Hmmm, what does the Bible say? Seems like my constant pushing produced internal stress, which led to a heart attack three months ago. So is there something I need to learn about living in rest, and living stress free? Obviously stress is a killer. Below is my story, followed by some key biblical principles.
My experience with stress, a heart attack and returning to rest
My stress came by taking on false responsibility. Here is what happened. I am the president of Communion With God Ministries and Christian Leadership University, which employ 27 people (most part time). I never set out to build such an entity. I set out to learn how to make Christianity work in my life and since I learn by writing, I wrote books. People have enjoyed the books and Communion With God Ministries has grown, adding Christian Leadership University and CLU School of the Spirit. Trust me: God built Communion With God Ministries. My passion is to research and write on topics which will make Christian spirituality work in my life and I am thrilled my writings have been a blessing to others.
So when I came up for air, I looked around and discovered we have a staff of 27 to whom we need to pay salaries. Since I am the founder and president, I feel I am responsible to see that this need is met. I feel stressed. How can I pay 27 salaries? I never took courses in college on business development or accounting, so stress sets in. Looking back now, I understand that I was feeling I am responsible to maintain that which God has built.
The truth is, if God built it, He will maintain it, and if He doesn’t, then it is time to dismantle it. I can occasionally forget such simple truths, and look to self rather than looking to God. Then stress takes over and I have a heart attack. Do I know better? Of course I do. I was just not operating in the revelation knowledge God had given me. Is it OK to make mistakes and suffer the consequences? Of course it is. Does God pick us back up, brush us off and set us back on the path of life? Of course He does. Is this all acceptable? Of course it is.
I fully understand I am weak and frail (Psalm 103:14) and can and do make mistakes, but that in no way alters God's love and grace toward me. I am back on the right path, listening to God, trusting His rhema and resting in a confident belief in His abilities to perform His works in and through my life. The bottom line is that it is if fine to make mistakes, learn lessons and go on, and through this all we remain embraced in His loving arms.
I would say the principles below are clear. Don’t work on my own. Listen to God. Believe and obey what He says and I will enter into rest. Does this require diligence? Yes!
Let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall (Hebrews 4:11)
Proverbs surely endorses a heart attitude of diligence (NASB)
- The hand of the diligent makes rich (Proverbs 10:4)
- The diligent will rule (Proverbs 12:24)
- The soul of the diligent is made fat (Proverbs 13:4)
- The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage (Proverbs 21:5)
The Bible says God does the work
- Remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant (Deuteronomy 8:18).
- The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, And toil addeth nothing thereto (Proverbs 10:22 JPS Tanakh 1917 - The Jewish Bible)
- Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it (Psalm 127:1).
- Whatever God has created through us promotes rest (Hebrews 4:10).
The Bible warns against laboring on my own
- The flesh profits nothing (John 6:63) so looking to my strength to accomplish is futile.
- One of the six foundation doctrines is "repentance from dead works" (Hebrews 6:2). A "dead work" is a work I do outside of God’s direction and empowerment.
- Whatever we build on our own creates unrest as it must be constantly examined, reworked, defended, appreciated and approved of.
My job is to listen and obey
- It is the Spirit who gives life … the words (rhema’s) that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life (John 6:63).
- "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works (John 14:10).
I must BELIEVE God’s voice in order to enter into rest
- TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS… There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. (Hebrews 4:7-10).
- They were not able to enter because of unbelief (Hebrews 3:17-19).
Journaling - Mark, see ME in the cool of the day. I have the way prepared for you. Set aside ALL stress and rejoice and celebrate ME and MY CONTROL over all things. All the other gifts which I have provided to you, such as nutrition, exercise and health equipment, are to be celebrated and enjoyed in Me, and not as some substitute for Me. All life and power flows from Me and returns to Me, so celebrate Me in ALL things, and you will do fine. Do not trust in these things as something separate from Me. Ask Me to flow through these things, bringing health and life to your being and all will be well with your soul.
Additional steps of action I am taking
- Doing a healing prayer daily which includes journaling – I am using this prayer encounter
- A Spirit-led worship time each evening with my autoharp, which I dusted off after it being 35 years in the closet.
Cardiac Event Series
- How Could I Have Been So Wrong?
- Biblical Truths Related to Heart Disease
- Causes of Heart Disease: Inflammation, Oxidation, Sugar and Stress
- Drugs, Nutrition and the Lord
- Is Stress The Number One Cause Of Heart Attacks?
- Ever So SLOWLY Learning About Blood Pressure
- Common Denominators of Great Diets
- God Says I’m Healed Yet Symptoms Persist
- Symptoms Go into Remission as I Speak to My Body
- Does Heart Surgery Cause the Heart to Pick Up A Spirit of Fear
- Must I Work Hard To Be Successful?
- Which of The 10 Commandments Can You Break And No One Raises An Eyebrow?
- Experience Rest By Learning How To Delegate
- Living In Rest Requires Living At Peace With Myself and Others
- For Heaven’s Sake, Celebrate!
Related Resources:How to Be Emotionally Free! How to Enjoy Vibrant Health! How to Hear God's Voice! Spiritual Transformations