I once heard it said that the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train. Well now that I’m stepping through the end of the tunnel, I am thankful it wasn’t a rushing piece of metal aimed to crush me.
If you’ve been following deeperChristian for some time, you’ll have noticed a great lack of posts the past five months. Things in the Ellerslie world have been extremely busy, perhaps the most intense season I’ve ever experienced, and yet amazing at the same time. Jesus has consistently proved Himself through the heavy weights, intense schedules, and continually lacking time.
Now that things are slowing back into a more normal pace, I want to share five things I’ve learned in the past five months. I’ve no doubt learned more than five, but these quickly stood out when I was reflecting on this past season.
1. Protect What’s Most Important (the Kernal)
When things get busy, important but non-urgent things often get left behind. Prayer, Bible study, exercise, eating right, spending time with your spouse and kids, and the like can easily fly out the window because while we know they are important and even essential, they often lack an urgency alarm that remind us to do it.
Throughout these past five months, God continually reminded me that I must protect what’s most important—primary, my relationship with Him. I cannot neglect prayer, reading, and study in the Word due to “busyness.” If anything, the busyness should cause me to spend MORE time in prayer and the Word. Martin Luther is famous for saying, “I have so much to do today that I’m going to need to spend three hours in prayer in order to be able to get it all done.”
While I did a horrible job protecting health, rest, and exercise, the lesson is still important: protect that which is most important.
2. Rest and Rejuvenation are Critical
Being tired is a badge of honor in today’s business world. Busyness is a sign of value and importance. Many of us presume we are super-human and can live on little to no sleep.
While that may be necessary for a season, it is not sustainable in the long run. In fact, we must remember that God made rest, created our body to need rest, and even commands us to do it.
It’s easy to ignore rest and rejuvenation but what I found is that they are actually critical to productivity (and life). While I still find it difficult to take time for R&R, when I do, I discover I am more productive, my mind is more focused and creative, and I have more energy to accomplish that which is before me.
3. We Were Made to Carry Heavy Weights … Not Stress
It is an amazing thought that as we grow and mature, God continually places more and heavier weights upon us to carry. He doesn’t leave us where we’re at, doesn’t make things easier as if we are to be lazy, but actually increases our ability, leadership, and weights he places upon us. It’s the idea of tensile strength.
I realize that He is the one who carries the load—that while there may be more on my plate, critical issues I need to deal with, or whatever, the truth is all the weight I carry is actually placed upon His shoulders. There is no need for stress, worry, or fear for God is my strength, my fortress, and my burden bearer (read the Psalms).
Over the past five months, I’ve carried a lot, felt a lot of pressure, but little to no stress. There is an attitude of dependency and trust upon my King—that even when things appear to be overwhelming, I can pause, pray, and place the full weight upon the One who is actually able to carry the load.
4. Keep Laughing
I love to laugh! (and in case you need a smile, there is a great song by the same title from the film Mary Poppins).
I’m not sure how people can make it through life without a smile, a skip in their step, and a bursting guffaw from their belly.
CS Lewis said that “joy is the serious business of heaven.” Psalm 16:11 declares that “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Proverbs 17:22 states, “A joyful [merry] heart is good medicine.”
When things are busy, when times seem overwhelming, keep laughing! Find opportunities to smile, laugh, and remind yourself that we are to “rejoice always!”
5. Absolute Surrender, Constant Abiding, Total Dependency
Those three phrases seem to be a mantra of mine. I continually remind myself that my life is to be composed of all three.
Jesus is beyond faithful and good. He never fails to prove His ability, grace, sufficiency, and faithfulness in my life. Isn’t it the least I can do to give up the rights to myself and throw myself fully upon Him?
The Christian life is a life of surrender, abiding, and dependency—not upon self, but about our Savior.
• • • • •
It may not seem like much, but these five lessons have become extremely important the past five months. It has been an intense season, and I’ve found the richness of Jesus every moment to be all the sweeter.
What is one of the key lessons you’ve learned lately? Consider sharing it as a comment on the Facebook post for this article. I’d love to read it.
Cheering you ever deeper into our precious King and Savior!