There is Rest

Tension in the heart, worry over what tomorrow may bring, moving from one major life event to the next in a hurry to get it perfect, neglecting self, overcome by the need to be safe or in control or know the outcome;  this is a restless soul.

Jesus desires our soul to be at rest, our roots to be deep, and our confidence to be wholeheartedly surrendered to His personhood. Dwelling within His personhood looks like being intertwined with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We know that He is provider, protector, friend, lover, comforter, healer, and completely God over everything. His personhood becomes a part of us and we walk through a journey of tilling the ground, being molded, pregnant with eager expectation for something new, humbled, and exalted. It happens over and over again. It actually happens so much because He wants us to have no doubt that He is still good and He is still God above every other god wherever He may lead us. We are growing glory to glory, and in that stewardship, He gives us rest.

Though it is His heartbeat to give us rest, sometimes we have an immature expectation of how rest will manifest in our lives. That's okay, it's a part of the growing process. He gently gets on His knees with us and runs after us when we have run too far ahead. He pulls us into His arms. He whispers, "Hey, I didn't ever ask you to think that way. Let me remind you that I am God, and I got you."

Rest doesn't necessarily look like knowing the outcome or having all aspects of life perfect or under control. Rest doesn't look like getting full sleep every night or being present in every circumstance. It also doesn't necessarily mean we will feel His presence constantly throughout our day. There are times when we won't feel Him. There are times that the storm in our lives is going to feel overpowering and out of control. That is okay. Get messy. He won't let it overpower you.  If you choose to believe that His rest is always working within you and that the Prince of Peace is anointing you constantly for His work, you will be anchored. Faith is an act of your will. Surrender to the truth that He is giving you rest, and He will break through the tension in the timing that is best. He will not save you from every battle, but you will always have access to His presence.

 Jesus's words:

“Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NIV

You can overcome, too.

Rest in His presence.

 Psalm 139:
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.


I have experienced walking through fire in my own life…

When I was very young, the environment around me wasn't safe, though I was protected completely. I couldn’t comprehend the amount of protection around me and around those involved, so I naturally reverted towards protecting myself. The energy used towards harboring my emotion so that I could experience some sort of stability would seem like self-sabotage to anyone distinctly aware of healthy mental patterns. However, becoming numb actually helped me survive for a time.
 
It stemmed from the simple, yet deep root of fear. From the exterior, I wanted to appear in control of myself. My subconscious self told me that I couldn't appear broken or express the depth of what was taking place inside of me, because it meant that I was defined by instability, similar to what I saw and heard in my youngest years. In reality, I was actually completely innocent and still am today because of His blood over my life.

That exterior shell was never meant to last beyond that season of trauma. Unfortunately, it continued for most of my life, even when the sun was shining and the skies were clear.

The numbing would manifest continually throughout my life as I grew in the capacity of understanding. I surrendered to the circumstance versus letting go of understanding, allowing myself to express the thoughts in my mind, and even allowing myself to process the pain. Throughout my life He was asking me to become undone before Him, I just didn't know how. He knew that, so He knew to go slow.

I didn't know that at the time, so I created an equation for myself that I thought would never be altered. A) I was born into some instability, so  B) my life would be unstable, and C) I would never know God's stability for myself. The equation continued into a formula I couldn't find myself out of…I thought that He initially cared about everyone else more than myself because I would continually hit hardship.

Externally I remained stoic, a seemingly wise expert at life, a caretaker of the ones who were hurting.  Internally, I felt like I was walking on glass. Because of the antidotal nature, I let people use me. I ignored my true passions, and didn't even really know what they were entirely. I thought my life was simply to be a floor for people to stand upon so that they could be exalted and live an abundant life. Every time I did this, I felt the weight. It caused me to cringe. It caused me to wince at the low self worth and the peace I would never tangibly be mine in my life.

The continual seasons of letting others and life stand on me, caused me to doubt His goodness, His protection, and my own ability to overcome. I can look back at those seasons and see that God wasn't causing the pain or the anxiety and hopelessness that manifested from the trauma. He actually knew that I would choose to hold onto Him no matter how disappointed I was in myself or even the cross He offered to carry with me.

God never asked me to do it alone. He never asked anyone to live that way. Though He knew that my natural inclination would be to remain in hiddenness and bare others' burdens, He brought me out of the cave time and time again. I wasn't meant for the cave. I was meant to be hidden under that shadow of His wing. I was meant to experience His glory in Heavenly places and to bring others with me.

Normally, He would bring me out of the cave by allowing me to experience the weight of the doubt and hopelessness in my mind. Years of holding up the weight and holding in my expression was not a part of my story anymore.

I fell.

Years of holding everything back…it all came at once. My emotions fled in, and suddenly I was not okay anymore on the exterior. I finally was actually reflecting on what was taking place in the interior of my soul.

In the process, I lost people close to me. I let go of the temporary sutures that caused me to numb pain. I walked out of a lifestyle that was killing me. I cried the majority of every day.

Even in the valley, I made vows to follow Him for the rest of my life.

Even after I reestablished a relationship that had been a battle for so many years,  I still didn't know who I was anymore.

But God is good, and He is strong enough to cover anything that was about to take place.

During the time of uncovering, I lost about 30 lbs. I was realizing for the first time that I had pushed through life and I couldn't anymore. The anxiety wasn't fun, but He was speaking tenderly to my heart the entire time… even when I didn't feel like He was speaking at all.

He is always saying something, always doing something in us when we say yes.

I am still working through some of these hindrances to knowing the God of peace and the God that cares a lot about me even today.

And the storms are still real, some are even still there. But I know my God is close. I can rest in knowing that His glory will outshine the darkness of the night. When I am afraid of people seeing me exposed, He will be with me. When I am restless at night with thoughts coursing through my mind, He will bring me to peace. When I am unsure of how I will be provided for, He will remind me that He is the God who always provides exactly when I need. When I feel fear more than I feel His presence, He will remind me that He exists within me and that His spirit is greater than any fear that would try to come against me. When I feel distant from people and have little hope for the outworking of the glory He is working in my life, He will surround me with encouragement and remind me of what He has spoken to me time and time again.

There is another in the fire. I was never alone, so you too, will never be alone.

Author | Emily Helton

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