Resting in Jesus; Part 2


“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

The world offers a peace that does not last.  We are surrounded by false promises:

                                            “When you get married, you will live happily ever after.” 


                                             “If you have a child, you will feel needed and loved.” 


                                              “You will be successful and well respected if you get that college degree.”


                                              “You will be happy when you land that perfect job or get your next promotion.”


                                             “You will be accepted if you are pretty, or smart, or thin…”

The list of false promises is long and brings an endless sense of lack.  In truth, marriage doesn’t equal “happily ever after” and any mother will tell you that raising children doesn’t usually promote confidence or self-worth.  A college degree does not guarantee a respectable career, whatever respectable means; and if I rely on a job to bring me significance, I might feel like part of the team today, only to be crushed by rejection tomorrow.  

When such promises seem too far from reach or when they don’t fulfill my longing for something better, the world offers alcohol to forget my disappointments, drugs to numb the pain, pills to calm the nerves and food to escape the loneliness.  If none of these solutions appeal to me, I can strive for perfection or fill my calendar with endless commitments to avoid feeling empty and disappointed.

But, do these “solutions” really help?  The answer seems obvious; especially when I ignore my own propensities by focusing on the other gal.  But when I land smack dab in the middle of my own denial, the door stands wide open for the enemy to completely distort reality.  Maybe I can readily see the destruction brought on by alcohol or drugs in someone else’s life, but what about my own striving for approval or perfection?

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” John 10:10a

Anyone who has been there will tell you that alcohol exacerbates depression, and when the drugs wear off, the pain is still there, taunting and shaming the user.  Overeating results in poor health and a sense of failure, leaving one to feel just as lonely as before, usually more.  Addiction to perfection is no fun either, always striving, always hoping others don’t see past the façade to hidden failures, fear and heartache.



Jesus offers a better Way, “I do not give to you as the world gives.”  John 14:27

“I have come that (you) may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10b

Inviting me to rest from the trappings of the world, Jesus offers a peace that only He can give.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 

 


When I had enough of the world’s so-called solutions, I turned to God.  Because I didn’t know better, I initially tried to fit Him into the same box as the world.  Coming from a performance based mentality, I went about striving to earn His love and acceptance. 

I seldom prayed, because when I did, I spent most of my time, confessing my failures and trying to offer up enough penance, hoping He might hear me.  Since prayer seemed to make me feel worse about myself, I focused more on reading Scripture, trying to find the formula that would help me change my behavior and please Him.  But all my efforts left me feeling hopeless and unlovable.

While the enemy kept me steeped in lies and accusations, I remained blinded to the priceless gift Jesus offered.  I was believing Satan, while Jesus was right there, the whole time, speaking truth and inviting me to rest in Him.  His sacrifice was enough, and all I needed to do, was believe Him and rest! 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 



To rest in Jesus, I must trust Him; and to trust Him, I must know Him. 

Reading God’s Word helps me to know Him; what He is like, what matters to Him, what He grieves over and what He delights in.  Like any good father, He guides me and warns me and tells me how He feels about me.  He reveals His heart to me, as I read about the life of Jesus; His mission, His purpose, His desire for relationship with me.  He tells me who I am in Jesus, that I may know I am His.  He reveals His promises and describes my inheritance as His child.  The list of benefits to reading the Bible is endless.

But Scripture without prayer and intimacy yields no experience of relationship.  And prayer is only as hard as I allow the father of lies to convince me it is.  God is not critiquing my words to see if they are eloquent or holy enough.  He would rather I stutter and stumble through a sentence, than to not come to Him in the first place. When I simply show up, our relationship deepens.  When I am honest with Him, not through groveling, but by sharing my heart, trusting Him and His love for me, I become aware of His presence and goodness and He transforms my life.

The more I know the Father, the more I fall in love with Him, the more I trust Him, and the more I want Him above anything the world can offer; and the deeper our relationship grows, the less I seek the world’s solutions to disappointment and fear.

Today, I accept Jesus’ invitation.  I choose to rest in His love, His truth, His goodness and His promises.  When I wake up tomorrow, His invitation remains, and as I continue making a daily choice to rest in Him, I experience a peace that truly only God can give.  He is good!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28




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