Breath of Fresh Air

Hi Ginger!

I just started high school and I’m beginning to feel the stress of homework, extra-curricular activities, etc. I spent today anticipating the moment I could come home and crash on the couch. After having such an awful day, I was just wondering, what should I do on days like this? I find it so easy to blend in with my surroundings, and hard to understand how I can live courageously when all I can think about is the weekend. Is there anything God says I should do? – T

T – thanks for writing!  First of all, let me commend you for desiring to live courageously.  I wish that was something more of us lived out in an practical sense.  I applaud you for not waiting until the next phase in your life to take ownership of all God has called you to each day.  Your question is one that is applicable to anyone reading.  Although we probably didn’t have your exact recipe for exhaustion, we can all identify with feeling overwhelmed, over-scheduled, and like we just need a break.

I love that you finished your question by heading straight to the Word.  “Is there anything God says I should do?”  So many of us would want to simply be validated in our feelings.  You are seeking out Truth!

When I read your question my heart and mind immediately went to this verse:

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30, NIV

I also love this passage in the Message Translation.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  Matthew 11:28-30, The Message

Did you breathe in and out as you read it?  There’s just something about that passage that makes it feel like a cool breeze.  There’s a reason God’s Word can have that effect on our hurried selves.

It is the Spirit who makes Christ’s words known to us, applying them to our lives and making them live.  They are not dead words, ancient history, a static set of instructions, or an encyopedia of belief.  Through the Spirit they are the living, life-giving words of God (Ezekiel 37:1-14).  The Spirit is the Spirit of truth… In both Hebrew and Greek spirit and breath are the same word.  The word of God comes on the breath of God.  (Excerpt from Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis)

As for your question, I think it’s always good to remember that any needed rejuvenation is ultimately going to come through God and His Word.  Yahweh holds the release for our stress and worries.  Jesus goes so far as to invite us to come to Him for rest.

The second thing I want you to notice is the phrasing of the Message Translation: Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

Jesus is the example!  Watch how He did it.  He spent his days pouring out, living courageously- if you will, but He also took time to recharge with His closest friends and especially with His Father.

“And early in the morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there.” Mark 1:35

“And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away. And after bidding them farewell, he departed to the mountain to pray.” Mark 6:45-46

“And they came to a place called Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground, and began praying.” Mark 14:32-34

“And when day came, He departed to a lonely place; and the multitudes were searching for Him, and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from going away from them.” Luke 4:42

“But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. And it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. Luke 6:12

Refilling is going to be imperative for you.  Between rehearsals, practices, classes, and activities… you are going to have a plethora of opportunities to live out the gospel.  Continue to love God, love others, and share the truth with courage and determination!

And although there is no “time out” in the Christian life, I do believe that there is definitely a time to catch a breath of fresh air… just make sure you are turning to the right Source.

I fell like we’ve just gotten started and there’s so much more to talk about.  So, if it’s ok with you, I want to keep tracking on this theme for the next few days.  Hang in there with me.


p.s. Check out this series on Sabbath from one of my favorite people!

Restore the Joy.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12)

Have you ever been around someone who is reading through the Bible for the first time? I remember when a wonderful gal, Chrissy, became a Christian two years ago.  It was amazing to watch her journey firsthand. I was with her in a Bible study in the months following as we started reading through the book of 1st Timothy.

The night before we were to begin the new Bible Study she sent an e-mail to the entire group that was laden with exclamation points. In order to prepare for 1st Timothy she had been reading through the life of Paul in Acts for the first time. She was reading each chapter and hanging on every word, not knowing what was going to happen next.

Her e-mail read: “Guys! Paul is a sinner just like me!! 1 Timothy 1:16 says, ‘But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.’ Don’t you realize what this means? He didn’t deserve it either!”

The e-mail was an indication of the joy Chrissy was experiencing in her own salvation.

As we sat discussing 1st Timothy the next night she smiled through tears exclaiming, “I didn’t deserve this! None of us deserve this, Paul didn’t deserve this, but He died for us!”  Tears ran down my own face as I watched her joy radiate throughout the room. We were all moved beyond words. In that moment, Chrissy showed me that my response to my own salvation had dulled over time. The wonder of it all had faded and I was simply giving thanks out of habit.

My prayer since has become the words of David in Psalm 51:2, that God would restore to me the joy of salvation! No matter how long you’ve called yourself a Christian, the joy should fill us each day! We who were once dead are now alive! Can I get an “Amen”?!

Following and living,