I’ve told this story a number of times in the last few weeks. Too many times I think because I feel like a broken record each time I relay it. Yet the revelation given, the perspective that shifted was a turning point for me – one that I want to always remember and look back on when I start to get caught up in the rat-race.
I was having lunch with a friend I’d only just got to know better in the last 6 months. I think it had been a month since I had last seen her but because we seemed to be on the same wave length on so many topics, there was too much to catch up on in the maximum 1 hour lunch break I had.
Even as we sat down to peruse the menu before ordering our food, I was figuring out what was the most urgent thing on my mind to share in the limited time we had. I still felt a bit on edge and in a rush until my friend said grace over the food. I can’t remember word for word but it was something along the lines of: “God, I know that we’ve got lots to catch up on but help us to just enjoy the moment, enjoy each other’s presence and your presence with us over this lunch break.”
Nothing supremely profound but what I needed to hear in that moment. It was like a light bulb went off in my head and all I could hear was, “enjoy the moments I give you” and my mind was flooded with verses like “come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” and “do not worry about tomorrow (Matt 6:25-34)”. And all of a sudden, I felt my stress levels decrease. I felt myself relax for perhaps the first time in months.
I only recognised this after a week of this newfound state that I’d most likely been living at a consistent level of hightened stress since I had started full time work. Not cool. I had had nights where I would just cry out to God, complaining that it was too hard to balance all I had on my plate, that I just wanted to give up. It was only once I stopped trying to micro-manage my life and relax in the knowledge that I didn’t need to be in control of everything coz God was/is, that I started to feel alive again. I felt able to give of myself without feeling so drained all the time. I felt like I could in fact enjoy the moment with the people I caught up with, without stressing out over the things I had to do in the next moment. It was incredibly freeing and I’m so glad God used the unassuming prayer of a new friend to give me my wake up call :).
Now I’m not saying I’ve reached a stage where I no longer stress about things. What I am saying is that when I feel my stress levels rising, I know how to counteract them by surrendering those feelings and stressors to God and acknowledge his sovereignty over that particular situation – knowing that each stressful moment is an opportunity to experience God’s grace in my life. And when this shift in perspective happens, that’s when real peace and freedom is found :)
How wonderful it is to experience the freedom that can be found only in Christ.
How wonderful it is to feel genuine happiness for someone who has hurt you in the past.
How wonderful it is to be fully released from disappointment, hurt and sadness.
How wonderful it is to clearly see the evidence of growth and maturity in yourself.
How wonderful it is to be at peace with the world and with those around you.
How wonderful it is to know that you are living the life you were meant to live.
How wonderful it is to be alone but never lonely.
How wonderful it is to live in complete liberty – only possible by the power of God.
A friend from the past is getting married today. I would have loved to attend but teaching has the priority since I put the students on a 3 week break during my exams and we have our end-of-year concert in a week… but I send the couple my very best wishes :). I’m glad they are marrying each other and no one else. If I was there and had been given a mic, I would have sung you this song…
What joy, what joy for those whose hope is in the name of the Lord!
What peace, what peace for those whose confidence is Him alone
I’ve been saving this song for the last month to post today :).
Also, aren’t those photos beautiful? There were even ones with cats… I knew you would have liked them :). (the video I had up has since been taken down *sad face*)
I pray that you’ll grow more in love with the Lord together as a couple and in turn, love each other the way Christ loves His Bride, the church.
In spite of everything or maybe because of everything, I’m thankful we crossed paths and I look forward to the day that I can call you and say, ‘Do you want to meet my husband and I for lunch?’
Don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing, but let God change you from the inside out, “by the renewing of your mind”. Only then, after you humble yourself, and in response to God’s mercy will you be able to see what His will is.
To be truly obedient means to submit to the will of a higher authority. Our submission is first to God’s “perfect will”, the character of God that we know, to the promises that He gives and in response to His mercy. Then as we continue to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, we can start to see what God’s “specific will” for our lives is.
This is one of the things I’ve become more conscious of lately. To not look around and compare myself with others and what they are doing on their life journey. To focus on my ‘race’ and run it well. I can’t live their lives, I can only live the one I’ve been given. I have to release the plans I have for myself into the hands of God, knowing that in doing so, I’ve submitted to the ‘better plan’ because He does see the bigger picture… He sees how the pieces all fit together.
I love coming back to the realisation that He never left me. Even when I strayed down the wrong path, He was with me… ready to lead me back when I would let Him, when I was ready to let go of my own agenda. I love that He loved me back into His will. I love how He wooed me, how He continues to woo me :).
I think that it was my desire for an earthly romance that drove me to take the wrong path. In and of itself, there is/was nothing wrong with that desire but perhaps it has started to take first place in my priorities and in my life. SO, He had to work it out of me. And now? I know and have experienced that complete satisfaction and joy can be found only in His love for me. Even if an earthly romance doesn’t come my way, Jesus would be enough. Jesus IS enough. The peace I have about that is irreplaceable.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
OK, better get ready for the Women in Law Breakfast! I can’t wait (I couldn’t sleep, hence the early post!) to be inspired and eat a yummy breakfast hehe.
P.S. To BestFromBelgium: I haven’t forgotten you. The email is a work in progress ^^
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” – Matthew 5:9.
Mollify: to appease, to calm down, to pacify
‘Christians should be personal diplomats, seeking to bring the peace of the Lord to all the relationships around us. In Acts 9, the church in Jerusalem harbored understandable skepticism and animosity toward Saul of Tarsus, who had persecuted them and now claimed to have been converted. Barnabas took Saul, brought him to the believers, and helped them accept and love him.
To the extent that it’s possible, as far as it depends on us, we should live peacefully with others (Romans 12:18). The world longs for peace, but true peace can only be found through the Prince of Peace. As we know Him, we become His special envoys.’ – today’s Turning Points devo
‘In every person who comes near you, look for what is good and strong; rejoice in it; and, as you can, try to imitate it.’ – John Ruskin
OK, I didn’t take a day off from work for blogging (opps!) but I’ll go and make peace before I put my study cap on for the day :). Enjoy the Royal Wedding :P.