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Struggling to Find Rest?




"Come," is a word I hear myself saying often. Between all six of my kids, there is always someone in need.


I call my kids to me when they're in trouble and they need my instruction. When they're struggling and they need my support. Or when they're hurt and they need my comfort.


I ask them to come to me when I know they need something and it's mine to offer.


Sometimes they come running at my beckoning, but most of the time they're reluctant. I can see their internal struggle when I call, a hesitancy to believe that I have their best interest at heart. They want to come, yet they don't. Whatever their suffering situation is, whether it's by their own doing or not, they struggle with the temptation to believe that maybe this time, this situation, they don't actually need me and what I have to offer won't actually help them.


My three-year-old is the perfect example. When she gets hurt I'll bend down and hold out my arms and beckon her to come to me. Instead of running into my arms, she stomps away in the opposite direction and screams, "Leave me alone!"


Then she cries hysterically, freaks out about the cause of her frustration and angrily yells at anyone that comes near.


Eventually, she comes wandering back for a hug or a bandaid (or whatever it is that she needs), but her first instinct is to refuse and believe that I can't help her. That she doesn't actually need what I'm offering.


If she just came when I called her the first time she would save herself a lot of distress.


I do this too.


When God calls to me like this. When he beckons me over and over throughout the day, I hesitate. I respond more like a three-year-old than I'd like to admit.


Sometimes I think I don't actually need him. Sometimes I don't actually want him. And sometimes I simply doubt that he has my best interest at heart. I plainly refuse and end up causing myself more distress as the result.


I might not look like my three-year-old in a stomping, screaming fit...but my refusal to go to him is the same thing.


It happened just yesterday.


I was so weary from the day; a full schedule of bad attitudes and argumentative kids scattered amongst appointments and to-dos. I sat down on the couch in a big exhausted sigh from just refereeing yet another fight between the children when I heard him.


"Come..."


I hesitated. I didn't have time ...to draw near. The noises of the children were still overpowering and there was still so much left to do.


"Come to me."


In my weariness, I could recognize my need to draw near and rest but now was not the time. Maybe I could take some space when the children settled down for their own rest time--something they complained about every day but I made them take it because it was good for them.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 12:28)


I knew I needed the rest too, and not just a nap on the couch---I needed to lay my head on my Father's lap and let him rub my back. Why was I hesitating to come to him especially when I could see my own kids' hesitancy to engage in the very thing they needed most?


I was the same as them. Defiant, independent and believing I was self-sufficient.


I needed to surrender. Just like my kids needed to listen to me for their own good, I needed to listen to my heavenly father for mine.


Obeying, I entered that resting place that was always offered and I let him embrace me.


Without fail, every time, I'm always surprised at his provision. It's always complete and abundant, and always exactly what I need. No matter how many times I experience it, I seem to always forget that he is faithful to keep his promises when he calls to me.


You'd think I would learn my lesson; which I do at that moment...but I always manage to wander from it.


Just like my kids forget that I'm for them.


They keep themselves from my provision as I keep myself from experiencing his abundance. It's not my situation that keeps me, it's me. My hesitancy and the belief that my sufficiency is enough---that I could, and should, be able to do all things. That is what keeps me from the very thing I need most.


Him.


My struggle to accept his invitation to abundance is a struggle against myself, not against my situation.

So often I blame my circumstances to justify my refusal.


To enter the resting place of his presence requires me to turn from myself and to admit that I need him. When I'm already tired, weary, hurt, scared or wrong...it's crazy difficult to be vulnerable. It's hard to believe that what I need is actually found somewhere else besides myself and my understanding of circumstances.


My kids think they know what's best for themselves too in those moments of need, it keeps them from coming to me when I call. It's hard for me to surrender to God's beckoning for that very same reason. Even more so because I have years of operating in my own understanding that clouds and distracts me from recognizing my need for him.


That is where I can learn from my kids. They recognize their need for me much sooner than I recognize my need for my savior, and they come running willingly.


I can run willing too because he is the perfect parent who discerns, with infinite wisdom, exactly what I need and never withholds his love from me. He invites me to come to him so that I can engage life with him and keep on living from his place of provision.


God calls me to come so that I can go, abundantly restored.


His invitation to draw near is always because his offering to provide is fully measured to my need.

It's always more than enough, regardless of what I believe. My hesitation and doubt don't change who he is and what he offers. My circumstances don't affect his abundance.


The way to life is through him. He restores. The rest offered in his presence satisfies every weary place. He gives me all the things I need to engage in this life I've been given; the things on my plate and the work he's called me to today. His invitation should be a cause to run into his arms and not hesitate.


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters He restores my soul.

(Psalm 23:1-3a)






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