As I was re-reading this post for my Throwback Thursday, I was praying and asking the Lord what was relevant for today, what might speak into someone who is struggling in 2021. God focused my heart and mind on the aspect of “slowing down”.
As I thought about what does slowing down mean, my thoughts re-wound over this last 14 months that our world has been forced to slow down because of Covid 19, it was here that God started showing me something deeper. Yes, the world was forced to slow down, isolate, work from home and quarantine, but what did that mean for our minds and hearts?
It was here that I recognized the gift I was missing; we could look at this slow down from a place of anxiety & stress, after all everything is out of control. Or, the better choice is to recognize that nothing is actually in our control in the first place, and spend our slow time leaning into the heart of the Father, learning how He would have us live, react and respond to the world around us.
God has so very gently reminded me that things are actually not out of control at all, in fact everything is simply falling into place… and ours is such a time as this.
Read on from my journal entry 3 years ago and recognize the ways God is always at work getting our attention to look up and lean in to Him rather than the world around us… His ways and plans are perfect!
Well, its been a couple days since I have been in my journal. Life has a way of stumbling us sometimes. In my case it was literally a large piece of coral hiding under the sand. If you’ve ever been to a tropical resort vacation, and like me, prefer the feel of the sand on your toes & the sound of the waves hitting the beach, over the constant activity at the pools, you will know the importance of getting up early and getting to the beach to get that perfect lounge chair closest to the water.
By now, we had a pretty good system in place, and on this day in question, I was the chair seeker and Mike was picking up the towels for us. We were a little later out than usual and most of the chairs in the location we liked were already claimed, but I saw a couple in the distance and I just had to get there before the other chair seekers found them.
My eyes were focused on the coveted chairs and not the ground as I hurried to be the first one to claim them. I got there, but not before hitting the ground in excruciating pain. Now, in this circumstance, the wise thing may have been to stay put and wait for Mike to arrive and assist me, but I was too focused.
I got up and stumbled to the chair, even going farther to grab another one nearby and pulling it beside the first. By the time I sat down the pain in my foot refused to not be acknowledged any longer.
Mike arrived with the towels, commented about the great spot to which I calmly replied that “I think I’ve broken my toe”. It was already starting to swell and within a very short period of time turned a lovely shade of purple across the entire top of my foot. Here we were, only 4 days into a 14 day vacation and it appeared that I was going to be sidelined.
Of course the first thing I did is pray;” please God don’t let this ruin our vacation”. The 2nd thing we did was turn to Dr. Google, “what to do for a broken toe when you can’t get to the doctor?” After reading lots of warnings and advice we settled on the buddy taping method to tape two toes together to better support it.
Now, remember when I mentioned I love the feel of sand on my toes? I simply could not or better yet, would not give that up for the hard concrete of the pool. So every day we made the hike to the beach and I very gingerly worked my way through the sand to a lounge chair. Just as stubbornly, I would carefully make my way past the coral and over the stones to soak in the ocean multiple times a day. It took great effort but I was determined I would not let it ruin my vacation.
Yet, I was putting so much effort into just getting around that I was neglecting my efforts to spend time with God. It hadn’t occurred to me that He might just want me to be still and not moving, so I could hear him more clearly. As a few days passed and I settled in to feeling sorry for myself , I felt a different twinge than the pain in my foot. I felt the twinge of the Holy Spirit calling me back to Gods Word. As I read, I focused on what His Word says about prayer specifically Psalm 17: 6-8 was speaking to me….
I pray to you , God, because you will help me. Listen and answer my prayer! Show your wonderful Love. Your mighty arm protects those who run to you for safely from their enemies. Protect me as you would your very own eyes; Hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:6-8 CEV
Thank you for your word, thank you that its active and alive and teaches us if we are willing to listen and learn from it. Help me Father to be a doer of your word, not just a hearer of it.
Lord, who can see the rolling of the waves or feel the wind on their back and not see you. The stars in the sky shine your majesty for all to see, yet so many eyes and hearts are closed and refuse to see. It grieves me that so many people go through life not understanding your great Love and Mercy for them.
Father, I beg of you to soften their hardened hearts and open their eyes to your truth. This world has bought into the Lies that this life is all about self-gratification. Forgive me Jesus, for I all too often, have fallen into the trap of materialism. Help me Lord to see the traps that I have grown accustomed to and don’t recognize them for what they are or how they are causing me to stumble, even when they are right under my nose. Help me to see that some of the things that stumble me in life are there to get my attention and warn me of danger ahead.
Forgive me Lord for my many sins… the sins of excess, the sins of foolish talk , and a heart often led by selfishness ( like when I raced to beat the others to the beach chair) rather than led by compassion or love. Open my eyes to my own weaknesses and habits and change me Lord, from the inside out. Thank you for even using my own weaknesses to draw me back to you today. For causing me to slow down enough to hear your still small voice.
Your word says that when we trust in you, “the old is gone, it is dead and we are made new”. Why God, do I still struggle so much against the old? I long to not be lured by sin and the destructive ways it has in me. Thank you Lord for your Spirit, for the wisdom and guidance I can receive if only I open my heart, eyes and ears to seek it. I ask Jesus for more of your Spirit to fill me and lead me. Lord , your Word says in Psalm 17: 6 “that when I pray you not only listen to my prayers but you will help me and answer them” .
Lord, you know our hearts, our desire to serve you and use what is left of our lives making a difference for you and achieving your goals for us rather than pursuing our own. Show us how we are to continue making a living. Thank you Lord for the giftings and abilities you have given us, help us to use those for your glory rather than our own.
Bless us Father and expand our borders, let the words of our mouth and the work of our hands be pleasing in your sight. Thank you Father, for Loving us inspite of our shortcomings, thank you for your patience as we learn, often far too slowly. And finally, thank you for the incredible gift of Grace, without which we would be hopelessly lost.
In Jesus name❤️ Amen
Do you, like me, find yourself running headlong into the throng rather than slowing down and seeking wisdom from the Lord to show us the path He prefers us to be on? Do you have uncertainties that seem like insurmountable mountains in your life? If so, I would encourage you to slow down, intentionally & purposefully, lean into the Father and ask Him to show you the plan He has for you.
As it speak to you now, three years after this initial journal entry and prayer, I can tell you God is ever faithful. He has answered our prayers in ways the we could not have imagined in our wildest dreams. He has opened doors where we never saw opportunities and He has grown us in astounding ways.
There are no words to express my gratitude for the Lords faithfulness to us, and I recognize that we still have a long ways of growth to go with much yet to learn in this life, but I am also learning to hear the voice of the Lord within my heart.
This is only achieved through the choice to actively slow down and spend deliberate time with Him, asking Him to reveal himself to you and making the decision to trust His plan rather than your own. What a journey it can be… thank you Jesus for always being willing to journey with us.
Blessings, Janet ❤️ Journey4Jesus
Do you know Jesus? He wants to know you…