As my small group was studying Workbook Three: “Rebuilding God’s Temple” the Lord opened my eyes to a truth I never realized.
The question posed was, “What might be the reason for some of your struggles with eating or in other areas of your life? On whom are you to rely in your weakness? What do you think might be God’s purpose for your struggle?”
Here is how I answered. “Because more often than not I live days, weeks, months, even years ahead of myself. It’s very hard for me to live in the moment. This makes me an excellent planner, able to anticipate things some would never think of. However, it also makes me very restless when I’m in that “in between” place. That’s when I usually eat. The purpose for my struggle, I believe is so God can show me how to rest in Him knowing He’s got whatever is coming next.”
It amazes me how much our childhood experiences can influence our adult behavior. When I was age 6 years old my dad woke me up to tell me he was taking my mom to the hospital and I needed to get up and get myself and my sister ready for school. That hospital visit was the beginning of many over the next 30 years. My mom would live in and out of mental hospitals and institutions while my father was involved in politics and away from home often. So, I became a little parent that day my dad woke me up. And, I’ve never stopped living in a place of preparedness for whatever is coming next.
Even though that day occurred 47 years ago I still find myself restless and bored when I’m not under a deadline. No surprise, I thrive under pressure. For the past six years God has had me living in a season of rest (we live in a small town where I can ride my bike to work, I’m paid generously to simply “be available” to my boss, I have a good three hours to myself between my husband leaving for work and me going to work). It’s a quiet and beautiful season to be living in. And yet, I’m still restless and bored and trying desperately to prepare for the next thing. I don’t want to be caught off guard. And so I nibble. I never use to be a nighttime eater. Now I find myself nibbling on popcorn or fruit or animal crackers after dinner. But thanks be the God who is showing me how this exemplifies what Romans 8:5 refers to as, “… those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh.” Each and every time I choose to eat outside the 0-5 boundaries I am turning my back on the power of the Holy Spirit who can change my wanter and my canner. In fact, depending on the Holy Spirit daily for emotional grace and empowerment is an essential element to heal and keep me healthy.
I’ll admit I have a long way to go in learning how to rest and be still when God places me in that “in-between” place, but I’m encouraged that He helped me recognize where that discontentment/ restlessness came from. The enemy would love for me to focus on the fact that it’s taken me 47 years to see it. BUT GOD wants me to focus on the fact that as I’ve prayed for the eyes of my heart to be open during this bible study, He’s heard my prayer and answered me. And He won’t stop there. Because God wants to use me, and has set me on the path that leads to being used by Him, I find myself encouraged. Rather than preparing for what’s next with a fear-based mentality, I can simply rest in knowing, “He’s got my back and my front.” As Psalm 139:1-5 says, “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”
What about you? Are you sensing that God has you in that “in-between” place right now? If so, seek to find out what His purpose is for doing so. Is it hard for you to rest or be still? If so, ask Him where that came from and what He wants you to do with it. Remember, the Holy Spirit wants to energize us with God’s strength and power to help us walk in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ!