We are blessed with inner rhythms that tell us where we are, and where we are going. No matter, then, our fifty and sixty-hour work weeks, the refusing to stop for lunch, the bypassing sleep and working deep into the darkness. If we stop, if we return to rest, our natural state reasserts itself. Our natural wisdom and balance come to our aid, and we can find our way to what is good, necessary and true. -Wayne Muller
How often do we say NO to God? How often do we place God on hold with the intent of just trying to get this one last thing done so we can then give Him our full attention? So often we think things won’t get done unless we personally attend to them in the moment. This kind of mindset tends to leave God out of the picture.
As I reflected upon an article by Ruth Haley Barton entitled “Leading in Rhythm: Beyond the Bondage of Busyness,”¹ I began to see my own busyness in light of my past over-worked life. It wasn’t until I fell into the arms of a compassionate non-judgmental God that I came to recognize my bloopers and blunders of allowing physical work to overwhelm my spiritual life. I was the energizer bunny that just kept on going without regard to the gentle reminders that He gives me daily—reminders to acknowledge and to experience his presence. Now, thankfully, I am much more aware of his invitations to join him in what he is doing rather than being so intent on accomplishing what I think needs to be done.
The story of Moses and the Israelites serves as a great example of trusting God to lead, and to provide in all aspects of life. Moses established rhythms of life that sustained the Israelite community over which he was given charge. In Exodus 16 we read of how the community was instructed to depend on God for their basic provisions by collecting the daily mana provided by God for six days. Then they were to rest from that labor, again trusting in God to provide all that was needed for their sustenance. It is in both instances, work and rest, that we join with God in his provision for us.
If we make the commitment to honor God in all we do, then our physical life should reflect our spiritual life and vice-versa. When this happens, we are saying YES to God. For example, when we say, we’re going to work, we are really saying, “we are joining God in the workplace”. By making a conscious decision to acknowledge the presence of God in our lives daily, we give him honor and open ourselves to his ongoing blessings available for us.
In conclusion, we can choose to say YES to God with everything we do through our work in our everyday life as well as in our moments of intentional rest by relinquishing to him our time and efforts to accomplish the tasks at hand. This is a recognition that he is the One who can do exceedingly more than we could ask or imagine.
One of my favorite tools to help me intentionally put God first in all of my daily activities is called “the prayer of relinquishment.” When we give God "our everything," He organizes our life to run more smoothly than we could ever envision.
A Prayer of Relinquishment
Today, O Lord, I yield myself to you. May your will be my delight throughout the day. May your way have perfect sway in me. May your love be the pattern of my living. I surrender to you my hopes, my dreams, my ambitions. Do with them what you will, when you will, as you will. I place into your loving care, my family, my friends, my future. Care for them with a care that I can never give. I release into your hands my need to control, my craving for status, my fear of obscurity. Eradicate the evil, purify the good, and establish your kingdom on earth. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.²
—Gracie Johnson, MS
Gracie Johnson is an Odyssey in Christ spiritual director and along with her participation on the retreat and seminar staff, she serves as an OIC board member.