When I didn’t know I needed rest

finding joy

It was a season that I was unprepared for and didn’t know what it would look like, though it was exactly what I needed.  I had just given my all at a job for 13.5 years and had resigned my position to pursue full-time writing.  My new season wasn’t exactly what I had signed up for.

Honestly I didn’t know what it would look like except it felt good to sleep in past 3:45 am.  I did have some expectations going into this new thing that God was doing in me.  I was ready for a change.  I thought it would be easy.  I thought it be great and grand.  I thought I was already prepared.  I thought a lot of things.

I didn’t think it would look lonely, or leave me with a feeling of insignificance or make me feel marginal in anyway.  I didn’t realize I needed any rest and thought I could transition to one season to the next.  I wanted to know results to feel productive.  I didn’t think I had to dig so deep to discover my purpose.

This new place I was in was the exact opposite of my previous work environment.  May I be bit transparent here?  I felt a bit weak in this type of rest.  I thought I knew what this was about, but God showed me His more important things to accomplish as I prepared for the coming season.

Have I told you that I have a hard time being still?  It’s difficult for me to rest.  I didn’t realize how worn out I really was.  Emotionally I didn’t realize how spent I was on the inside.  The transition from a very public personality to a full-time writer was challenging for me.  As a people person, I used to talk to people for my job and the moment I left that position, intense isolation and loneliness set in.

I remember feeling so unproductive in my new found reason for rest.  I couldn’t hardly wait for God to launch the next step of His grand plan for me.  I believed it was around the corner, but at the same time, I missed people in painful way.

So I asked God where was His joy in this resting?  Where’s the joy in my feeling isolated?  Where was His joy in my new found freedom?

Because I was dealing with doubt, I re-evaluated my decision again and again.

Because I was looking for the fruits of my labor eveywhere, I lost my motivation to share my weight loss story in book form.

Because I didn’t see His value in my purpose, I couldn’t find joy in my writing.

It was a couple of months in, when I realized that God was working on His time frame not mine.  I slowly began to regain a right trust for His timetable with His plans for me.  My preparation season was my stilling my heart’s desire before the Lord.  Only He knew I needed that kind of rest first to project me into the next phase of this writing journey.

He knew that I need to build strength as a writer, He knew I needed a new dose of courage and He knew that I my confidence needed some encouragement.  He knew what I needed even though I kept telling Him what I wanted.

I often think about how we try to jump ahead of God or try to produce our own little spin on His great purpose for our lives.  There are days that I wonder what God is up to, but I know I can trust Him to meet my needs more than I can supply the words to wrap His ways.

I am mostly left in wonder that my Father, who has no needs, can anticipate all of mine no matter the season.

Once I realized I could trust Him in my new found season of rest, I felt His release to my new phase of ministry.

Once I realized that I was stepping into my calling, I received the joy that He had waiting for me.

Once I realized that I was never alone on any day, whether it was a public setting or not, I sensed His presence in a ways that I can’t describe.

Once I found joy in my freedom, I felt His peace that passes my understanding.

As I draw on His strength,  I am assured of His faithfulness each day.

Once I dropped my expectations of what my life should look like, healing came like rain from heaven.  I saw the fruits of my labor and I stepped into my purpose as His daughter.  I took my place in the kingdom and never my doubted decision again.

It is well with my soul and I’m breathing deep in His grace.  That’s true joy friends, not happiness as the world teaches us, but true and abiding joy that lasts.

Finding His joy in the freedom of your calling is a beautiful thing and helps define your identity in so many ways.  Finding purpose for your life is joyful, finding rest in due seasons is healing, and finding a deep trust that empowers your faith is life-changing.

How do you look for joy?

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4 thoughts on “When I didn’t know I needed rest

  1. Love this! I often think I’m called to rest, but I don’t know how so I ignore it. That creates all kinds of stress. I’m about to leave on a vacation that I’ve been dreading, but it’s like I hear God saying that I need this rest. After all, why am I dreading a week at a lake house????

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    • I understand for sure. There’s a part of me that might not want to listen to what God wants to say. Lol. I know it’s an issue in me, but making more progress with our alone times together. Other times it’s my pride that gets is the way. As women our deep need is to be needed. We never recognize rest because we don’t think we deserve it. It’s a twisted way to validate ourselves for sure. God always has his reasons for every season. 🙂

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  2. I believe God has sent me to study abroad here in Spain so that I can be without family and close friends in order to really rely on Him! I have been here for 44 days now and I still have 32 left. It hasn’t been until YESTERDAY that I have found out that I TRULY need Him to sustain me. I have needed rest from my family, whom I LOVE AND ADORE, and my friends, whom I also LOVE and adore, to be set apart from them and really realize that I need Him in my daily life. I have been raised in church, I think you know that. But I am just now getting to where I can see my sins so clearly and I realize that I need a savior. I have been saved since I was 7, but I can now see that I TRULY need Him. Just like you, Janelle, I have used food to rely on and fill voids that I have needed filled when they really should have been filled with Him. This past month in Spain was amazing! I met so many new people and went on so many travels seeing God’s beautiful creations, but it wasn’t until this month that I have truly felt lonely. I haven’t yet been able to make friends on this round of classes. We seem to be really different. I know being different can be a very good thing, but when it comes to the evil ways of the world, it isn’t such a good thing. I found such a comfortable niche of friends last month that I keep waiting to find that same niche this month. I am beginning to think that God is doing this on purpose so that I can be closer to Him. It is exactly what I have needed. I find myself reading your blog, your Facebook page, your instagram page so that I can have encouragement and hopefully find a newfound freedom like you have. I want to be able to live in a freedom that I have NEVER felt. And you are now the first person that I have actually told that to. I can remember being in ELEMENTARY school and realizing that my body was different than the skinny girls around me. I think I have watched my mom and her habits (she had a gastric bypass several years ago) and I do not think that has help my addictions. I believe I have carried this burden with me for a long time, and I feel now that I am ready to change and be changed by God, my one and only Savior Who is the only one capable of setting me free. So Janelle, I ask that you could pray for me. Pray that I can use these next couple weeks to really get close to God, to be able to learn to rely on Him. To change me and mold me to be the person that He has made me to be. I want to know how freedom feels and I want to be closer to Him every single day. Thank you for being such an inspiration and for using your story that He has given you to help ordinary people like me. ❤

    Emily May

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    • Wow! Emily, praying right now that God reveals His love to you in a most special way. The change you crave is what He wants for you…freedom in Christ. It’s worth pursuing in your life, not just in food but in all things. It’s truly liberating and fulfilling. He doesn’t ask us to be lonely but He sets the lonely in our hearts as a place that only He can fill. I also struggle in this concept, it’s a process but He truly is with us every inch, step, and leg of life. And he never leaves us to figure this whole beautiful life out by ourselves. Thank you for your kind words towards the blog and posts. It truly means more than you know.

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