This time two months ago was a rough time. It was just after Thanksgiving, and there was indeed much to be thankful for, but my heart was heavy and my soul was weary and my mind was anxious. It felt like an attack on all sides, the enemy’s desperate attempt to take my joy out from under me and push me away from the much needed grace of the Father. And quite frankly, I was giving him more leeway than he deserved and I was giving up more easily than ever, feeling rather defeated.
December came and brought with it an entire month off of work, thanks to a gracious boss and some saved up vacation days. The offering was generous; to go and rest, take care of myself. Get some things figured out.
But December brought travel and adventures, holidays and sickness, and before I knew it, the year was coming to a close, and I didn’t exactly feel rested. I felt tired and a little lazy, and definitely in a spot of needing Jesus. I saw that the time off from work hadn’t really changed anything because there’s a difference in using time off to be lazy and using it to be intentional. I had done much more of the former than the latter, and now it was time to go back to work.
There was one thing I was missing in my attempt to find some rest. I wasn’t intentionally avoiding it, but I definitely wasn’t making it a priority either. I wasn’t saying no to this practice, but I hadn’t figured out how to say yes to the daily discipline in this dry season.
Drawing near to God. It was the one thing I knew would bring life, but it also felt hard and challenging and slightly out of reach. I had spent time praying and spent time in community, and spent a lot of time at church. But I hadn’t been doing the soul-scrubbing work of coming before the Father each day and digging into His Word and laying down my life to follow Him.
So I started. I committed. I jumped in and started digging in daily. Not to accomplish some checklist or mindless task, but to find life and joy and breath in Him. I needed that, desperately, and I knew the only thing holding me back was me.
Psalm 30:11-12 in the Message reads:
You did it; you changed wild lament into whirling dancing. You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song, I can’t keep quiet about you! Oh God my God, I can’t thank you enough.
I can genuinely say, this is the song of my heart today. The Word of God and the work of the Spirit and the life found in drawing near to Jesus, it changes you. I had forgotten the sweetness of drawing near. I had let go of the practice of coming to His presence and I had traded it for simply getting by and wasting my time on lesser things.
I practiced giving up social media for awhile and with that came the awareness that of how I was spinning my wheels for lesser endeavors. And I also learned this month how my current laziness steals future joy. His Spirit was at work pointing out the areas my heart had become a little numb to and the ways I could return to Him. I started the Planted Bible study from Life Lived Beautifully and started pursuing different disciplines, which He used to teach me so much about His love and life in Him.
But more than just creating space or embracing stillness, I started soaking in the Word of God. The living, breathing, and active Word that brings life and teaches and corrects (Hebrews 4:12) and brings joy and peace (Colossians 3:15-16). My life is different today than it was even a month ago. And the song in my heart is one of praise and gratitude to the Father. “I can’t thank you enough” the Psalmist said to God (Psalm 30:12), and that’s where I’ve landed also. I’m abundantly thankful for the abundant life He offers so freely (John 10:10). He truly does draw near to us when we draw near to Him (James 4:8). His Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). His way is good and His Spirit is gracious to give us new life (Romans 8:2).
I never want to forget the abundance that comes from knowing Him. I never want to stop seeking after Him, dwelling in His Spirit and walking in the light of truth. To live is Christ!