By Kiara Holmes
If you’re anything like me, you’ve experienced pressure before spending time with God or coming into His presence in any manner.
My heart can murmur thoughts like:
- Okay, how long should I be here?
- I hope I do this right.
- Am I going to get anything out of this today? Is God?
Or you’ve a general underlying discouragement you can’t identify.
Now, of course, this pressure and discouragement comes from the enemy who wants to bring confusion and keep you from freely enjoying your relationship with the Father.
We can, however, have a posture of rest and expectancy as we meet with God, go along in our daily life, and carry out our leadership roles.
One day, as I was playing worship music and singing to the Lord, I had an underlying unsettledness.
The Holy Spirit then encouraged me with this thought: “Don’t try and make up for something in your worship.”
Was I really doing that? Was I worshipping out of my insecurity?
I proceeded to write in my journal that I can’t try to worship harder now in an attempt to make up for all the times I missed worshiping in the past. Christ’s sacrifice, not my track record of worship, is sufficient for my reconciliation with God.
In another journal entry I recalled a time when it felt like the Lord asked me, “Are you trying to appease me through activity (reading the Bible to feel like I’m making up for something like lost time or areas of weakness)?”
Instances like these have brought me into different teaching moments where God uncovers and gently corrects wrong thinking to free my soul to enjoy Him, our good Shepherd.
Walking In the Cool of the Day
We have a God who goes along with us, grabbing us by the hand, settling the thoughts we don’t know lie deep down.
But often, our view of Jesus can be a hindrance to how we relate to Him, which hinders approaching Him with confidence.
Not only that, but having a child-like, daily interaction with Him can be difficult when we think of Jesus as a static character, and not One who created the brain, and all the emotions and neural connections taking place within us as we navigate our world and life with Him.
Our good Shepherd doesn’t have only some traits of goodness. He’s the complete embodiment of goodness, weighing the heart in light of His mercy and commitment to completing His work in us.
This means that when we feel uncertain or have jumbled thoughts surrounding His presence and how we relate to Him, we don’t have to feel scared or under pressure. We don’t have to feel unaccepted by Him because we don’t seem to have it together.
Jesus is able to give verbiage to what we feel as He leads us beside still waters. We aren’t shepherding Him.
We don’t have to make sure He knows what we mean. He knows, and He is directing us into soundness of mind in a variety of circumstances.
This is an important truth—especially when we empty ourselves leading and serving in the church.
When you go to meet with God, take time to just be. Can you believe you are loved even when you’re sitting still?
Can you be confident that if Jesus saved you through His kindness, He will also sanctify you with His kindness?
We desperately need to draw from Him to be transformed in every facet of who we are. And drawing from Him isn’t about having all the right thoughts and feelings to feel like the conditions are right.
Drawing from the Lord means bringing an empty bucket and expecting to be filled. Spending time with Jesus isn’t all about productivity.
Walking with God as we go about our day isn’t just about staying away from sin and trying to do the right things. It’s all about engagement. We have an extremely relational God, who’s an expert at relating to us.
As children of God we’ve already crossed over from death to life and from being God’s enemies to His friends. We who were once estranged by sin are now fully accepted by Christ.
We’re already positioned to fully experience God through the complexities of our humanity.
Our Good Shepherd
David experienced this dynamic as recorded in Psalm 23. Because God was His shepherd, David had what he needed.
His soul was thoroughly cared for. His soul was led to green pastures—fertile soil already tilled and lush enough to lie down comfortably.
Even Jesus, when he walked through hardship and dark times, was present and involved in leading, correcting, and guiding others.
David alluded to being nourished by and eating with God even in the presence of His enemies. And He wasn’t the chef; God set the table and prepared the meal.
David came to receive, and nothing was powerful enough to keep him from fellowship with God and nourishment by his hand.
You can rest in the presence of God. This isn’t meant to be ethereal. Seriously, sit still and expect God to be your Shepherd. Ask, and expect to receive.
He knows what you need for each day, not only for strength to accomplish His will and to perform ministry, but to form you into who He is calling you to be.
He will lead your time with Him because He wants to. He will lead you in the Word, and He will lead your thoughts.
God isn’t threatened by your wandering mind; ironically, the act of doing ministry can sometimes distract us from our focus on Him. You’re not wasting time by lingering with Him.
You can rest with Him as you go about your day. If the day becomes overwhelming, remember that wisdom is found in the Lord.
In Him we’ve been given “everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 2:3, emphasis mine). The Lord is ready and willing to shape our perspective about situations we encounter, small and big.
Christ is committed to you, your holiness, and all of who you are. It’s His pleasure to do so as He bought you with His own blood to bring you into the fullness of redemption.
Rest, leader. You have a good Shepherd.