“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)
Living a life for God in a fallen world can be a tricky thing. As Christians we are living according to a different truth than the world around us is built upon. Our natural instincts and inherited minutes can cause confusion and conflict with the New Life that is springing up within us. When we think of the desperate need in the world all around us and the seemingly insurmountable task of the salvation of the world, discouragement can set in. As we do all we know to do to make a difference and build the Kingdom of God, love people, nurture our families, steward our finances, build careers and ministries, life in the 21 Century can simply be overwhelming. We can get burned out. We find ourselves tired, stressed, unfulfilled, and longing for this abundant life that Jesus has promised us.
God has left us Two Great Books of His Revelation to mankind: Scripture and Nature. And it remarkable how much the two teach about the other. Scripture shows us how to live in this real and natural world. And Nature shows us how the truth of scripture plays out in real life! It’s thrilling when you think about what majesty and mystery lies within our finger tips every day.
I have learned such profound truth from planting a simple little garden at my house. When I took on this project I had no idea what I was doing. So I asked someone who had experience and wisdom in such matters; my mother. We erected a barrier for the garden. We prepared and fertilized the soil. We got the right seeds for the right seasons. We planted the seeds. We watched them sprout. We waited. We waited more. We waited some more. (This is a Rhema word for someone out there. God is working. You have sown faithfully. You will reap in due time if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9) As the plants grew, we watered. Too much water, the plants sagged. Too little water the plants shriveled in the sun. We waited some more. I noticed I had no control over the plants growing. I lost interest in the garden for a few weeks. The plants grew wildly. They needed to be pruned. We waited some more. Weeds sprang up everywhere in the fertile ground and stole precious nutrients from the garden. And so it went on. After what seemed like a long while. We reaped a harvest. Then we reaped another harvest; and another after that. Some plants yielded a little bit; but some a bit more. Others just kept producing.
Life flourishes in the right conditions.
If you are struggling and not finding the flourishing abundant life that seems promised by Jesus and pages of the New Testament, I would dare say it’s your fault. Don’t be offended! This is really good news. Because if it is your fault, you can change it! You have simply not understood or rightly applied the truth and wisdom that The Good Father has shown us through the Two Great Books.
So to get you started or to help you make a few adjustments here are a couple conditions that can help your life flourish. (This is by no means the end all be all. But I know you saw a few areas that you could work on. Pick one or two. Start there.)
1. Seek First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness
2. Each day, read the scriptures, pray and review the day in advance to be proactive.
3. Exercise 3 to 4 times a week.
4. Have a Sabbath rest each week (at least half a day each week if this season’s commitments have you buggered.)
5. Utilize meals for relationships. Have lunch and (or) dinner with friends when possible each week.
6. Pure enjoyment recreation at least bi weekly, preferably weekly. It should be active and enjoy nature!
7. Eat Healthy, minimize caffeine, and drink lots of water.
8. Goal of 8 hours of Sleep each night. Pray before bed. (If you are married pray aloud with your spouse.)
9. Call important friends and family monthly
10. Engage with mentors monthly or quarterly.
11. Enjoy Solitude
12. Read regularly; learn every day. Enjoy entertainment sparingly. Turn off cable.
13. Pray throughout the day.
14. Be generous, encouraging, and show love. Be thankful every day.
15. Rely on God’s grace, not your own strength. Don’t push when you are dry or tired, relax back in to God. Trust Him to win the battles.
16. Prioritize. Not everything matters equally.
17. Listen to music to enjoy. But be careful it music worth listening to.
18. Utilize monthly and weekly scheduling to avoid falling into a reactive state.
19. Budget, save, invest; avoid debt.
20. Have Goals. Work toward them with small daily disciplines.
21. Be careful who you surround yourself with, and who you allow to speak into your life. They who walk with the wise grow wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.
22. Live for God’s Glory; a lifestyle of worship.
23.Take great vacations.
24. Be transparent and authentic. Don’t live with masks. It exhausting and it will eventually come crashing down.
25. Ask for the earnest pray of other faithful believers.
26. Take care of yourself. Then I am strong to serve others.
27. Be wise. Understand the seasons.
28. Seek simplicity.