From Retired . . .
Five years ago, in 2013, I left my full-time teaching job. Generally, I say, “I retired.” But, I was just tired. For years my priorities had been spinning unbalanced and out of control like an overloaded washing machine. My health, too, had suffered from exhaustion. As a workaholic who lived on adrenaline, I pushed ahead and took on too much.
Does anyone else identify with me?
Then, in the fall of 2012, during a family meeting, Dave asked us how we were praying for each other. My 15-year-old son said quietly, “I’m praying for mom, that she could quit her job.” Taken back by his concern and insight, I choked back tears. When spring came, I had decided to retire.
During that first year, I learned to rest, to roll back the schedule, and to enjoy the stillness. Over and over, Jesus kept inviting me to read John 15 and think about the grapevine and its branches. Two lessons stood out.
1. My old habit of pushing myself to exhaustion had to change.
For years, I had operated my life like a car. I pulled into the gas station and filled up the tank, and then I sped out of that station at 100 miles per hour, intent on a destination. Jesus didn’t want to be my filling station. Instead, He wanted to be my tandem bike partner. He would ride in front, pedaling and directing. I could work with Him and rest in Him.
2. Jesus wants me to live a “branch” life.
As I learned to draw my energy and life continuously from Him, the only activity that He required was remaining in Him. I had worn myself out, doing too much for Him, only to discover that life in Jesus means resting in Him. I also discovered how much work remaining is! A “branch” life requires listening to Him, shutting off the TV and putting down my phone. That life requires saying “no” to some people or requests so that I can say “yes” to His plans for me (which sometimes leads me back to rest).
I’m grateful that He changed me. Since He’s the one who takes our mess-ups and makes them a step up into something useful, I’ve written a little book about resting in Him, Surrendered:Learning to Trust and Rest. Surrendered will be available in mid-May. I can’t wait to share more about it in the weeks ahead.
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Stay rooted (and remain) in Jesus.