“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Toward the end of 2017, I felt as though God was telling me to take a break for the month of December. I envisioned days of sitting on the couch reading with the Christmas lights on in the background, a nice relaxed wife and mother to greet her family when they returned home from school and work and yummy smells coming from the kitchen because I had time to actually cook something more than grilled cheese sandwiches or frozen pizza and watch to make sure it didn’t burn. I even got all my Christmas presents wrapped by the beginning of the month and was ready to just … refresh.
While I didn’t write anything new in December, I still was working two of my other jobs and publishing the new Bible study book I had written earlier that year, Caring for the Caregiver. I think I had one afternoon where I took the time to sit and read by the Christmas tree, but most of my spare time was spent actually living life – volunteering at our child’s school, impromptu (surprise) lunch dates with a few of our kids, or just connecting with my family.
I assumed that entering into 2018 I would be refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to work hard on new goals for the new year. Instead, I found myself tired as I detoxed from all the extra sugar I consumed over the holidays and not motivated to jump at all.
God used that tiredness and lack of energy to teach me another lesson about grace. Sometimes, circumstances in life aren’t easy. Sometimes we’re just tired and it takes all our energy to put one foot in front of the other. And instead of beating oneself up over that lack of energy or lack of motivation, when we ask God for strength, sometimes we have to ask for Him to give it to us in one minute intervals.
“God, I have this huge assignment in front of me and I don’t even know where to start.”
“I’m battling the obstacle of quitting smoking, eating moderately or choosing to exercise more and I just can’t last another minute without that cigarette, donut or moving one more second on the treadmill.”
“Abba, I can’t stop listening to the voices in my head replaying that conversation over and over again. I blew it. I’m stupid. I’ll never change.”
God doesn’t ask us to have all the answers. And our Father certainly doesn’t ask us to fight in our strength, ever. He wants us to come to Him with all our burdens, all our concerns, all our struggles. He already knows what they are. He also already has the answer. But I’ve learned in the last few months He won’t step in to help until we invite Him in. He’s a gentleman like that. If we want to handle life alone, He’ll step back and let us. He loves us too much to control us. But … when we ask, He’s ready to step in and show us the way to victory.
Sometimes we’re strong enough to ask God for the whole situation at once. And, sometimes, the circumstances we’re facing require asking for help one minute at a time. God doesn’t care which way we ask – He just wants us to start the conversation.
© Cheri Swalwell 2018