It was a cold morning for a walk.
47 degrees cold.
I'm not quite ready for these temps. It doesn't even smell like autumn to me yet.
Nevertheless, I laced up my shoes, started out on my walk and promptly turned around to go back home and get my fleece jacket. I almost changed my mind at that point and thought about staying inside, but I told myself I needed to stick with it. I needed to go on my morning walk.
Straight up: I've been slacking. Slacking in my exercise, slacking in healthy eating habits, slacking in maintaining my stress levels... slacking in at all, it feels like.
My morning walk is my alone time. My me time. My time with God. My time where no one and no thing is pulling at me. I don't listen to music when I walk or run because I like to observe the things around me. I like to pray. This morning it was so quiet, I could hear the squirrels in the trees munching on acorns and dropping the shells to the pavement below. I nearly got dinged on the head by a squirrel mindlessly chucking an acorn shell.
Maybe I'm not as one with the squirrels as I originally thought.
But this morning, I was feeling "it." I was feeling tired of the pressure ...the pressure of not doing the things I know should be doing ...the pressure of doing the things I know I shouldn't be doing.
I felt guilty for asking it. Almost afraid...maybe because I didn't want to be disappointed. But I asked God if He could leave a heart shaped leaf or stick smiley face for me (as He's done before) because I needed one today. And so I started looking, scanning the sidewalk and the trees for a sign.
I started to doubt. I thought maybe I was asking too much of God, even though I know He is perfectly able to do way above anything I could hope or ask for (Ephesians 3:20). Then I thought, "What if I was putting Him in a box? What if He had a different way of showing me that He loves me and I was too busy looking for Him in my own way?" And so I asked God to do His own thing and help me not be blind to see it when He did it.
And that's when I saw it.
He gave me something infinitely better than a heart shaped leaf or a smiley face made out of twigs and bark.
He gave me Himself.
I was literally standing at the foot of the cross.
It was such a clear reminder that the pressure and stress that I've been carrying around...I need to lay them at the foot of the cross.
The cross that Jesus died on so that I could have life and freedom (John 3:16; Galatians 5:1), not stress and pressure because of my own selfishness.
And so, today, my goal is to lay the things weighing me down at His cross...and to leave them there. Once again.
Because I know when I do give those things to the Lord, He says He'll do this (italics mine):
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28
"He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." - Isaiah 40:29-31
"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7
"Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall." - Psalm 55:22
So what's weighing you down? What's holding you back from feeling freedom today? I'm being reminded, for the bajillionth time, that a pretty miraculous thing happens when we give those things over to God: rest, strength, and peace.
-- Erin :-)