A Lack of Boundaries in Life Has Always Left Me Weary and Exhausted

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”… (Je 31:25).

I have met a lot of weary people in my life. I have been one of them at different seasons of my life. Truth be told, when I didn’t know how to set appropriate boundaries for my life, I was always left fearful, worried and tired. And whenever you get to that place, you always want to give up on whatever is before you to somehow release yourself from your place of discomfort and exhaustion.

Can I be really honest about something though?

The problem isn’t so much in what’s causing you exhaustion. The problem is in your fear and need for control. There’s a deeper issue going on here. I say that because I lived it. My exhaustion really came about because I was afraid if I didn’t strive, didn’t work harder, didn’t control things that everything around me would crumble.

You know, you can only hold your life up so much on your own before the weight of it starts to crush you.

The good news for us all is that the Lord Himself offers us rest. Yes, beloved, He offers it for you in this present season where you feel weary, tired and exhausted.

I’ve felt that way in my marriage and in my work. All because I didn’t know how or maybe, I just didn’t want to set appropriate boundaries, because doing so would have pressed on all my fears. However, once I did start setting boundaries for my life; boundaries on myself and on others, life got harder for a bit, but with time, things got better. I know what you’re thinking, “If I set a boundary on this and don’t x, y or z, it’s all going to come crashing down,” and beloved, it might, but maybe it needed to. Remember all that weight that you’re holding up? It’s quite possible all of that needed to fall and this is the only way.

God restores those moments though. He truly does. I feel more content now then I have ever felt. I’m still a work in progress with Jesus, but I can say with full assurance that my life has so much greater peace now that I’ve learned how to set appropriate boundaries and not live in fear. Friend, God offers that same kind of rest for you today, won’t you too receive it now and move from exhaustion into His grace?

Father, thank you that you are my resting place. I still get caught up sometimes thinking that I need to push harder, work more, etc., but your grace always calls me back into your joy for my life. I want to live in that rest today, in Jesus name, Amen.

The City of Your Life Can Be Rebuilt On Top of Your Ruins

the city will be rebuilt on her ruins….. (Jer 30:18).

Have you ever been somewhere old enough that cities have been rebuilt on top of the ruins of former ones? I have. It’s quite outstanding how they do it.

When I spent time in Israel I went to countless places that had been rebuilt on top of the ruins of former times. Looking at these beautiful sites you would not have known that ruins lied right beneath the surface, but they did. It seems as though there is life beyond the ruins, isn’t there? Something beautiful to behold if we’re willing to rebuild something good with God.

The thing is, the ruins will always be there. Maybe that’s the hard part that many of us don’t want to deal with in our lives. Maybe we keep getting mad about the things that were destroyed and we don’t remember that a NEW foundation can be built.

I don’t know why we do this, but we do, we either stall the rebuilding by going back into the rubble or once the foundation is built we go back, and attempt breaking through the foundation by trying to get back into the rubble of our lives because somehow we thought this new place would be just like the old one.

But maybe, dear friend, what we should remember is that the rubble is beneath us as part of our story, but now there’s a new foundation in Christ for us to stand on. Don’t you see, what happened in your life, yes, it was painful- downright ugly, but it is not who you are or the end of your story. Yes, it’s part of your journey, but something beautiful can be built on top of it.

I’m certain that God wants to use parts of your past and it’s destruction to build something brand new and beautiful in your future. Oh dear friend, won’t you let Him?

Father, thank you that you make beautiful things. Truly, you make beauty from ashes. You are so faithful and kind, so loving and true. Thank you that you take the things we’ve been through and use our pain for your glory. Truly, you are so very good and for that we can praise you, in Jesus name, Amen.

See Where God is Working

Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites—everyone whose heart God had moved—prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem… (Ezr 1:5).

“See where God is working and join Him there.” That’s the primary teaching from a bible study done by Henry Blackaby called Experiencing God. I took that study a number of years ago and I have thought of it often as I survey where I should join with God in His Kingdom work.

Did we ever pause and think though, that sometimes God wants us to join Him in going backwards? That there’s work to do in the rubble of people’s lives or the destruction brought about by sin in family systems and cultural brokenness?

It’s so easy to think that joining God in HIs work is always about what He’s doing right up in front of us with all the exciting things taking place, but what if that’s actually keeping us from a deeper work of grace He wants to do among us? Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Henry was wrong. I think he’s right. I’m just not sure we always know how to look for God’s activity unless it seems fun and flashy.

We’ve got lots of fun and flashy things in life, don’t we? We’ve even got fun and flashy churches, but theres a deeper work God wants to do among us that goes much deeper than the fun and flashy. It goes into the rubble and rebuilds the things broken by sin. It takes hearts torn by life and broken systems and restores them by the love and grace of God.

Maybe that’s part of the reason why you feel so alone. Could it be that someone was supposed to come alongside of you in rebuilding what sin has sought to destroy in your life, but instead, they joined God in some exciting task elsewhere? Friend, maybe what Kingdom work is part of is more about rebuilding than building. Maybe its about taking old, dirty, broken things and making them new again. Could that be the work of grace God is asking us to join Him in today? If it is, I want to look for it and join Him in all that He is doing to bring restoration to this world.

Father, please use my life to rebuild things broken by sin. Help me see and find the lonely in this world that I might be your light, love and hope to them. Use my life to bring your glory, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Are Your Relationships Going Nowhere?

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst…. (1 Ti 1:15).

Do you ever get stuck in your head thinking to yourself, “If they would just get their act together, things would be so much better!” When in reality what you’re really thinking is, ” Why can’t they just be more like me?”

Truth is, I’ve gotta put both hands up on that one. I’m not sure why I ever thought this was a beneficial way to think about the situations that I faced with other people, but for some reason I catch myself thinking that fairly often.

Isn’t that what we love doing in our minds though? We love fixing people, don’t we? But, this truth about ourselves should make us realize all the more that the greatest sinner among us isn’t the one we want to change, but the one we need to change the most- which is ourselves.

Did you ever pause and think that maybe your relationship with that person keeps spinning like a top because you won’t stop trying to spin them around your finger to change them?

I think learning how to release people is the first step in fixing ourselves. Then we can focus on what’s truly going on in our own lives to grow our own selves to be more like Jesus. So maybe it’s not the goal for them to become more like you, but for you to become more like Jesus. That’s what I desire for my life and that my friends is going to require a lot of hard work growing the person that I look at every day in the mirror, instead of the ones that I try to control.

Lord, grow me to be like you. I want to be like Jesus to everyone I meet. Including those I love the most. Father, please forgive me when I get so wrapped up on changing them instead of me. Be my joy and delight I pray, in your name, Amen.

Find Rest in the Shepherd’s Field

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you…. (Ps 130:3–4).

Friend, God is still using you. Your story is still being written. I know it got ugly and I know it became painful. Yet, the good Shepherd still sees you as one of His beloved sheep. He has not cast you out of His Shepherd’s field. He’s simply waiting for you to come back to find rest in His fold.

I have counseled plenty of people who feel dirty, tainted, or like second-hand goods because of the places they’ve been and what they’ve been through. I’ve walked with people who’ve used things like addiction, anger and lying to cover up the pain they hold within. Little did they know, they just needed to go back to the sheepfold to find rest for their weary souls.

Friend, I don’t know where life finds you today, but I want to encourage you to find rest. Rest in the Father’s love, in His field, where you are welcome to come and lay your head. Your life will never become too messy for that. After all, He’s the one who forgives and who makes all things new.

Then, as you learn to find rest, you find that He’ll give you work to do in His field. To serve, love, and care for other sheep, just as you have allowed Him to do in you.

Lord, thank you that you love us. Truly, you make us beautiful. You restore the years the locust have eaten. You are a good and faithful God. I entrust my whole life to you now, in Jesus name, Amen.

Go Out Weeping….Come Back Full

Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them……(Ps 126:6).

Friend, what is the good thing God is doing in your life through your hardships? Trust me, I know it is so easy to focus on the things going wrong that we forget to offer Him endless praise for all the things going right.

The psalmist reminds us that those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow will return with songs of joy and food to eat. Did you hear that? You will not return empty, dear friend.

Whenever we invest in our relationship with God we will always eat of His harvest. Don’t get so caught up on the painful parts of your story that sent you out weeping. Rejoice now instead with God in the parts of your journey that have created new food for you to feast on from the Father’s table.

Friend, maybe that’s why it all happened. Maybe part of your story turned out this way because you would have never reached this level of growth with God without it. I’m not sure. I don’t know your pain, nor your loss. I just know it’s true in my life.

Yes, I’m certain there are parts of me that would not have grown with God in these ways had I not gone out weeping and carrying seeds to sow in the Father’s garden. I just have to remind myself that the garden is where He grows me. That’s what I can rejoice in. I don’t need to fret or get angry over the circumstances in my life that brought me to that place. I can sing songs of praise knowing that my Father in Heaven meets me there and fills me with new hope through His love.

Lord, you are so kind. You are so good. Your love is truly better than anything in this life. I want to truly believe that in my heart. Thank you Father, in Jesus name, Amen.

Pieces Have To Break Before Peace Comes

May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls…(Ps 122:6–7). .

Sometimes the Lord has to break certain pieces off of us to bring us to a place of true peace. I know that to be true because I’ve experienced it very much so these past few years.

I used to be a very critical person. I thought I was always right and if I didn’t get what I wanted I started getting mad at people and blame them. I’d share my story with whoever would listen. Many of these issues were blind spots in me until the Lord showed me them and broke them off.

Friend, sometimes the master has to get us to a place of brokenness before He can bring us to a place of beauty. But, in all reality there’s true beauty taking place in the brokenness, it’s just that we can’t always see it.

I think the people who live with the most peace are those who have allowed the Lord to chip away and break off as many pieces from within them as possible. There’s something about those pesky little pieces that steals our peace and you know it, because you experience it. Maybe what God is trying to show you is that before you can have peace, you have to give Him that piece of your life. Whether that be an idol, a personal sin struggle, a blind spot or something you treasure and value with all your heart. Maybe the pieces of you, the old self, is keeping you from the peace of Him. It’s time, dear friend, to let those pieces die, so that we might have peace in Him.

Father, you are our true peace. I give you those parts of me that desperately need your peace. Continue to show me those idols and blind spots that keep me from true peace. Make me more like you each day, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

What Does God Need To Do In You First So You Can Start Feeding People?

We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,”…. (Mt 14:17–18).

What is Jesus asking you to give up? What little do you have that you can come to Him with? What might you be holding onto too tightly that you don’t want to loosen your grip on? Where is He calling you to trust Him totally and completely and simply let go?

I think what I’m learning with Jesus is that much of what He multiplies are things that others can’t see externally, but that we experience internally. Yes, it was loaves and fish that he multiplied that day along the shores of the Galilee by taking a little boys lunch and using it to feed thousands, but maybe Jesus wants to take something within your heart and multiply it before He multiplies your ministry.

Maybe He wants you to give Him the tiny bit of love, patience or mercy in your heart, and offer it up to Him so that He might multiply those things more and more in your life. Maybe, just maybe, that’s where true ministry starts and ends. Not in church rooms full of people, but in hearts ready to give up everything about them, so that the Father can multiply something in them.

Friend, did you ever pause and think that maybe God wants to use your life and the only way He can do it is to get you out of the way and more of Him into your heart? Maybe there are metaphorical loaves and fish He wants to multiply in your heart so you can feed thousands with the love of God, but you must be willing to offer yourself and your everything to Him first.

Your job, children, ministry, time, energy, passions, all of it. Your sins and shortcomings. Your lack of love and mercy for human beings. Bring it all to Him and ask Him to multiply things that are good, right, true and lovely in you instead. Maybe what you’ll find is more food to feed people with the love of God. More grace and mercy to extend to them through you, because a bounty of God’s love is growing in your heart to feed thousands with the good news of Jesus.

Yes Lord, use my life to feed people. I used to think that I was just supposed to perform for people. Be a great speaker and lead people to Jesus. Now I see that I’m supposed to feed them. Help me to do that now, through your love, in Jesus name, Amen.

If I Just Had A New….

I will plant them and not uproot them…. (Je 24:6).

The nation of Israel was exiled to Babylon because of their rebellion. Yet, even in their exile, they were still expected to bloom where they were planted and bloom many of them did. Men like Daniel and others took the call of God seriously in a place that cared very little for God.

Maybe some of you feel like this exile you’re in seems unfair. The job loss, divorce, sick child, depression, anxiety, family hardships, financial struggles, all of it seems so….well, unfair. You keep wishing you could go back to the times when _______________. Yet, the call of God reminds us that no matter where we are in life we are to submit ourselves to the Lordship of Christ and bloom where we are planted.

Yes friend, bloom in that job that is challenging, bloom in your marriage that is difficult. Bloom with God in a season of loss, and struggle. Don’t go wishing for what you used to have, trust me, I get that, I’ve been there. Don’t compare things to the past, bloom where you’re planted in the here and now.

Contentment is really about learning to take the roots of our faith and water them with the love of God in the place where He’s put us. Not trying to uproot ourselves from this season, get out of it and place ourselves in the next one before it’s our time.

I think many of us keep spinning in circles, moving from one “new adventure” to the next because we think the next season will really be the grand slam one that we need, but what I’ve learned in life is that God will take us where He needs to, our role is to simply wait upon Him and continue to grow and bloom where we are planted.

It’s not always true that you just need a new job, house, city to live in, wardrobe, or car. It’s certainly not true that we just need a new spouse. I’ve watched far too many people spin that plate and it simply just crashes and causes grave destruction in their lives. Friend, make the best of where you are and wait for the Lord to do something new in your life. What I’ve found is that when we choose to make the challenging things in our life grow by our investment in them, we find that we no longer keep looking for something “new” because we find joy in what we have for today.

Lord, I want to be faithful in this season. Thank you that I don’t have to go looking for something new. I can find everything that I need in you. I trust you in these seasons. Grow me in them, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

Don’t Try To Be Your Husband’s Spiritual Counselor

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken….(Mt 12:36).

Yesterday, after having a conversation with my husband I was struck by something. I realized that there are times when I act like my husbands spiritual guide and the way in which I talk to him, I’m sure, makes him feel very spiritually immature. I expressed these thoughts to him after our conversation and told him that I’m asking the Lord to redeem how I talk.

Men just don’t need women who know it all and try to fix them. Sometimes, I think that’s what I’m doing in my conversations. I’ll start talking and sharing “wisdom” when quite honestly, there are times when I have not heard from the Lord on whether or not I should share this thing or that. I have not bathed my words in prayer before I speak them. I have not asked for the Spirit to close my mouth and open it only when my words are coming from Heaven’s throne room.

Instead, I’ll just start talking. I’m getting better at this, I really am. I used to be terrible at this. I would rarely be my husband’s spiritual cheerleader, instead, I would try to fix Him with my spiritual council. As you can imagine, this was quite damaging to our relationship and the trust that we were trying to build.

So today, I’m continually asking the Lord to redeem how I talk. Ecspecially how I talk to my husband. I’m asking the Lord to make me a listener and a cheerleader first before I offer any words that might come across as corrective.

Why would I want to exhaust my husband with corrective words, when I can build him up with words of encouragement instead? Sometimes I think as wives we believe that if we don’t speak it, no one else will. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times when it’s completely acceptable to speak words of correction to our husbands, especially if they are sinning towards us or those around us, but we must still do it respectfully, not in a way that cuts them down and makes them feel emasculated.

I’m doing my best to get there, I really am and am asking the Lord to redeem how I talk now that He has shown me how my words are coming across. Friend, take heed of your words too. They just might be deflating people too, just as mine have done.

Lord, I want my words to build up my husband, not tear him down. I want to be your sweet aroma to him. Use my life Lord to glorify you. Continue, Lord Jesus, to be my teacher, for your glory, in Jesus name, Amen.