“If I gain the world, would it be worth the price?
To work these hands to death, and not be satisfied?
If every effort brought another sleepless night, I’d be so tired.
I have strived enough to know that this divide
can never be repaired through countless second tries.
Still I stay the course avoiding what is right
Now I’m so tired…. I’m just so tired.”
– “Relent (Reconstructed)”, by Citizens
This world runs at a pace that is set by comparison and accomplishments. To be the best, you have to do the most, have the most money in the bank, have the most accolades under your belt. And while busyness, accomplishments, and awards of the world aren’t inherently bad, they can quickly spiral someone into holding these words about oneself higher than the words of the Father, the very one who knitted you together. They can become an idol that you end up worshiping with all of your life if you aren’t aware of the holds they have on you. Reminding oneself that the value of your life isn’t contingent on what you do is imperative to keeping a true and healthy identity.
You are not defined by your work on this earth; you are defined by Jesus’ work on this earth.
And this work calls you worthy of His sacrifice, deeply loved, and highly prized. These words don’t change, whereas the words of this earth ebb and flow with the trends of the times. This creates a striving mentality – you must do, do, do in order to get ahead, to be noticed, to stay on top.
But that’s not the most excellent way that Jesus calls us into when in relationship with Him – there is no striving in God’s presence – you are loved and valued exactly how you are. There’s no version of you that God will love more, and there is no version of you that God could love less. Fully loved, deeply valued. That’s just the promise.
Getting back into alignment with this ^ truth is pivotal in seeing through a Kingdom perspective. When you see + feel + know that you are loved, you can see others in the same light.
We see in the Bible that Jesus often retreated away from others (even His own disciples) to be in the presence of the Father, solitarily. And in order to apprentice Jesus, we’ve got to do what He did.
Jesus’s spiritual stamina to do Kingdom work was directly correlated to Him retreating into the Father’s presence, away from His ordinary and into a different environment.
Retreating allowed him to recalibrate to the Father – to His will, His heart, and His plan for his life. By taking away outside influences, friendly perspectives, and other opinions, Jesus could solely listen to and abide in what the Father was asking of Him.
This helped restore what had undoubtedly been depleting – his stamina, his obedience, his faith, and restored it back to the true fuel for his life – His connection and relationship to the Father.
And at last, He was able to return. He returned back to his life, his ministry, his people, and his purpose. He returned with an aligned perspective, a strengthened obedience, and a willingness to serve His part in building the Kingdom.
“I relent – there is nothing for me here,
you can have it all this life is not my own.
You give life that is worth the loss of mine
I surrender all I have to follow you.”
– “Relent (Reconstructed)” by Citizens
Real Life Retreat … and Relent
This weekend, I took a retreat. There, I was able to expand myself past the stuff I’ve been struggling through, and allow God into it. While that’s something I could have done here in my own home, there is something to be said about looking around you and not recognizing what you see. Sometimes I think it helps you recognize parts of yourself that you haven’t seen or dealt with in a while – which are probably the places that God wants to speak to the most.
It was there, on that mountain, that I was able to reorient my perspective to that of the Father – seeing + loving myself more clearly, which helps me to see + love others much more clearly. My time also restored that which was depleting – I was reminded that my Joy is complete and realized in the Father’s presence, and that it goes with me even into the darkest of places in this world. Joy is based on the Father and not on a feeling, and He restored that belief and truth in my heart this weekend, even when petitioning through some tough things in prayer. Things that normally don’t bring Joy or life, in a weird way, were my window into seeing the Joy and life that He could reconcile through them. That’s Kingdom perspective // that’s complete JOY.
And thus, I returned yesterday. One of my pastors that I greatly respect said once that the mountaintop moments are just that – moments. The true living comes in the valleys, and those mountaintop moments are pivotal when you are challenged in your beliefs and foundation. You can’t rely on feeling “mountaintop” at all times, but you can rely on what you learned in them to help get you through the lowest of valleys.
Biggest Takeaway from this Weekend’s Retreat:
Fullness of Joy is found only in the Father.
All other “happiness” is from the imposter.
Jesus tore the veil between us and the Father.
There’s no barrier in receiving Him.
Fullness of JOY is part of my inheritance as a Daughter of the One True King.
Receive it, by receiving Him.
partner with Jesus >> be the vessel