Cease Striving

IMG_0376The majority of us either go one of two directions when it comes to taking care of our bodies:

We can go the way of should-ing ourselves: I should start eating less sugar! I should lose 10lbs! I should workout twice a day! Yet,with all of these thoughts we do nothing, become complacent, and maybe neglect our bodies.

Or,  we start a chase after the “perfect body”. This often times results in yo-yo’ing, where we go back and forth, starting new workout programs and diets and stopping them, just to begin another one 2 months later.

Last week we focused on putting those two mindsets to the side. Together, we are practicing a new perspective. One where we move and fuel our bodies from a place of CONFIDENCE because we know that we are already loved and valued by God, no matter what the heck we are doing.

“I give glory to God, simply by being myself.” Brennan Manning, Abbas Child.

Now, in order to develop and maintain this awareness that we can do everything in this God-confidence, one necessary thing needs to happen… we need to get alone with God.

It is in the quietness that we can turn from all the negative self-talk and fears to instead sink into the truth of what He says about us–that we are loved, redeemed, called, and are His daughters. The assurance that we are God’s comes in the stillness. Taking the time to be present with God is essential to being renewed in our minds. It is the key to wellness because it is the starting place to work towards a healthy body, spirit and soul.

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

IMG_4711There is something so sweet about children–unless they are drawing all over your walls with permanent marker or coating their face in your $30 lip stick. Even then, there is something to learn.

Children are not stressed, busy, fearful of their looks being sub-par, or down on themselves for gaining a little weight…Oh to be young again!

When I was a child, my parents had a giant painting, hanging up on our living room wall. It was a picture of Jesus with little lambs and children surrounding him. They were sitting under a tree, in brilliantly green grass. I would look at this picture as a child, and feel the warmth that Jesus gave those little ones just beaming off of their faces.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:4-5

As I throw back some chocolate chips with tears in my eyes, I feel the magnetic force-field of God’s love drawing me into that picture. Sisters, that is exactly where He want’s us. Sitting next to Him, feeling His gaze of love and His arms of peace around us. How sad it must be for Him to see His daughters disappointed in their bodies, focused on things so mortal instead of focusing on the eternal gifts that He’s given us. He longs to draw us into His sanctuary of green grass. He says, Just be with me. You’ve done enough stressing and chasing, it is time that you come to me like a child. 

Young children are completely dependent on their parents. They have no lack of trust and no fear of going hungry, homeless or lonely. They are wired for adventure, and with no care of what others are thinking, they dive into whatever nutty-adventure or kooky-dance their mommy might be pulling them into.

I desperately need to go back to that. Not to where I’m acting like a child, but trusting and believing like one. With all the inner turmoil that gets piled up on my soul through the struggles of life, I stress. I easily will blow little things way out of proportion and exclaim “I’m so done!” Oh you guys, I’m super fun too, like when I analyze myself for what I’m doing wrong because every day seems like a whirlwind that I can’t slow down. The answer is in these words from God:

“Be still [cease striving], and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

My quiet time with Jesus has been so sweet. It used to be something that I “should” be doing, but now it’s something that I need to do. I’ll remember to do it during the day, and it perks me up. Last week, I literally found myself smiling once I remembered to sit myself down for Jesus-time. Just to sit and think about what I’m thinking about, say hello to God, and wait for Him to speak to my heart completely changes the approach I have on my day. Those little children who were with Jesus, were just that. They were with Him. They weren’t scrambling through scripture, as they memorize and study it. They weren’t fiddling in the kitchen, making sure there were no crumbs on the counters. They weren’t sleeping on the the 3rd round of the Snooze button. They didn’t even put a pot of coffee on.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures…” Psalm 23:2IMG_0358

One thing I like about children is that they’re not in a hurry. I am positive that I could keep my boys at the playground all day and the only thing they would ask to go do, would be to go eat.

With the average attention span sinking down to 8 seconds, it is time that we learn how to be bored again. A lot of us are uncomfortable with the thought of a quiet moment–now we have cellphones to distract us from those. Even in our quiet times with God, we might feel rushed to study the scriptures and read as much as we can in a sitting–but that can just become another form of busy.

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39

Jesus knew that many of the leaders in his day were well versed in the Holy Scriptures. Although, Jesus told them that they were missing out on life because they didn’t actually come to him.

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

If you are burdened by screaming babies, broken relationships, the inability to lose weight, a lack of belonging…the key to restoration is found in being with Christ. He formed you beautifully. He redeemed you, plugging your shame in for value. He has called you, and you will only find that calling when you cease the striving, breathe deep and simply sit with Him.

“But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you,…
    he who formed you…
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

I encourage you today to not go back to sleep just yet. I encourage you to make your first waking moments totally intentional. Go out on your porch, sit in your car, or at your table and just be. Pretend for a minute, that you are a child and simply show up to this little patch of fresh green grass that God has for you to lie down in. Allow yourself to not do anything but just be there. Think about your thoughts, let them float on by. Take some cooling breaths. Inhale, “God, here I am” and exhale, “to start again“.  (Thanks Alisa Keeton for that cue!) If you need more of a visual–go outside and find some real grass! I promise, the more you do this, the more your soul will be restored my friends.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” Psalm 23: 1-3

 

Rest up,

Bri

XOXO

 

Published by Bri Joy

Fueled by God's Spirit Crunchy VT Wife and Mama Athletic Performance Coach ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor ACE Sports & Conditioning Specialist

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