In general, we are always seeking renewal. We love our weekends as a chance to step away from the demands of the work week and step into a more relaxing schedule. Each and every week we look forward to Friday knowing that we'll have two days of less demanding tasks to do. Renewal brings refreshment and we thrive when we are refreshed. And in our American culture, we live to be refreshed.
And that's the key - we DO thrive when we are feeling refreshed! When we aren't refreshed we are struggling to feel at peace and even sometimes struggling to feel like we are enough. Without refreshment we start to believe the lies of the enemy. We believe that we aren't worth much or that we don't have much to offer in life. Without refreshment we are only a shell of who God created us to be. But God created us with intent. God created us with great purpose. And God created ways for us to be refreshed so we can live in the fullness of our identity in Him. When we are feeling refreshed we feel empowered to take on anything that life throws at us. When we are feeling refreshed we are ready to go and ready to conquer. And as we look at those things, refreshment and the lack of, it boils down to time management and our mindset.
When we have a good grasp on our mindset we can much easier manage our time. And in order to have a good mindset, we need to focus on the good and lovely things of the Lord.
The law of the Lord is perfect (flawless), restoring and refreshing the soul; The statutes of the Lord are reliable and trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The law of the Lord, the ways of the Lord, were made to refresh us! As Christ followers we are called to obey the ways of Christ which then restores and refreshes us. That's it! There's nothing else! There is no "catch" or caveat to this principle of God. It's simple yet profound. When we obey God's ways, for the fact that they are HIS ways, it means we get refreshed. There is nothing more to it - besides ensuring that we are doing things His way. And that's how we can start to identity the issue we face - it's our habits, it's our free will, it's our stubbornness that gets in the way of allowing God to refresh us.
I receive so many messages each week from women who don't know how to live in this current world and uphold God's ways. It breaks my heart to get those comments but also makes me glad to see they can be honest with themselves. I remember one comment in particular that said "but it's so hard to do!" (Ahhhhh... my heart cries out!) But I want to encourage you, it's not hard if you want to choose it. It's only hard if we are struggling to do the right thing. It's only hard to feel the other side, the enemy's side, pulling us. It's only hard if we enjoy our bad habits and don't want to come closer to God. It's only hard when we want to continue down the path we are already on instead of the better path that God has for us. When we've put ourselves at a tug-of-war situation, we are going to feel pulled and that pulling feels hard. It's a form of what we see with abused women.
I have mentored women, for over 15 years, who ended up finally doing the brave thing and leaving an abusive situation. Some of them stayed for close to 10 years in horrible circumstances. It's the belief that things will be harder if they leave because of the fear of the unknown, so it's easier to stay with what you know, even if it's awful, than to seek potential safety somewhere that is unknown. Fear keeps us in bondage and away from the Lord. Fear of the unknown keeps us in our bad habits and outside of God's ways. We don't know what is going to happen if we do things God's way so we stay trapped in the cycle of the known. It's fear that people will make fun of us for choosing God over something that is currently (and temporarily) popular. And we'll end up being a laughing stock. But isn't that a small price to pay if we can be refreshed on a regular basis? And isn't our eternal destination worth the price of a few temporary comments?
We have the free will to choose to play tug-of-war or we can simply choose a side without playing the game.
1 Timothy 4:8
For physical training is of some value, but godliness (spiritual training) is of value in everything and in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.
We have a chance to spiritually train ourselves now which sets us in a place to receive a beautiful eternal life. And what is spiritual training? Training ourselves in the ways of the Lord. Exercising the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is self control. Disciplining our mind, exercising self control, and retraining ourselves to do things God's ways because His ways are the only true ways of living. Outside of His ways we become exhausted, overwhelmed, and unsatisfied. In Psalm 19:7 it says the ways of the Lord are "reliable and trustworthy." Even if it's "unknown" it's a safe choice. It's a choice that we can trust. So we need to break through that fear, get out of what has been our comfort zone, and live by our faith in God and all of the ways He asks us to.
Our choice is much easier when we invite the Holy Spirit into the decision making process. I love the Amplified Bible Translation for so many reasons, but a big one is because they define the Holy Spirit as the Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, Standby. When we ask the Holy Spirit to come into our decision making, His strength allows us to choose God. His strength allows us to make Godly decisions and choose God's ways over our known habits. The flesh, the mind, will always be weak without the Holy Spirit's influence. But because God's Holy Spirit is all powerful, when we partner with Him we truly are unstoppable.
As we partner with God's Holy Spirit, we are automatically living life God's way. We are following the example that Christ set before us. And as we do things God's way, He refreshed us every single time. His refreshment is not contingent on a situation or circumstance. His truth is that as we are obedient, He will refresh us, at any time and in any circumstance.
God's ways are just so incredible! God offers so many things to help us get through this life. So let's accept His free gifts. Let's partner with His Holy Spirit. And let's lead a life of renewal and refreshment that we can share with others.
If you are a woman, you can be refreshed at our Awaken Art events.
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