June 2, 2011
Should I Quit?
"Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." Psalm 116:7 (NIV)
We all have those times in life where we wish the voice of God would audibly speak so loudly there's no way we could miss it, "THIS IS THE DIRECTION I WANT YOU TO GO." Then we'd know whether to stay the course or quit and head off in a new direction.
Have you ever wished for this kind of certainty?
We want to know what to do.
Sometimes we stay in a place too long. But I think the greater loss happens in those times we quit too soon. And we live with this nagging sense of "what if?" What if I'd persevered one more year, one more month, one more day?
What if David had been so put off by his dad's brush off, he refused to come in from the field and see Samuel? (1 Samuel 16)
What if David had assessed whether or not to face Goliath based on the shadow of his opponent rather than the shadow of the Almighty? (1 Samuel 17)
What if Abigail's pride or fear had stopped her a few steps shy of bowing low before David? (1 Samuel 25)
Knowing when to stop and when to keep on keeping on is a crucial life lesson. One I want to learn well.
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus encourages us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
I used to get so frustrated when I heard this verse because I thought, I don't want rest. I want reassurance! I'm burdened by this decision I have to make. I don't want to mess up my life by missing a cue from You, God.
But the gift of the rest Jesus is offering here is not a spiritual Ambien. The Greek word for this kind of rest is anapauo which has as one of its definitions, "of calm and patient expectation."
In other words, Jesus is saying if you come to Me, I will take your exhaustion and uncertainty and turn it into a calm expectation.
My friend Jennifer Rothschild does this enlightening exercise at some of her conferences. She tells the audience to imagine her writing two different words on a large chalkboard. She then speaks the letters as she draws the first word into the air... R-E-S-T. She does the same for the second word...R-E-S-I-S-T. Then she asks what's the difference?
The difference is, of course, "I."
I don't know what to do. I can't figure this out. I'm worn out. I've tried everything I know to do. I've given all I have to give.
I'm familiar with these "I" statements because I've said them myself.
We can only find anapauo rest — fresh hope — as we stop running ragged and simply take on the next assignment Jesus gives.
In verse 29 of Matthew 11 Jesus gives us the assignment to take on His yoke and learn from Him. Ask Jesus to show you just the next step. Not ten steps. Not the whole path. Not the Google map with the highlighted route. Just the next step.
Complete that step with excellence and an open, humble heart. Listen and look for all Jesus wants to teach you in this next step.
This is your part of the equation.
But after the assignment, comes the reassurance in verse 30, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." We don't have to have all the answers. We just have to stay connected to the One who does. Where our strength ends is the exact point where His will begin.
This is God's part of the equation.
I must do all I can do. Then trust God will do what only He can do.
Should I stay? Should I go? Maybe the better question is, "God, what is the next step I'm to take today? I'm going to do my part. And trust the rest with You."
Dear Lord, I am tired and I can't seem to figure some things out today. Please help me to see Your part in this equation. Where my strength ends is where Yours will begin. Help me, Lord, to look to You for my very next step. I will wait in calm expectation. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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Listen and look for all Jesus wants to teach you in the very next step you will take. Determine what your part is and then look to God for His. Trust His faithfulness today.
Jesus says to me, 'I will take your exhaustion and uncertainty and turn it into a calm expectation'. What does this look like to me?
Psalm 16:9, "Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure." (NIV)
Psalm 51:12, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." (NIV)
© 2011 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Thursday, 02 June 2011.