I know people annoy you, but you need them. We need each other, especially when we have those feelings that we don't want to be around anyone. Yes, we need time alone but we need to interact. We need to encourage. We need to laugh and cry and get our priorities straight by being with each other.
I am a hermit by nature. I love being alone. I love quiet. I love calm. I love to sit outside and listen to the birds; love to hear gentle breezes rustling leaves while reading a book out loud to my middle child or reading on my own; sketching, sitting, drinking coffee, closing my eyes and letting the sun warm my face. But I need people. I especially need to fellowship with my fellow Believers. We Believers need each other to stay right in our faith and stay flexible and for reaching out to others. Without each other we, on one extreme become cynical and jaded; on the other extreme we become discouraged and fall into despair thinking no one can understand us. We feel like Elijah did -- he felt he was totally alone, the only one serving the Lord (when in fact God had hundreds of people staying true to Him).
Sometimes we need a break, but if we stay away too long we forget what fellowship does. We forget where we used to be. We forget what matters. We begin to believe that we can be a healthy believer without ever attending church.
That belief is wrong.
How can we be part of the Body of Christ if we don't worship with Fellow Believers? And that means being actually physically present with other Believers -- not together in cyberspace.
The passage in Hebrew 10 is often quoted. It says, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near."
I've been super stressed this summer. So much going on. I've tried to live in the moment, tried to just take life as it comes, but I still have felt the stress, the weight of life at the present time. We have Vacation Bible School this week. I'm helping with the youngest children. And when we started I didn't want to be there at all. It took a lot of effort and my heart wasn't there. I love the kids but I was drowning in life. I'm happy to say we've had two nights of VBS and God has changed my heart. I am now excited to go tonight to be with the kids. It is a very good thing.
What about you? Have you quit being part of ministry because it was just too much work? Have you quit for a season because you are just too tired from your day at work or your day with all those people? Maybe you tell yourself you definitely don't need to spend time with more people, but you do. Go back to church. Get involved. Be part of the Body. Online church can be good but it isn't a substitute for physically being there.
I've been pretty stressed this week (and last week). So much going on in our lives right now. There are lots of end-of-school-year activities to attend. My oldest daughter is graduating from high school in a few weeks. We have a lot of church activities going on. We will be selling our place, buying another and moving north a couple of hours to Dupree, South Dakota some time this summer. And the bank account is very low (though it has been a lot lower in the past) and presently there aren't the funds there that are necessary for the coming weeks (but God always ALWAYS provides -- our lives our a testimony to this).
I let it all get to me.
I find comfort in my routine.
The routine isn't present right now.
But I still try. I pray and read the Bible.
When I am zapped, letting myself soak in some scripture is food for my soul.
But all week it has been kind of like snack food -- no matter how I much I read and prayed I was just on the edge of overwhelmedness (I probably just made up a word but it seems to fit). Had to keep reminding myself, "God is in control. He'll take care of things."
I was in a state of reminding myself to live in Jesus, to be at peace (Jesus talks a lot about this in John 15).
I was There but not There.
God truly knows what we need.
This morning my daughter (the one graduating) had to be up early for work. She too is stressed and so tired so I packed her a lunch and got the coffee going, started the car and made sure she had what she needed. My intention was to go back to bed after she left.
But my black cat (the one in the picture above) had other ideas. He was sure I needed to be up. And since my husband really needs the sleep (he too is working so hard -- besides working way too much at the SD Law Enforcement Academy, my husband is also finishing his degree online and it is finals time), I got up and moved to the living room.
I poured myself some coffee and got out my Bible, journal, current Bible study and pen. I had exactly what I needed -- my morning companions: my dog, my cat, my Bible, pen and journal and Quiet. Plus, uninterrupted time alone with our Awesome and Mighty God.
God knows what we need. He knows what you need. This is what I needed this morning.
What do you need this morning?
God knows what you need and He is eager to provide it. Sometimes we don't even know what we need. He can help with that too cause He does know what you need.
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."
I filled my thermos and slipped my coffee cup into my purse and headed to the river this morning.
I listened to the river lap against the shore.
I felt the breeze in my hair.
I drew some pictures in a notebook.
I thanked Jesus for the quiet.
One of my children called me a few times wondering when I was coming home. I usually let that kind of call get me home sooner. Today I didn't.
I enjoyed the alone time.
I even wrote a bad poem! Sometimes we need to write bad poetry. Sometimes we need to draw some lousy pictures just to get our brains working again.
In John 16:33 Jesus says, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
This world is not our home but it sure is a nice place to visit.
Above is part of the river I drew. Oh, and did you notice? There's a mermaid saying hello! You never know what you'll see in South Dakota! To see a close-up of the mermaid click right here.
He's like rain on dry cracked ground.
You can almost hear the ground gasping for breath.
It's so dry it hurts.
Nothing can get in through the hard surface.
Nothing the ground needs will soak in.
And then - -
the rain comes.
It cools the stifling dryness.
It softens so needs can be met.
It again can be the place from which seeds grow.
And yield fruit 100 times over.
God's like rain on dry, cracked ground.
He is rain to our dry, cracked souls.
"Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator
of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might
He increases power." Isaiah 40:28-29
"He restores my soul" Psalm 23:3a
If you just keep at it, stick it out you will get results.
Think of the slow tortoise. He just kept plodding along while his opponent got distracted even though his opponent was way more qualified to run than he was.
This is what we have to do in walk of Faith.
God eagerly seeks for those of His kids who will wait expectantly while He puts all things together exactly how they need to be in order for His will to happen.
"'wait for me,' declares the LORD" Zephaniah 3:8a
"Though (the vision) tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay." Habakkuk 2:3b
Will you wait for Him (He's asking)?
Will you keep doing good and staying faithful while it seems like nothing is going on?
"But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good." 2 Thessalonians 3:13
"And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary." Galatians 6:9
Just hang on and keep at it.
The race is yours to win.
A trivia question for you romantics:
Who is Bertha Mason?
You don't know?
How about Edward Rochester?
Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre?
Do you know now?
Bertha Mason is the insane Mrs. Rochester, the one locked up in the attic.
My Bertha Mason, My Mrs. Rochester was unleashed from her coma within me this weekend. She rarely wakes up so when she does I'm always caught off guard.
What releases her (I hope you haven't been chased away by insanity)?
Negative emotional conflict and confrontation when I have neglected to take my crazy meds.
I love and hate my brain medications. Often I don't think I need them. I do fine without them for a few days. But by the third day I have become vulnerable without realizing it. And if a negative emotional confrontation occurs, Mrs. Rochester may very well show her face.
I fear this crazy side of me because I am sure beyond sure that she will chase everyone I love away.
My husband has had to deal with Bertha a few times in our marriage and he is still here. What a good man he is!
And I think of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9. God said to him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."
I also hate being human -- that's what this whole thing about myself reminds me -- that I am human. And how messy humans are!
But humans are who God died for.
Messy, Sinful humans.
This is where I want to go -- New Zealand! The very long plane ride would be uncomfortable but well worth it to feast on this beauty.
I'm exhausted today. I was exhausted yesterday. And when I think of all that needs to happen that I am supposed to be part of the next few weeks I get more exhausted.
But my husband reminded me I am not to do that. I am not to think about all the coming days and try to distribute my limited energy into future days.
Jesus tells us this too. He says in Matthew 6:34, "Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself."
He was talking about providence but the same principal applies to energy.
Kay Arthur writes, "The welfare of sheep depends solely upon the care they get from their shepherd. Therefore, the better the shepherd, the healthier the sheep. When you see weak, sickly or pest-infested sheep, you can be sure that their shepherd really does not care for them."
I am one of Jesus' sheep. He is My Shepherd. If I am not looking cared for I might be a runaway sheep trying to deal with life without my Shepherd.
"Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture." Psalm 100:3
I've gotta let Him be my Shepherd and quit trying to do His job. My job is to be a contented sheep feasting on the green grass and clean quiet water He provides.
"'Set up for yourself roadmarks,
place for yourself guideposts;
Direct your mind to the
highway'' Jeremiah 31:21a
When in doubt look to God and wait expectantly.
When confused remember all He has done and all He has promised He will do.
When weary let Him refresh you.
When facing the unknown hold on tight -- an adventure is coming!
(Please take a second to look at the column to the right of my blog and if you have a minute please click on Amanda Fanger's picture. She is setting up a really cool blog. She's a writer, a journalist and novelist. She is truly gifted.)
"For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes." Jeremiah 32:25
God will give us strength, will give us rest within. He knows exactly what we need.
That is what I need today!
Here's a few more verses for you:
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD, Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings with eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary."
Don't live from a place of weariness. Call out to God and tell Him you're worn out (if you are). Live in Him.
"Abide in Me (Jesus), and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide (or live) in Me." John 15:4
Be encouraged. God sees you.
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
Who is Jane Hinrichs?
Jane is a wife, a mom, a writer, an artist, a lover of the Word of God. She has been studying the Bible since 1987 and has been writing about it almost since then. She loves to hear from her readers. Email her at:
BLOGS/Websites JANE READS:
Dreaming Beneath The Spires
Gail Carson Levine