Striving and Soul Rest

I see you there, crumpling up that sheet of paper, tossing it into the waste basket and wondering if anything good will come out of your life. Or if you'll be stuck here, in this place called "failure," and "you don't measure up," and "you don't deserve anything good."

I see the way you try. The way you keep getting up and dressing up and showing up and hoping that things don't mess up, again. You get so tired. You're running out of energy, and it's hard for you to enjoy your life.

What do you do when you fail? You get up and run right back to Him.

Do you mind sitting down for just a minute and letting me tell you some things? Some things that could perhaps restore your soul and give you some hope? Some things that could help you keep going and maybe even set you free?

You really can cease your striving. Perhaps you could use some soul-rest. So, let's pause. Take a breather and speak some truth down into those restless, frantic places.

Don't assume that voice you hear is from your Maker. Yes, I know. You've got that picture of Him in your head. Every time you fail you think He's got this scowl and that He's pointing His finger and He's giving you the mean-face and "you better straighten up" face. You'd really love to run to Him with all your mess, but you're thinking that He won't have you till you're better. You imagine He's holding you at arm's length.

I want you to hear me. That picture you see, that voice you hear—it's not Him. We've got our own self-condemning thoughts, yes, that we've got to learn to take captive, and make them obey Christ. But we've got an enemy, too. That ole devil is out to steal our joy, kill our hope, destroy our life. He's got plans for us, too, you know. To accuse us and lie to us. He won't be leaving us alone anytime soon, so we've got to learn to fight. There are ways to make him flee.

So, let's not assume every thought that comes into our heads is true. Resist. Resist the one who whispers all those condemning things. And know that when God looks at His children—those that belong to Him because they believe in Him and the Son that He sent—He sees us through the lens of Christ, His perfect Son. Jesus is the only One who ever got it all right. Who ever did it all right. And He's the One who set all things right for us. He made us friends with God.

God's generous heart scoops us out of the messes we're in and restores us back to Himself.

Did you hear that, little heart? God knew from the beginning how you and I would fall and fail, a sin-wrecked ship-wreck and how we'd drown. So, He sent a rescue. He knew we'd be utterly incapable of living out a never-messing-up life—it's why He sent His Son. Christ took a cross and made a lifeboat, and He is the lifeguard that pulls us up and safely in. God's generous heart scoops us out of the messes we're in and restores us back to Himself. He did this by way of His Son.

You really can cease your striving because you're righteous in God's sight. He's washed you clean with the blood of His Son. When the Father looks at you, He sees you in the righteous robe that Jesus wraps around you. His eyes are kind, His smile is gentle, and His arms are open wide.

So, what do you do when you fail? You get up and run right back to Him.

And what do you do when you feel condemned? You think on Jesus and you thank God for Jesus and know that God will help you, always, and forgive you, always, because of Him.

So, breathe deep, my friend. And get some rest. And enjoy your life. And make beautiful things. Because you're a child of the King, and you're never condemned, but always loved.

Live free.

May Jesus be your peace.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 8:1)
"I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world's." (1 John 2:1–2) (The Message)

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About the Author

Maggie Paulus

Maggie Paulus

Maggie Paulus is a wife, momma, writer and lover of Jesus. She looks for God each day in His Word, in creation, in the people He has given her, in the ache of life, in the humdrum—at the kitchen sink—everywhere! When she's not capturing life in words and photos, or cleaning up the messes around her, you'll find her digging in the dirt or wandering through the woods to enjoy all the wild things. Maggie lives in Michigan with her handsome bearded husband, three rambunctious kids, and one cat. You can find more of her words and pictures at MaggiePaulus.com.

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