Read Philippians 4:6-7
We live in a busy, distracted and frantic time. It’s easy — even when we are “off” or having “down-time” — for that to be stolen and fail to provide true rest. We may be stressed by worries, anxieties and concerns that become our focus.
Maybe you feel pulled in a thousand directions. Or maybe you feel that your life is fragmented into different areas of responsibilities, needs and yearnings that you can never seem to get all settled at once. Perhaps following a busy holiday season, this feels especially true.
Some years ago, at a Scarlet City leader lab, I was introduced to the book Wholeheartedness by Chuck DeGroat. In the opening, he recounts a story from the poet David Whyte on the topic of living a divided life while Jesus offers grace and rest. The point of the poem was this: “The antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest. It is wholeheartedness.”
I found these ideas closely related. As I read about being fragmented and experiencing various anxieties, at that moment, I felt more than that…I felt fractured.
The immediate context of our verses today reminds us that “The Lord is near.” Jesus offers peace; He offers grace and rest. In every situation, He is near, and we can present our requests to Him. Therefore, it is important for us not to stifle or deny the emotions we feel but rather take them to the Lord in that moment. And the result is that over time we are built into a more whole and integrated self — one who experiences peace in heart and mind.
Often, when we think about asking for things from God, we do just that: ask for things. But sometimes, things aren’t what we need. Sometimes we just need someone to be there with us, to be near.
When was the last time I felt anxious recently? What were the surrounding circumstances that prompted that feeling? What might I be seeking control or security in? When was the last time I felt at peace? Where did that feeling of peace come from? How can I continue to seek peace from Jesus in the new year?
Jesus, You are the Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords. We praise You, for You know our needs, and, in love, You moved near to us. Help us be sensitive to Your presence, and remember to share our requests with You with a heart of thanksgiving and trust. Lord, give us Your peace. Guard our hearts and minds, and let us reflect Your glory. Amen.
Adam is an Elder, city group leader and Director of Global Partnerships for Scarlet City.