The front cover of my previous journal said, “Believe in the impossible.” The front of my current journal says “Enjoy the little things”. But now, with bold Sharpie letters scrawled on it, it reads, “Believe for the little things.” That’s exactly where I am. When I don’t have enough faith or trust (forgive me, Lord) to believe in the impossible, I’m just going to believe for the next little things; that God will lead and guide me in the next step; that there will be provisions there for that next little thing. One step at a time. I’m believing for the little things as I step out into this “next.”
It’s here that I have to ask God to exchange my little faith for BIG faith, believing faith, as I declare that He is alive and active and in every detail!; working for me & my good; that He is orchestrating things and moving people on my behalf.
I’m eager to experience God’s faith-rest life. This is to rest in and with confident faith. It is an opportunity to experience the spiritual realm of rest. A faith-rest life truly is supernatural, because the “natural” human response is not trusting and not believing.
So, how do we live in God’s realm of faith-rest.
In the bible, Hebrews 4 is all about the faith-rest Life. Here’s what The Passion Translation says:
V1 "God has offered to us the same promise of entering into His realm of resting in confident faith. So we must be extremely careful to ensure that we embrace the fullness of that promise and not fail to experience it."
And V3 "Faith activates the promise! And we experience the realm of confident rest."
V10 "As we enter into God’s faith-rest life, we cease from our own works."
And, finally, V11 "So then we must give our all and be eager to experience this faith-rest life, so that no one falls short by following the same pattern of doubt and unbelief." (Hey, if you haven’t listened to Episode #5 Fear, doubt and unbelief, go do that!)
So, to me, this passage says that, as a believer, we have a promise from God that we can live here on this earth in a state of rest (mind, body, and spirit) through faith.
And the more faith we apply to our circumstances, the more we experience more rest. And, there’s a strong admonition there to be attentive to it, be eager, give your all – your mindfulness of it, your effort. There would not be an admonition if we didn’t need it – if it weren’t a natural fact that we’re given to doubt and unbelief. The admonition is to engage your will. Change your mind – your believing – so that you can act out of faith…so that you can experience more rest…and then there’s more faith…and then more rest…
This has not been a lesson I learned and conquered over-night, unfortunately. For me, this is one of those really long learning lessons – a journey, for sure. In this journey, I’ve discovered I am such a task-oriented, purpose-driven person, that finding rest and restoration in God is difficult. Now, I knew this about myself to some degree. But it came to full light when I decided to take some time off from work to work on personal healing. I pulled away from any and all responsibilities and stayed home. The problem was, I couldn’t sit down all day and just relax. I had to do something. And honestly, the “doing” wasn’t a bad thing…it’s what I discovered about myself after the doing.
Okay, here’s the short story. My oldest son and his new bride moved into my house after Brian died. Literally, like they’d been married 3 months. Bless them! And It was such a gift to me. Anyway, they would go off to work, and then one day when they came home I had to tell them all the things I had done that day – like trimmed all the oak trees around the house, cut the branches to the required 4 foot with a hand saw, bundled them & tied them up with jute, and drug them to the curb all before the trash truck whirled by. It was such a strange experience, too, as I was telling them the list of things I’d accomplished. Like an out-of-body experience…because it was like watching this girl just blab on and on – while I was telling her in my head, "Stop talking. Don’t tell them. What are you saying? Just stop!" But it was as if I couldn’t stop, even if I knew better. There was such a strong urge to justify myself. In fact, I’ve come to realize that I felt the need to justify the oxygen that I breathed that day and the space that I took up on earth – as if merely existing wasn’t enough. I had to prove that I earned a spot on the earth for the day. That experienced stopped me in my tracks. It was as if I saw myself for who I was – or what I was believing – for the first time. It’s funny how we can ignore who we really are, hide it from ourselves. What I was finding was that I got much self-satisfaction, and even found my value and worth, in the things I do. Not that those things are bad and should be stopped. But they began to identify me. Who was I without them? What kind of person am I if I’m not productive? Do I no longer have any value if I’m not “contributing” or accomplishing something? Do I no longer have any worth? This is what I was struggling with.
Again, Hebrews 4:11 says that “we must give our all and be eager to experience this faith-rest life.” How do we experience it, then? What does it look like?
Well, if I’m being honest, rest equates to laziness in my eyes. Okay, so where are my Type-A, Enneagram 3 peeps? Are you with me? You know what I’m talking about, right?
So, obviously, I need to have my mind changed – my “believing” changed. I need to differentiate this new kind of “rest” from the sweet alone-time I spend getting fed in God’s word. If it were the same, I’d have no need for more “rest”. So, this faith-rest must be different. There is a difference between being lazy and being intentionally still with God. What do you do when you want to be lazy? Anything that is mindless, right? Mind-numbing, to check out, disengage.
But to be intentional in stillness is to be actively engaged with the mind and heart, to give God attention in the moment, regardless of the activity. It’s more about the “being” and not the “doing.” This rest is a whole “being” experience – mind, body and spirit.
So, after recognizing my obsession with “earning my space on this earth”, I told God I wanted to learn how to be intentional in the stillness with Him. Quickly I was flooded with a sense and a desire to be totally aware of His presence while experiencing every moment of my day. So, for my first experiment, I literally sat on my back patio to listen to the birds chirping, watch the last of the migrating hummingbirds flit from flower to flower, and hearing neighborhood dogs barking in the distance, thinking all the while that my ‘companion’ was seeing and hearing the same with me - sitting like two old friends in silence surrounded by the noise of the world. Enjoying. Basking in the experience together. Me, a human being…not a human doing. It was a purposeful and valuable lesson. Friend, you too are valuable and worthy simply because you exist.
Rest brings satisfaction and sweet contentment. I need that kind of rest. Don’t you?
Rest equates to trust; relaxing, knowing that God Himself is restoring, confirming, strengthening, and He’s got an abundance of grace and provisions for every task ahead. And it is simply following where God’s grace takes you.
I spent some time with a new friend. She was such a source of encouragement and hope, as she knows the great pain of loss after her only child tragically died several years ago. “Birds of a feather…” I was telling her about the strong feeling I was having to learn to rest in God. And told her of my recent discovery of my task-oriented, purpose- driven self who is more comfortable as a human-doing than a human-being. I told her I was learning that finding rest in God means to be relaxed in the “moving forward” with Him. My friend gave me a visual of what God was asking her to do as she was moving through her grief and learning to rest in God. She said it was like being in a flowing river in an inner tube. “No swimming,” she said, “Just floating wherever He chooses to take me. The speed and the direction are His alone.”
I tried to picture myself on that river, in that inner tube. The one distinction that could not be missed was that I had a paddle. Every time! The paddle insured that I could control the direction and the speed of my journey. I could slow things down or speed them up. Turn to the left or to the right. Or even hold up on the bank of the river for a little while. It somehow felt much safer that way. At least it felt familiar. Me, in control.
But God is asking me to throw the paddle onto the bank of the river and just float. Feet up, no swimming, moving where His grace takes me. Trusting. Waiting. Settled.
In this kind of rest, I will find grace and provision for every task He lays before me. But here, I also find my true value and worth is not in the doing of the task, but in the being. If I never do anything significant or special again, it does not change my value on this earth. It is “floating in a tube on the river…with no paddle! Rest. Rest and ease of mind. No anxiety. No fear. No concern. Just putting trust in God and following where grace takes me. Faith-Rest. My worth as a human being is wrapped up in the very fact that God loves me, chose me, and sent His Son to die for me. And besides, how much more loved can you feel to know that God is calling you to Himself to just rest with Him?! Just be with Him. It sounds so relaxing, doesn’t it?
Okay, so I’m throwing aside my paddle today for this faith-rest life. Friend, how about you?