“Give yourself a break” …. These were the words that rang clearly in my spirit early one morning during my devotion time. This was certainly not an impression I would have expected to receive from the Lord at that moment.
You see, I am much like each of you: I have a list that never ends. And as I approach the “holidays” my list gets even longer – often overwhelming me. I was sitting with my Bible open, groaning over my inability to make headway, when the Lord prompted me to stop and listen.
What should be seasons of incredible awe and gratefulness for God’s amazing goodness to me become instead seasons I dread because of my growing lists. How upside down is that?!*
The words He spoke to my spirit that morning really caused me to re-evaluate. I quickly realized that I was demanding far more of myself than He was. I had allowed my own expectations to soar way beyond a healthy-balanced place; robbing me of my joy.
Perhaps a few of you have experienced the same thing.
A few scriptures helped me get a more healthy and Godly perspective. Rather than accomplishing all these “things” to arrive at a “happy place,” the Lord reminded me of Ps 106:7 – The happiest one on earth is the one who keeps your Word and clings to righteousness every moment. (TPT) And then He reminded me of Ps 37:4 – Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. (NIV)
I began to process those scriptures. I do want happiness; I have seen God fulfill many desires of my heart which brought me great joy – and He did it without my striving! So how did I get off track?
I think I fell into the trap of self-sufficiency – “If it is to be, it’s up to me!” The enemy has a hay day with that one. We can absolutely drive ourselves into the ground stripping ourselves of the joy of the Lord, which truly is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
I took a deep breath and began to look at my list and ask the Holy Spirit:
- Which of these things are critical to fulfill God’s purpose in my life today?
- Which ones should be moved to a list for the future?
- Which ones are just unnecessary?
- Could I delegate some of these things to others and train them?
- How can I simplify the things left on my list; yet, still accomplishing them with excellence?
Internal peace resulted. It is a gift the Lord intends for each of His children regardless of the circumstance. Don’t allow the enemy to rob you of it.
As Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure, He said to them: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives… (John 14:27)
Allow the Holy Spirit to speak into your life (and your lists) as this holiday season approaches. Ask Him to help you see things through His eyes – and begin to enjoy HIS PEACE!