// Lynette Hagin
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
—Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)
THE YEARS PASS way too fast these days. You know that they are quickly going by when even children comment, "Is it December already?" When I was a child, it seemed that everything except summer lasted an eternity. Our lives have become so busy. You would think that with all of our advanced technology, our lives would be simplified. However, it appears that with so many of our daily tasks now automated, we don't let that make life easier. We simply try to cram more activities into our calendars.
As I reflected on what to write about this month, the word joy came to me. Over the past year I have encountered many people who are experiencing burnout. The Lord does not intend for us to either "rust out or burn out," as my father-in-law used to say.
My husband and I keep a rather busy schedule. I used to console myself by saying, "Next year things will slow down." However, it always seemed that the next year was busier than the year before. So I finally concluded that life for me was not going to slow down. I was going to have to accept the obvious: God had plans for me far beyond my ability or strength. So what did I do? I realized that I would have to rest in God's ability, not my own.
That year I looked frantically for a time when my husband and I could take a week off. I knew that we needed to follow Jesus' example. In Mark 6:31 (NLT) He said to His apostles, "Let's go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile." He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn't even have time to eat.
Of course, we know that when they got to the quiet place, the people had followed them. And Jesus had compassion on them and ministered to them. However, I gleaned from this verse that Jesus Himself recognized the importance of taking time to rest. So I thumbed through my appointment calendar trying to find time for a vacation, and I realized that there was not a single week that year that we could take off. I had scheduled far too many things.
At first I wanted to panic and cry out in despair, "God, I can't make it through this year!" Obviously, God knew my thoughts and began to answer me before I had a chance to pour my heart out. What He said to me has echoed in my ears ever since. He said, "Lynette, My Word says, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness' " (2 Cor. 12:9 NKJV). Don't you just love it when God quotes His scriptures to you?
"I know that scripture," I replied. And then God spoke these profound words: "I only give you grace for today. You cannot draw upon tomorrow's grace. So if you will walk in the grace that I give you today and quit worrying about tomorrow, when tomorrow comes, there will be another day of grace."
I said, "OK, God. I receive that, and I will put it into practice." That year became the easiest one I had experienced in many years. Why? Though it was extremely busy, I walked in God's grace every day. And He supplied the strength, ability, and wisdom to navigate through every situation.
However, I learned another lesson that year. Since then, I have always placed our annual vacation time on our calendar before I schedule any other events. You see, God does want us to take time to rest. He wants us to relax our minds and take a break from our busy, scheduled life. He always wants us to live in joy. Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV) says, "Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
We need to draw continually upon the joy of the Lord. As you encounter the busy schedule that December always brings, I encourage you to draw upon the joy of the Lord. That joy will become your strength, and you will be able to navigate through your schedule with ease. Rather than dreading the season, you will actually enjoy it. And most of all, may we remember and celebrate the reason for the season: the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.