Devotional by Jess Newton
Have you ever found yourself in an extra deodorant stage of life? A stage where God seems to be increasing the capacity of your spirit but your flesh hasn’t quite caught up yet?
I sure have. I started writing the rough draft of this devotional as a coping mechanism while strapped into a particularly turbulent flight home from Colorado. I consider myself pretty brave, after all I had just spent the week with my husband camping near Leadville, CO, which is the highest incorporated city in the United States. At night it was 40 degrees and during the day we went on excursions including white water rafting with class 4 rapids, high ropes courses, rock climbing and a full day hike to a waterfall. For most of the activities, we were required to wear some combination of helmet/harness/wetsuit if that is any indication of the amount of inherent risk involved. Yet none of that phased me! I’m not sure if I just really dislike flying or I really love control, but the whole “I’m trapped” sensation as they close the airplane door combined with the “I’m 6.5 miles up in the air” revelation while wondering “which of my kids would have the hardest time without me if we crash,” and lastly wanting to make sure the pilot isn’t texting while flying really gets my goat. I’m sure the sweet older woman beside me wished I had put some extra deodorant on because I was shaking like a leaf with hot-flash status rivers of sweat pouring down my body (#glamour).
The truth is that God is giving me ever-increasing opportunities daily to live a bigger life – that includes pastoring Wave Greenville alongside my husband, more traveling, moving our three kids (ages 8, 7 and 3) to a new city, & buying a home and all that entails. I can choose to show up daily or shrink back and let my life fit my fears. But let’s be honest. I’m only human and some days I just feel scared and tired. The Bible says in Matthew 26:41 (NLT) that the spirit is willing but the body is weak. No time like the present to whip my body into shape and catch up with my willing spirit!
On the days where I need to overcome my troubled and weary heart, I remind myself to:
1. Do it scared!
Buy extra deodorant if you have to but don’t back down! The good news is that life is lived daily. God only asks us to do one day at a time. The Bible says in Matthew 6:34 (NIV), “Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” We all find ourselves in days and seasons that can either stretch us or stress us. I take comfort knowing the Holy Spirit is our Counselor and He can get us through the days where our hearts seem to race and we have worries without answers! He is here with us, listening to us, speaking courage into our hearts and cheering us on. In John 14:26-27 (RSV), Jesus says, “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Our Counselor, the Holy Spirit can give us peace despite our troubled hearts and increase our capacity when we don’t give up because of fear.
2. Do it tired!
Seasons don’t last forever. Galatians 5:22-23 (MSG) says, “What happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard- things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” It goes on to say “legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way,” or as the Passion translation phrases it, “never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.” The Word is saying so plainly here that these gifts God brings to our lives can be LIMITLESS especially when we use our energy wisely. But for those days when you do feel tired, press through and show up anyways!
These glorious uncomfortable opportunities we have to overcome daily (fear and weariness) are the very fibers that can make up the adventure of our lifetimes if we let them. We can shrink back or decide in the midst of it all to listen to our Counselor who can give us limitless peace and hearts that aren’t troubled and weary. Slap on an extra swipe and go live your one wild and precious (and sometimes sweaty) life!