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.
Hope Prevails and the Hope Prevails Bible Study are must-reads for anyone suffering from depression or knows someone suffering from depression.
“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
Sweet rest in his arms releases such stress, worry and I don’t know why we don’t stop to sit with him. He loves us unconditionally. Thankful for our Father today!
I think so often it comes back to trust…trusting that what He beckons to is better than what we turn away from. What He offers will sustain, while what we leave behind is truly immaterial and inconsequential. His offer of rest is never trivial, yet it is intangible and hard to grasp when compared to the bling and shiny things the world flashes as a distraction. I pray I’m always more enthralled by the quiet temptation to be captivated by His rest.
Perfect words today! My word that I heard throughout Allume was “rest”. Not one that I was willing to accept or embrace but God always knows best. I said “no” to a big holiday commitment with my church and my dad got sick so the choice was taken out of my hands. God always knows what to do. It would be easier if we listened and followed the first time instead of waiting for my drastic things to happen. Love you!
Mary, I would love to tell you I learned the lesson more quickly or easily or less painfully, but I didn’t. That’s part of my story in “Hope Prevails.” I’m just so thankful that the Lord is patient and continues in His everlasting, unfailing love to pursue His daughters, out of His goodness. What He has for us is so much better than anything we could find on our own. So often we just have to be willing to let go of the dime store pearls, and trust that what He wants to give us is real treasure. I love you, my friend! I’m so glad we’re on this journey together. #HopePrevails!
Beautiful Michelle, simply lovely. I love watching the embrace you’re falling into so sweetly. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.
Thank you Pat. You’re one of the few that has seen so much of the journey. I can’t wait to see what else God has in store! #HopePrevails!
Ah, I find it hard to rest (unless I’m escaping in a good book or something, which isn’t the same kind of rest at all). I am learning to slow down, to breathe in and out and just let the stillness of the moment be an opportunity for an embrace from the one who knows me best.
Anita, I think what you describe about the embrace from the one who knows you best goes hand it hand with praying without ceasing. It’s all about staying in utter dependence on Him. He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him. Keep resting, Keep seeking my friend. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Good Morning, Michelle!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been praying about a way that I could encourage other bloggers who have been encouraging me. Through your ministry, posts, words, comments, and faithfulness—your life has been a blessing to mine, and I wanted others to know about you!
So, I compiled a list of those bloggers who I’ve personally found to be the MOST INSPIRATIONAL on the web.
You are ONE Of these bloggers – in my estimation!
You can find the link to the list where you are featured here: http://www.melanieredd.com/the-100-most-inspiring-christian-blogs-on-the-web/
I’ve also signed up to get your emails, and tried to follow you on your social media outlets!
I pray that God will encourage you today through these simple acts~
All I can say, Melanie, is WOW! How your sweet words encourage ME! Thank you for telling me that my words and posts inspire you. That’s all I desire is to inspire others. Thank you!
Sometimes it is so easy when someone else writes it clear like a blinking sight before you…. What else do we have to lose if we trust that God has got us secure in the palm of His hand and our outcome is also there too. And if so, then the lists are just directives to take the next step and the finish is really up to Him.
It is good to be reminded, thank you.
Sometimes, Dawn, it just helps to have someone else speak or write the thoughts out so we can hear more clearly what God has already been saying. He not only has us, but He has our outcome in His hands! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
I have been there too many times. And I don’t even have a good reason. So crazy. Thanks for sharing this encouragement, learned the hard way, to rest and feed our mental health. Blessings!
Oh Sweet Ginger, sometimes we have to get on the marry-go-round more than once to get to the same place, don’t we? Or we get on the same ride, hoping to arrive at a different destination. I’m just so thankful my Savior is patient and continues to extend grace and mercy. Because of Him, #HopePrevails
I think your post is urging me to take the risk, to let go and rest. To let Him work out the details I’ve been orchestrating. Thank you.
Liz, if my post is urging you to take the risk, to let go and rest, I suspect the Lord has been tugging at your heart for some time. At least He did with me…it just took quite some time for me to be willing to surrender. Resting was one of the HARDEST things I ever did, but so worth it. Give in to Him. You’ll be glad you did. I’m cheering you on! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
My list is never complete either. Sigh. But yes, we have to learn to let go of it anyway and trust God when he convicts us. Thanks for reminding me that conviction and condemnation are not the same things. He does the former but never the latter once we are in Christ.
Lisa, conviction is for our good, condemnation is just to beat us up, and Christ never desires to beat us up. He only wants to help us get to a better place. Rest is only to help us get to a better place, to sustain ourselves, to be in it for the long haul. I hope you find a few moments of rest with Him today! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Well said, Michelle! We resist rest so often for all the reasons you say here. In this life there will always be “to do” lists, but we cannot fall prey to their tyranny for all you have articulated so well.
Pam, for me, I have to remember that God wants us to enjoy the journey with Him, and if I run out of steam along the way, I can’t enjoy the journey OR the destination. So rest is to help me enjoy the entire process. Here’s praying you enjoy a few moments of rest too!
Agree. It is in the stillness and silence that we hear the Lord and so the enemy always distracts us with noise.
I’ve been convicted lately to take rest, to simply do one thing at a time. Not multi-tasking. I’m guilty of taking my phone to the bathtub with me to read, or browse, or look up stuff I need to. I realized that I’m not even enjoying the relaxing opportunities I have! And that’s just one example. There are plenty more. Doing one thing at a time allows me to enjoy whatever one thing I am doing that the Lord has blessed me with.
This is so good! So full of truths and I can see myself in the midst of this message. To slow down, sit and purposefully listen to the Lord can be frightening if you are so sure He is going to be harsh and condemning but that is not my God. He is loving, compassionate and knows me inside and out so already knows my frailties and my hurts, the pain in my heart I endure. He KNOWS and He cares about me. This message is so needed. I do keep going to accomplish all I WANT to do when I need to let HIM lead me and I MUST get the rest I need so I will be a cleansed, healthy willing vessel for Him to us. Thank you, Michelle, for sharing this message. So needed and not just by me.
I finally had to get away from a stressful home situation. My health had declined and my doctor told me that stress was the cause and I needed to find time to rest. When I realized that it would impact me in such a physical way, I knew I had to follow the Lord’s prescription for finding peace and rest. I’m now in another place near my son and family. It’s where I yearned to go many years ago but was denied the opportunity due to fires in the area. Now I’m finding contentment and rest for my body and spirit. It’s going to be some time before I heal, but I know this is what God has in His plan for my life. I have time to study and read the Word and walk in the park across the way from my small apartment. It’s not a glamorous place, but it’s filled with lovely people and a church that accepts me as I am. God’s peace and presence is worth all the time and effort to come to a point where resting in the Lord can bring health and healing to my heart as well as my body.