Wisdom for today

Take a break!

Did you know that your life can be heaven on earth?

God’s intent is that we ENJOY our lives at a much higher level than we often do. He gives us blessings and benefits of His kingdom ON earth.One thing He has been drawing my attention to lately is REST. It took many weeks of sickness to get the message home to me. I kept pushing against the sickness in so many ways while He was trying to get me to STOP and LISTEN. Eventually total bedrest meant I was unable to get up and do anything other than pray and listen.

Why did it take me so long to hear Him because REST is a COMMAND for kingdom living? Jesus clearly told His disciples to take time aside and rest awhile. They worked hard to bring the kingdom of heaven to people, walking many miles a day, speaking to crowds and crowds of people, being battered by the throngs pressing them to keep on giving and stealing precious moments of time and energy. They were assailed physically by the weather pounding them night or day with heat and cold.

Do you feel pounded on all sides: in your job, your family, your church, your ministry? Are you suffering from burn out? Is all your creativity sapped out of you?

God wanted to MANIFEST His life of peace and love in my life so I could live daily in a supernatural environment. But all I felt was being wiped out, tired and off balance in my emotions. I needed some time of healing and the sense of THRIVING again. I needed to see the amazing works of signs and wonders in my life from a new PERSPECTIVE of how Jesus lived His daily life?

He walked in REST daily. He found solitude, silence and space to remain strong and fixed in the purposes God the Father had for Him. In believing in Him, God has RAISED us UP to RULE WITH HIM. We can only know the purposes of God for our own lives: to live, love and thrive in His power and authority if we know how and when to bend our knees giving our TIME to pray and listen.

The enemy comes to ‘steal, to kill and to destroy’ but Jesus comes ‘so we may have life in all its fullness’: John 10:10. God wants us to live a full and satisfying life and that life involves REST.

How do we find SOLITUDE?

This does not come easy in our culture. We love to be active, engaged, full-on day and night, never stopping, always immersed in what life brings to us. The average Briton spends around 3,507 days at work including 204 days of overtime let alone other times giving support to local churches, clubs, parent meetings, school activities, ministries, travel etc. Simply put, in general work alone a person can put in 34 hours and 26 minutes a week, totalling to 1,791 hours a year and 84,171 hours in the course of their career. PHEW! Plus any additional overtime of work can total to 4, 890 hours over the course of a career!

So how is it possible to find solitude when there are so many demands on time?

Being away, alone from people is not something top on my daily agenda. I like to be fully embraced, engaged and being a part of a thriving community of people BUT and BUT again, spending time alone with Jesus is when I am completely myself, warts and all! There are no expectations on me from others, just quiet time with my heavenly Father who waits to lavish His love on me. Jesus went continually away to be in the presence of His Father. In these times He was able to hear from Him in the deepness of His soul. That relationship of solitude and silence brought insurmountable peace for everyday workload.

Is work NOT important?

Yes, it is a necessity for life and living, but SILENCE allows me to hear the small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to me instead of the often,noisier voices around me.  REST,built into the rhythm of my daily life, allows me to reflect, meditate and learn to listen more carefully: It shows me how to give time for exercise, fresh air, eating healthy food, have fun, social connections and spiritual retreats. It brings balance back into my life: emotionally, spiritually and physically. God speaking to me gives me LIFE and FREEDOM. SILENCE re-energises me!

What about the culture in which we live? Is their room for solitude or silence?

Our modern culture seems to place a high value on fervour, passion, high speed and competitiveness. Often these endeavours drive us to chase money, success, personal identity and acceptance. However, along with these things comes a faster pace of life. Behaviours, feelings and thinking often run or should I say RACE, at such a pace that they lack control. Passions and desires spill over into anger, heavy disappointment, rejection, tiredness, mental illness, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and even attention disorders.

There is a tendency to overstimulate, overschedule and overwork. Sometimes I wonder if our sensual appetites are becoming so insatiable and hungry we need to SEE more leading to overstimulation of the eyes of the flesh, HEAR more leading to overstimulation of the mind of the heart and FEEL more leading to overstimulation of our senses. It’s no wonder our internal sensory buttons are pressed hard daily causing many to panic and go into internal flight mentality.Are we pressed to keep up with the spinning world by offering our opinions, perceptions and ideas on just about every topic, conversation, viewpoint or creative thought under the sun? Knowing too that there is no end of knowledge and understanding and what we know today will be ‘old hat’ by tomorrow. We require time out de-stressing, re-motivating because our brains are on overload most of the time.

What will help us stop and think anew?

We live under a different set of rules, a different value system than most people in the world. We are living in heaven on earth. In heaven there is complete REST and we need to understand more clearly on earth how to attain to that REST and not the systems of the world. We need SPACE and time in our schedules to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us to CREATE new rhythms of life. For me it was a new hobby. I decided to take up painting. Something I had not done for many years due to pressures of work, job, raising children, church life and ministry.

This was a creative side of me that had laid dormant for so long. I wasn’t sure if I could even do it anymore. As I began spending time in solitude, I put the first drops of paint to the canvas and I heard Jesus speaking into my heart. Just recently some friends came to stay and looked at my paintings on the wall. “Did you not know that you have painted the seasons of your soul?” one said.  Then I realised what the Lord had been saying to me. He was unveiling what was stored in my heart plain and clear to see. They were paintings that touched the deepest parts of my soul that were hidden and hurting. I had thought that the solitude, the silence, the rest was me backsliding. I often wondered if the fire in my heart was about to blow out. It was truly through the Lord saying, “I am drawing you deeper and deeper with Me because I love it when you create.”

It is a part of my spiritual DNA. God is my Creator and He loves it when I spend time silently creating something He has placed in my heart. Creativity is often stifled by formal, controlled forms of living. I am made to worship God in many different ways. He has had to call me into the wilderness to reveal the true nature He has placed in me. How glad I am for that LOVE and tenderness shown to me.

This has also released something of the kingdom in and through me. I love to pray, I love to sing but also I love to paint and explore God’s creation. Only out of a place of REST has this been made possible. I am living, breathing and thriving again. My healing is creative! So I need SPACE to do this in order to stop burn-out. I am now able to focus more, to hear more, to listen more and hopefully to ‘come aside’ and ‘rest’ when He says. During this time He has also been breaking off fear of man, fear of rejection, fear of being different. I am FREE to run, FREE to dance, FREE to live for Him.

What about You?

One day we will all come into full REST from our labours when our earthly bodies die, but the Bible clearly says that the glory of God rested on Jesus and so we can expect glory to REST on us when we accept Jesus into our lives. That glory that rests on us gives us peace, hope and assurance. It gives us the space, the silence and the solitude we need. It is a perfect REST!

When Jesus died on the cross at Calvary He shed His blood and the blood changes us forever. It gives us fullness of LIFE. It keeps us alive in Him. It raises us from a dead, meaningless life to an energise life of FREEDOM. Jesus laid down His life, took our pains and our sufferings upon Himself willingly. His SACRIFICE has made it possible for us to live our lives without a mentality of slavery and oppression but one of SONSHIP and ACCEPTANCE.

Our Father God intends each one of us to find REFRESHMENT in the life we are living and to do that we need to COME AWAY and REST in His PRESENCE, to focus on the things that matter most. SWITCH OFF the phone awhile and SWITCH ON to Him – and others. Run with determination and perseverance but most of all REST in the love of God and those around you!