I have spent a majority of my life working. By the age of 13, I am proud to say, I had my own tax-free babysitting company. Although I never incorporated, I did my research! I recognized the customer demand for childcare in my neighborhood and crafted, what I didn’t know at the time, a bio. In this bio I shared my abilities to care for children, the activities we would do and my reliability. I even had a reference, my aunt, ready to speak to how I had successfully cared for my cousins. For a 13 year old, I had a well thought out business plan, targeted customer base, and intention that drove me to see results. I was looking to work or labor to get what I really wanted, a pair of GUESS jeans! Not just GUESS jeans, stone washed GUESS jeans.
With GUESS jeans on my mind, I distributed my proposal to neighboring homes and got the word out at our church and with family and friends. Shortly after my bio distribution, I received several phone calls even landed a reoccurring gig after school. I remember getting my first $20! That was huge! School and sports were still a priority, however the driving force of getting paid and to have some spending money of my own, inspired my love to work hard and labor for what I wanted.
What was my driving force? What inspired me at the age of 13 to want to earn some extra cash? Jeans! Yes! Stone washed GUESS JEANS! Of course when I look back on my motivation to labor to get what I REALLY wanted, I laugh. Looking for the triangle logo on the back of a pair of jeans pocket, quite vain. To this day it amazes me the dedication and passion I put towards in having a pair of those jeans. It did however instill a strong work ethic that has continued into my adulthood; at the time I valued those jeans and came up with a creative way to ensure I got a pair to show off at school.
As life has continued, thankfully it has become less about laboring to accumulate GUESS jeans and accumulating things and more about a peace and rest in my heart. GUESS what? Walking in peace requires labor. It requires a similar passion and pursuit like I had for those jeans. It is a catch and release also is known as renewing the mind on how to labor to enter His rest.
Fast forward many years; priorities have shifted from desiring and willing to labor for GUESS Jeans to a desire for rest and for peace. My driving force, like those jeans, is a life of resting, free from continual worry, truly knowing that God will walk me through life’s challenges. A peace that surpasses all understanding and guards my heart and mind in Him!
I have spent a majority of my life in worry and over thinking, always desiring to enter peace or a place of rest but never finding that place. I’ve spent decades worried about many things that I value; such as the safety of my children and family, finances, and job performance and security. Of course all of these listed are really important however presenting a constant worry and a mind lack of rest. The worry never brought what I wanted and I was laboring in vain. The media added to the worry; continual reporting of terrorism, global injustice, global warming, the list goes on. There was still this agony to live free from worry and a desire to enter a rest. How could I cast my cares and truly believe what Jesus promised in John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; not as the world gives do I give you. Do not let your heart be troubled nor let it be fearful.
What keeps us from resting, in a peace that surpasses all understanding and a knowing that God will walk us through life? The answer is our continual dwelling on Cares of life, Comparison, Condemnation.
Cares: We have responsibilities in life. Life needs tending. It is the worry, tormenting fear or lack of faith in God’s to walk you through any care. When we lack faith in God when it concerns our cares we are not at rest, we are pressured to take matters in our own hands and choose to sit on the throne of our hearts. However according to 1 Peter 5:6-7 says: Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety (or cares) because He cares for you.
Comparison: Statements like: I should be further along then where I’m at, I should have this, that, so on and so on. The social media creates a “fear of missing out” or a comparison of lifestyle. (of course this is our choice to participate in comparison) Dwelling on the comparison thoughts, we choose to forget the perfect plan God has for our lives. As we become more consumed with God’s agenda for our lives, the comparison begins to diminish. You become so engaged in doing His will and resting in His timing, there will be no time to compare your life’s journey with another’s.
Condemnation: Shame and guilt; a life living in past failures or sin. Thoughts of: Should have said this, the worry of I should have done this, or should NOT have done that. Living in condemnation is is a mind fixed on the past and the thief of peace and joy for the here and the NOW! Would haves, could haves, should haves…. never enough… crippling your ability to hear the voice of God in what His plan is for you today. Replace the “should haves” with should look to enter His rest according to Hebrews 4:1
Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.
When we are full of the cares of life, comparing our lives with others and condemnation living in past failures, we are falling short of entering His rest. We are all consumed with generating thoughts that are not at rest. The bottom line is…
You cannot have a life full of rest and peace when you have a mind full of anxiety and worry about the past, present, and future!
The truth is, worry robs us of NOW. Worry keeps us from rest, anxiety keeps us from peace and when we ponder and meditate on the cares, comparison and condemnation it hardens our hearts from hearing God’s voice and direction. It is mans way of trying to solve or fix. The mind is involved in a guessing game, what should I do? How do I fix? Worry is labor in vain.
So GUESS what is the fix is to labor to get what you really want; a mind free from anxiety and full of peace? I call it a catch and release. No it’s not a 10 step process or a magic trick, it is catching yourself in the thought of worry or anxiety and choosing to think again, however thinking how God thinks! The wonderful advantage in life and living in rest and peace is you don’t have to believe everything that comes to your mind. Maybe I should say that again…You don’t have to believe everything that comes to mind!
Let me take the GUESS work out of this and keep it simple. If you are continually in worry about your cares, comparison or condemnation you are not laboring to enter His rest! When we catch our thoughts we choose to think again and release an new thought. And what could we possibly be thinking about? Philippians 4:8-9 gives us what to think or dwell on and a promise to follow:
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
To wrap this up, to labor and get what you truly desire, a life of peace and rest full of faith in God, it requires a catch and release.
The Catch is: Holding EVERY THOUGHT captive that is not like God. If you want a life of rest, YOU MUST labor and be diligent looking to hold every thought captive according to 2 Corinthians 10:5. Followed by the release!
The Release is : Choosing to think again and dwell on what God dwells on according to Philippians 4:8-9 and the peace of God will be with you to provide peace and joy through life’s journey.
Thank God that life is so much more than a pair of jeans! What is the value in life if it is full of a constant worry and anxiety over cares, living in comparison and condemnation. Take the GUESS work out by catching every thought and releasing a new thought to dwell in peace. Look to labor to get what you want. Labor to enter His rest!