The First Steps by eorgios Jakobides
O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul
Like a weaned child rests against his mother,
My soul is like a weaned child within me. Psalm 131
Christmas stuff was piled everywhere. After making cheesy eggs and cinnamon rolls, and serving my brood a feast, all of my children were sprawled out on couches, talking, reading, looking at their phones, while I busily packed up Christmas treasures into boxes--by myself1
Suddenly, and I don't know where it came from, I sort of burst.
"Doesn't anyone see that I am working alone. Why are you all sitting there?" And on and on I went......and the relaxing moment of being together was gone. I had destroyed it.
I have noticed that when I am too busy and have taken responsibilities on my shoulders that only God can carry, I become harsher. When I am too busy and have overcommitted, I lose a love for the things that are normally important to me. I care less for the lost; have little patience for my children; tend to see all people as irritating (What was that driver in that car thinking? Can't believe anyone would drive that way! or "That lady was soooooo slow in the check out line at Walmart!)
God is a distant thought that I glance toward with guilt thinking, "He must be disappointed with me because I just haven't had time for Him, but I have just been so busy........."
Fretting is also a part--Fretting about money, life, family, children, church, ministry, duties, Christmas, gifts, housework, burdens--fretting, fretting--taking so much energy, so much thought life---and the Psalms say, "Fret not, it leads only to evil doing." (Psalm 37:8)
And then I tend to become cynical. "I do so much, and there is no one to help."
And of course, "If I don't do it or take responsibility, no one else will."
It is so easy to begin to live a works oriented life, and then to think "Without me, things will fall apart."
Then I become weary. Then I say, "Lord, don't you care that I am drowning?!" or
"Tell Mary to come in here. I am doing all the work myself!"
God is not biting His nails wondering if I am going to get it all done. He is not the great abuser in heaven just waiting to give me more than I can handle. And so, slowly, I have had to learn, if I am consistently feeling too much stress, too much weight on my shoulders, I have not given it to Him and or, I am attempting to do things that He has never asked or expected me to do.
Jesus did not go into the world Himself. He stayed local, humble, quiet, and yet His message, in God's hands, changed the world.
"I am humble and meek. Learn from me." Again, I learn from this verse.
If He was humble and not in a hurry and still accomplished God's will--and not all the blind and sick were healed, then I can trust these mysteries into His hands.
A good father would not expect his little child to carry the load. He would carry the load and the fragile child.
I find I have so much on my plate to do, that the only thing I can do is re-access; cut back; only focus on the agenda that He has set.
Burning out is too common.
I am old enough to have lived through so many women who burned out--in ministry, in homeschooling, in jobs, in ideals---burn, burn, burn and then all that is left is ashes. It is a cultural value to be busy and to justify ourselves by our activities.
Last Spring, I met with a young woman. She said, as many young women have said, "Sally, God is just opening so many doors for me, I just have to be a good steward of my opportunities." (as her exhausted teen daughter was pushing her toddler in a stroller behind her, and complaining that her mom just never had time for her.)
This happens to me a lot--young women who have stars in their eyes from money that can be made, audiences that can be found, numbers that can build up.
I have never had more opportunities come my way as now, but I constantly have to look inside my heart to see what is going on there.So often, like now, I am convicted that I need to cut back. I am pulling back from expectations. Pulling back from stress. And simplifying.
He needs to be at my center. I need to have peace and quiet in my soul. I can say "no!" no matter how many people there are who seem to need me, so that I can still and quiet my soul. 'When I wait on Him, I see His power, His provision, His answers--always so much better than me, tiny, little me, trying to play the role of God, when all He wanted me to do was to seek Him, rest in Him and listen to His voice.
So many times the examples He left me--David and Goliath; Joshua marching around a wall; a Jewish nation born from a single child; the fish and the loaves, the oil that was enough every day to make one more loaf.
I am a baby to God, his toddler, "like a weaned child, I will not involve myself in things too difficult for me."
God is in control.
He does not want to abuse me. He does not want me to be neurotic and angry. He wants me to be at peace--sleeping in the boat in the midst of the storm, because I am "leaning on my Father's strong arms."
And so, I am waiting on Him before I venture out--the opportunities will always be there, but now is a good time to pace myself, to still my soul, to seek to live more simply, to say yes to my God-given priorities and no to all that will take me away. I could do lots more, but then I would become crazy and grumpy and tight and hard to live with, and living by my own flesh and striving and works--and I cannot hold His hand and behave in such a manner all at the same time.
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.Psalm 62: 1
So, today, on this very busy day, I know that my soul will only find rest in Him--His will, His way! Like a weaned child who has learned to trust, I will purpose to lean on Him, leave my burdens in His hands, simplify and find rest for my weary soul.
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