March 1, 2018
Rest and Just Be Held
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him (Psalm 62:5).
Friend to Friend
I could tell it was going to be another long night. I could not sleep. I prayed. I tossed and turned for what seemed like hours. But a quick glance at the alarm clock said it was only 2:30 a.m. I know. Only 2:30 a.m. Right? Hours of darkness spread before me and the battle was on.
I cried out to God, “Father! Why can’t I sleep? I am so tired and have been for weeks. You know that, Lord. Please let me rest!”
It was as if the Lord Himself walked into my room … into my soul … into my mind and said, “Finally! I have been waiting for you to come to the place where you realize that you need to rest in Me.”
I almost laughed out loud. Almost.
“But Lord, I have been asking You to help me sleep well for weeks! I don’t understand.” I cried out.
And then the answer came. Sleep and rest are two entirely different things.
My mind jumped back to the time when I was a young child. I really did have a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow. I can remember the day my mother showed me the lamb and explained that she did not have a bottle with which to feed the stray lamb. I did. I agreed to let the lamb have my bottle if I could have the lamb. I have been fascinated by the unique relationship between sheep and their shepherd ever since.
Sheep are dumb, can never be left alone, and often stray, requiring the shepherd to find and rescue them. The needs of sheep, compared to the needs of other animals, are greater because of their instinct to be afraid, and when faced with a fearful situation, to run. Without a shepherd to care for the sheep, they will not last long.
Like every sheep, I don’t like to be pushed. Good shepherds do not push, no matter how great the temptation. A good shepherd stands in front of his sheep, gently calling their names, leading them to a place where he has already been, positioning himself between danger and his sheep.
When I am tired and ready to give up, I tend to withdraw from the other sheep and even from my Shepherd. Many of us have somehow bought into the lie that we can make it on our own or that the rules, the commandments of God, do not necessarily apply to us - just those other sheep. The longer I serve God, the more I realize just how much we need each other and how much we need Him. When will I learn that I cannot do life on my own – as a sheep or as a shepherd?
A good shepherd is willing to lay down his life for his sheep, just as Jesus Christ laid down His life for you and for me. I am so glad He was willing to give His life for every single sheep – the cute, fluffy ones as well as the dirty, broken lambs like me.
I needed to stop, listen for His voice, rest in Him, and just be held. I mentally pictured laying down every uncertainty in my life at the feet of Jesus, my Shepherd. I then knew that sleep would come. I also knew that I had found rest in my Shepherd.
Lord, I am so thankful You are my Shepherd and that no matter how deep the valley or dark the pit, You have gone before me and made a way. Help me understand that Your ways are higher than mine. Forgive me when I complain that the way You have made for me is harder than I want it to be. I surrender my life to You, Lord, my God, and my Shepherd.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now it’s Your Turn
Here is a challenge for every Girlfriend in God. Read Psalm 23 once a day for one month. Record the psalm in your journal. Let every word soak into your heart, mind and soul. When fear comes, turn to God. When you are in need, trust the Shepherd. When confusion surrounds you, trust your Father to make the crooked paths straight. Rejoice daily in the fact that you are His lamb and He is your Shepherd.
More from the Girlfriends
You can't eliminate stress, but you can learn to control stress before it controls you. Mary Southerland transforms the promises of the Twenty-third Psalm into easy-to-implement, practical steps that will hand you the keys to stress management. Escaping the Stress Trap is a story-filled, humorous, and helpful approach to dealing with the pressures of life. The chapter-by-chapter study guide included is ideal for both personal and small group studies.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Thursday, 01 March 2018.