We know when Ava Joy’s tired. She becomes restless; wont take any more bottle, wont sit still, will whimper when in her moses basket or baby gym- she just wont settle.
We know then that rocking her to sleep on our knees or over the shoulder with music playing will send her to sleep. But if you watch her doing this, she tries to fight it so much. Seldom will she drift off as soon as she feels tired. Even when she’s being rocked to sleep you can see her eyes heavily closing and then opening up again- “stop fighting it” we would say “you can rest, go to sleep.”
If only she knew that a good rest would enable her to wake up feeling more refreshed and ready for the next stage in her day. Rest helps her to grow and have more energy to get through the next feed and play- yet she isn’t mature enough yet and so unaware of the benefits to her resting.
I watched Ava as she so desperately tried to fight her tiredness and had a revelation that we, you and I, are just the same. How often do we try to fight the thing we need to do the most? It may not be sleep- although for some it might. I know for me, I often fight the need to rest, I’ve got so much to do, that when I do have time, I want to be out, writing or on my bike- not wasting the day resting. That’s how I so often view my opportunity to rest. Carl can’t understand it, often saying, “if you’re tired and you need to rest, do it. I’ll look after Ava. I can’t understand why you want to be ‘doing’ when you need to be resting. You’ll only get cranky later!
Perhaps you’re fighting the ability to forgive yourself and accept Gods forgiveness? Maybe you’re beating yourself up about something you did in your past? Maybe you’re putting off looking at bills or you’re seemingly low bank balance? Perhaps you’re fighting what God is asking you to do- has he given you a specific calling? Maybe he’s asking you to do something- or he’s just asked you to have the courage to go up to someone- a total stranger perhaps, and you’re fighting his instructions? Perhaps there’s something in your past that you don’t want to confront? It’s become a prison at the back of your mind that you’re constantly trying to break out of- you cover it up well and even convince yourself it’s not affected you. I encourage you guys, give it up, Stop fighting.
Perhaps you want to know God- but you’re fighting him at the same time? You’re asking so many questions, looking into every intricate detail evidencing his existence and this belief we call Christianity- you’re fighting his very simple love and find that actually the answers are very simple- yet you can’t accept it, your fighting it? I’m all for lots of questions, but if we’re always questioning, where’s room for believing?
Psalm 37: 5-6
Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.
Whatever it is your fighting, give it up! Fighting in the general term is not something advocated.
To fight, is to: take part in a violent struggle involving the exchange of physical blows or the use of weapons. Struggle to overcome, eliminate, or prevent.
It’s a struggle, causing you pain, hurt, unrest, anger, frustration and ironically causes you to become weak in the end. Exactly the opposite to someone you would describe and perceive as a fighter- strong and courageous it would appear at first.
Take rest in Him, take refuge in Him. When you finally give it up, when you finally stop fighting, you can know freedom like you’ve never known it before. You can walk in his love, holding nothing back. You can experience a peace like never before and a sense of comfort and release in knowing that God is taking the wheel now- no longer do you have to keep steering your own way; fighting against everything. You can walk in his will, knowing he’s got your back. He’s everywhere with you- even though in reality it seems you are alone. I know, because he’s done it for me, and I totally believe he can for you.
When we fight, we can become afraid, fearful of what’s going to happen next. God tells us we don’t have to be.
“Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go” Joshua 1:9
He’s already won the fight, so why are you trying to win your own battle? Give it up. Stop fighting.
To ‘give’ means to; freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone).
It says in Acts 20:35 that Jesus said; “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Don’t you find that when you give you feel so free? You feel so blessed to be giving away something- be it your time, finances, gifts, your presence, your wisdom. But what about when you give up your pain, your struggle, your worries, your past? Whatever it is you need to give to God; when you give- you are blessed. Giving brings freedom and and I believe grows your heart. Giving releases, giving frees- Give it up!
As I’m writing this- ‘fortress’ began playing on my phone. God just dropped this into my heart- because He’s God and that’s what he does sometimes.
Fortress (lyrics): Life Church, Wide open space
You are my fortress
No fear can hold us
Safe in your presence
You are my fortress
Stop letting this thing you’re fighting be your fortress, one that’s preventing you from breaking free. This thing you’re fighting has become your stronghold. You need to break free. Seek shelter in His fortress, His castle with walls of protection and doors that welcome you in –rather than trying to keep you out. He will keep you safe, He’ll shield you, no fear will hold you down. He is your fortress- not this thing your fighting. Seeking shelter in Him doesn’t make you weak, in the end you will be stronger and able to face weapons, through finding comfort in Gods strength and wearing your armour.
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil…
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[c] Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
So dear brothers and sisters, what is it you’re fighting?
I encourage you with a loving embrace, to give it up. Stop fighting. Take refuge in Him, give it all over- keeping nothing back. You are never too broken. You will never have made too many mistakes that it’s too late. He loves you. Just come to Him, tell him what it is and give him your sorry. He’ll welcome you in with open arms.
“The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit. God, you will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for sin” Psalm 51:17
Psalm 91 (NLT)
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection…
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!”