Are you tired?

SCRIPTURE:

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

“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.”

STORY:

Have you ever watched an Iron Man Triathlon on TV? I remember watching them as a kid and being somewhat disturbed watching people reach the finish line, as they’re peeing (among other things) all over themselves, having completely lost control of all bodily functions.

This is the only analogy I can come up with lately on how I feel emotionally. I’m exhausted and I have no control. I’ve had the weirdest meltdowns lately, triggered by the most ridiculous things. I was beginning to ask myself, “is there something clinically wrong with me?”

I was talking to a friend of mine recently, telling her I feel totally crazy, and she said, “Sara. You are at the end of the most intense emotional year of your life. You are at the finish line of an emotional iron man. It makes sense that you feel out of control. It’s OK to give yourself some grace and rest.”

Oh. Give myself some grace. Why hadn’t I thought of that before?

I think sometimes, especially as leaders, we just plow through our lives in the name of “church” or “leadership” or “mission” without allowing ourselves to heal when we’ve been hurt. I was a college athlete, and I was a classic case of “playing too soon after an injury.” It’s how I tore my hip flexor — a chronic inability to fully rest.

As I’m looking back on this year, I’m realizing that I was pretty severely injured in May, and I spent a little bit of time rehabbing my broken and bruised self, but there are places in me that have not fully healed — and now in some ways, they’re worse than they were before.

I’m carving out time to stop and grieve. I’m asking God hard questions that I need Him to help me resolve in my heart. I’m getting some counseling and I’m re-opening some wounds that need to be cleaned out and properly sewn back together.

I’m doing all these things in step with my marriage and my ministry and the rest of my life & relationships — learning the unforced rhythms of grace.

Walking when He tells me to walk. Letting Him throw me over His shoulder & carry me when I can’t. Crying when I need to cry. Screaming and shaking my fists and asking Him hard questions when I feel like it’s all so unfair, because He can handle it.

Learning that being in pain and wrestling with big questions in my heart does not disqualify me from leadership. It draws me nearer to the heart of the only One who can resolve my questions and heal my broken heart.

So when we’re stumbling through the last leg of the race, peeing all over ourselves, falling every few steps — we lean in. We let Him show us the way. We climb into His arms and let Him carry us when we need to. His burden is light. His way is perfect. He hasn’t left us. He never will.

SONG:

“Cecie’s Lullaby”
Steffany Gretzinger
The Undoing

Listen:
YouTube  |  iTunes

Playlist from previous weeks:
Spotify  |  Apple Music

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A beautiful inheritance.

I have been so rocked by the realization and revelation of my spiritual heritage and inheritance lately.

What is an inheritance? A wealth that my parents built to pass on to me — so that I could start my life at a higher standard than them. It was absolutely nothing that I worked for or earned.

Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

When one generation is given revelation, it is intended that the next generation carry it on and build upon it. My parents have laid down their lives so that what they built is actually my foundation. I start building my floor on their ceiling.

I started thinking a few weeks ago about what this means for me. I grew up with my dad on Young Life staff, watching my parents disciple high school kids my entire life. I spent more Monday nights than I can count lying in the back of an old skating rink, listening to Dad preach the gospel to hundreds of high school kids. I bet if we could somehow trace the lives my parents have impacted and the lives those people have impacted over the last two decades, there would be a sea of people lined up.

Then I started thinking about my grandparents, who in their retirement became missionaries to Honduras and founded a program that’s now providing an education and discipleship for 800 kids across the country. They’re literally raising up the next generation of a nation to break the bondage of poverty.

And these are the people of my bloodline. This is the legacy I’ve been left to carry. Not to mention my spiritual parents — people in my life who have discipled me and poured into my life over the years. I truly have a rich, rich inheritance.

Just this weekend Noland was leading worship for a Young Life training weekend in Dallas, and I went to introduce myself to one of the speakers who my mom had told me I needed to meet. When I told him who my parents were the first thing he said was, “You have an amazing family. You’ve got a big legacy to carry on.”

There was a holy heaviness that fell on my shoulders when he said that. He was right. And it’s humbling and encouraging to think about the fact that my sisters and I have been set up for greater heights in ministry simply because of two generations of our family that have gone before us. They’ve broken through territory that we now get to breeze through so that we can break into the next land that needs to be trail blazed.

And it isn’t enough to simply maintain what we’ve been given in our inheritance from them. We’re called to build upon it. Our job is to keep running.

So I feel compelled to honor those who have gone before me and just say thank you. Grandma, Papa, Mom, Dad — you’ve left a legacy of giving your life to the advancement of the Kingdom so that Jesus will come back, and it’s an honor to say that I get to carry on what you’ve started.

And to the spiritual parents who have gone before me and imparted different pieces of the character and mission of God on my life — you’re just as worthy of honor and thanks. Eve Sarrett, Adrienne Barclay, Annie Thomas, Ellie Holcomb — wouldn’t be walking with Jesus the way I am today without you.

I don’t know where Noland and I are going from here, or when we’re going from here, but I know that our call all the days of our lives is to go and make disciples, and we have a beautiful inheritance in that calling.

So often I feel like when I ask God, “What do you want me to do?” He answers with, “This is who you are.”

…and who I am begins with the people who have gone before me. I am eternally grateful and unbelievably humbled by the selflessness of those people. It makes our mission so much bigger than our tiny dream of planting a church. It puts into perspective the power of all of God’s people working together for one purpose. And quite honestly, it makes me want to spend a week on my face and just say, “God, whatever you want for us, the answer is yes.”

So parents, grandparents, and spiritual parents — thank you. For laying down your lives for the sake of the Kingdom coming, and for setting me up to see even greater moves of God than you have. I’m honored to say I come from you. I’m challenged by the lives you live. I’m expectant for the adventure that lies ahead of me and my children because of who you are.

A fork in the road.

God said this would be a season of new perspectives — of seeing things as He sees them, not as the world sees them. So as he gives me these “Heavenly perspectives,” I’ll be posting them.

The first one: a fork in the road.

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Life is full of decisions. The older I get, the more weighty those decisions seem to become. I find myself in a constant weighing contest between option A and option B. What will I gain from my decision? What will I leave behind? Who will I leave behind? Is there even a right or wrong answer? Do I choose now or do I wait? And as time often moves swiftly in the world we live in, we come up on the fork before we feel like we’ve had the time we desire to choose right or left.

I saw a picture of a girl coming up on a fork in the road. This was the worldly perspective. She’ll make a decision, right or left, after much deliberation — even consistent prayer and asking God which He thought would be the better choice. 

Then I saw the Heavenly perspective. His answer for the better choice. Suddenly what seemed like a fork in the road up ahead merged into one road. One path. One direction. 

His answer was clear.

The path is Him. His presence. The pursuit of His heart. His face. His intimacy. Suddenly all the options we’re swayed by and pulled in different directions in by our worldly perspectives don’t feel like a separation anymore. We just choose Him, and we stay the path, and whatever avenue in the eyes of the world we take really doesn’t matter because the ultimate destination is our citizenship in Heaven. And the vehicle we travel in is our own unique role in the advancement of the Kingdom — but guys, we never really leave the highway. 

And sure our decisions to stay or go will at times be painful or hard, especially relationally speaking, but that’s just the nature of the world — the nature of bringing the Kingdom to the world. But what we’re ultimately traveling towards is the promise of an eternity with none of the separation or the pain or the hardship. And it’s worth it.

And suddenly with this perspective, the road sign looks more like this:

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