How to Rest

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“We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:5
The mind is a powerful motivator.  It can push us beyond what our muscles tell us is too much… steer us through confusing situations… and help us to understand complexities and nuances that we otherwise might miss.  
It can also cause us to stumble.  To succeed in what we’ve decided to do we have to capture and control negative thoughts.  You’ll hear your own mind say  “You aren’t good enough”  “You’ll never lose the weight”  or  “Nobody else is doing it.”
Don’t believe those thoughts.  Scripture tells us to “capture rebellious thought” when it comes to things that derail us from being the person Christ created us to be.  Decide today to replace those dream crushers with reassuring notions and memorized scripture that will help you through when it gets tough.  Your brain is the critical part of sustained habit-development.  Re-train it… control it.. and use it to push you forward
1)  Enlist Help
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”  Proverbs 27:17
One is too small of a number for greatness.  We simply weren’t created to do life alone.  When we try, things get unnecessarily difficult… and we miss out on the benefits of partnering with others to help us achieve goals, dreams, and ultimately our destiny. But how do we do this?  How can we better work with others to get us through the valleys that we face?
First, find a friend with a similar issue.  Hold each other accountable… post your running results to Twitter… pray with each other on the phone… compare notes or journal entries… whatever it takes to know that your behavior will be looked at and challenged.  
Second, bring in some professional help.  Need some help sorting things out in your mind?  Enlist a Christian counselor.  Want to learn how to lose the extra weight?  Hire a trainer.  In a financial knot and resolve to get out?  Enroll in a class and get with a financial advisor.  The benefits are priceless.  They have worked with hundreds sometimes thousands of other people and their insight as a neutral third party will help greatly in your success.
With these in place… your chance at being successful over the adversity you face will be much better.  
Remember, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:12
Who are your three strands?  First God…then you… and then others.  But who?  I believe that God has specifically put people in your life for this purpose.  Who are they?  When you find them, be bold enough to include them in your circle.  And when you do, you’ll realize that the load you are carrying is lighter as a result.   Dare to partner with people to reach your God-given potential.  Connect.  Grow.  And very soon, you’ll find yourself out of the valley and overlooking a lifetime of joy, success, and blessing.  
2)  Know How to Depressurize
“Be still, and know that I am God!”  Psalm 46:10a
There may be no greater killer of progress and joy than stress.  Busyness and fatigue lead to discouraging thoughts and eventually the demise of your commitments to yourself.  Take some time during your week to pray… meditate on scripture… take a deep breath… get alone… 
Even Jesus did this.  He knew the value of getting away and regrouping.   I can already hear you screaming at your iPad… “Pastor.. my day is WAY too hectic for meditation or solitude”  
Then I would say that your day is way too busy.  
I have found in my 20+ years of ministry that people do what they want to do.  If they think it’s valuable enough, they’ll make the time no matter what they have to adjust.  You must first value “being still” before you’ll make it part of your day.  Trust me… once you start, you’ll wonder what took you so long.   Remember, as I’ve said before in my teachings, life is rhythmic.  There are notes and rests… and if you only play all fast notes… the music of life becomes noise.  Rests are as important in beautiful melodies as tones… play both.  In doing so, your blood pressure will improve, you’ll find the margin to accomplish more, and those things that used to drive you crazy will seem less important than they used to.  
Sometimes the most holy thing you can do is sleep.  Pace yourself friends… this marathon we run is meant to be taken in 24 hour chunks.  Don’t borrow trouble from next week or even two hours from now.  Stop.  Breathe.  Rest.  If you don’t intentionally do it, nobody is going to stop you and make you.  No more kindergarten nap times or chances to put your heads down on your desks.  You’re running very hard.  Stop along the way to not only smell the roses… but enjoy their beauty.  Soak in life… make memories… and remember that your Heavenly Father has got your back no matter what.  

Now THAT’S a reason to rest easy!

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