Finding rest and strength

I am feeling very weary at the moment. As a mother of four young children I guess that is to be expected! But I think that my weariness is much more than just feeling tired. I need to find rest and by rest I do not just mean that I need more sleep but I need to come to a place of rest in my spirit.

My season shifted at the beginning of the year. I felt like my previous season was interrupted. I was going one way and then all of a sudden I find myself in a completely different place. My interruption was a good interruption but what I am finding difficult is that I am in a totally different place to where I thought I was going to be.

I am trying to live like I am still in my previous season and it is making me grow weary. I found that I was striving to keep up. I was comparing and measuring myself to a benchmark that I am just not going to achieve right now. My season has changed and so now my perspective of myself and where I am needs to change too.

In order to find the peace and rest in my spirit that I am looking for I need to understand the season that I am in right now. I have to understand that I cannot measure myself against the work that I produced in my previous season. I have to stop striving and stop comparing.

I have to accept the time and the place that I am in. God has given me the grace to walk this season and I need to choose to not worry about the things that I may have walked away from or worry about the things to come. God is faithful and all that He has for me will come all in His perfect timing.

There is beauty in each and every season so I am trying to embrace the place that I am in right now until the shift to the new season comes.

If my story speaks to you, if you too are struggling with feeling weary then I pray that you will find strength and rest in the Lord. That you will gain clarity in your spirit for the season that you are in and if you are carrying any burdens that do not belong to you that they will fall from your shoulders. I speak life, courage and hope in to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Comparison

Recently I was experiencing a lack of joy in a relationship. It occurred to me that I had let unhealthy thoughts creep in to my mind once again. Comparison being the number one unhealthy thought. Just when I think I have the whole comparing thing nailed on the head, it comes back around again.

I was comparing myself to someone else. The way I looked, my home, my family, my gifts, my abilities. I was putting myself down, having a little pitty party as to why I did not have the things or gifts and abilities that they did. Comparison is the thief of joy.

I was focusing on what I did not have instead of what I do have. In that moment of me comparing myself to someone else I had believed that God had cheated me. That somehow God had missed giving me something special when He created me and instead He gave it to somebody else. Now I would never say that about God but when I compare myself to others that is what I am doing.

I find that comparison comes from insecurity in my own life. As soon as I start comparing myself to someone else I have to stop and realise that love needs to happen right there. To let God come into that part of me where I am really struggling or feeling inadequate and love me there. That I have to recognise that insecurity and invite God in to it and ask Him why I am struggling so much with it and how can I fix it.

Comparison is a waste of my time. The Lord really encouraged me to stop looking at other people and just focus on myself. There may always be someone in the world who is better than me at things I try and do… but I am the only me there is and God does not make mistakes and He did not forget to give me anything that I need. My identity and my value are that I am a daughter of God, pure and simple. That is what defines me; not what I think of myself or what the world may see me as but what God thinks.

So I am trying my hardest to stop comparing myself to others. I am opening my heart up to the Lord and letting His love come in and heal the hurting places inside of me and everyday I am reminding myself that I am a daughter of God and I am valuable in His eyes. I encourage you to do the same.

With a friend you can face the worst

9-10 It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!

11 Two in a bed warm each other.
Alone, you shiver all night.

12 By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (The Message)

I love the verse “With a friend you can face the worst” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). We are not meant to do life alone. Often times when life becomes difficult, when we become mad or sad, we draw away to be by ourselves. We shut the door on life and on people but what we should be doing is opening up to the people who we call our covenant friends and face “the worst” together.

A covenant friend is someone you have a close bond with. It doesn’t mean that we are going to do everything together, but we are going to really know each other. We are building intimacy together, trust, a safe haven and doing life like a family.

Sometimes it is hard to open up and to admit to somebody else that you have needs and that you are facing “the worst”; that you have a need for somebody to listen to you, to give you advice and direction and to walk with you through tough emotions and circumstances. It is hard to open up because you think to yourself are my needs too big for you and will my needs be met? If I have needs are you going to pull away from me because now I am in a needy season and that is too much for you to handle.

Sharing with someone will not necessarily fix the problem you are facing but it will open you up and allow you to be vulnerable and let people in to see the real you. It will help to lift the burden you feel and help you to realise that you are not alone.

If we want to have safe covenant relationships we have to be that person first. You need to be the safe person that when your friend shares with you they know that you are not going to break their confidence. They know that you will walk through the good times and the bad times with them and that you will not abandon them when things get tough.

12 By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

I encourage you to build a strong community around you. Find your people, your tribe your covenant friends. People with whom you can take a risk with, be vulnerable with and do life with. Be that friend for others that you wish you had.

It is ok to make a mistake

Did you know that it is ok to make a mistake?

I used to be so afraid of making a mistake and so afraid of not being able to do something well that I just did not do anything at all. The fear of making a mistake kept me paralyzed. It kept me standing in the exact same position in life, never moving forward, never learning and never growing.

In the past when I had been brave enough to move out of my comfort zone, when I made a mistake I would think that I am not smart enough, not talented enough, not gifted enough, not good enough, I’m just not enough. But when will I ever be enough?

When I failed and made mistakes I would feel ashamed. I would then hide so that others wouldn’t see the real me. I was afraid that if people saw the real me, with all of my faults and mistakes, then they won’t like me and I will not be enough.

One thing that I have come to understand is that our mistakes do not define who we are.

We need to create a culture around us that says it is ok if you make a mistake and I will not define you by your mistakes. We need people in our lives that will walk with us as we journey through our mistakes, helping us to see where we went wrong and how we can learn and grow from that. We need to remain humble and vulnerable.

 It is all about how we finish. Our mistakes are an important part of our journey. Mistakes show us what we need to adjust in our life to help us move towards our destiny. Romans 8:28 says, “God works everything out for good…” That means even our mistakes!

Mistakes are part of the process of learning, as well as preparing us to fulfill our destiny. We need to be willing to take a risk, to step out and possibly make mistakes if we are going to reach our God given destiny as world changers and history makers.

I can’t see the forest for the trees

Have you heard of the saying that you can’t see the forest for the trees?

When you are too close to a situation you need to step back and get a little perspective and see the bigger picture. When you step back you will notice there was a whole forest you couldn’t see before because you were too close, and too focused on the one tree in front of you.

I can be guilty of this. I get so focused in on the one problem that I fail to see the bigger picture around me. I am in the throws of motherhood at the moment, raising four small children. Children go through different stages or phases, some lovely and some completely difficult that it makes you want to tear your hair out.

I get so caught up in the fact that my child is driving me nuts with (and insert here any particular behavior that may drive you crazy) that I forget about all of the wonderful, lovely and sweet aspects of that child’s nature.

I have to step back and take a look around me and find something that is good and wonderful about them and choose to celebrate that. I have to choose to focus on that for a little while and remind myself of who they really are. They are not just this one horrible phase that they are going through right now but they are actually also this good and wonderful person and I am going to highlight that and celebrate that about them.

By stepping back and looking at the bigger picture of who that child really is I change my attitude about them and it changes the way I then approach the other not so nice thing that they are doing.

You can take this example and apply it to any difficult situation that you may be facing. Take a step back from that thing that is in front of you and take a look around. Find something that is going good in your life and take the time to stop and celebrate that. When you step back you will get a different perspective and you will see the beautiful forest and not just the one tree in front of you.