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Better Not Bitter

Responding God's Way to Life's Challenges

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rest

Clearly a Time to Rest

I’ve been locked in a tug of war emotionally, spiritually, and physically for a few weeks now.  However, until this moment I assumed that I wouldn’t need to revisit this place of uncertainty again.

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This restlessness has me tossing and turning while I’m wide awake. I tire of the things that used to keep me occupied…I’m growing in ways that I’ve admired in others and still I sometimes find myself as child…desiring the care of My Father more than ever. I am a Daddy’s girl indefinitely.  And then it happened. I was running full speed ahead and all of a sudden I’m tired….when creative juices are flowing in all directions…I’m told to take a pause…when I’m more confident than ever…I’m required to Be Still.

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So since I would not willingly do that, a headache sent me to bed early last night…the spark released from the barrel and the pop that followed woke me from my daze…ignited a new response to my understanding…My why…chiseled out of what should have been fear, but laced instead with determination to get out of here…to leave this place…to take them with me…to lead them from here…with latent tears I recorded and listened to the words my Father imposed on my heart explaining my reason for dying…my passion and fervor to help ladies all over this planet understand who they are and whose they are…to encourage them to see themselves as God’s best and not what they had been called by those who knew no better…even when that label was placed upon themselves by themselves…images (5)

Labels-sticky and hard to remove, but not an impossible task…an apt solvent need only be applied ..could words be that remedy?  Don’t magnets attract and repel?

So perhaps, I’m to use my words to do the same…to attract the right and repel the wrong…I’ll use my words to clear the paths of the broken…those who believe they are unworthy of God’s best because of their unintentional past…

An Expected End…to prosper us…that was God’s intention…yet our will allowed us to take a left that we surmised was right…still I’ve come full circle…

Little do we know our mess had already been factored into the promise…that our testimony would be irrelevant if we hadn’t been there too…that the deliverance of others is stuck between our past and our future…that even our pit is for purpose.

I’ve allowed rest to win this tug of war…to surrender my will for His…to be filled before I pour so that when I leave here, I won’t be traveling alone. Rather, I’ll be leading others who also know who and whose they are.

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©2016 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Just Rest

Stop. Pause. Focus. Slow Down. Listen.  For at least three weeks now, it seems that those words are the directions that I have been given.  Yet, I haven’t truly understood or embraced any of them fully until this moment.

suppose I should have gotten a clue when my student advisor said in our meeting, “I bet you’re the type of person who has it done the moment you receive the instruction.”  It was not a compliment or an insult.  One might think it was actually the former, but it was just further proof that at times I can be overly diligent.  That is…in my mind.  I suppose that is in itself the issue with having a massive vision.  It fuels a faith that at times can be downright foolish. I used to say and I may have even written here before that if it is not foolish it is not faith. Rather, if that was the case, I submit that I erred.  Perhaps it may appear foolish, but not actually be foolish to be faith.  I have made several mistakes by doing what I “felt” the Lord was leading me to do while not realizing my true motive underneath.  Pride led me to that point. Pride would hope to keep me there, but love has released me from that place of foolishness. Love of a Father, a Son, of a Holy One who together have done so much for me and in me that I have no choice but to receive what is being communicated.

I have attempted to build my own design…my own building…my own structure.  However, all along the structure I had been building was on an imbalanced foundation.  I know a thing or two about building on uncertainty.  It seems for years that is what I allowed myself to do. It had done nothing more than produce worry.  I allowed myself to think too much about things that really don’t matter.  I had built so much on sinking sand, but my image prevented me from opening my mouth and asking for help until it was nearly too late.  I chose to avoid family, friends, and at one point, I even stayed home from church.  I leaned to my own understanding.

Structure. Order. Trust.

I used to wonder when I was a child why my mother was always so consumed with worry…yet, we were at church every Sunday. As a child, I could not understand it and now I still don’t understand it.  It is senseless.  Yet, I allowed worry to nearly consume my being too for a moment.  One moment that lasted too long…where have the years gone?

So far, I have learned in my absence from family, my cousin hasn’t drank anything more than water as her choice beverage for at least 10 of the near 13 years since my original departure to AR…that it had been 10 years since I had been in Louisiana, though I’d had an open invitation to witness the beauty that blossomed out of the ashes of a shared past my brother and I experienced.

I realize that I was my worst enemy. I was facing turmoil with my own children because “God forbid” if I showed a flaw in my parenting skills…I was the super single mom who survived physical, mental, and emotional abuse.  My children were expected to fail by default, but flourished by grace…flourished a long while when I prayed regularly…when I sought My Father’s advice in every decision. Something happened and that stopped.  Yet, in His love for me, My Heavenly Father whispers to me even now as I randomly bleed on this page, “Just Rest.”

I’d been the one who always had it together so how was I to know what was required of me when all I had was broken….so I’m learning now how to truly surrender is learning to receive…learning to receive the presence of My Father as just that.  My daddy…my support…my heart…

Random as this might be I am determined to not just get back to my first love in Christ, but to get back to my first agenda.  It was simple.  If one person is changed…if one person is transformed…If one person doesn’t do what I have…If one person realizes how much they matter to God because of my story…I will do it.

So as my Savior did on that fateful day over 2000 years ago, I enter my flesh into a grave that has no power to hold me there…I will rise again.

©2016 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Me? Too Tired to Worship? Not Anymore!

A couple months ago, my pastor preached a sermon entitled, How to Worship Wounded. I really needed to hear it then but figuring out how to worship wounded hasn’t really been my plight lately. Rather, I’ve just been doggone tired!  I mean physically tired, spiritually tired, emotionally tired….just TIDE…yes I intended to spell it that way!!! Even as I type these words, I’m fighting to stay awake so that I can do what I’ve planned and failed to do for at least 6 months or more…I’m heading to 8 am service…determined to not allow the cares of my yesterdays bog me down today.

I’m determined to remember the Sabbath!  

Exodus 20:8-11(ESV)

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Now I’ve often run across those verses over the years and until last week, they really hadn’t convicted me all that much.  Concluding the bible study series about rest, my pastor outlined how we as Christians have forgotten to do as this verse says…that we tend to do everything we couldn’t manage to do during the week on Sunday instead of resting in His presence alone.  I was not just guilty by association, but over the last few months even when I’ve been in the house of God, I too have been focusing on “other things.”

I was so caught up with being a single mom, working, cooking, cleaning, and fussing that I was too tired to receive the gift Christ came to give me.

Notice I said receive?

Yep, Jesus came, bled, died, and rose so that we could receive that which we could never earn on our own.  He came to lighten my load, but over the years, it seemed the more He offered the more I took back…As if He couldn’t handle it.

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

If one were to look at my life five years ago and compare it with today, one might consider I was a more mature Christian then.  I kept God first. There was not a decision I made without His peace.  I was not concerned about what people thought or said.  I realize how the enemy used a lot of “little distractions” to knock me off track.

I was still a baby in Christ, a child eager to sit in my Father’s lap and hang onto every word He said.  I trusted without question.  Now the only question I’ve been asking myself is why have I begun to feel like I can’t go to my Daddy like I used to do?  The long answer is a list of things I’ve done and haven’t done, but the short one is just that I’ve allowed guilt to form a wedge between us.  It’s not that God has closed a door or that He’s ever turned His back on me, rather, it seemed that I allowed everything to come before Him.  I’ve repented many times only to do little differently.

Now I understand that it was really that I lacked faith in His willingness to assist me when I needed it.  Let me explain.  I know that God is able to help me…He’s done it over and over, but because of the misguided underlying nagging that I needed to “do something” to receive His help was where I’ve erred.

Now I know I allowed myself to get so consumed by all that little stuff that  I completely neglected the notion that my emotional, physical, and mental rest all were directly impacted by the amount of spiritual rest I received.  Of course now that I type it, I can see how completely moronic it would seem not to realize this in the beginning, but life happens and we all make mistakes.

I suppose the only thing that separates us in wisdom and foolishness is that wisdom is achieved by learning from the mistakes made, while foolishness is marked by dwelling on them as if a different result would occur by doing the same thing.

Since I’ve been a Christian, I’ve learned what works…Keeping God first…so tired or not, I’m choosing to be wise and remember the Sabbath.

The Rest really is up to You!

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Believe it or not there are some people out there who are so overwhelmingly positive that if you put a stick of dynamite in their Kool-aid, their response would be something like, ” What colorful fireworks!”

Well I know envy is not an attribute I want to advocate here so let’s just say that I admire those folk. Better yet, I used to be one of those folk.  At least a few years ago it seemed that would have been a good way to describe my attitude towards life anyway.

So this morning I’m up pondering yet again, how do I get back there?

…Back to a time when the encouragement I shared with others kept me primed for the next opportunity to witness…what happened to the real me?

…that me who God called…the one who actually gained energy from being a little peculiar…the one who wasn’t afraid to be the minority right in a crowd of so much wrong…

Somewhere along the way, I got tired….or as I’ve joked TIDE!

Yes, over the years I’ve gotten tired of all the looks from people who don’t know me but outwardly judge me because of my ability to smile when others are complaining.  I suppose I grew tired of the feeling of being pulled by every arm to do stuff as if I were the only one who possessed 8 of them.  Indeed, I got tired of being a mother who did it all only to be underappreciated.  I even grew tired of church folk so at times Beside Baptist was my preferred venue for worship on Sunday mornings.

Yet, after heading to bed at midnight and waking at 3:47 am with this post on my heart, I realized I really have no reason to be tired at all.  Awaken by that still, small voice, the way I had been in years passed before dawn and before my alarm clock could catch up, I smiled at the realization that yes, He did it again!

God allowed me to get knocked down to a place so low that only He could give me the strength to get up.  I’d be lying if I said the events that have taken place in the last 24 hours have been anything short of devastating, but I’m thankful that I was so lovingly reminded today that the rest really is up to me.

I’m thankful God placed it on my pastor’s heart to start a series about the elusive rest I’d once possessed so effortlessly.  After a great series on balance, I needed to be reminded of how I can rest in God’s presence. I thought I was there in service because in spite of the things I’d faced recently, I had come to realize why I’d been so tired.  It was simple!

I needed more of HIM!

Dear Gracious Lord,

Thank You for reminding me that You love me just for being Your child… that no person on earth could ever give me the kind of love that You give me everyday.  Thank you for allowing me to make mistakes and survive them.  Thank you for blessing me with gifts to encourage others. Thank you for mending my broken heart.  Thank you for preparing me for who You have for me. Help me not to take over in the process. Help me to patiently wait on Your choice for me.  Thank you for allowing him to come into the picture only when we both are ready for that step.  Help me not to allow the pain in this moment punish who You’ve designed for me.  Thank You for provision and direction.  In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duty Calls, but should you listen?

Most of my life I’ve had difficulty allowing the word “no” leave my lips. I’ve always volunteered. I like doing for others so I guess I’m a servant at heart.  Well, Jesus exemplifies the ultimate servant and I’m glad for His example.

Yes grateful, but admittedly hard-headed as I am, I haven’t always followed His lead.  I mean the bible shows that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”  (Luke 5:16 NIV).   He literally stepped away from His “duties” to get in God’s presence alone. Yes, Jesus knew the importance of prioritizing appropriately.  I thought I did too…

I mean I was singing in the choir, feeding the homeless, writing for the newsletter ministry, and attending just about every service we had in church so how could I not have it right?  

Yep, I was wrong! What I had were mixed up priorities!  Rather, I guess I really hadn’t prioritized much of anything.  Instead, I was a mini- Pharisee (CRINGE)…so caught up in the “duty” of things that I never took the time to recognize what was truly important.

Okay so I’ve written about this before but considering the messages and questions I’ve gotten lately about why I’m not “doing” anymore, I suppose the message bears repeating…Not that I owe anyone an explanation, but perhaps in doing so, others will realize they too may have some changes to make.

God rested on the Sabbath. Yet, the bible also says, God never sleeps so what’s up with the need for the Sabbath day rest?

Well, the period of rest was not meant for God’s sake, but merely an example so that we’d realize we need to take a break every once and a while. Otherwise, unlike God, we’d get burnt out and even resentful, ie: weary in well-doing.

And who is that helping?

Yep, nobody but the devil.

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When we’re overburdened with duties, however well-intended, we murmur and complain and that’s equivalent to praising satan! Now as much as I hate to think that I’d ever be considered one to praise the devil, I had to come to terms that my complaints (and yours too), however small, are still just that.

Now I’m learning to be content in every situation.  And yes, the many challenges I’ve faced in recent months have indeed tested my allegiance to that statement. Yet in retrospect, had I listened to the right voice the first time, I likely wouldn’t have even encountered it.

To clarify, the right voice is the Holy Spirit and though for years I was urged to take a seat, I chose to “do the right things” my way instead.

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My prior disobedience resulted in depression, family turmoil, faltering faith, and the list of woes goes on…so if you’re reading this and you know me personally, understand that it’s not that I haven’t heard Duty calling, I’ve just decided to listen to the Holy Spirit instead.

©2014 Nadia Davis. All Rights Reserved.

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