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Girlfriends in God - Mar. 7, 2008

  • 2008 Mar 07
  • COMMENTS

 

March 7, 2008

Running on Empty

Angela L. Craig

 

From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry.  We call them our "Friday Friends."  So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our "Friday Friend", Angela Craig.

 

Today’s Truth

Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

 

Friend to Friend

What do we do when we understand the depths of being “empty” more than we experience being “full”? On a recent retreat with friends, I realized I was not the only one considering this question. As we shared the past year’s events, it became clear that more than one of us had a downright “yucky” year – a year that left you wondering if next year would be any better.

 

“So where was God?” we asked. What happens when you identify with the verse, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12 NIV) and think the verse that promises abundant life (John 10:10 NIV) must be a misprint?

 

By the end of the weekend, we had established several reasons why most of us were running on empty, but one common theme rang true. Howard Thurman summed it up when he said, “There is a fallow time for the spirit when the soil is barren because of sheer exhaustion.”

 

Throughout the Bible, we are warned that we will face trials in this life, ones that we do not necessarily create ourselves. James tells us to consider trials with “pure joy” (James 1:2 NIV) and the Apostle Paul teaches us to “persevere in faith” (2 Thessalonians 1:4 NIV). As faithful women, I think we have interpreted this to mean, “Push through the pain with a smile on your face, don’t complain and don’t bother others with your problems; pretend your world is blessed and perfect.” We respond to our misinterpretation of God’s word by getting busy, convinced that keeping busy will fill the emptiness and if we are busy, we won’t have to face our pain.

 

When we are busy, we have no time to evaluate our lives. God cannot help us because there is no time to hear His advice or rest in His arms. For many of us, acknowledging our need for rest is humiliating. We compare ourselves to others and feel we will disappoint people if we step back from responsibility. We buy into the lie of our feelings instead of accepting the truth that the Bible teaches us to rest and reflect.

 

Doing a quick word search in the Bible you will find the word “rest” a prevalent theme, beginning in Genesis 2:2: “On the seventh day He rested from all His work” (Genesis 2:2b). Genesis goes on to tell us that God reflected on how good His work was. I do not believe God needs rest, but the concept is so important for us humans that He felt it necessary to personally demonstrate. Can you imagine God plopping down into a La-Z-Boy chair? Look in Exodus and you will find God instructing the Israelites to rest and refresh on the seventh day or be put to death (Exodus 31:15). Lucky for us, we no longer live under the law of the Old Testament or our society would be an endangered species!

 

Friends, God wants us to bring our burdens to Him, to bask in the fact that He is willing and ready to help us with our struggles, our disappointments and our exhaustion. So climb up on the recliner beside Him. He is waiting!

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, we are so thankful that You promise to carry our burdens and give us rest. Lord, we release every worry about the future and every disappointment from our past and accept Your love, peace and joy. Lord, show us each how to carve out time to spend with You in rest, reflection, and refreshment.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

 

Now it is Your Turn

1. Cluttered Calendar Exercise1 Take 30 minutes to write down all the activities that you have completed in the last year, going month by month. Without looking, write down only what you remember.

 

2. Mark the following symbols next to each of the activities you wrote down.

Square = Event was exhausting

Triangle = Exhilarating

Circle = Time for yourself

Heart = Time with family or friends

Cross = Personal time with God

(Note: It is ok to have more than one symbol on a particular event)

 

3. Reflect on your findings. Were you surprised at the outcome? How many times of solitude did you have last year? Do you even remember last year?

 

4. Consider what motivated your calendar events in the last year. Here are

examples:

  • I fear what people will think if I don’t live up to their expectation. Will they remove their love for me? Will they be mad? Will they leave me?
  • A full schedule gives me self worth because I am achieving something.
  • A busy strict schedule makes me feel productive and secure.
  • My schedule covered up what was really happing in my life.
  • YOUR ANSWER HERE: ________________________________

 

5. Three Steps to Calendar Success:

  • Talk to God and ask Him for direction for today and tomorrow.
  • Never commit to something without giving yourself 24 hours to pray about it and be clear on your motivation for accepting the commitment.
  • When your next project is done, don’t fill the space with something else. Use this time to personally rest, reflect, and refresh! Put a circle on your calendar – you are doing a great job!

 

1 Anderson, Joan (2006). A weekend to change your life…find your authentic self after a lifetime of being all things to all people. NY, NY: Broadway Books.

 

More from the Girls

We all struggle with time management skills that incorporate times of rest and solitude. It takes a deliberate choice and a surrender of our agendas to God. I urge you to step out in faith, knowing God will meet you there, rest and peace in His hands. Need help? Check out Mary’s book, Escaping the Stress Trap!

 

 

Seeking God?

Click here to find out more about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

Girlfriends in God

P.O. Box 725

Matthews, NC 28106

info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

 

 

 

 

 

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