My pregnancies haven’t always been easy and were filled with physical limitations or health scares that I often felt frustrated that I could no longer go at the pace I was used to going at. And of course, then the baby is born and for some crazy reason, my illogical mind reasons that “NOW, I can get back to normal…” Ha! The other day, I was feeling pretty down about not getting to everything on my to do list and completely flopping at our schedule… again. I was complaining to the Lord about it and the phrase, “For the greater good” came to me. While I am frustrated that everything I want to do seems to be being put on hold in this season, there IS a “greater good” being brought into fruition: another baby has joined us and our family keeps growing! It is for that “greater good” that I physically and mentally rest now and embrace the times when everything gets put on hold (Well, it SEEMS that way!). It is for the “greater good” that I savor the time I have with my littles and simply spend my time nurturing them and our family.
Sometimes though, okay- MOST of the time, I want to do so much more than I am meant to do. I want to go at a faster pace than I am supposed to. The Lord has really been dealing with me in this season to scale back and simplify, to approach life from a much more restful perspective. I realize once again that this is NOT one of my strong points! So, right now, I am trying to embrace the perceived “hold” on my life and be alright with just being present in each moment.
It is blessed to learn to rest!
When I became sick a few years ago from an autoimmune flare, I actually embraced this mindset for a season and it was a blessed life lesson. And it has remained a precious seed in my heart ever since. I can honestly tell you that it is blessed to learn to rest! During that time, it became very clear to me what truly mattered— and what didn’t. Things like my time with the Lord, time with my family, enjoying God’s creation and nourishing our home environment became my main focus. Things like drama, worry, negativity, faith-depleting circumstances got kicked to the curb! Once I started to feel better though, in my mind, it was time to ‘get back to work’ and my ‘be productive’ mindset kicked back in and I was off and running all over again! It’s so easy as a mom to look around at the end of the day and ask, “What have I accomplished today?” and feel like it falls short. We get tempted to spend our efforts on more things in order to feel like we accomplishing something. We are so wired by society that everything must LOOK pefect in order for it to be productive but that simply is not the case! Daily life is messy and filled with multiple variants, the path to productivity is rarely neat and tidy, nor is it always visible on the surface. And lately, I think God is trying to show me that I might need to change my perspective about what “productive” looks like. I think of a single seed that goes through such a violent transformation in order to become something fruitful. It’s planted into a deep darkness, becomes swollen with water, cracks wide open, and digs roots as deep as it can before it’s growth can ever be seen by our eyes. It’s messy, just like me trying to be fruitful. And sometimes, the greater good i am seeking and the greater good God is producing are two very different things!
What Greater Good Does God Want to Work in my Life?
This memory of my illness, and my current season, have me thinking about the “Greater Good” in a larger sense… What greater good does God want to work in my life through simplicity, through a slower pace? When my plans get put on hold and I discover these nuggets of treasure in life… things like, hanging out in bed to physically recover from birth, the slower pace that nursing a babe demands, reading more books with the kids and doing simple schoolwork and handicrafts together without me multitasking a million other things… is that, maybe, the POINT? So many things happen when we slow down and savor the life He has blessed us with. I don’t want to miss the treasures I have right in front of me- living in love with my husband and children, flourishing in our home life together and doing kingdom work, enjoying homeschooling, cultivativing real spiritual fruit in the midst of it all… I could easily and unknowingly exchange those things for lesser pursuits if I’m not careful!
Multitasking has it’s time and place, but I’m beginning to think it shouldn’t be the norm. Everyone seems much more blessed and at ease when life goes at a slower pace in our home. I know God doesn’t want me to let go of ALL productivity, He wants me to manage my house well, He wants me to be building His kingdom in my capacity as a mother and wife and writer… but I’m thinking He wants me to approach it all with a completely different perspective.
Quietly and peacefully, freely and lightly
So many thoughts and questions these days about HOW I truly want to live out this life! It seems like, in every arena of life that I have ventured, there is so much PRESSURE. And it’s like one, big, stressful RACE. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s weariness, maybe it’s my spirit finally tuning in with His, but I’m starting to think that, maybe, God is calling me to something like:
“Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (1Thess.4:10-12)
–The Amplified says it this way: “ But we urge you, brothers and sisters, that you excel [in this matter] more and more, and to make it your ambition to live quietly and peacefully, and to mind your own affairs and work with your hands, just as we directed you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders [exhibiting good character, personal integrity, and moral courage worthy of the respect of the outside world], and be dependent on no one and in need of nothing [be self-supporting].“
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30)
— the MESSAGE reads like this: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
I read these scriptures again recently and felt a wave of refreshing hope wash over me that maybe, just maybe, God wants me to step off the crazy train for good and learn how to live quietly and peacefully, freely and lightly. Doesn’t that sound… heavenly???!!! Y’all, I am sure that at least 3/4 of my life has been spent stressed out! Racing from one destination to another, one goal to the next, overcoming one mountain only to happen upon a much larger one to climb! I’ve allowed the devil, people and their systems and circumstances to mess with my head and heart for years and I realize that it has taken it’s toll.
At the end of last year, God spoke some pretty cool words to me for the coming year and one of them has been directing my heart more and more towards the quiet, light, free and peaceful life that scripture talks about. I recognize that in order to live in this capacity, my cooperation with Jesus is key. I love how the message version invites us to come “keep company” with the Lord. There is such a lovely connotation to that! As I keep company with Him, He will teach me how to live the beautiful life He has for me! God is always working in our lives for the greater good. He is always trying to build something of eternal value and earthly beauty with us, but we must be willing to allow Him to do it!
The greater good, I suspect, is so much more than just another healthy baby joining our family.
I see how God is shaping my mind and heart these days for a greater good that molds the soul and ushers in a whole new kind of fruitfulness. And I find myself truly longing for it. So, as I let go of my expectations and embrace this season where everything gets put on hold again, maybe the “hold” my flesh has wanted to fight against, will become an eternal hold that my spirit can embrace with all permanence this time around.
Completely His & Pursuing the Fruitful Life, Nicci
Has God been calling you to His Light and Peaceful Life? Has He been steering your heart away from the patterns of this world and towards the greater fruitfulness of His Way? How’s your heart responding, are you panicking or embracing His Call????