Unforced Rhythms Of Grace

“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.”

-Matthew 11:28-30 (msg)-

 

Picture this.  You are at your favorite coffee shop.  It has big windows, and there is a lot of light shining in.  Music that speaks to you is playing over the speakers, and there across the table sitting with you is Jesus.  You are trying to small talk with Jesus as we often do.  He stops you, places His hand on yours, and asks “Are you tired? How are you feeling?”  How do you respond?

I think I would break down in tears, because it’s Jesus and He does that to me, and I would  simply say through all of the tears, “I am. I am so tired.”  The really great thing about Jesus is we can respond that simply, and He will understand the depths of what we are saying.  We don’t need lots of words, special prayers, or passionate pleas.  All we need are simple words and a genuine desire to be open and seen by Him.

Here is the deal.  In this verse from Matthew 11, Jesus is asking us if we are tired.  He is giving us an open door to be honest about the state of our heart, our body, our mind, and our spirit.  This is not a hypothetical question happening in a scenario I made up about a coffee shop.  This is a genuine invitation from Jesus to get real with Him.

So how do you respond?  Are you tired?  Of course you are.  Everyone is tired in one way or another.  This life is hard, we are constantly being accused by our enemy, and we are always comparing ourselves to an impossible standard.  You are tired.  I’m tired.  Our barista is tired, and that girl with the crying toddler at Target is for sure tired.  We are all tired, and Jesus wants to know about it. So let’s answer the question He has asked us and see what happens next.

What happens when we answer this question?  Well, let’s look a little further in the verse. Jesus says, “Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”  YOU GUYS!  These two sentences changed the entire way I live my life.  His response to our weary state is not to reprimand us, slap us on the wrist, or to get angry, but to teach us how to live in sweet, gentle, and tender unforced rhythms of grace.  How good is that?

When we come to Him with vulnerability and honesty, He sees us.  As we spend time with Him, He teaches us how to live in the freedom of grace.  He teaches not how to check religious rituals off our list but to walk in the sweet rhythms of relationship with Him.  He speaks against the lies we believe as we compare ourselves to those around us; He teaches us how to sow our time; and He multiplies what little we offer to Him to accomplish so much more than we could dream of.

What Jesus has to offer is an extraordinary, above and beyond gift but this only happens if we first come to Him.  Here are a few things He has taught me as I have intentionally shown up to learn how to live in the promised, unforced rhythms of grace.  I can’t show up with my laundry list of needs, my agenda, or my pride.  I have to show up completely free of pretense, sincere, and willing to walk out whatever He might speak to me.  I have to show up in humility, completely honest about my desperate need for Him to heal me, teach me, and lead me into a place of abundant life.

When I come to Jesus ready to just follow Him wherever He wants to take me, I find that He takes care of my laundry list of needs, my time is somehow magically multiplied, and I live a fuller life instead of merely tolerating the circumstances I’ve been placed in.  I find rest for my dry bones, my weary soul, and my dull mind.  I am renewed in unforced rhythms of grace.

Let’s go back to the coffee shop.  You are sitting and talking to Jesus, and He sweetly and tenderly asks you, “Baby… Be honest with me… Are you tired?”  How do you respond?

Make sure to share in the comments your about your journey to living in unforced rhythms of grace.

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy

 

Guest Post:Aching For Approval

Good Morning Friends! My Friend Robyn Hubbard is sharing on the blog today. You can check out more info about Robyn here! Don’t forget to send her some love! Thank you Robyn for boldly sharing your heart!!! 

 

I want to be in shape, but I really don’t want to exercise. I want to be a woman with a spotless house, but I really don’t want to clean it. I want to be a great cook, but I hate making dinner.

Can you relate? So many times we want to be rather than do.

We want to be a perfect mother, rather than simply loving our children. We want be in a happy marriage, rather than intentionally working on it. We want to be friends with everyone, rather than forming lasting friendships. We want to be known as a servant, rather than having a true desire to serve. We want to be a minister, rather than quietly ministering to others right where we are.

Can it be that the desire to be all of these things comes from our desire to please other people, rather than God? We want everyone to think we are all of these things, so we just continue to put on a show day after exhausting day.

Meanwhile, we are silently screaming through our holy Facebook posts, staged Instagram photos, and seemingly squeaky-clean images, “Please see me! Please love me! Please think I’m important!” What we don’t realize is that the whole time we’re searching through the crowd for someone to respond, Jesus gently whispers, “I see you. I love you. You are important.”

I remember when I was a kid and I would come home and tell my mom when someone said something mean about me. She would always tell me the opposite and assure me they were wrong, but I remember thinking, “She’s my mom, of course she thinks that.” Instead of believing the loving words of the person who knew me best, I believed the hurtful words of a fellow 12 year old with their own issues and insecurities.

As an adult, I do the same thing. I believe the enemy’s lies about me, rather than the truth given by a loving Father who knows me best. I seek approval from others to affirm the lies are untrue instead of turning to God for my affirmation.

We were not put on this earth to please others. We were not meant to constantly try to prove our worth. We don’t need to be anything other than a loved child of God who desires to pass that love onto others and make Him known. It doesn’t have to be on a grand scale. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It might look messy or overly simple or terribly flawed to others, but if we were perfect we wouldn’t need God. And we so desperately need to need Him.

Sometimes our fears shift from not being able to please man to not being able to please God. The good news is…grace. God’s grace does not change based on our works or our sin. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and His grace is sufficient for each and every one of us. We can’t mess up too much to lose His love or do enough to win it. It’s already ours. There is so much freedom in that truth!

On the other hand, does this truth give us the green light to do anything our flesh craves? Of course not.

“Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:1

A life lived for Jesus is a life that strives to be more like him. We should avoid sin because it can and will lead to destruction in our lives and relationships. However, we are forgiven. We are understood. We are loved without condition.

I want to make a daily choice to look to God and God alone for my recognition, my approval, and my worth. I want to do rather than to be. And when I mess up, I want to breathe in His grace and know that I am loved by Him and that is enough.

To win a war…

I wrote a blog today about my response to Charleston and how God responded to me. 
Disclaimer: I wrote this blog in like 15 minutes and did not proofread it. This is not how I intended to enter back into the blogging world but what God spoke to me is heavy on my heart. So I ask for tons of grace with the grammar and content of this blog

I’ve been sitting and praying about what happened to our brothers and sisters in Charleston. Feeling broken hearted and almost useless.

You see I know the answer to the problem. It’s obvious that the answer is Jesus and the church in our love for Jesus and His people intervening in days like this where there is so much oppression. Racial oppression, oppression in the LGBT community, oppression over women, actual slavery. These things are real and the problem is massive. It is impossible to overcome.

This morning I caught myself sitting in how impossible this situation is. Sitting in the knowledge of how small I am and how enormous the brokenness of our world is feeling almost tortured by having the answer to the problem and feeling like I can’t do anything with the solution.

So I asked God, actually confronted Him about what He would like me to do. I expressed to Him how massive the darkness feels, how apathetic the church appears to be, and how useless I feel in actually being able to bring change to something so consuming.

Then He whispered to me in grace and kindness as He often does, “This. Do this. Wrestle with me. Bring this heartache to me. It comes from me. You are right. I am the answer so give me the problem. Battle here with me. (Just a little clarification not against Him but with Him.) You will get the strategy you want when you fight in prayer for these things. Baby girl to get the answers you’ve got to fight in the war.”

So to those who feel oppressed I am sorry I’m not always willing to spend what is required to give you a voice. I am sorry I choose my comfort over your freedom. I’m so sorry. I’m trying to seek God and learn how to love you well from Him. He is fighting for you freedom and I am going to choose to fight with Him.

There you have it. If we want to see change, we have to fight in the war. The not so glamorous part of that is most of the war is fought in prayer and then followed through with action. The awesome part is that it is fought in the presence of a kind and gracious God who will give us all we need to overcome if we will just wrestle with Him a bit.

 

So who’s in?

 

Passing Through Saturday

I thought today was an appropriate day to share some truth God has revealed to me about the Saturday between Good Friday, and Easter. I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

You can check out my post about Good Friday here! I hope this encouraged you and challenged you! Happy Easter!

In reckless pursuit,

Mindy