“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.” -Matthew 11:29-30 The Message
Without force. Without striving. Without straining.
Without well meaning, but awkward, attempts to be what I’m not.
Without well meaning, but awkward, attempts to do what I’m not called to do.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that little word “unforced.” That little word has been my plumbline in recent days. Whenever I find myself tense, or frustrated, or confused, or down, it is usually because of one simple thing:
I’m expecting something to happen, or–even worse–trying to make something happen…
That isn’t trying to happen.
My expectations and attempts have been sincere. They have usually been the result of a well-meaning desire to heed the wise counsel and advice of those I love, respect, and trust. That’s a good thing.
Until it’s not.
I believe in community and connection with all of my heart. None of us are meant to live in a bubble. We need each other. There are times we need others to see what we can’t see ourselves. I’ve had many of those times in my life. I’m so grateful for those God has used to speak into my life again and again.
But, ultimately, my trust is in God–and God alone. Ultimately my allegiance is to God–and God alone.
Because, ultimately, I will stand before God–and God alone.
So I place my heart in His hands and trust that He will keep my heart open, unoffended, and teachable. I trust that He will continue to lead me. There have been many times the Lord has had me step waaaay outside of my comfort zone and do things that were not at all “natural” or easy for me (in fact, I’m right smack in the midst of one of those times!). But in each of those instances …
I knew it was Him.
And there is always grace to follow Him.
But there isn’t grace to follow even the wisest and most conventional of wisdom–from even the wisest and most loving of sources– when the request isn’t coming from heaven.
I was contemplating these things recently as I was shaking off yet another fruitless attempt to demonstrate I was “willing” to step outside of my comfort zone. As I wrote these words in my journal, peace returned:
The unforced rhythms of grace
The unhindered flow of the river
The unrestrained outpouring of Your love
Unforced, unhindered, unrestrained
What You have ordained
What You foretold
Now coming to pass
Your kingdom comes
Your will is done
Nothing forced or false
Flowing out of us
His Kingdom is coming. His will is being done. All within the unforced rhythms of His grace. Just try to stop a river flowing at full capacity! It doesn’t have to “try” to keep moving–it just keeps going with the flow.
I’m going to flow with the river. Because that’s what He’s asking me to do. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone again and again (and again) at His invitation, and I will again (and again), when He calls. But I won’t force what isn’t happening.
And I won’t keep trying to prove how willing I am to do “whatever” needs doing. He already knows I’m willing–even when I forget. The truth is, He never asked me to prove myself in the first place.
He asked me to prove Him.
As I do, I have a sneaking suspicion that out of my innermost being–and not my innermost “doing”–will flow rivers of living water.