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How to move from burned out to renewed energy

When the soul lacks rest

White space and quiet.

Peace and tranquility.

These are the things I crave.

Our souls are living crushed and overwhelmed by busy schedules and information streams that never sleep.

We consume. We produce. We race from here to there. We wave our busy flag with pride, while inside our soul begs for slow.

God whispers. Do we hear? He speaks. Do we recognize His voice?

God says fast

Last weekend God whispered for me to rest from the constant stream of information and the hum of social media. He extended an invitation to fast from the noise of the world and come back to Him in the quiet. I responded with a quick yes. My soul is not meant to carry the weight of all information it receives via the internet.

When I take these fasts, I enter burned out and tired. I leave renewed and energized. I often wonder why I wait so long.

Running from fear and exhaustion

There’s a fascinating story in the Bible. 1 King 19. Elijah flees. He’s burned out. He’s scared.

He laid down and told God he’d had enough and wanted to die.

God answered by sending an angel to provide food and water. Elijah took it then lay down again and slept. Again the angel returned. He told Elijah the journey ahead was too much for him and gave him more food and water. Elijah received the strength he needed and continued 40 days on his journey. Then he came to a cave.

I relate much to Elijah through this story. At times I feel so on fire for the Lord and give and give and pour and pour. Then in exhaustion and fear, I want to run away.

I get burned out. Burned out in my callings, my ministries, my passions. I get burned out in my simple day to day, ordinary life too.

Where do we find our retreat?

I crave the cave.

All I want is to retreat to the safety of my cave.

The Lord came to Elijah and asked him a question. You know, God always knows the answer. God knows the truth and at times will ask us so we are forced to face the truth we are ignoring.

In verse 9 God asks Elijah, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

I love the intimacy God uses when He speaks. The sound of our own name can be a beautiful thing.

Verse 10 ‘He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord instructed Elijah to leave the cave and stand on the mountain. He tells Elijah the Lord is about to pass by.

God meets us in our hiding place

God wanted to pull him out of his dark hiding place.

God pulls us out of our darkness as well. He wants us to hear Him speaking.

I noticed something I never noticed before as I read this passage. Watch this.

’11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.’

I always envisioned this story with Elijah coming out of the cave first. But he didn’t. He waited until he recognized the voice of the Lord.

God speaks

God used the ordinary over the miraculous to speak. He does the same today. He can speak however and whenever He chooses. But do we hear Him?

Elijah recognized that gentle whisper and stepped out of his dark cave.

And when I retreat from the world and tuck into my personal cave, the Lord meets me too. He invites me out.

When Elijah recognized God’s whisper, God spoke. He asked the exact question He asked Elijah the first time.

‘Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”‘

Elijah answered the EXACT same way. So God asked the same question. Elijah gave the same answer.

Did you see that??? This struck me.

14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

At this point, God gave Elijah specific instructions to go back the way he came. God told Elijah what to do and how to do it.

Fear fades. Strength returns.

Elijah left renewed. He followed God’s instructions.

He went from fearful and burned out, to renewed and strengthened. Not by the cave, but by an encounter with God.

What I need is more of God. What I need is Him alone. What I need is to recognize His voice and listen to His words.

I need less world, more Word.

Less world.

More Word.

When I break away from whatever is weighing down my soul, I receive refreshment from God. Often, He responds for me to go back the way I came, but He gives me Himself so I can take the journey back.

You know what I think? I think if we spent more time focused on the character and heart of God, we’d experience less fear, less anxiety, less worry, less burn out. Because in light of the awesomeness of who He is, all else shrinks.

What we focus on grows.

When I focus on my problems, they grow bigger. When I focus on my anxious heart, the anxiety triples in size. When I focus on my fear, I’m consumed by the darkness it lives in.

But when I focus on who God is, my heart rate slows. My breathing evens. My shoulders relax. I can be still because I remember just who He is.

Maybe you

  • are in need of a renewal of strength and energy.
  • are burned out craving a cave to hide in.
  • are trying to outrun your fear that won’t give up the chase.
  • feel you can’t hear God speak anymore.
  • are looking to hit a restart button.
  • just need to be renewed.

I have something I think will help. Let me be clear. God alone is all you need. His Word.

But sometimes we find we need something to nudge us a bit, remind us, or help us reconnect.

ebook devotional

If that sounds like you, I invite you to grab a copy of Illuminate. Illuminate is a 14 day devotion that will be a soothing balm to your soul. It is gentle and kind and will redirect your focus from your fear and worry onto your Creator. It will help you to remember how to maintain your focus on Jesus.

Illuminate is a mixture of devotions centered on the character of God and scripture readings and meditations. It’s available as either an audio devotional with pdf transcripts that arrives in your inbox once per day over a 14 day period. Or as an ebook download you can receive all at once. Your choice. One price. Yours forever.

I find myself going back to it at various seasons when I feel my distraction level and stress levels rising. It calms and quiets my soul. And I hope it will do the same for you.

It’s available on sale for 50% right now too! Grab a copy for yourself and a few friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does God even hear my prayers? Will this ever happen?

 

7 Minute listen

Does God hear my cry?

“Lord, how long must I keep praying this same thing?”

“Lord, do you hear me?”

“Lord, will this ever happen?”

“Lord, did I hear you wrong?”

Any of these questions sound familiar? Have you found yourself praying so long for something that you eventually stop praying for it?

Maybe you assume God is only good sometimes or to some people or in the right situations.

Where we focus matters

At some point we shift our focus off who God is, and with all intensity, focus on that thing we are praying. All our passion and focus directed at the cry of our heart.

This is the moment doubt is given a voice, fear takes a bold stand, and discouragement hops into the front seat.

A key verse for us to brand into our heart is found at the end of Isaiah 60:22.

“I am Yahweh; I will accomplish it quickly in its time.”

Friends, He isn’t slow to respond.

God is perfect, patient, and right on time.

When the time is 100% perfect, He will act quickly.

God isn’t

  • ignoring us.
  • unkind or cruel.
  • bothered and too busy.

He will accomplish all things quickly in its time. He is perfect. He is Sovereign.

When doubt and fear creep in, we must remind ourselves to take our eyes off ourselves and desires and place them on who God is. This is the secret. This is the key to perfect peace.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

Isaiah 26:3

When something begins to weigh heavily on my soul, I have to make a choice. Will I allow what the Lord has defeated to overwhelm me? Or will I choose to remember who He is?

But the Lord.

Sometimes when I read scripture, one or two small words leap out to me. I underline them and toss them around.

Isaiah 60:19 “….but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your splendor.”

But the Lord.

  • When discouragement tempts me to fall prey to its power, I can say, “but the Lord.”
  • When fear screams in tantrum, I can say, “but the Lord.”
  • When doubt whispers in the dark, I can say, “but the Lord.”

Friends, He is good always. Do you believe that with everything in your soul?

If I’m honest, I don’t always believe this to be true. I do in my head, but I don’t let it connect to my heart. I live in a way that conveys the opposite to be true. That God isn’t good always.

What the Bible doesn’t say

A popular misinterpreted passage of scripture tells us God won’t give us more than we can bear. This is not true. We live in a fallen, sin-filled world. Do you mean to tell me the mother who buries her child can bear the weight of that grief? So what happens when she is drowning in the darkest pit she’s ever known? Is she to believe she’s somehow supposed to bear that weight?

When people tell her God won’t give her more than she can handle, what will she begin to think about God?

He promises to be our strength when we are weak. We can’t bear what this world offers us. Only God can do that.

God didn’t say He’d not give us more than we could bear. No, this is what He said.

What the Bible Does Say

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

  • We will face more than we can handle.
  • But Jesus overcame it all.
  • So we must choose to remember “but God”.
  • We must remember His Word tells us He will act quickly in its time.
  • We must remember He is our Healer and our Comforter.
  • By His stripes we are healed.
  • One day He will wipe away every tear.

I’m a part of Community Bible Study. This year we are studying Isaiah. What a book. This is my 3rd time studying this book, and I still struggle through each passage. Today’s commentary is so good I had to share it with you.

“Jesus knew that we tend to give up when prayers are unfulfilled. But God will act on His own timetable, not ours. So we may need to talk with God repeatedly about the same issue. As we do, we get to know Him better. And as we know Him better, we begin to understand how He wants us to pray – “at all times in the Spirit, with…supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18)”

Community Bible Study, Isaiah Vol. 2 page 144.

Some practical help

I wrote a devotion to help us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. It’s so easy to focus on the problems that seem bigger than we know our God to be.

We find ourselves

  • overwhelmed
  • worried
  • and fearful

….because we can’t see a solution or a happy ending in sight. But we look at the wrong spot. We have to teach ourselves a new habit.

Habits are hard to break. I recently read a book The Power of Habits. It was pretty thought-provoking as I considered my thought habits. My worry habits. I bet you have a few as well.

The good news is the brain is pliable and is able to be retrained. We have to retrain our thoughts to focus on who God is rather than what we worry about.

This is why

ebook devotional

Illuminate will take you on a 14 day journey into a more intimate walk with God. It’s gentle and kind to your soul. One day at a time to reflect on His nature. When you see Him by the light of His Word, all the darkness you face will begin to fade.

If you haven’t purchased your copy yet, maybe today is a good day.

Maybe you have a friend you want to encourage? Send her a copy by purchasing and entering her email address.

One final thing

And before I forget, I’ve started a new Instagram account. I’d love if you’d follow along if you are already on IG. And tag a friend or many.

And one more thing, I don’t take for granted you spending your time here with me. In a world where so much pulls for our online attention, you spending this time here with me reflecting on God’s glory means a lot. Blessings to you!

 

 

Is Your Memory As Good As You Think It Is?

I’ve spent my life as a mom building traditions into our family. Even wrote a Christmas devotion to help families do the same.

So you can imagine why it shocked me to my core when I heard one of my children answer the question, “What Christmas traditions does your family have?” with “We don’t really have any traditions.”

Seriously?

We have so many traditions I actually have a notebook dedicated to all things Christmas. It holds Christmas traditions, recipes, menus, etc.

I slept on that comment and woke with it still front and center. It was bothering me because I’ve worked so hard to create in our family memories, experiences, and traditions.

As casually as I could muster, I asked my son why he answered that way. He didn’t remember giving the answer he gave. I tried jarring his memory.

“Remember, they said this. You said that.”

He looked at me quizzically. After a moment he responded, “Well, we don’t really have any do we?”

“What? Are you serious? Let me remind you and see if you recall them.”

I continued to list them all.

“Mom, why are you so upset? Those aren’t really traditions are they? I thought traditions were big things?”

“No, it’s a repeated experience. It can be something small like we have Pioneer Woman Blueberry French Toast Casserole every Christmas morning.”

“Oh, well, I wasn’t thinking that way.”

“Well, how about these? We have a gingerbread house competition every year. Or we make Rolo cookies every year. We have a competition before the baking begins to see who can unroll and stack their Rolos the fastest.”

His response, “We didn’t do it last year.”

I felt myself get defensive all over again. “Yes we did!! I even have it on video.”

I spent the next 5 minutes searching for the videos and made him watch them with me. It all came back. He remembered it clearly.

Yet, until I forced him to recall, he’d forgotten.

If we don’t practice the art of remembering, we forget.

We forget easier than we remember. And we don’t all remember the same way or the same things. We must practice how to remember well.

The Bible is full of this call to remember.

“Aware of this, Jesus said, “You of little faith! Why are you discussing among yourselves that you do not have bread? Don’t you understand yet? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the 5,000 and how many baskets you collected? Or the seven loaves for the 4,000 and how many large baskets you collected?’”

Matthew 16:8-10

Simply Remember

In 2017 the word God continued to speak to me was Remember. In 2018 the word was Simple.

And today I continue to hear these words together. Simply remember.

Remember Me. Remember My works. Remember My faithfulness. Simply practice the art of remembering.

It was the days leading up to Christmas I felt called, inspired, and driven by God to write Illuminate. The inspiration came after a time away at a writer’s retreat and after months of Him stirring a theme in my heart. One of remembrance.

This year has been a challenge for me in many ways as I’ve attempted to homeschool a high schooler, middle schooler, and a delayed learner in elementary school. All while writing and launching 2 businesses at the same time. I’ve cried many tears over all of it and the overwhelm.

Do you know when I’ve hit my wall or felt completely overwhelmed, the Lord has asked me to remember. Every. Single. Time.

It’s like He whispered, “My child, you are forgetting again. Remember. Simply remember.”

I have personally gone through Illuminate multiple times over this last year. God has used it to minister to my soul. He’s used it to restore my hope and put the tools in my hands to defeat the discouragement the enemy attempted to bury me in.

You, my precious and faithful readers, are always on my mind. When the Lord shows me something, you are the first to come to my mind. I begin to think, “I have to share this with my readers. I know they will be as encouraged as I’ve been.”

Illuminate released as a 14 day audio devotion. Meaning it arrives one day at a time for 14 days as an audio file.

I realized some people simply aren’t audio. And some people get stuck at the 14 day piece thinking they need to carve out 14 days (you don’t).

So I packaged Illuminate in 1 complete eBook.

You can now purchase the eBook and get the entire 14 day collection as one book. You can view it on any device or computer. Or print it off. I’m a paper kind of gal and printing at an office supply store is super inexpensive.

While the audio version comes with the transcript as well, there’s something about getting it all at once that some people really want.

Now you can have it both ways!

What God does flows out of who He is.

When we begin to practice the art of remembering and establish this habit, everything changes. Suddenly fear fades, anxiety shrinks, and worries wither.

Illuminate will provide the light your soul is longing for to see the path toward a deeper intimacy with God. For 14 days you will practice seeing the character of God like never before.

ebook devotional

What will Illuminate do for you?

Illuminate will teach you how to truly rest and be still like never before.

No more living overwhelmed by life.

At the end of 14 days you will have a deeper, more intimate relationship with the Creator of your soul. It’s exactly what your soul is longing for.

Who is Illuminate for?

For the one ready to:

  • live free of fear
  • release anxiety and worry once and for all
  • learn to rest even in chaos
  • grow in knowledge and love of God

Looking for a last minute gift?

Give Illuminate. No shipping. No runs to the store. No lines. And best of all, no more adding to the gift clutter. It’s a simple gift that will appeal to all.

Join my email list and never miss a post. Plus receive some fun, free downloads when you subscribe.

 

 

How to literally rest on the Word of God

May we rest on the very Word of God, turning our attention and affection to Him, the Alpha and Omega, with the first and last of our day.

Did you read yesterday’s post? If not, read it before today’s post.

So I told you my big news yesterday, but I promised to tell a little more today.

My favorite item in my shop right now is the scripture pillowcase. A place to literally, physically rest on the Word of God.

The Story of the Instruct Me While Sleep Scripture Pillowcases

When my youngest son was a little guy, we often found him asleep with his head on his Bible or the Bible laid over his chest or wrapped in his arms. It was as if he knew how desperately he needed the Word of God near him always.

My scripture pillowcases were born out of a desire to give my son something a little softer for his head while reminding him of the nearness of God.

I found myself praying over my children at night, “God, instruct their hearts with truth even as they sleep.”

I based this prayer on Psalm 16:7 “I will praise the LORD who counsels me– even at night my conscience instructs me.”

I also found myself praying key verses to help them rest into sleep. So I’d post sticky notes on their beds, nightstands, and doors.

I created a scripture pillowcase for one of my sons when he faced a particularly challenging season. That pillow became a prized possession of his.

These scripture pillows are now a staple in our home and a reminder of the One who holds us and protects every minute of our day, even while we sleep.

My desire is to offer you a tool for training up your children in the way they should go while also creating something for you to enjoy as well!

Why Scripture Pillowcases?

-It’s prettier and longer lasting than post it notes with scripture on the headboard and nightstands.
-It reminds us to remember God.
-It aids in scripture memory.
-It helps us overcome fear as we place our focus on His Word.
-Because we face a long day of the world wearing us down. We need constant encouragement from God’s Word.
-It’s a fringe spot in the home to claim for intentional spiritual training grounds.
-Because scripture centers and transforms us. The more places we have it, the better off we are.

The Bottom Line

“Mom, why are you doing this business?”

“Because God instructs us to instruct our children with truth as we walk along the road, sit at home, as we rise up, and as we lie down. He tells us to put it on our doorposts. I’m taking God’s instruction to heart. This culture is filled with godlessness and I want to give families a practical way to use God’s Words in places that might be empty.”

“Mom, tell them that.”

I smiled. This conversation happened after I spent time reading and explaining all the information to them about my why. But my simple why is all he really wanted. And he reminded me it’s all you really want as well.

So the bottom line is this. Your home is full of fringe spots ready to be claimed. You lay your head on a pillow every night. It’s the first and the last thing your eyes see. So why not have God’s Word right there?

May we rest on the very Word of God, turning our attention and affection to Him, the Alpha and Omega, with the first and last of our day.