Getting Off the Hamster Wheel

Do you ever feel like a hamster running on a wheel, running as fast as you can, but never getting anywhere?  In today’s fast paced world, you would be an oddity if you said, “No.”  I’ve been feeling this way for quite some time now.  I look at my schedule and shake my head.  There doesn’t seem to be any open spots for anything, but I look at what I have to do and there just doesn’t seem to be anywhere to cut.  It’s not that anything that I’m doing or have scheduled is frivolous or a waste of time.  They are all things that need to be done, so I keep on running.

However last Tuesday, I finally hit a wall.  You see, for the last year, we have hosted an exchange student from Germany, Tessa.  It has been a wonderful experience and she became my third daughter.  On Monday, she left to return home to Germany.  The week before we went camping for the week to spend some quality family time together before she left, without all of the distractions of home and everyday life.  It was a wonderful week, except for the constantly reoccurring thunderstorms.  But as anyone who camps knows, preparing for the trip and unpacking after the trip are both a lot of work!  We returned home on Friday evening in yet another thunderstorm, so most things were left in the camper until we could unload in dryer weather.  Saturday was a whirlwind.  We had to unpack, do laundry, make food for a carry-in after church on Sunday, and did I mention I was having an open house for our exchange student after the carry-in and I had to go set up and decorate.  Also, in the mix of the day, I had to go to the post office to pick up a package from Tessa’s mom before the post office closed and go get groceries to restock the fridge and pantry after being gone for a week!  Needless to say, I was burning the candle at both ends.  Sunday consisted of a day of church, the carry-in, open house and then finishing packing Tessa for her trip home, with lots of goodbye’s all day long.  It was a late night getting her ready to go and an early morning the next day taking her to the airport and sending her off.  It was exhausting emotionally and physically.

This brings me back to last Tuesday, when I finally crashed.  I cannot remember the last time I purposely scheduled myself a day off with nothing to do and Tuesday was no exception.  I had an appointment that I needed to go to, but had failed to write the time down on my grooming calendar, so I didn’t schedule any grooming appointments for the day.  When I checked the time, it wasn’t until 4pm.  God works in mysterious ways.  He knew I needed to rest.  I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.  I ended up cancelling my appointment and vegged out all day long.  Usually, I would feel guilty for sleeping in and then curling up on the couch with a good book for the day, but that day I felt no twinge of guilt.  God had called me to a day of rest.  He had orchestrated it, because He knew in my humanness, I wouldn’t have done it for myself.  I needed that day of rest more than anything.

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Ps. 91:1

I wrote all of this long story to say: God calls us into times of rest.  Sometimes we just need to take a break.  Even God rested on the seventh day after creating the world and all that is in it. Genesis 2:2-3 Why do we allow society to feed us the lie that we don’t have time to rest, because there is too much to do to take a break? It’s simple really.  We have an adversary that knows if he can keep us running, he will wear us out and we won’t have the energy to do the work God has for us.  When we are worn out and tired from a life of stress and busyness, we are much less effective at serving God.  I believe God was speaking to me loud and clear on Tuesday, when He told me to rest.  Matthew 11:28 came to mind that day.  “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

So, if you’re like me and you have been running on the crazy hamster wheel of life, maybe it’s time to take a rest.  You will be far more productive in your walk with Christ if you do.  Your time of rest may not look like mine.  Maybe yours is longer than a day.  Extroverts may need to recharge with others, where introverts, like me, need to be alone.  It doesn’t really matter what it looks like, it’s just important to take time to recharge.  If your batteries are on empty, God can’t use you to your fullest potential.  He desires so much more for you than a life running on empty.  So, take time to rest and see what great things He has for you!

Resting in Him,

Lorissa

Developing Hunger for the Word

This week I found some old journal entries and was amazed at how relevant they still were to my present situation, so I decided I would share one…

8-20-07

Recently, I have earnestly sought to know God better.  This has included knowing His will for my life, spending more time in God’s Word, and praying for a new closeness to God.  God has blessed me immensely just for asking.  I am amazed at the things He has revealed to me in such a short time.  I am grieved at the time I’ve wasted by not asking earlier.  Since becoming a Christian in my adulthood, I’ve often looked at other new believers that were on fire to learn more about God and mature believers who seem to have an open, direct line of communication with God.  I was always jealous and yearned for that spark they had.  It was as if God had given them something that I hadn’t had the honor of being privy to. 

What was it that had given other believers this one-on-one connection to God that I so desperately desired to have?  In the not so distant past, I believe I stumbled upon the answer to that question.  What I found was that it had been there the whole time!  I just had not earnestly sought to find that relationship.  I read the Bible because that’s what Christians are supposed to do, but as I read, nothing seemed to make much of an impact.  I would find myself going longer and longer periods without reading because I just wasn’t getting into it.  It was another thing on my “to do” list and it seemed to be the easiest thing to eliminate on a busy day.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to enjoy it.  I saw other people with an insatiable hunger for the Word, that were being fed by reading it, but I just wasn’t. 

Then a friend bought me a book for my birthday.  It was a study on David by Beth Moore and I made a conscious effort to do the study.  It required me to answer some personal questions and write a prayer.  I found that I really enjoyed the study and I was getting something out of it.  Though at first, I was not consistent, the more I did it, the more I looked forward to it.  After doing the study for a while, I started looking back at the things I had written. I discovered something amazing.  It was that connection that I had been looking for and thought that I didn’t have.  It was right there in my prayers.  I could see the desires of my heart and now looking back, I see the answers that God had given.  If not for being recorded in that book, I may have taken for granted all the answered prayers.  I wouldn’t have remembered what I had talked to God about.  Therefore, I wouldn’t have been able to see how He had carefully taken the time to respond to each one.  It was totally amazing!  Right there, in that book, as if God had taken the pen from my hand, He had written in my prayers what He desired for me, the person He wanted me to be, and what He wanted me to do. 

Those prayers ignited that fire that I had so longed to have and envied in other Christians.  It gave me a hunger to know God more and spend more time with Him.  It also has given me the desire to share what I’ve learned with those around me.  I want to shout from the mountain tops “Look what I’ve found!  come and see!”  I’ve started reading God’s Word and getting it.  I look forward to what He has to show me and teach me.  I’ve seen how He puts what He wants to teach me in His Word and then shows me the same thing in the world around me to reiterated what it is that He is teaching me.  It’s awesome to see Him everywhere and know that He sees me right where I am and will gladly meet me there if I just ask.

Even though this journal entry was nearly 8 years ago, I still see God’s sovereign hand in it.  He has not changed, even though I have.  There are still dry times when I get busy and don’t make study a priority, but in the fruitful times, this journal entry is so true!  The farther along I go in my faith journey, the fewer dry times I have.  I see God’s hand more and more everyday.  

So if you are struggling to find that spark, find a study that speaks to you.  It may be the boost you need to start a closer, more intimate walk with God.  You will be amazed at how He will speak to you and reveal more and more to you everyday!  Journaling will help you see God working in your life, as you go back and review the answers to prayers.  It’s always a faith boost when you can see His hand at work!

Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

I will close with a prayer written in my book on the study of David…

Lord, open my heart and reveal those things in me that keep me from hearing Your voice and tapping into Your power.  Show me the areas of my life that I need to recognize and change, so that I may freely communicate with You.  When I am in those dry spells, please give me the still, soft reminders I need to reconnect on the intimate level I so desire to be with You.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Still Seeking,

Lorissa