Tuesday, February 12, 2013

La-Z-Boy Christianity....That's The Life For Me!

I was exhausted.  I felt like doing absolutely nothing.  I needed to just sit on the couch and rest.  I felt as if I had finished up a week of hard physical labor and needed to refresh and re-energize before I could function at normal level again.  How did I get here?  It was a tough week.  Not, physically but emotionally.  My 10 year old had to be put under via IV sedation in order to have oral surgery done this week.  I was ok, until about 4 days out, but as that day approached, the anxiety increased.  On the outside, I wore a mask that communicated all was good.  On the inside however it was a little different story.

I know, thousands of kids undergo procedures like this everyday, not to mention others who face much more difficult procedures.  I reminded myself of that several times a day, but it had no affect on my anxiety level.  I'll let you in on a little secret.  I've discovered over the years that I struggle sometimes with control.  Ok, perhaps that's an understatement.  Hello, my name is Tim and I'm a control-a-holic.  Man, it feels good to get that off my chest!  I really struggle sometimes to trust others, including God.  I'm good as long as I have the reins.  I trust myself.  I'm a problem solver, and I like to fix things.  The problem arises when I can't fix the problem and I have to turn it over to someone else.

So, here I was, Super Fix-It Man, unable to fix what ailed my 10 year old.  I had to sit in a waiting room and do nothing.  Nothing but worry!  I read a few pages of a book, then I would set it down and stress a little.  I would check my phone for messages, then worry a little more.  I would read a couple more pages of the book, then allow the anxiety to grow a little more.  I had made a decision several days prior that I would shoulder the weight of this whole thing.  I would take all the worry, stress, and anxiety for this and place it squarely on my shoulders.  Is it any wonder why on the day after I found myself unable to lift myself off the couch?  After all, the previous few days I had carried the weight of my world.  Who wouldn't need a day of rest.

All I know is that on this day of rest, I felt a bit justified in resting.  I had been through an emotional battle and just needed to veg out for a bit.  That's what we believers do isn't it?  We face those fiery darts that the enemy throws our way.  We fight the good fight of faith and then we sit down and take a breather.  We lick our wounds and pat ourselves on the back for getting through the battle. We thank God for helping us win the victory. 

Unfortunately, I think we've been duped into thinking that's the model for Christian living.  The day following my "day of rest", God would set me straight.  He let me know that the reason for my exhaustion was not the result of fighting the fight of faith.  On the contrary, I had spent the week overcome with fear and unbelief.  Sure, I prayed, but my prayers were more filled with hope that He would take care of my boy instead of knowing that He would.  My approach was anything but faith.  Faith, real faith, is characterized by resting before the battle, in the battle, and after the battle.  Real faith would have been choosing to kick back and relax on Monday-Friday, not just the day after.  It takes no faith to trust God once He's brought you through the battle. Authentic faith shows up when you see the battle up ahead and it is further revealed smack dab in the middle of the fight.  Real faith requires us to trust the fact He's got this thing covered even before the battle begins.

Paul, tells us in Ephesians that we are seated with Him in heavenly places.  Seated!  Sitting down with Him!  You sit down when the work is done.  This "seated" position is a place of rest.  It's resting in the completed work of Christ.  It's "La-Z-Boy" Christianity and yes, it's the way He wants us to approach this journey.  No, I'm not saying we are to be lazy slugs who do nothing because Scripture clearly lays out our responsibilities as followers of Christ.  But our first step in living this life to its fullest is learning how to truly rest in Him. It is to see ourselves spiritually reclining in a position of rest.  Think about this for a minute.  When you sit down in a chair, then your weight is transferred completely to that chair.  In the same way when we choose to rest in Christ, the weight that we carry is transferred to Him.  He invited us to do just that when He said "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).  Wait a second, did He say His yoke was easy?  YES HE DID!  That's the way he longs for us to do life.  That takes real faith though.  It requires confidence in Him.  It requires us to relinquish control and to completely trust Him.

I'm wondering just how different my Friday would have been last week had I chosen to rest prior to the battle instead of after it?  I think God wants us to understand that His "rest" is not one that is needed at the point of exhaustion but one that is designed for keeping us from reaching that point. So, as to avoid reaching that point of exhaustion, you'll have to excuse me because I need to hop into my "La-Z-Boy."  Seriously, I'm determined to get this "La-Z-Boy" Christian thing right!