This post is part of the #RealWomenPray online Bible study series: “Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, Strategic Prayer” by Priscilla Shirer. To get information on the next Bible study, visit Bible Study. To be notified when registration opens for the next study,click here.
”If I were your enemy, I’d make everything seem urgent, as if it’s all yours to handle. I’d bog down your calendar with so many expectations you couldn’t tell the difference between what’s important and what’s not. Going and doing, guilty for ever saying no, trying to control it all, but just being controlled by it all instead…If I could keep you buys enough, you’d be too overwhelmed to even realize how much work you’re actually saving me.” Priscilla Shirer, Fervent
Reclaiming Peace, Rest, and Contentment
Pressure—it comes from all directions, all at the same time, demanding all that we have to give, all the time.
There is no break, no letting up, no respite from the need to plow full speed ahead into each day until we run out of steam and collapse.
And most of the time, we do it to ourselves. We set unrealistic demands to be the perfect every thing to every one. And in our pursuit to be perfect, we allow pressure to come from two directions.
We face pressure from
outside -> in (from others)
the inside -> out (from ourselves)
And all the while, we allow it to happen.
Demands of our time come from work, school, home, and even the church—each wanting only a small piece of our time and energy, but when we add it all up our plate is full, the schedule is packed and there is no time left for ourselves or, most importantly, God.
We aren’t always busy with “bad” things either. Busyness can still come in the midst of ministry. What better way to keep us from accomplishing our calling than to keep us too busy in the details of ministry.
We feel the pressure to say “yes” to it all because we want people to think we have it all under control. Yet, we lose control when we try to control it all.
We become slaves to the pressure of doing—being busy.
Remember the Sabbath Day
Sabbath: to cease, rest, be completed
God not only commanded the Israelites to rest, cease from work, but He demonstrated the importance of rest in Genesis 2:2-3 when He rested after the creation.
Rest was such a foreign concept to the Israelites because they were so used to being enslaved in busyness they actually disregarded God’s command to rest (Ex 16:27-30).
We are like the Israelites in that we get so used to being busy, we don’t know how to stop and rest. It feels foreign to us.
We have become slaves to saying “yes”; we don’t feel like we have the freedom to say “no”.
But, the Bible says we have been set free!
”For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 ESV
“But a free woman possess the God-given ability to know when He is truly asking her to do something—as well as the God-given ability to know when He’s not.” (Fervent, page 138)
“Not every good thing is a God thing.” (Fervent,page 139)
We must know our limits and enforce boundaries in our schedule and rid ourselves of the guilt of saying “no”.
We are free in Christ from:
-insecurities that people won’t like us
-fear that people will see we aren’t Pinterest perfect
-fear that we aren’t enough
-the lie that we will fail
And we are free to:
-rest; just breathe
-worship God (Ex 9:1 “let my people go so that they may worship me”)
We have to make room in our lives for time with Jesus!
Satan’s scheme is to make us think we only have value if we are busy going, doing, and accomplishing, creating a unmet need to perform.
In an attempt to fill the need to perform, we instead fill up our agenda with busy work, leading to bondage to our schedule. But we have not been created to live in pressure and bondage to perform, we have been created to worship the Creator.
It is ok to rest. Kick off your shoes, put up your feet and rest. Enjoy reading a book, drinking a cup of coffee, catch up on a tv show, or whatever brings you joy.
But we should also find ourselves a quiet place and sit in the stillness of His presence. Allow God to minister to us in the silence. No chatter, no prayer requests, no laundry list of things we need from Him, just the sweet stillness of His presence.
-Take time to review the past few months on your calendar and see if there are recurring items that can be readjusted or delegated to allow more free space in your week.
-Evaluate, realistically, if there are commitments where you have said “yes” that should be “no”. Make a plan to resolve some of these off your plate of responsibilities.
-Do you have any bills or expenses that can be readjusted by expectations of the lifestyle we feel like we “must’ portray?
-Are there any “good” things in your life that are requiring too much time? Is there any way you can create flexibility in that area?
Let’s chat: Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
CALL TO PRAYER
Let’s ask God to show us where we can make room for Him in our lives.
Ask Him to show you where you can rearrange your agenda to include time for rest, fun with family, and private time with His Word.
Ask Him to show you if you are trying to fill a need to perform and accomplish, or if you are fulfilling His calling throughout your day.
Write out your prayer using one of the suggested scriptures in the book or choose another scripture that speaks to you. Use the P.R.A.Y. points on pages 21-22 to help you write personal, specific prayers.
You can use your own prayer journal or download and print this journal page.
Jesus, thank you for giving us daytime and nighttime, where you have set aside time for us to work and rest. Help us, Lord, to find the space on our agendas for Your agenda, which is spending time with us. Help us, Father, to connect with You each day and bring us to a new level of relationship with You. Lord, give us wisdom and discernment to know what things You are calling us to and what are distractions brought to us by our enemy. Help us to identify the energy-stealers the enemy puts in our ways. Father, I thank You for Your goodness and mercy, which are new every day and give us a fresh chance to seek You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.