Do you ever feel hung-over in your soul?
You know that feeling when the day before you allowed your emotions to get out of control and you got angry or panicky….and afterward, try as you might, you just couldn’t seem to get all the way to peace…
…and you wake up the next morning feeling icky and wrung out?
Yea – that’s me today as I type this post about a quiet spirit.
Because that’s what I’m here to learn to do a whole lot better than I’m doing right now.
I don’t handle stress well.
Like, I really can’t do stressful situations because I go from happy and peaceful to full-blown panic mode in 0.25 seconds.
Not that I think anyone should have stress.
But there are times when life hands you stress on a platter and doesn’t ask for your permission, and you have to do something with it, because its right there, staring you in the face, and there’s no avoiding it.
I try to avoid it whenever I can, but there are times when it just wont let you avoid it.
So what do you?
If you’re like me, you freak out and panic, make a mess of things….then sit down, clear your head and try to figure out to get yourself out of the mess you’re now in because you reacted instead of acted….
And that’s not at all what the Bible tells us to do.
If we’re to be obedient to the Bible, we have to obey the whole Bible, not just the parts that we’re already good at – like not killing people.
I mean the parts of the Bible that tell us to “be anxious for nothing”, “fear not”, and “be at peace with all men”.
That’s when obedience really counts because it requires us to stay on our toes, and it requires us to grasp for grace….even when what we really want to do is let our emotions have free rein.
This week in Rest and Release we see that rest isn’t passive.
We see that
- While Jesus said to come to Him for rest when we’re weary and burdened, He also said to put on His yoke. That’s actively carrying something.
- In Ephesians we see that we need to have the right kind of shoes for battle, so we don’t slip and fall — because we’re in a war. This is why it is hard for us to find rest — because we’re battling the enemy of our souls. And if we’re not careful to use the right gear we’ll find ourselves in a lot of trouble.
- We need to discern when to say no. When to pull back and when to allow our spirit to rest from the commitments that are depleting our spiritual nutrients.
- It is important in restful times to allow our dull ax to be sharpened.
- And that alone time is needed for all of this.
Without that alone time, we can’t hear the voice of God; our spirit can’t enjoy His presence fully because it is constantly distracted with commitments, noise, and our own worried, anxious thoughts.
As I’ve reflected on these things this week, I am reminded of this passage that deeply convicted me
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4
In this verse, the word quiet doesn’t mean not noisy; it means tranquil.
A tranquil heart that isn’t ruffled by stress, panic, fear, or anger. But even more than that, it means “keeping one’s seat” or sedentary. In other words, being in full control of your spirit.
You’re not pacing the floor wringing your hands – your sitting peacefully as a ruler over your spirit.
You’re not red-faced with your veins bulging out the sides of your neck – you’re seated in full control over over your emotions.
You have a quiet spirit, even when everything around you seems to be falling apart.
This isn’t talking about your personality – as some who are more phlegmatic than others. This is talking about your spirit, its your character.
This takes training and discipline, it takes allowing the Holy Spirit to work on our hearts, weeding out those things that cause us to have unrest, convicting us of those times when we failed to employ His grace, and leading us to repent of those times when we didn’t listen to His voice telling us to rise up and bring our emotions under the jurisdiction of the Spirit.
Peter then says that this is very precious in the sight of God.
The discipline to rule over your soul, so that it is at rest in times we would otherwise lose control, is a precious quality because it means that you have allowed the Holy Spirit do His work in your heart.
I do believe that this is a vital step in rest and release because if we can rest in times when others are frantic, we can enjoy true rest – the kind of rest that Jesus talked about….
laying down the heavy burden of anxiety that we were not meant to bear so that we can take on the burden He meant for us – a burden that doesn’t weigh us down and exhaust us.