Once, when I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and in the midst of a family crisis, a good friend took one look at me and gave me some very welcome advice:
“You are dealing with a lot. Step back and take a break. Allow yourself to be in survival mode for a while.”
She gestured to my work piled on the table, some cleaning supplies waiting on the counter, our jammed calendar on the fridge, and the cookbooks scattered on the couch.
Her words were like a lifesaver for my spirit. They gave me permission to put aside anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary, and allowed this sinking girl a chance to catch her breath and float.
But today, several months later, I’m still floating. Somewhere along the way, I’ve gotten so comfortable with mindlessly bobbing along, that my muscles have weakened and I’ve lost all sense of direction.
And now my neglected relationships, cluttered house, unhealthy body, and starving soul are stranded at sea.
I realize that my friend’s advice brought sabbath– but was never meant to be a lifestyle.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10
Through the words of my friend, God tossed me a much-needed raft of rest. And I turned that raft into a houseboat, and sunk an anchor deep.
Over time, I got used to my dangling limbs and the monotonous horizon. I grew accustomed to being at the mercy of the waves. That sabbath became a selfish ring, and I convinced myself that a life adrift was the only life for me. Life for me.
But God, in his loving kindness, has been calling me to solid ground. He’s been reminding me that life’s not about floating along- or even about my survival. That salvation and sabbath are about Him. About Him.
I forgot that the point of survival is to live. The point of rest is to remember.
Jesus is my rescuer, my rest, and my rudder. Yes, so I can live, but also to give the hope of salvation to others drowning at sea.
So now, I’m going breathe deep, work hard, and move forward. I’m going to remember Who is supposed to be in the center of every ring, and Who is the author of every rest and the perfecter of all work.
I’m headed to solid ground… to work out my salvation for His glory.
Because the ripples of my life were always supposed to reach way past the edges of this inner tube.
“So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2: 10-13
How about you? Are you drowning in hopelessness? Reach for the lifeline that’s offered in Jesus. Take it friend, and trust in Him alone.
Or are you in over your head with the waves of life and can’t quite catch your breath? Take the sabbath He provides. Be still and know. Rest and remember.
Or… are you stuck in survival mode?… floating along in a life vest of lethargy and self-centeredness? If so, pull up anchor and ask Him to tow you to shore. Life is waiting…