Do you ever feel a bit restless? Like your heart is not quite on fire for Jesus and you’re struggling to rekindle it? Maybe you’ve grown a bit comfortable in your faith and you don’t feel like you’ve grown in a while.
Maybe life is crazy and you’re feeling drained, depleted, and drifting away with the current. Psalm 46:10 tells us to “be still and know that [He] is God” and maybe that spiritual stillness is what’s missing for you today.
Spiritual stillness for me is when I quietly sit at the feet of my savior, humbled and patient, lifting my hands and bowing my head in loving submission. It happens when I recognize I cannot do this on my own and I need His intervention and control.
I am still with God when I feel restless and life is a whirlwind around me, spinning out of control. I refocus on Jesus and remember He is my anchor to peace and rest, and even while life is crazy with Him I know I can hang on tight and not get carried away by stress and worry.
For a long time, I thought being still meant just chilling in front of the TV and being a potato. I would shut down and just veg out for a while, but when I got back up I wasn’t feeling closer to Jesus, nor was I feeling rested. In fact, often I felt like I’d drifted further away and was even more exhausted.
This is where God began to show me that stillness is about rest for my soul. Being still and knowing He is God is about resting in Christ. Sure, being a potato can help you physically, but if you’re not handing yourself over to Christ for Him to work in you and restore your soul, you’ll never be made into potato chips, salted and ready to bring flavor to the world.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
If you’re feeling disconnected from God or overwhelmed by life, come back to Him, rest at His feet, meditate over His Word, talk to Him as you would talk to a friend, pour your heart and soul out to Him so He can pour Himself into you and give you the rest you need that only He can provide.
What did you do the last time you were faced with difficult situations? Did you avoid it? Did you complain, worry or panic? Did you talk to a friend or loved one about it? Did you try to figure it out on your own? Most of us have a bad habit of handling tough circumstances in any number of these ways, and many more like them. Daniel, someone just like you and me, faced incredible peer pressure, temptation, threat, persecution, slander, and more and showed us how we should respond to threat, hardship, pain, and even the threat of death.
Decide in Difficult Situations
Sometimes God will call us to prepare, act, move or change in certain ways, and sometimes He needs us to be still. We must decide in our hearts every day to have faith that He knows our circumstances, whatever is ahead of us, and that He is bigger; that He can and will handle all of it.
We need to be faithful and obedient to Him, trusting the promises He makes to provide, protect, and work all things together for our good – even when it doesn’t feel good. Don’t ever assume you know what to do on your own, what’s ahead, or how someone will react – commit yourself to God’s instructions.
But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs,
Seeking God out with a desire to hear Him, to discover His truth, to learn, grow, and be nearer to Him is essential for surviving in this sinful, broken world. We need to be determined every day that we will bring everything in our life to God. Be disciplined enough in your faith and relationship with your Heavenly Father that whenever something happens, a decision needs to be made, a question needs to be asked, an emotion needs to be expressed, that He is the first one we run to and pour it all out to.
Every ounce of our life needs to be brought to God through prayer every day. The more we pray, the closer we get to Him, the stronger our relationship gets, the deeper our faith grows, the better we become as followers of Christ, and the more people we have an opportunity to pour God’s grace and love all over and bring closer to Him as well. Seek God out in all things, all times, no matter who may or may not be watching, and have no fear of the world around you.
When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.
Lifting up our worries to God is vital in demonstrating our faith in Him, and so is humbly seeking His forgiveness when we hold onto our worries and try to tackle our circumstances on our own. As human beings, we will certainly make mistakes, mess up, and commit sin and we need to give all of that to God as well and repent so we can come back into right standing with our Heavenly Father.
Daniel knew there was a need for this not only for himself but for his people. He knew that there was power in lifting others up to God and praying for forgiveness over them. We should remember what Jesus said as He was hanging, dying, nailed to the cross; “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34), and pray this for the world around us, and for ourselves.
Ask God to forgive you and others surrounding you, open your eyes to your mistakes, show you His will, teach you what is right, and give you the strength and perseverance for what is ahead. Even when you don’t know what you’ve done, we have much to repent for every day.
‘Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. ‘
Praise is an often forgotten, often discounted way to worship God. It’s so easy to take credit for ourselves or immediately give someone a pat on the back when really God is the one who deserves our praises before and above anyone else. We live in a culture that teaches us we’ve earned what we have and are entitled to what we want, but we only have what we have because God made it so.
The only doors that open are ones God has put there and given you the tools to open them with. We have the choice, but He’s paved and provided the way and deserves to be heartily thanked constantly for every bit of it. Don’t forget to lift your eyes and your thanks to Him first even when we’re faced with difficult situations.
Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”
Don’t take for granted and miss all the blessings he is providing for you every day. Acknowledge that God’s way is always the right way and that all you have is because He made it so. Give credit where credit is due and give God all the glory, even in the face of difficult situations.
My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”
Faith won’t result in a personal victory every time, but either way, we can learn and grow stronger as we persevere and give it all to God. Our faithfulness may get us into trouble sometimes, but our faith will always get us out of it because the Lord’s salvation is so complete He is with us in the fire, closing the mouths of lions, and providing all we need in everything we face. He is faithful to us and asks for faithfulness in return.
Decide in your heart to remain firm, pray to Him all day every day, praise Him for everything you have and need, and acknowledge that He is the one in control, blessing and providing, teaching and disciplining, guiding and listening. He is for you and wants you to live for Him.
‘ While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God for the holy hill of my God, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, “O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision. ‘
When I feel stuck, being at home and sitting around not doing a whole lot is really hard on the body and mind. While we’re all dealing with stay-at-home orders it can be really tough to navigate how to stay active while cooped up for who knows how long. I have been going through the motions myself, phases of slumps and then random bursts of energy, sleeping in too long, staying up too late, sitting at the computer too much. The list can go on, but you get the point and I am sure you are feeling it as well. It’s too easy right now to just fall into the rutt of wallowing in your isolation. So what can we do about it? Here are some things that have been helping me when I feel stuck.
You may not be able to (or even have to) be on your normal routine right now but I have realized that this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be on some kind of a routine. I spent a couple of weeks with literally no routine and eventually found myself feeling stressed out, exhausted, and just all-around terrible. So, I decided to find a sweet spot where I am not stressing over a routine, but I am still staying active, tackling each day with purpose and some consistency.
Before the stay-at-home order I had an early rise and early to bed routine. I don’t need to be up or lay down as early right now, but I shifted my schedule only slightly. This allows me to have some quiet hours in my morning, and then plenty of time for winding down at night. I make a point of getting dressed when I get up, have a steady morning routine, daily activities that help prevent me from spending too long on the computer, scheduled meal times, and a bedtime routine to help me get in sleep mode. When I feel stuck, having this stability helps me not dwell on how different life feels right now, or get absorbed into mindlessness or restlessness.
Yes, I said it. Exercise. The thing so many of us procrastinate doing. I was just getting into a workout routine before the stay-at-home orders, and it all fell apart again when the shut-downs came. I’ve started slowly working in daily yoga after I’ve had my morning coffee, and then again before dinner. When I feel stuck, this helps me step away from the pc and get moving. It also helps me sleep better at night, and feel more stable and relaxed during the day. Let’s face it. Sitting around is not healthy. We should all be doing things to help keep our bodies healthy right now, even more so than usual, so yes. Exercise daily.
I know a lot of people are not readers, but here’s my point. Most of us are probably spending hours reading the various news networks right now. All that does is heighten the negativity, anger, frustrations, anxieties, panic, and stress – all the things we need to be combating, not feeding ourselves more of. Find something you enjoy reading whether it be comic books, magazines, novels, and especially the Bible.
Pick up a Bible reading plan. Find free and inexpensive book deals on BookBub. Check out eLibrary books on Libby by OverDrive to read on your phone, tablet or eReader. Find some fun audiobooks. There are all kinds of ways to find great content to feed your mind that doesn’t always require money.
Reading is a great stress reliever when I feel stuck. For me, it takes my mind away from the stress of the world around me and throws me into a new world or adventure. You may not think you’re a reader, but hey – now is a great time to put that to the test and dive in to give your mind a needed break.
Whether it be learning a new language, taking classes online, a yarn or sewing project, painting, writing, drawing etc. it is a great time to jump in when I feel stuck. I’ve been taking this time to get into my adult coloring books, yarn projects, and I will also be sewing medical masks. My family and I are learning some fun origami and playing board games, and we have started doing movie marathons at dinner time (note we reserve this for a specific time of day rather than sitting in front of the TV all day long). Soon I plan to also get into a little baking, and I have started doing some Spring Cleaning in my closets and drawers. The options are limitless! You have much less reason to put these things off, so why not just go for it?
We live in a time that is so incredibly easy to be isolated and not worry about social interactions. Hiding in our homes away from the world probably sounds really nice to many of us, but honestly this is something we really need to be careful with. We were not designed to be alone. We were designed for community, for relationship. Right now it is vital that we stay, or get, connected to others.
I am finding it all too easy to just worry about myself and myself alone when I feel stuck at home, but I urge you to reach out to your friends, connect with loved ones, share what you’re up to with others and talk to people about how you’re feeling and coping. Don’t shut the world out right now. Remember that we need to let the light in so we don’t get consumed by the darkness penetrating our world right now. Be a part of something more than yourself and get connected with people.
Life is tough as it is, but even more so right now. Don’t forget that we’re all going through this together. Stay connected, create a sense of routine for your days, get into your favorite hobbies, and grab a good book. We can all get through this, but it helps when we do it together.
I had a dream last night, really more of a nightmare if I am honest. I was driving down a very dark road with my child sitting in the back seat. We were talking, having a good time, then all of a sudden it was getting really hard to see. Dusk was falling, faster than I had seen coming, and I realized my headlights weren’t on. I didn’t move to flip them on, I didn’t even tell myself I could. I honestly didn’t even think I needed them. I was, in fact, panicking in the growing darkness telling myself I absolutely did not need my headlights on.
As we kept going, it became full night, there were no street lights, no lamps in the distance, nothing. It was pure darkness. I started swerving a bit in my panic, and felt the car hit a bumpy part of the road. The bumping and jolting got worse, from small gravel to what felt like massive speed bumps one after the other until finally, I flipped on the headlights to see what I was hitting, and instantly the car fell nose first, straight down to a big crash.
I heard screams and yelling all around. I looked at my child, who was freaking out but she was not hurt. I got out of the car, where all I could see from the inside looking out was pure darkness, and as I opened the door was blinded by light. There were people staring at me, yelling, crying, and someone finally told me I had hit their child who was inside the house now, fighting for their life. I told them I was so heart-breakingly sorry, that I couldn’t see, it was too dark, I had no light. They asked me why I never turned the headlights on and I said I couldn’t, it was too dark! I could not have turned the lights on, it wouldn’t have helped! It was just too dark!
I suddenly fell to my knees, my child came to me, and then all of a sudden I saw my grandfather, who passed away last year, come to me, take my hand, put my child and me in the front seat of the car, then proceed to get into the driver’s seat. He looked at me and said “don’t worry, the child will be safe, and so are you now. I’m here.” He put his great grandchild on his lap as I realized I had been driving a two-seater the whole time, with my kid fully exposed in the front seat next to me. My grandfather looked at me, smiled, and we drove off into immense, comforting light, and I knew I was safe.
I woke up confused, wondering about this nightmare, and as I kept dwelling on it I realized that this dream is exactly what life felt like before I came to Christ; like driving in the growing, suffocating darkness, refusing to turn on the light I had right next to my hand in finger’s reach. I had the opportunity to turn on the light, to come to Him, but I had convinced myself I didn’t need to, that I could do it on my own, that I could figure it out.
All of a sudden, everything took a nosedive and I sought out the light in my panic. Even in my panic, though, He came for me and I realized He had been there the whole time. I had messed up horrifically driving around in the dark on my own. I had put other lives in danger because of my stubbornness, but as soon as I turned on the light, as soon as I reached for Him, He was right there to fix it, to pick me up, to guide me back to His light, and I was immediately comforted and at peace.
God is with us always, even when we don’t want Him to be, and even when we don’t think He is there. Even though we think we don’t need His help, He knows we do and will be there when we’re ready to turn on the light and invite Him in. All it takes is one flip of the light-switch, as easy as turning on the headlights of your car, to invite Him in. Then you can immediately begin to feel Him working in you.
When I finally came to Christ in my desperation 6 years ago, I was in a dangerous situation and I was panicking, but the very moment I trusted Him I was overflowing with His strength, courage, wisdom, and peace. I knew in that instant that all these things I’d believed; I couldn’t make it on my own, I was a failure, I was worthless, I’d never be able to take care of myself or my child, I would never be loved, I wasn’t even worthy of love, no one would ever care for me, I was a terrible person who only got in the way, I was a terrible mother, a terrible wife, a terrible daughter – these were all lies I had allowed myself to believe and in that instant, I was set free of it all.
It took a long time to heal, to move forward emotionally and mentally, but each step of the way God was there to guide me. I have realized now, looking back, that He was there the entire time. He was pulling on my heart, providing me with wisdom and guidance even though I continued to swat Him away. Even though I was a defiant child choosing to stay in my pain and misery, He was there to comfort me along the way, and lift me out as soon as I surrendered to Him.
This is what He offers to all of us. I’m not saying it is easy, but it is possible and it is worth it. Even when life gets tough I can tackle it with more confidence, strength and perseverance. I can find peace while chaos surrounds me. I am able to recognize the lies of Satan and seek God’s truth. Just reach out, turn on the Light and invite Him in, then lean on Him to guide you through the rest.
Also, never forget that you are not the only one who has stumbled around in the dark. We all go through it. All of us need to find the light-switch and make the decision to turn it on. Don’t cast a judging eye on those who are in the dark, but pray over them with compassion and remember where you were pulled out of and that they, too, need that reaching moment. Look at others with love and understanding, and listen for God’s calling for you to be used to help others reach His light. You never know how He may use you to shine His light on those in the dark.
Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
This post coming on April Fools Day is a bit ironic. A day people are worried, afraid and anxious about pranks at every turn. This is a holiday celebrated around the world. In France they may worry about having a picture of a fish pegged on their back. One might spend the day paranoid that favors requested in Scotland are a fool’s errand. Portuguese culture may leave you fearful of turning a corner and a having flour thrown at you.
What are you afraid of? Is it an April Fools joke? Spiders? Snakes? Lions, tigers, and bears? Or is it something deeper? We spend so much of our lives living in fear of the unknown, a broken heart, being alone, getting hurt, getting lost, never finding our purpose; the list never ends.
But what if I told you that you don’t need to be afraid of the practical jokes or any of the deep fears that feel embedded in our DNA? What if there was something that could tackle anything you may ever be fearful of? What if you didn’t have to live in fear anymore?
‘ But now thus says the Lord , he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.’
God tells us not to be afraid 365 times throughout the Bible. We are given this command once for every day of the year as a reminder that He is with you wherever you go, and will carry the weight of your fears if you let Him.
‘The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’
I lived in a constant state of fear most of my life. I knew God was trying to pull me in, but after everything I’d suffered, I didn’t want to trust Him. One day about 5 years ago, in one single moment, my fear miraculously melted away in an instant. I was in a terrible and abusive marriage and that day was the breaking point. I remember the sudden rush of impossible courage well up in me, a feeling I had never felt before or really knew I could feel. I snapped. In that instant I traded my fear for perfect love.
‘There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
When my fear was lifted up and I trusted God to provide, He showed up and changed my entire life in ways I never dreamed He would or could. God transformed me from a broken vessel into a strong, faithful, courageous woman. God wrapped my entire life up in pure, unimaginable love. I am still a work in progress, but allowing God to take the fear from me changed my entire life in the best possible ways.
Are there still challenges, struggles, and pain? Of course. That is a fact of life. But I can get through all of it and come out stronger knowing God will always show up when I choose His incredible and perfect love over my human fears.
‘ The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.’
My daughter and I have been sick for the better part of the last 2 months and now I’m just getting over bronchitis and a sinus infection, she’s finally feeling great, and we’re able to get back into a routine. But if there is one thing I’ve learned it is that the slightest things sometimes can drive us off course drastically.
We can easily get distracted from our mission and get ourselves into a rut. I’m sure we have all experienced this. We kind of lose our way a little bit and feel like life is just pure chaos and full of stress and negativity. We find it hard to find the good things to carry us through, the blessings God has planted in our path.
I have been in that slump for some weeks now and have not been feeling like myself. I’ve lost hope in my work, my home, and other areas of my life. I felt like I needed to just give up on things and start over. I was letting anger and miscommunications and misunderstandings tear at me and make me lazy and discontent.
There are a few things I always have to remind myself of – or that I have to allow myself to hear from God – whenever I am in these ruts in order to change directions and get back on track.
Pray & Listen
Let the Lord hear your burdens and He will help you to carry them. So many times we hear “pray, pray, pray” but if we just pray with our ears closed what is the point? We need to be open to hearing what He has to tell us. We need to have our eyes open to see when our prayers have been given a reply.
Call upon the Lord and He will hear you. Tell him your hearts’ burdens and desires and let Him help you. Let him into your heart and heal you and lift your burdens and praise you. Praise Him and He will lift you up.
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
We are all called to suffer. Why? Jesus suffered in His flesh and we are called to suffer as Jesus suffered, but also to have the attitude about our suffering as Jesus had for His own. We are instructed not to whine and complain about our suffering and instead make the choice to identify with Christ. But what does that mean? It means a few things – first, we must make a decision to follow the will of God rather than our selfish human desires.
Earthly things do not matter. What will come with us when our time comes and we are called to be judged? Ourselves and our souls. The life we lead and the attitude we have will show through, not the material things of this world. In order to identify with Christ we are also called to be baptized, love everyone (yes, even our enemies), be obedient to the Lord, and suffer. Our priorities in this life should be prayer, love, and serving others as well as the Lord.
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[b] and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[c]
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Love the Lord, love your neighbor, love your enemies, and love yourself. It is easy to get into feelings of hatred like “I hate my job” “I hate that the person in front of me is driving 10 mph under the speed limit” “I hate that that person is causing drama” “I hate that my child is not listening”. Don’t do it! Don’t think like that! Always have love on your mind as well as in your heart.
We are called to not hate. Why? Hatred is for the Devil. We can’t be true and faithful followers of Christ is we choose to hate. We need to be filled with love for all around us. It is not always easy – but nothing worth doing is ever easy.
Sometimes the hardest things to do are the RIGHT things to do. Love your neighbor, love your enemy, love yourself and love God. Love has the power to overtake your heart and bring you peace and happiness.
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a]6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I am a wife, mom, writer, crafter, and above all, a Child of God. I love to study the Bible, fellowship with other Christians, and serve God. I am thrilled to invite you to join me in seeking to satisfy our thirsty souls with the Living Water of Christ, which is what Water On Thirsty Land is here to do.