Our bodies are talking to us all the time. Are we listening? I wasn’t for a long, long time.
Decades ago, He told me clearly, as I once again found myself dealing with a health issue that was affecting my daily life and continuing for years, that my pace was interfering with my peace. Being in ‘press mode’ was my norm; but the price for that speed of life repeatedly manifested as years-long, chronic health issues.
My body was trying to tell me something, but I kept rationalizing the choices I was making as what was needed or expected. Meanwhile, I kept praying for God to heal me. Hmm...My problem looks so obvious typing it in the light of perfect hindsight, doesn’t it? God was healing me, but not in the way I expected. He wanted to heal me from the inside out.
I had to peel back the layers of misperceptions about what God expected from me versus what I or others expected of me. It has been a decades-long discovery-before-recovery process for me.
One of my Life Verses became Matthew 11:28-30:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
I can never be far from these Words of Life! This passage addresses all the mixed emotions and thoughts I can have when I am overwhelmed, worn out, burned out. Every time I turn to Jesus’ words here, I feel like He is talking just to me – that He gets where I’m at, and is not judging or scolding me. His words demonstrate understanding, empathy, compassion, encouragement and hope.
And one of the statements inside this passage has become my mantra:
Learn (and live in) the unforced rhythms of (His) grace.
It’s my happy place. My center. To flow in the unforced rhythms of His grace. Mmm... And when I meditate on Jesus’ message to me in Matthew 11, I can literally, somatically, feel my uptight shoulders start to drop away from my ears, my heart rate decrease, my breathing slow...my nervous system start to move out of the fight or flight state, and towards the state of rest.
Many times, it is my frustration with myself, of again falling out of His rhythms, that God addresses first. I have to realize I am in a hurry with myself, to do better, to learn to stay in His unforced rhythms of grace. Geez, isn’t that word ‘grace’ a clue? I say to myself. I can’t get there by trying harder. I need His grace. And the power of His Spirit in me.
For years now, one of His most repeated messages to me has been: “I’m not in a hurry, My Beloved. You needn’t be.”
Rick Warren talks about this:
“God isn’t in a hurry with your spiritual growth. You may think he’s in a hurry, but he’s not. He’s using your current circumstances to develop your character and make you stronger. He’s patient.”
The Apostle Paul wrote about this - encouragement for us:
“...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:6
This encouragement is repeated in the message of this prayer poem [A Prayer of Teilhard de Chardin] that has become one of my tools for slowing my pace and my breathing:
Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability— and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually—let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
My prayer for you (and me): Lord, help us to give You the benefit of believing that Your hand is leading us, and to accept the anxiety of feeling ourselves in suspense and incomplete. Thank You for Your gentle reminders that You are not in a hurry.
Might you consider?...
Do you find your pace interfering with your peace? If so, how do you respond to that awareness? What feelings arise? What actions do you take?
What is your awareness of God – where is He? – in the midst of your busy life? Do you experience His understanding, compassion, and His desire to give you real rest? (See Matt 11:28-30)
Do you have practices to turn to that help you get recentered, to slow your pace and recover your peace?
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