It’s audio devo day!
God gave me a wonderful dream to wrap up our Loving Yourself series. Join me as we talk about rest, play, and allowing Jesus to take the driver’s seat of our lives… right here:
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To wrap up our series on loving yourself, Holy Spirit gave me a wonderful dream to share with you. I know it’s going to speak to your heart.
In it, a man invited me to join him on an excursion. He added, “But there is a requirement. If you choose to come, you cannot drive yourself. You must both get a ride there, and back.” I deliberated, and then accepted his invitation. I asked if I could ride with him, and he agreed. We climbed into a pickup truck bed and lay down. There were big seatbelts there, and we strapped them around ourselves as we lay there. After a long drive, we arrived. I found that the activity going on was a big game, sort of like a ropes course. To play, one had to climb up to a very high area and then throw balls into aquariums full of light, water, and color.
This dream was not just for me, but for you too, dear one. The man represents Jesus. He was extending to me (and you) an invitation to grow in playfulness. In order to accept this invitation, a journey is required. But there is a precondition to this journey. We must be willing to give up our right to drive. Instead, He asks us to lie down, relax, and enjoy the ride. He will make the journey with us, right by our side. There is safety in this decision (represented by the seat belts). When we decide to join Him, He will take us to the place where we learn to climb high in spirit. Adopting a childlike spirit of joyful playfulness and fun is the way He has chosen to take us up to that high place. That place is full of His light and His presence (the water in the aquariums represents His Spirit).
Let’s break this down now to the three main themes this dream features: rest… play… and giving up control. I have a few thoughts to share with you about each:
- Rest. When I wrote down the part of the dream where He had me lie down in the truck bed, Holy Spirit immediately brought this Scripture to mind: “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul” (Ps. 23:2-3, ESV). Our Good Shepherd wants us to lie down restfully in His close presence. This posture is the most vulnerable one we could choose. To move from a standing position to being completely prone… is to intentionally put ourselves entirely into His care. We can’t protect ourselves or really do much of anything lying down; we have to rely on Him to take care of it all.
Will we choose this lying-down journey with Him? On the one hand, doing so is optional. It is an invitation that we must choose to either accept, or reject. The choice is ours. On the other hand, Hebrews 4 closely associates a refusal to enter His rest with disobedience. “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience” (Heb. 4:11, NKJV). He invites us into obedience, but He does not force us to obey. Instead, He shares with us what His will is, and then waits to see if we will enter into it.
It is His will that we would learn to rest; that we would allow Him to make us lie down in green pastures. When we accept His invitation, it is then that He can begin to restore our soul. Choosing to rest is choosing to trust. Conversely, choosing not to rest reflects a fatally flawed underlying belief system. It’s this. The soul that refuses to rest is secretly telling itself, I have to hold my own world together. Vitally important things will fall through the cracks if I don’t push myself hard through all seven days of the week.
Will we choose to trust Him enough to obey His will that we rest? Will we carve out one whole day of the week where we put work aside completely? (After all, God Himself did so after six days of work! Are we stronger than He?)
- Play. When was the last time you had some good, clean fun? Of course, the pandemic has made this way more challenging, with movie theaters and sports arenas closed. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. For example, last year my husband and oldest daughter Ester were stuck away from home for months because of the travel freeze here in Peru. The government also shut down our mail system as part of the lockdown. So my sister could not get to us the usual Easter supplies that she annually ships to me from the U.S. Undaunted, I rounded up some arts and crafts materials. The kids and I did something we’d never done before: created Easter cards together. Then we took pictures of them and sent them to Israel and Ester. Even in very difficult circumstances, we made the fun happen. It’s a memory none of us will ever forget. (And when they finally got home months later, we were able to give them the actual cards too!)
I’ll be honest, playfulness was never a naturally occurring trait for me. I was born serious natured. No doubt this is why the Lord keeps giving me dreams inviting me to grow in this area! He keeps pointing out to me that this is such a key part of walking in the Spirit. He reminds me, “I can guarantee this truth: Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3, GW). What is one of the primary characteristics of children? They love to play!
God made you and me with the built-in need for fun and play. Are you determined to partner with Him in stewarding the precious resource of your own life and inner being? Then building in time and space for recreational activities is not optional. It is essential for cultivating a flourishing soul. Not only this, but embracing this learning process is going to take us up higher in the Spirit, as my dream revealed!
Will you accept Jesus’ invitation to join Him on the journey of learning to play?
- Giving Up Control. Here’s the last thing about this dream. Right up front, Jesus let me know: If you and I want to go on this journey with Him, we will need to sign on the dotted line… and relinquish our right to drive. Instead of us taking the wheel, He wants us to lie down and enjoy the scenery with Him. This may initially feel entirely counter-intuitive. How deep is our drive to feel like we are in control!
Truth be told, though, we never really are in control, even when we think we are. As James points out, our life is a vapor ( 4:14). And Jesus Himself brought to our attention that none of us can add a single hour to our lives. How absolutely liberating it is when we come to truly understand that the only One wise enough to sit at the wheel… IS already there! When you and I learn to just rest in that truth, permanently, life gets so much better.
The One who loves you more than His own life can be trusted with the management of yours. With Him in charge, you are utterly safe. Will you let His Holy Spirit drive, and just relish the ride with Him at your side?
Allowing God to make changes in these areas will come with some challenge. Making rest and play a priority goes directly against a cultural standard that urges us into hyper-busyness. If we have grown up with deeply engrained mindsets compelling us to squeeze as much activity as possible into every minute of our days, we will need some fundamental reprogramming. Remember how we talked last week about the renewing of the mind and building new roads to travel on? This is another one of those new neuron pathways that needs burning through our brains.
Rest and play are not selfishness. They are not self-indulgence. They are not laziness. They are not irresponsibility. On the contrary, they are obedience. They are discipleship. They are maturity. They are freedom. They are stewardship of the most precious resource God has given you: your own body, soul, and spirit.
Listen one more time to the verse we started out with today, Galatians 5:1. This time, I want to read it to you from The Passion Translation: “Let me be clear, the Anointed One has set us free—not partially, but completely and wonderfully free! We must always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past.”
How about it? Are you ready for freedom? Jesus is waiting for you eagerly, full of love. Will you hop up in the truck bed with Him, lie down, and enjoy the ride?
Are you like me, born serious? Or is playfulness second nature to you? What are some practical ways that we can both grow in childlike fun, and build into our lives spaces for rest?