“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” Brennan Manning

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Strengthened in Resting

Driving, I am struck with the realization that I have tried to take control - again! Frustrated at myself, I ask God to help me to let go - to loosen my grasp and open my hands and heart to Him. Surrender. Why is it so hard? I have tried so hard to please God - carefully choosing my words and doing all the 'right' things - hoping He would approve. I never rested, always trying harder and doing more until I collapsed - exhausted, disillusioned, and burnt out. In my brokenness, Jesus comes and comforts me saying, "Rest, my Child, the work is done." His scars prove "It is finished."

What Good News! I don't have to keep straining to make God happy with me, living afraid that I won't be good enough. I am accepted as a Beloved daughter as I am! I am secure and safe in Him - free to live life ALIVE. I can rest. Jesus will complete the work He started in me. He proved my worth with His life - His Love is my foundation.

But anything new takes time to sink in - and I am so quick to perform for God, rather than trust in His work and His timing. Change takes time - it's a process, His process.

I reach my destination, still asking God to help me surrender. I load my bar - heavier than usual knowing my frustration - and anticipate the buzzer signaling to start. I lift hard and my Spirit is lifted.

In Olympic weight lifting, it's imperative to learn the correct technique before ever adding weight, and it takes practice. Once good form is established consistently, one is able to lift way more than ever thought possible. Thus, the only way to increase weight safely is by using good ergodynamics - always keeping the bar close to your core - where the power lies.

I remember my frustration with trying so hard to please God MY way, rather than resting in what Jesus did for me. Similar to trying to lift the weight by sheer effort, without good form, the lift just can't be completed. The risk for injury is also greater. When we try so hard to please God in our own strength, we end up burnt out. God's form is in trusting, not straining.

"Oh God, help me to trust in Your Love for me and surrender - again." I realize that He IS building a firm foundation for me in His Love so I can be free to live - not weighed down by heavy burdens. I can't handle the burdens of this life on my own - and I'm not meant to. So, I give them to Jesus and let Him carry them for me, and we walk together. This is His way. But, just like learning the proper form in weight lifting, learning to trust and surrender takes practice.

Building strength is a gradual process. To increase muscle mass, the body has to be under stress first, stimulating blood flow and nutrients to enter the muscle fibers. During this time the muscle doesn't get stronger, it's broken down. Then, while RESTING, the muscle becomes stronger.

Spiritually, our job is to REST in the work that Jesus already did. Trials come - leaving us broken down. In our brokenness, the Holy Spirit comforts and nurtures us in Truth, giving us rest, and making us stronger than we ever could have been on our own - for our strength is in Him.

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me." 2 Cor 12:9

Trust is a building process - so we have to give ourselves the same grace God gives us.

“To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:25-31


  1. Interesting - a journey of trust results in the ability to truly rest.

    Thanks for these good words, Paula.

  2. This is a lesson I must learn over and over, Paula. I don't know why it is so hard. But I keep practicing the open hand. Lovely thoughts, friend.

    1. Yes, Laura, "practicing the open hand." Me too. Then, we can freely receive and freely give. Thank you for reading, friend.