Permission to Stop
The world says that when you’re in the middle of a battle, you need to fight. No matter how tired or bloody you are, if you’re missing a limb or all your comrades have fallen, you keep fighting. The hero always gets off one last shot after everyone thinks he is gone. Beloved, some of you are in the thick of a battle right now. Everywhere you look there are fallen soldiers, and the enemy just keeps coming at you. You may be walking through disease, pain, loss, grief, depression, failure, isolation, abandonment, fear, or more. Maybe a combination of all of the above. You’re tired - bone tired. You try to do the right thing, to keep up the fight, but you can barely do normal things like getting dressed or raking the yard, much less prepare for battle. Here’s the good news: as God’s kid, you have permission to stop. Your one and only job right now is to keep your heart soft towards God. You don’t have to fight, or to protect others, or to gain any ground. Just stand, and keep your heart soft.
“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” - Exodus 14:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” - Psalm 27:14 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” - Ephesians 6:13
There is a night and day difference between giving up and standing still. There is only one thing that God asks of you when you hit rock bottom. Stand still, and soften your heart to Him. He is more than capable of fighting for you, and wants to accomplish much through this pain. What your enemy intends to destroy you, God will take advantage of. He will steal this darkness and turn it into something your enemy despises. He will not only bring healing and intimacy to you, but will work out blessing and healing in the lives of others through you. That is the Truth of your future, Beloved. And it is the last thing your enemy wants, so he is desperate to get you to harden your heart. He wants you to keep fighting until you’re so tired that you sit down in the mud and build a brick wall around yourself. With each brick, he tells you what you are keeping out. Pain. Loss. Grief. Anger. Risk. People. This is the great lie that he spins, because the Truth is that each brick is meant to protect your heart not from people, but from God. This wall you’re building has one purpose - to keep God away. It is impossible to shut out people without shutting out God. You cannot be bitter towards the people around you without being bitter towards God. Every time your enemy tells you to protect yourself, he is secretly telling you how to shut God out. Pull away from your friends. Hide the truth of what you’re going through. Don’t let anyone see your pain. Stop going to church. Numb the pain with ______.
Beloved, can you do this one thing? Soften your heart towards your Father. That’s all. Stay in your pajamas, let the leaves blow across the yard and make cereal for dinner, but soften your heart towards Him. It is the only thing on your to do list right now, because through that much will be accomplished. If there’s nothing else you believe of what I write, believe this: God will show up. He will fight for you, comfort you, guide you, and speak to you. He is for you.
It’s messier than it sounds, this softening of the heart. It means you can’t hide from Him, that you let Him hold you, hear your pain, I mean really hear it. Let Him have it (His shoulders are really big). Sit with Him. Listen to Him. Ask Him to speak.
“And now, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to start all over again. I’m taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I’ll court her. I’ll give her bouquets of roses. I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope.” - Hosea 2:14-15