Enough Already

by Lori Stanley Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld

 “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.” Leviticus 23:3 ESV

I live in a house where many of the shelves are up high. The rest of my family is tall. They put things away in places that don’t seem that high to them, but I feel like I’m always reaching. It’s tiring to always be reaching.

I feel like that in life, too.

Such pressure we put on ourselves, right? Have we taught our children enough? Have we loved our spouses enough? Is our house clean enough? Have we worked hard enough? Exercised enough? Eaten enough of the right foods? Been vigilant enough with our teens? Spent enough time with our parents and friends? Reached out enough to neighbors? Become informed enough? Healthy enough? Enough like Jesus?

It gets worse on our day of worship.

If my body bore a stamp for every sermon I heard, I would be covered with things like this. Pray more. Read the Bible more. Witness more. Submit more. Worship More. Give more. Reach out more. Reach out further away. Teach your kids. Teach others. Love your husband. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Love the person in the next pew. Serve more. Resist Satan more. Be more active at church. Be more active in the community. Be more active in the world. Trust more. Have more faith. Confess more. Forgive more. Be more joyful. Be more repentant. Study more. Share more. See more. Be more. Reaching always reaching.

Enough already!

This idea that we are never enough—that we must constantly do more, give more, be more – doesn’t come from God. Often, it comes from living in a consumerist society where MORE is the message of the media and the motto of every day. It also comes from within our own sinful, fearful hearts that place us at the center of our worlds and somehow believe that everything and everyone depends on us.

It also comes from others who have, themselves, fallen prey to this haunting drumbeat rhythm of “never enough, do more, do more, never enough, do more, do more.” When we do it to ourselves, we are likely to pass it on like a virus. And it comes from the evil one who wants to undermine the work of God within us.

God saw fit to insist that we labor only six days a week and spend one day “resting from our labors”. I believe it was His way of saying, “Enough. You’ve done enough for one week. You’re only human and it doesn’t all depend on you. Spend a day remembering who I am.”

We are to work and to do what the Lord puts before us six days a week, but I don’t believe He means for us to strive or fret or labor under the constant accusation that we are never enough. And, weekly, we are to rest from our labors – not just physically, but mentally as well. We are to worship, to rest, to laugh, and to enjoy the fruits of our labors. We are to say to God, to those around us, and into the mirror – “You’ve done enough. You are enough. Rest in love.”

If you’re tired of always reaching, remember it was God who reached out for us. Jesus is the arm of the Lord who is revealed to us and who knew our reach would be too short, so He reached down to bridge the gap.

Rest in those arms this week. Rest and know that He is enough.

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lori Roeleveld Headshot 2015About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.

Lori’s latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. The dialogues everyday Christians delay are often the very channels God wants to use to deepen relationships and transform lives. Through funny, vulnerable personal stories and sound biblical teaching, the principles here are guaranteed to increase the confidence and competence of Christians in discussing sensitive topics of every kind.

Join the conversation: What things can you put into place that will ensure you take time for rest?

 

Recognizing Your Spacious Place

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.                                                                                                                       Psalm 23:2-3 NASB

Just about every time we come to a stop in traffic, I’ll hear my husband grumble. “Can I just live in a place where there’s not so much traffic and where I’m not so crowded in? Why do I have to sit on the freeways? Where can I get a little open space?”

I can relate to his heart’s cry. I feel it, too – at the end of every week – when that urge returns to get outdoors and walk. To climb a mountain, walk in the grass, breathe deeply of mountain air – all those things I can’t do while I’m living in a fast-growing city in a crowded part of Southern California. Yet, my heart still longs for a “spacious place.”

In Psalm 18, when David cried to the Lord to be rescued from his enemies, he told of God’s thunderous response and then summed it up by saying:

“He brought me out to a spacious place;
He rescued me because He delighted in me” (Psalm 18:19 NIV).

God rescued David from his enemies by bringing him “out to a spacious place.”

When the enemies of busyness, stress, and fatigue press in – and when I feel the pressure to work harder, run faster, achieve more, only to be exhausted from the endless rat race – it is then that I realize how badly I need my spacious place.

Sometimes our spacious place is a relaxing vacation or some time off from work. Other times our spacious place is a missed opportunity that gives us some down time, a closed door or cancelled trip – which causes us to slow down and rethink where to go next. It could even be a layoff from work, an injury that stops us in our tracks, or an illness that suddenly finds us bedridden.

And sometimes, God allows alone times in our lives as a spacious place to get alone with Him – an open, airy place to meet, hear from Him, talk with Him, and just be with Him.

When we find ourselves in a lonely or frustrating place with not much going on, not many friends around, or not much hope in front of us, God may have just brought us “out to a spacious place” to be with Him. We just need to realize it is our rescue.

Lord, on the days that I feel overwhelmed and pressed in, help me to cry out for my spacious place and make some time to be with You. And on those days when I have not much going on, not much hope in front of me, or no one beside me, remind me of the spacious place You have blessed me with so I can spend some time alone with You.

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View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including her best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), When You’re Running on EmptyWhen God Sees Your Tearsand Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, or for more information on her coaching services to help you write the book on your heart, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Join the conversation: When is the last time God gave you rest? Please share your experience.

https://strengthforthesoul.com/product/when-women-long-for-rest/

Baaa!!! Baaa!!! I’m So Like a Sheep!

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

I noticed a note in my Bible beside Psalm 23 pointing to verse 2: “He makes me lie down in green pastures…” A familiar refrain to us, right? But why does God have to make us lie down, and why wouldn’t we easily?

The note I’d written who-knows-when says, “Sheep will not lie down unless things are perfect–no fear, friction, hunger, pain or disease.” Can’t you just picture a sheep pacing back and forth, wringing his paws (do sheep have paws?), muttering, “Oh, I just can’t lie down. I have this tick on my back which is irritating my skin. That other sheep I have to lie down by is so irritating. And aren’t those dark clouds gathering over us? Oh no, rain!”

I’ve been meditating on that. How like sheep I am–I hesitate and yes, even refuse at times, to lie down to rest in complete trust in God’s provision for me. I want things to be perfect before I surrender and allow Him to provide. I think I need to come through for myself rather than rest.

Of course, we’ll still be active in doing what God wants us to do, but in our heart we can be “lying down” in rest and trust the whole time.

I didn’t “lie down” some time ago. My daughter and grandson were scheduled to come visit, and the day before they arrived, my husband Larry mentioned he was finally ready to trade in both our cars and buy a new one. He wanted to do it the next day. Thinking it didn’t involve me, I said “great!”

But I did need to go, and when that became clear, I had a hissy-fit. I didn’t want to miss those first hours of my family being with us–even though they would be with us for two weeks. I didn’t want to lie down in surrender and trust God’s timing. I felt like I would be missing out on something too valuable.

But God said “lie down!” and I went. At first not happily but eventually as we went through the hours-long process, I was at peace. And almost at the end of the process, Larry mentioned to the salesperson about the kind of second car we wanted to find–of which we had seen nothing on the lot. The salesman’s eyes widened (seeing more dollar signs), and told us they had just taken in trade the day before a car that fit our description, but they hadn’t been able to put it out on the lot yet. We ended up buying that one too. Just what we wanted.

I became a thankful sheep, because if we hadn’t gone when I didn’t want to go, we wouldn’t have found the second car we wanted. God had provided, but it required my surrender.

And our visit with our daughter and grandson was wonderful. God provided everything we needed. I just needed to lie down in the green pasture. And not wring my paws because everything wasn’t going the way I thought it should.

Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.                                                                                                                                                  Psalm 116:7 NASB

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Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller is an award-winning author of over 50 books that include Christian living topics, women’s Bible studies, and Bible commentaries. One of her most recent books is Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. She is a speaker who has shared in 8 foreign countries and over 30 US states. Kathy and Larry have been married for almost 50 years and are the parents of 2 and grandparents of 2. They live in Southern California and often write and speak together. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com. She would love to hear from you.

Join the conversation: When has God called you to rest?

Stop and Go: The Rhythm of Walking with God

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

“… Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10 NIV

In the distance, birds chirped their morning concert. Gazing at the clock, I debated––crawl out of my cozy, warm bed or watch the sunrise through the lacy curtains. Too late to pull the covers over my head and drift back to sleep. My brain was already racing with the daily tasks at hand. And I knew rising early usually ushers me into a quiet time with the Lord––at least I hoped.

I’m not a morning person. I prefer to be quiet in the morning except for talking to the Lord. You won’t find me exercising, enjoying a morning conversation on the phone, or turning on the TV. Unless the calendar has me going out the door for an appointment, meeting, or class, I’ll relish the time at home. Now don’t misunderstand, you won’t find me on the couch. I’ll be chomping at the bit to get things done. Cleaning and laundry will most likely steal my attention from the computer that beckons me to catch up on correspondence and my writing schedule.

My friends ask how I juggle ministry, writing, and life––as a senior. A mystery to me also, but I do have help––supernatural help. I tap into that supply when I pick up my Bible and head to a cozy spot in the corner of my house. But, why don’t I rush more often to that special place?

The word “still” isn’t naturally a part of my agenda. Do you go on a guilt trip when you see a photo or article beckoning you to Be Still? I do.

In my busyness, it’s very hard for me to make the time to be still. But I need to make time to stop and focus on the One who stopped His life: leaving heaven to come to earth to die for us. As He stopped and chose us, we can stop and choose Him.

Then we are still. Then our soul finds rest. “My soul finds rest in God alone” (Psalm 62:1 NIV).

For many of us, slowing down is work. It’s natural for us to run, move, go, but it’s unnatural for us to slow down, stop, breathe. However, it’s possible to find that cozy nook anywhere–anytime and for any amount of time if we focus on God and nothing else.

There’s nothing wrong with being busy, being active, being on the go––except, if we forget to keep our passion for Him fueled, it will be all too easy to burn out and collapse.

Where I grew up, we had Stop and Go stores. We stopped, got what food we needed, filled up our tank with gas, then continued on our way.

Stop. It seems simple, but yet it’s the hardest thing to do.

We can practice these steps: Stop. Look. Listen. Breathe. Go. Stop for a few minutes or an hour, look into His face, listen to His voice, breathe in His majesty, and then go, knowing He is God.

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Stop & Go: The Rhythm of Walking with God – @inca_writer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also an author. Her children’s books and devotionals are available on Amazon.com, including her latest book Shape Your Soul, 31 Exercises of Faith that Move Mountains, a women’s devotional.

Join the conversation: How do you spend time with the Lord?

 

 

Invitation to Rest

by  Leigh Powers

The file folder in my pool bag was calling my name. I’d played with the kids in the water for a while, but an hour sitting next to the pool and enjoying the sun sounded like a good opportunity to look through the research for my next writing project.

I pulled out my highlighter and kept one eye on the kids as they played water tag and slid down the water slide, patting myself on the back for maximizing my productivity. I made it about a third of the way through the stack before I felt the gentle prompting I’ve learned to recognize as the voice of the Spirit. Pause. Rest. Breathe.

I stopped midsentence and looked around the pool. Really, Lord? Here? The pool was crowded with families. The air was full of cheerful babble and the occasional tweets from the lifeguards’ whistles. It wasn’t the place I would have chosen for a quiet interlude.

The gentle whisper came again like a butterfly-soft caress. Rest. I put the cap on my highlighter and closed the folder, then leaned back against my lounge chair. As I sat quietly, I started to take note of details I hadn’t paid attention to before. Bird song flitted beneath the rise and fall of the conversations around me, and the sweet fragrance of honeysuckle mingled with the sharp smell of the chlorine. A familiar verse came to mind: “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul” (Psalm 23:2). I felt God’s presence with me. Those few moments of quiet stillness made my soul feel refreshed and restored.

It made me wonder how many times I miss God’s gentle invitation to rest. Life is full of deadlines, to-do’s, and my Mom’s Taxi Service part-time job. Yet I dare not get so busy in my pursuit of what needs doing that I miss God’s invitation to engage with what is eternal. As our Good Shepherd, God knows the needs of our souls. He guides us to what we need—even when what we need is simply a few moments of rest.

Today, be attentive to God’s gentle promptings. Look out the window. Go for a walk. Simply be. Rest in the power and beauty of God’s presence, and let the Good Shepherd restore your soul.

“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.” Matthew 11:29

leigh powersAbout the Author: Leigh Powers is passionate about helping women find hope and healing in God’s word. An author, speaker, pastor’s wife, and mother of three, she loves digging into Scripture and helping others find their places in God’s great story of salvation. Leigh is the author of Renewed: A 40-Day Devotional for Healing from Church Hurt and for Loving Well in Ministry. You can read more from Leigh at her blog, www.leighpowers.com.

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How God Delivered Comfort When I Was Afraid

by Debbie Wilson

My doctor’s office called to tell me I needed an MRI on my stomach. A previous sonogram had revealed a large mass. Having lost both my parents to cancer, this news alarmed me. While I waited for my appointment, God comforted me in three specific ways.

1st Comfort

After receiving my doctor’s report, I emailed some praying friends. My sister immediately called and prayed for me over the phone. Peace washed over me. The prayers of God’s people wrapped me in a blanket of supernatural calm.

2nd Comfort

Our 85-pound poodle suffers with Addison’s disease and other chronic health challenges. Even though he was only four at this time, some days he lacked the energy to climb out of bed before mid-afternoon. My heart hurt when he wagged his tail at me but couldn’t get up. But this week he played with the exuberance of healthy dogs his age.

I told a friend, who was laughing with me at my two dogs’ antics, “When Max feels well our whole family smiles. Max has helped me appreciate 3 John 2.”

The next morning, as I raised the kitchen shades to welcome the morning light, God gave me an unexpected hug. “Debbie, that verse is for you,” I sensed Him say.

I grabbed my Bible and read: “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 2 NIV).

No matter what the MRI said, God had spoken. He wanted my best.

3rd Comfort

I’d agreed to speak at a Sunday school class at a neighboring church that Sunday. I’d picked the subject I planned to address. But, in my sleep during the wee hours of that Sunday, I sensed God nudging me to a different topic. In my semiconscious state I replied, if you want me to talk on that then wake me up in time to prepare and help me find my notes.

It had been well over a year since I’d spoken on that topic. The ink for our printer hadn’t arrived, so I needed my hard copy notes. At six thirty I awoke. I started to go back to sleep but remembered my promise. Okay, I’ll get up. But what about the notes?

The first file I opened contained handouts for the talk. Wow! I had forgotten I’d even created them. And there were enough for the group. Now I was awake! In less than a minute, I found my notes. Since I wasn’t sure I’d even kept a hard copy of the talk, I knew God was guiding me.

I scanned my notes. The opening story stunned me. I’d completely forgotten about discovering a suspicious lump at the age of 36 and my failed human efforts to secure peace. I marveled to think how peaceful I was feeling this time.

The point of my talk was Good News + Faith = Rest. God had given me good news in 3 John 2. But without faith it would not bring me rest. By God’s grace I believed His Word, and He gave me rest. His leading me to that talk reminded me His hand is on my life.

My MRI revealed I needed surgery. Thankfully, the surgeon was able to remove the mass, and it was benign.

What problem is threatening to steal your peace? Ask God what He has to say about it. Then put your faith in His Word—and find rest.

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NIV).

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks, writes, and coaches to help women discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog.

Join the conversation: What problem threatens your peace?

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Content in Any Season

by Kristi Neace

After being out of town for an extended time, I was more than ready to get back to teaching my precious women’s Sunday School class.  But upon entering the classroom, I was shocked to learn that I had been replaced!

Now before my trips, I had prayerfully turned in my resignation. But I was careful to express I was in no rush and very willing to serve until they found the right person. Now I suddenly found myself replaceable. The sting of that broken tie to the women and church I had grown to love nipped at my soul.

This season has ended, I heard Him whisper into my thoughts as I walked out of the classroom for the last time. Yet it was still a somewhat bitter pill to swallow.

Early the next morning, still nursing the wound, I turned in my Bible to Psalm 1. Combing through the passage, the words which yields its fruit in season jumped off the page. I was again reminded that fruitfulness has an appointed time. Obviously my time in that position had run its course.

Continuing to ponder what God was trying to teach me, I thumbed forward to a familiar passage in Ecclesiastes 3:1… “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (ESV)

Neither verse was new to me, but nonetheless, at that moment, I was freshly reassured that it was God alone who was shifting my path…plotting the next course, whatever that may be.

Though I could choose to be offended at the church’s lack of communication and unexpectedly abrupt ending to what had been a fruitful season, I knew that God had something different for me now, and my transition to the next thing might even include a period of rest.

Over the next several days, I came to realize it all was actually a blessing. God had faithfully provided a competent teacher to take over the class (what I had prayed for!) While she had been moved into a time of fruitfulness, I had been moved into a time of rest from a busy season of fruit bearing. I was now in a season of metaphorical harvest – the fruit having been produced, the tree was now at rest.

I don’t know what season you are in right now. Perhaps you are busy producing the things God has called you to, but maybe you find yourself in a season of fallow ground. Know that no matter where God has you, everything happens in His time. He may have you in times of production but will also lead you into stillness between seasons.

Sweet friend, learn to be content in both. You can rest in His sovereignty and goodness no matter where God has you.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3 ESV

Kristi NeaceAbout the author: Kristi Neace is an accomplished Author, Speaker and Artist. She is also the founder of a nation-wide, non-profit ministry called Badge of Hope. Join her as she blogs about life as a cop’s wife, offering encouragement in such an upside-down world. Kristi has written several Bible studies, including Layers: Living a Life Unhindered. Her latest book is Under Fire: Marriage Through the Eyes of a Cop’s Wife.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Kristi’s book, Layers, Living a Life Unhindered,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

 

Join the conversation: What has God taught you during your seasons of rest? Encourage others by recalling God’s faithfulness.