I walked up the hill and out of the corner of my eye, I saw it. A dog. I couldn’t see his head or tail, just a bit of his middle, a golden coat. I instantly began a prayer, something along the lines of God sending his angels to guard over me. My adrenal glands surged a wee bit. Lately, I had some bad experiences with dogs. Two of them had come snarling out of the woods at Ania and me, twice. I chased them with a large stick while yelling, “Go HOME!” So much for “speak softly and carry a big stick”. Turns out the dog loitering between the houses today was just an old, run down, tail-between-his-legs hound. Not much to be worried about.
As I passed the sorry hound, who followed me for a few seconds and then headed off in another direction, My mind was overflowing with fond memories of the book release party the day before, but those thoughts were quickly hounded out by “What do I need to do next?” And I had this picture in my mind of myself going about my days as if I were being chased by those naughty dogs, constantly. No time to rest. No time to celebrate. Soak in the after glow of a job well done. How many of us women live our lives like that. Worry, haste, perfection, projects, voices that scream “NOT GOOD ENOUGH” snarl at our heels and we keep running. Running. Running. Trying to measure up. Measure up to what?
I heard that still small voice whisper to me, “Enjoy the fruit of your labor.” Rest. Why is that so difficult for us? i continued with my day and writing lists in my head when an email popped up on my phone- the subject line read- Kathleen, rest. Someone knows me well.
So, today, rest. Reflect. Rehearse past victories. What hurdles have you overcome lately? Did you take time to celebrate those victories? Or did you like me, let the canines corner you? Get out your stick and tell those nasties to GO HOME! Rejoice in the fruit of your labor. Thank the Lord for sustaining you. Thank Him for the strength He gave you to overcome. It’s not a new syndrome, this depression, fear of failure after a major victory. Elijah suffered it after He defeated the prophets of Baal. He fled after a threat from Jezebel. One person. And yet, God met Elijah where He was.
5 As he lay asleep under the broom or juniper tree, behold, an angel touched him and said to him, Arise and eat.
6 He looked, and behold, there was a cake baked on the coals, and a bottle of water at his head. And he ate and drank and lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came the second time and touched him and said, Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.
8 So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and nights to Horeb, the mount of God.- I Kings 19:5-8
God’s encouragement has extra staying power.Elijah went in the strength of that food forty days and nights!
Have you experienced a great victory? Are you feeling vulnerable? Exposed? Afraid? Trying to control what happens next? Are you taking that one negative comment and letting it chase you around all day?
Stop. Rest. Expect the Lord to show up. He wants to minster to you, did you know that? He longs to be gracious to you.
And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]. Isaiah 30: 19
If you skimmed that like I sometimes do, go back and read it again. If you seriously need some encouragement, write it down and hi-light everything that you can expect God the Father to do for you. Earnestly wait for Him. For His:
- Matchless, Unbroken Companionship
This is the promise for those who return to Him and resting in Him, through that you will be saved. In quietness and confidence will be your strength (Is 30:15). But, if you go your own way, chased by dogs or speeding your own course on horses, you will flee until you are left like a beacon on a flagpole (vs 16,17). How many times have I felt like that? Speeding my own course until I felt alone, exposed, a tattered flag on a pole? I’d rather have the rest, wouldn’t you?
Join me in celebrating with some rest and reflection. Wait on the one who is able to meet your needs and give you the strength for the next portion of the journey. Send those noisy dogs home!
And while I am resting and reflecting,here are some photos from the Book Release Celebration!