Have you ever met anyone who was entirely chill with themselves?
You know, the kind of person who you instantly trust. They don't have any fire walls or reservations. You know without a lick of doubt that who they are in front of you is who they are. There is nothing to prove. There's no need to prove it if there was. They may not even know themselves fully (then again, can you ever, really?) but they're okay with that because to the extent that they do know themselves, they are at rest with it.
This idea of being "at rest" becomes more distinct if we add a new factor to the mix; Sex.
Sex: the differences between whether that person is male or female.
Suddenly, it becomes a little more personal. A man who is at rest within himself reflects the glory of true masculinity. Likewise, a woman at rest with herself mirrors the truest forms of femininity. And, clearly a person at peace with who they are is considered beautiful, even within society's standards. Not for any outward reason, of course. But for the very fact that who they are draws forth who we dream - even long to be. You don't just want to be a man, you want to be a picture of masculinity with purpose and vision attached to it. You want to be someone worth following. I as a woman don't just want to be girly, (or NOT girly, for some) I long to be accepted within all the attributes of my feminine being. Neither sex desires to be shamed for what they desire to be.
hearts are pounding.
She's on to something.
Now add God into this bag of stirring thoughts.
No, no. Not the God you think I'm talking about. Get your version or your perceived idea of who God is out of your head. He's bigger than your mind. He's bigger than mine. We think we've got HIM down?
He's got all men, all women, all children - every heart, every hair, every thought - from the beginning of time until its end - memorized and He calls each person by name. People are always telling God who He is. Those who say they're His, those who say they're not. All of the people in between. But only He would know. And how could we ever? We're like a breath and we're like a vapor. We're here and then gone just as quick as we inhale and exhale.
not only does this God take the constant scrutiny and speculation of people who lack experience of truly knowing Him fully, (and that counts for those of us who're working on a lifetime of knowledge) and not only can our accusations of His character not effect who He knows and shows Himself to be, (Um hey. One of His names is the Prince of Peace. Eh?) He also takes care in fashioning us in a way that makes us long for something beyond ourselves.
Rest. Peace. Trust. Child-like and worry-freedness.
"Those were the days," some of us reminisce.
"Oh, to be young again," some of us even say.
Its a familiar ache inside our worn and battered hearts that never quite goes away.
I've been pondering this thought for over a month now.
I'm 23. I'm young enough that I've "still got time", but old enough to know that my time is quickly flying by, (or is that me?) If I'm wise enough, I would also know that time is too heavy of a responsibility and it isn't mine to hold; AND that I shouldn't waste it, especially if it isn't mine.
If I know the word of God, I know THE time is drawing near and IS here and that one hesitation of living in it fully (disobedience, ultimately) could reroute me into taking the longer way OR could result in me living a life lesser than God's best for me.
What is God's best for me?
Walking in grace.
Knowing true Love and real kindness.
Living an abundant life.
Knowledge of my identity in Him.
Walking by faith.
Partnering with Him in His glorious plan to restore whole beauty to the earth, starting with these stubborn creations of His called humans.
Yet He calls them to be a people after His own heart.
I call humanity stubborn because they know the stories yet they refuse the truth. They refuse the truth because its too good to be true. Things that are too good to be true are rendered as fairy tales.
And fairy tales?
Those are for children.
But isn't it the children we are jealous of, what with their free-spirits and child-like faith that everything will turn out okay?
Notice I didn't use the word "envy". For envy is something that isn't ours that we wish we had.
"Jealousy" on the other hand is something that SHOULD be ours, and isn't at the moment.
Thus says the LORD: "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' -Jeremiah 6:16
Stubborn, that is what we are. I imagine humanity as a 13 year old teenager who, no matter what the parent says, will indeed choose the opposing side - even if what the parent is saying is entirely right and beneficial and could EVEN possibly appeal to the youngster.
Its the nature of the beast. We want what we want. And we naturally don't want God.
Naturally. Supernaturally on the other hand means its a miracle - and that's where salvation comes into play.
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:25-30 (emphasis added)
So we know that we can only know the Father IF Jesus decides to reveal Him. How does this tie into rest? What IS that? Well. Jesus says to learn from Him because He is gentle and lowly in heart.
FYI, there is no one so low that Jesus cannot serve. And, He's gentle with OUR hearts, because He's lowly in His. Jesus ALSO said in John 14:9 that whoever has seen Jesus has seen the Father. Oh. So that means that God the Father is gentle and lowly in heart too.
For me, rest for my soul means - knowing who I am, being at peace with it and being free to just... be me. -Free from the weight of time, free from worrying about what I will wear, what I will eat, what I will drink, where I will live.... and actually dreaming big again. And: not only dreaming big, but WITH GOD'S help, LIVING the dream I was meant for. HIS dream for me. Does this mean I stop my 9-5 day job? Maybe not. But maybe yes. Does this mean I let go of my adult responsibilities? No. I believe we're to be people of excellence. But this MAY mean I stop taking responsibility for other people's lives and just start really living my own.
When I focus on trying to do this myself, I am filled with stress and anxiety. I overload and overwhelm myself with the responsibility of "finding myself."
BUT: there is another way. The better way. And in fact, its the only way that isn't generic or counterfeit.
Dear friends, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. -1 John 3:2 (emphasis added)
This scripture shows us 2 truths. The first is that at the point of Christ's return, we will see who He is fully, and we shall reflect HIS beauty fully the way the Holy Spirit has been faithfully preparing us to do since we first believed.
The second is this; to the extent that we know Jesus and see His heart, we are able to know ourselves and our identity in Him because we are made to reflect His beauty.
So: WHEN I focus on myself and try desperately to know who I am apart from God, I only cause more turmoil in my life. I make it hard for myself. AND, even the end result is but a shadow - not even a reflection - of what I could know about myself.
But if I focus on Jesus - if I become a student of His heart - not even just of His words - I can know the God of the Bible. I can know the WHOLE story of His wrath on evil, His heart of mercy and His desire to show grace to those who seek it. If I dare to know this massive heart of His for our very obstinate human race, and even may I venture to say His heart for a little soul like me, it is very likely that not only will my unmet needs for feeling "special" and "picked first" (within the vast population) be met, I may also begin to believe that I in fact was meant to grow forth into greatness and radiance. I was meant for such a time as this.
And so are you.
All of sudden - this 23 year old heart holding with tender sentiment all those fairy tales deep inside, is beginning to LIVE the fairy tale, instead of just dreaming about it. Not because I have a man in my life. Not because I have the dream job or the dream lifestyle. Not because of ANYthing material.
I'm living the fairy tale because I'm being transformed from a pauper to a prince by love.
I'm the Cinderella the prince scours the kingdom for.
I'm the Sleeping Beauty who was fought for and loved back to life.
I'm the Little Mermaid who has a winning heart even without her song.
I'm the Jasmine who can stare down the face of evil and speak her heart, mind and truth in boldness.
I'm the Belle who finds a heart of gold in the brutes and beasts when everyone else holds their pitchforks and guns.
I'm the Marian who's spirit burns with adventure for humility, mercy and justice and loves the outcast's heart.
I was made Snow White and called the fairest among maidens even though I am dark.
Those are my stories.
What are yours?
Who are you?
Why settle at all?