Victory

“I fight from victory, not for victory.

(Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited)


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Even Jesus needed a vacation

I don’t know how to rest. It’s not something that comes naturally to me, so the last thing on my mind is taking time off. But people weren’t made to run 24/7, despite what we tell ourselves.

As you read this post this morning, I’m heading home from a week-long vacation in Estes Park, thanks to some very dear friends who let me stay in their wonderful little cabin. I needed rest so desperately.

Rest looks different for each person. Some people need activity and socializing. Others need structure. For me, rest involved not talking, not wearing real pants, and watching cooking shows and nerdy movies for a week. After about three full days of that, I felt a bit more human. (If you’re an introvert, you totally get this.)

Everybody needs to rest. Everyone needs to take intentional time to refocus and refresh and restore themselves, and for a Christ-follower that means spending some real one-on-one time with Jesus (you know, in between cooking shows).

Even Jesus had to rest. So how did He do it? That’s what I asked myself as I started off on this journey. How did Jesus rest? And I thought I’d pass along what I learned from Jesus.

Jesus got away from the crazy

Matthew 8:18Jesus was the most popular guy in every town He visited. Crowds flocked around Him to hear Him speak, to be healed, to see Him. Can you imagine being surrounded by thousands upon thousands of people every moment of every day? I would self-destruct.

When Jesus got tired (because He did), He made time to separate Himself from the noise and chaos of the crowds. He got away. (Matthew 8:18)

Jesus spent time with God

Does that mess with your head? Yes, Jesus spent time with Father God, even though Jesus Himself is God. Don’t try to make sense of it. It’s not something our puny brains can understand. Just realize that Jesus took time (frequently, according to Scriptures) to talk to God, to be quiet with God, to listen to God. So we probably should too. (Luke 5:15-16)

Jesus connected with His inner circle

Jesus had best friends. He loves everyone, and He loved all His disciples, obviously. But there were three (some people believe four) guys who He just enjoyed spending time with—Peter, James, and John. And when Jesus was seeking God’s will and needing support, He turned to those three men. (Matthew 17:1Matthew 26:36-38)

You may be an introvert who needs your space, but that doesn’t mean you should become a recluse. God puts people in your life for a reason. Granted, that doesn’t mean you are required to spend every waking moment with those people, but you shouldn’t cut yourself off from human contact. God didn’t create us to be alone.

Jesus took care of Himself

This is one of the funniest moments in the Bible for me. Can’t you just imagine the storm? The disciples were just minding their own business when a massive storm kicked up on the Sea of Galilee, and they all freaked out. They went running to Jesus, and they found Him asleep. (Mark 4:38)

Dude, Jesus must sleep like I do. When I’m out, there’s not much that can wake me up.

The point?

Jesus was intentional about resting, so why aren't we?Jesus took intentional steps to rest. He made it a priority because He was human too, just like us. So if Jesus was intentional about rest, why aren’t we? Do we think we can do more than Jesus?

Sure, this week has been great, but I can’t just drop everything and run away to the mountains for an entire week whenever I want. You probably can’t either. So that means I need to learn how to integrate these strategies into my daily life. That means I need to start seeing myself and my goals from a more realistic perspective.

Rest is something we all need, so it’s something we can be intentional about. I don’t know about you, but I’m taking steps to make sure I rest. That way, I can always be at my best, and I can always be available to do what God has called me to do.

Stray milo at sunset

What does your brain think about?

What occupies your thoughts most frequently? Do you think about work? Do you think about what you get to do on your day off? Do you think about your hobbies? Or your friends? If your brain ever has a chance to wander, what do you think about? It’s a fair assumption to say that you are going to spend your time thinking about the things (or the people) you love.

I’m not sure why that is. But I’ve noticed that the human brain tends to spend more time proportionately thinking about things we love than it does about things we hate or dislike . . . unless you’re just a miserable person in general. Then you focus on things you don’t like or the things that are wrong in your life. But that’s not the topic for this morning.

Stray milo at sunset

Stray milo at sunset - Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Psalm 139:17-18. And this verse isn’t about our thoughts–it’s about God’s thoughts.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.  They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

I don’t know if this amazes anyone else, but it leaves me speechless to understand that God thinks about me. And not just passing thoughts. Enough thoughts about me that they outnumber the grains of sand on the beaches. That’s a lot of thoughts.

That God would take so much time to think about me is beyond my comprehension. It doesn’t really make sense. But that’s what this verse says. And the rest of the chapter talks about how God knows every inch of us, knows what we’re going to say before we say it, knows what we’re thinking before we think it, knows everything there is to know about us. So I don’t think I’m misunderstanding the concept here.

I can’t help but compare it to how many times I think about God in a day. I wouldn’t say my thoughts number into the grains-of-sand level. More like, having-to-count-on-fingers-and-toes level. And compared to how much God thinks about me, that’s pretty pitiful.

Most of the time, my thoughts are consumed with my busy schedule. If it’s not my schedule, the writing nerd in me is thinking about the book I’m working on or the next short story I need to finish or a skit that needs to be written. I’m doing better about leaving work at work, but it still pops up too. And, boy, do I spend a lot of time thinking about church, which isn’t the same thing as thinking about God by the way.

I get so busy. I am constantly running around like my hair is on fire. With all the responsibilities I have taken on, some days it’s like I can barely keep my head above water. There’s too much to do at work. There’s too much to do at home. There’s too much to write. There are too many people I need to communicate with. Too many and too much of everything. And all of them are jockeying for position in my head.

So in all that thinking about my life, when does that leave me time to think about God? My hour-long commute? Two hours, if you count the round trip? And that’s not really thinking about God. That’s my prayer time. When was the last time I just sat and thought about God? When was the last time I just sat at all?

I’m not really a thinker. I’m a doer. And I’m a fixer. So sitting and thinking is difficult for me. But taking some time to sit and think about what God means to me might help my perspective. Because if I can slow down and remember who my God is, I can do anything.

God loves me enough to think about me. And not just once or twice a day. Constantly. So am I constantly thinking about Him? Not really. So maybe that needs to change.