image

Exhausted? Tired of not being able to catch your breath? I know the feeling. But let me tell you, you were not meant to live like this. It’s time to get off that train. Hop off quick; it leads to stress and burnout. God made an escape for you in this harried, crazy mixed up world you live in. Come on, I’ll show you how to escape the madness and find the rest you need.

We will never begin to rest unless we believe it’s been given to us.

And that’s tough, because it works against our culture. It even works against the discipline and work ethic we’ve been trained to prize. I was raised to work hard, give it all I’ve got, and I did. Problem was, I gave so much in years past, I had nothing left. My physical and mental health suffered. So did my relationships with my husband and then, little boy.

How I got suckered into believing I had to wear myself out…

I was told that there’s no rest for the weary. You too? And how about this one: the early bird is the one who catches the worm. Because I swallowed that, my goals were to catch all the worms! And that I did! I became driven. Sometimes — too driven. Sleeping only 4 and 5 hours a night, working non-stop. No breaks. Even working on vacation. That my friends, is a set up for failure.

Busyness is a Badge of Stupidity

“Taking it easy” sounds so absurd in our culture. We’ve bought into the lie that busyness is a badge of honor. It’s not. Busyness is a badge of stupidity. If you don’t have time to get the rest you need to recharge your mind, soul, spirit, emotions, intellect, and relationships, you are going to break in one or more of those areas.

I’ve seen it over and over again. I’ve talked to top business executives, small business owners, doctors, pastors, stay-at-home-moms, even students. They wonder how they can keep up the pace. They’re running so fast they don’t have time to enjoy their life. And that’s not the way God designed us to live. He said he came to give us life more abundantly.

Abundance doesn’t come at the cost of running yourself ragged. You can’t enjoy an abundant life if you’re too tired to enjoy it.

Matthew 11:28-30

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me– watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

Even on our day off, we don’t get a day off.

What do you do on your day off? Work more? I bet you do. It’s called housework, mowing the lawn, running back and forth to soccer games and little league practice, tackling that honey-do-list, and on and on.

What else do you add to the list? Babysitting your grandchildren? Making goodies for the bake sale? Oh that’s fun. Yes, but sometimes it can be exhausting. Nothing wrong with giving of yourself…as long as you have enough of yourself to give.

The key is balance. A little of this, a little of that, and you will be spared the dull grind of weariness.

So go ahead, give yourself permission to rest today. Tomorrow. The next day. And the next day after that.

  1. Schedule down time in each day. (God did, at the end of the day; he paused and reflected on what he had done.)
  2. Schedule down time in each week. (God took 1 day off out of 7 too, setting a precedent for us to follow.)
  3. Schedule down time in each year. (This is the icing on the cake, go ahead, and enjoy it. You’ll be better for it!)

Your health, physical AND spiritual, depends on it. God didn’t design your body to work non-stop. He designed you to require rest. He not only gives you permission to rest, he commands it.

Exodus 20:8-12

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work– not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.

So give yourself a break.

You don’t rest when the work is done. You rest so you can get the work done.

Rest, and he’ll help you get the rest done!

Sometimes Acting Like Christ Requires You to Be a Fake

You’ve received the assignment, you’re just not sure you can or ever will pull it off. What assignment? That one in the Bible that strongly encourages you to “act like Christ.” If you’re at all like me, that can scare the sweat out of your glands. How in the world will you pull that off? Christ is perfect. We are not. But take heart, I’m going to show you how faking it will help you make it.

You can act right? You can’t? Oh, come on now, I know you can act! You’ve been caught in the act before. And you gave a superb performance!

Let me jog your mind…

Have you ever been depressed, but because you were at work or with friends, you smiled, laughed, and carried on like all was well in your corner of the world? Yep, you were acting.

Or remember having a heated conversation with someone at home? You’re both going at it tooth and nail. Tempers flying. Voices rising. All of the sudden, the phone rings. You answer. Did you notice how your voice changed? You were cheerful, calm, and cordial? Good job! Yep, you were acting.

Or how about this: You are driving your kids to school. They are cutting up in the back seat. You’re about to blow a gasket because they won’t leave each other alone. They’re picking at each other and one starts to cry. It turns into a fistfight and before it gets bloody, you turn around with an ugly face and motion with your hands to stop their shenanigans or your going to stop the car.

Just then, a car slides into the lane beside you, you look over and it’s a familiar face. It’s someone who goes to your church. Quickly you gain you composure, slap both hands back on the wheel, and release the tension in your face. You give a polite smile and wave to your church buddy projecting all is well and you’ve got the kids under control. Yep, you were acting. Again.

We’ve all found ourselves in situations like these or close to it. Anytime we are feeling one-way but choose to reign in those feelings and act differently – we are acting. That’s not a bad thing. It’s actually good. Because you have an ability that will help you “ACT” LIKE GOD. Even if it’s just an act at first, that’s ok. Let me explain.

Acting Mode is Something Everyone Can Slip Into

  • Children know how to act. (Hopefully!) Have you ever said to a child, “That’s not how to act.” Yes? Guilty! You were teaching them how to act.
  • Teenagers know how to act. Have you ever secretly watched how a teenager behalves? You sized them up to get an idea if they were a good kid or a bad kid?
  • Employees know how to act. Have you ever watched a fellow employee, observing their work performance or interactions with people? Of course.

Every one can slip into acting mode and it’s quite appropriate.

So when I tell you that the way to become like Christ is to “act” like Christ, it may require some acting, and that’s ok. Cause guess what? Where not all there. Nope. And we have a long way to go before we are totally like Christ.

Ephesians 5:1, 2 NIV

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

The word, “followers” is the Greek word mimeses, which means to imitate someone or to mimic what you see someone else doing. It was used to describe actors who performed on a stage. It also describes a model. No, not the kind you see in a magazine, but someone who models behavior like a parent, teacher, coach, or mentor.

When someone has great attributes and high character traits, others are encouraged to “follow” that person’s lead and “act” like them. That’s why Paul used the word, mimeses, when he said, …be followers of me (1 Corinthians 4:16).

This verse is saying: “I’m strongly urging you to act like me! Observe what I do, and do the same things I do.”

The Process of Becoming is Sometimes Slow

It takes time learning how to act differently. Just like being in the cast of a play or movie, it takes time to learn your lines. It takes time to get into your character’s persona. You have to study your character and know him inside and out so you can move like him, talk like him, act like him. That takes time. And that’s to be expected.

Acting like Christ is going to take time too. And that too, is ok. If you are a new believer or one who just has some growing to do, your acting will get better with time. Don’t be disappointed when you don’t act right. Just recognize you could have done it differently and decide next time, you will!

Fakes are O.K.

Word to the wise: don’t beat other people up thinking they are such big fakes! Have you ever caught yourself saying, “They don’t fool me, they’re just putting on a good act.” Yes, maybe they are! Let me tell you, the more someone acts on a consistent basis, the more their acting behavior becomes real.

Sooner or later, they’ll become the real deal. So cut them some slack. And cut yourself some too.

Consider this passage from the Bible:

Ephesians 4:13-15 AMP (Bolded words are the author’s emphasis)

[That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [ full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.

So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.

Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

So yes, it’s ok to act. And in order to “act” like Christ, it might at first be an act, but that’s ok. That’s where you start. At some point you’ll quit acting and it will really become who you are. So in short, “acting like Christ” may require some acting!

Now, go get your Bible, and study your lines.

You could do someone a favor by sharing this post. Tweet it or post it on Facebook. You’re friends will thank you!

 

I’ve got an amazingly thoughtful assistant. Every year, Tanya sends me flowers on Bosses Day. Last year, I hung onto those flowers after they died. They were still beautiful even after they began to whither and decay.

My best friend, Kathy, is married to a guy who loves taking professional photos of flowers. Bob has hundreds and hundreds of the most striking flowers I’ve ever seen captured on film. I have some of his photographs of the stunning flowers God created on the walls of my home and office. (See the picture in this post, that’s his!)

Flowers are breathtaking! More so, than the model on the runway or the clothes on the hottest gal in Hollywood.

The reason flowers mean so much to me is because they remind me of how God takes care of me. Every day. Without fail.

Matthew 6:28-34 says, And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.

Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek first the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Why This Scripture Can Be Frustrating Rather Than Reassuring

I love this scripture because it brings me peace – on most days. But on some days it makes me a little uneasy. Why? Notice that it says God promises to meet our DAILY needs? That means we may not have what we need for the end of the month until the end of the month. That can cause some anxiety, are you with me?! Yet, if we settle ourselves down and drink in His peace we can be confident of this…

God gives us our daily bread. That means each day’s needs will be met. They may not always be met in advance but, don’t fret. Don’t flip out. Try to relax. And remember the flowers.

Why Does God Have Us Experience the “Sweat Factor?”

If you’re like me, we want our needs met in advance so we don’t experience the “sweat factor”. We want to avoid discomfort and the unknown.

Sometimes God has us sweat it out, going without things in advance so we learn to rely on him rather than what’s in the bank, pocket, pantry, or gas tank.

My husband and I have been through difficult and draining seasons. When I say draining, I’m talking, draining all the money out of our bank account kind of seasons. Been there too? And yes, there’ve been times we didn’t have the money to buy our kids groceries.

There were times I had to ration my make up and only “put on my face” when I knew I was going out that day. Days I didn’t have a few measly bucks to buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Times I couldn’t do lunch with a friend because I had no cash. Some of you can relate, I know.

Yet, I can honestly say, I have never gone without what I needed. Somehow, God made the food stretch or sent help from a friend, or hey, maybe when we went to bed, he multiplied the cereal in the box sitting under the counter! I wouldn’t put it past him. He’s done similar things for the prophet Elijah and the widow (I Kings 17:13).

God Doesn’t Promise Daily Needs Will Be Met in Advance

When my husband and I would get in a tough spot and it didn’t look like we’d even have gas for the week, I’d look at Ted and say , “Daily. God will meet our needs daily.” God didn’t say we’d always have it 2 or 3 days in advance, a week, or even sweeter – a month in advance. He said, he promised to meet our needs daily.

There were days when the cell phone bill was due. No money in the bank. Yet, God…

There were days when the electric bill was due. No money in the bank. Yet, God..

There were days a doctor visit was needed. No money in the bank. Yet, God…

What’s your story? I’m sure you can complete some of those sentences and add some of your own.

So if you’re in a spot like that, know this, it’s just a season and it will pass. Abundance is coming your way because God said it would. He said he came to give life and life abundantly. He said we would see his goodness in the land of the living. Right now though, he might just be providing for you daily. If so, hang in there. Daily provision is better than none. And you can know, it’s a sure thing; God will come through, even if it’s at midnight!

Next time you see a flower in the field, along the roadside, or in a bouquet on your desk, remember the flowers God dresses every morning. They look magnificent. They have everything they need and you do too. Even if it is just enough for today. It’s enough.

Remember the flowers!

And watch God remember you.

Here’s a free PRAYER ROCK-IT BOOSTER that will help you pray for you needs “From Day to Day”:

Picture This:

Your supplier is meeting your daily needs miraculously. God has resources you know nothing about, solutions outside your reality, and provisions outside your possibility. He hands you a worry-bazooka, you pull the trigger and walk away relieved.

Scripture This:

Psalm 31:19 NCV

…how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You.

Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Psalm 138:3 NCV

In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.

Pray This:

God, you are great. Help me not to lose sight of your goodness. You’ve laid it up for me because I fear you. You’ve prepared your goodness for me because I trust in you. I am refreshed every day when I think about your mercies, which have no end. Your faithfulness overwhelms me. You are better to me than I am to myself. When I cry out, you answer me. Make me bold with strength in my soul so I can trust you to provide for each day’s needs. I will not be concerned because you said you’d provide. So, God, thank you.

Say This:

Anxiety fades as the memory of God’s goodness takes center stage. My anxiety-filled days stand no chance when I cling to God. I am seeing God’s provision even if it is one day at a time. As I trust and believe, I will receive.

You probably have people in your life that you could help by sharing this post with them. Please share it and tweet it so they can be encouraged. Let’s see God provide for them!

Photo Credit: Robert Harkema Photography