Saturday, June 21, 2014

Be Still and Know...

“Would you just sit still and be quiet!" Those are the words I've heard most recently from the Lord. Not words of direction for anything. Not, "you're doing a good job, Terri", or "you need to do this and that."

I could hear Him in my head and heart while running full steam ahead. My steam eventually ran out and I went into "time-out".

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. ANYTHING. Except for journaling, which I don’t consider writing. That’s therapy.

Last August I quit my full-time job as God opened a door for me to go part time. The reason was so I could spend more time on Spring Ministries (single-parent ministry) and marketing my new book, “Markers for Single Moms: Finding God’s Direction in the Chaos” , as well as write two more “markers” books for single moms, and a host of other writing projects still filed away in my head, waiting their turn.

Nine months later I found myself in a worsening state of mind. My new part-time job required learning new things, which stresses my brain. I worked hard trying to move Spring Ministries forward with fundraising, helping a few single moms, creating flyers, brochures and a newsletter (still yet to do), handling deposits, mailings, press releases, searching for board members, trying to make it to important community meetings, selling books, writing more, keeping a clean house, play piano in the church band, be ReeRee to a new grandbaby and a wife to my dear, patient husband, just to name a few.

These are all good things, right? Isn’t that why I quit; to do good things for God? I kept saying “yes” to stuff because after all, I was only working part-time now.

People ask me how I like working part time. Umm, how do I answer that? Working part-time is fine, but I’m more scattered, stressed, forgetful and tired than I was when I worked full-time.

When overwhelming fatigue, increasing aches and pains, and bouts of emotional spells became uncontrollable, I knew something was wrong. This is not how it was supposed to be. Why couldn’t I do it all? Others seem to do it all and do it well. Why can’t I?

I complained to God a lot during this time while trying to keep up the steady pace. I finally crashed and caught fire; burned right up. Yelp. I’m just being honest. Then God put me in time out.

He’s so good. My time out was an eight-hour road trip to visit my big sister-in Christ, in Lakeland, Florida. She couldn’t wait for me to come, and I couldn’t get there fast enough. I needed to hear her refreshing, godly wisdom. “You need to let something go,” she said. She also reminded me I have a husband and somehow he’d been pushed down to the bottom of my priority list. Ouchy.

Once I got still and quiet long enough to hear what God was saying, I got it. I’d presumed and assumed a lot of things. The ministry is His, not mine. He never intended for me to do it all. Non-profits can’t operate that way. I have ceased striving to move the ministry forward in my strength. God has provided connections with community leaders who can step in.  What a huge relief!
I quit the worship band, took a break from writing, and realized that I can only do so much at my job.

I cried to the Lord, “please, God, just give me ONE thing to focus on. O-N-E. Just. One. Thing. I’m done. I quit.

Like the old song, “I Can See Clearly Now, the Rain is Gone,” clouds parted and I could see clearly.

I know what the ONE thing is. Him. Jesus. “Just focus on Me,” He said. Just Me. My relationship with Him had also been shoved aside with all my do-gooding. I felt nothing but relief and rest as I realize that my only job is to know Him more, focus on Him and He’ll take it from there. Whew! The world might call me a slacker. But I’m much happier thinking about Him first. It’s a process and I’m a work in progress.
Sweet reader, whoever you are, if your plate is full and you’re overwhelmed, it’s time to sit still, be quiet, stop squirming and let Him show you. Focus on your relationship with Him and everything else will fall into place.  That’s where you’ll find the rest and peace you crave.

Relieved and resting,