have to become a permanent part of life.
There is hope.
Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the companion Hope Prevails Bible Study help the reader understand how depression comes to be, recover their joy, reclaim their peace, and re-establish their true identity, while knowing their worth, remembering their secure destiny, and being confident that nothing separates them from God’s love.
“In my 30 years as a practicing psychotherapist, I’ve never read a book that suggests more helpful and concrete ways of overcoming depression as “Hope Prevails.” This book goes a major step beyond what therapy accomplishes by helping us maintain our hope. Dr. Bengtson’s own struggle with depression is carefully woven into her well-credentialed research on causes and etiology of depression. Then she leaves us with a powerful prescription for finding relief and peace. The message is clear and never loses its power. Too often I begin a book and within the first three chapters have read what the rest of the book struggles to support. I’m grateful for this book and the many who will get relief reading it and following her prescriptions. And, how helpful to those with someone in their life dealing with depression.” Pat Wenger, M.A., LPC, MFT