“Responsibility not submitted back to God will result in lack of rest…”
Over the past few months, God started speaking to me about gifts and strengths that He gives us. The strengths that shape who we are, are from God, they are good, and they present us with a choice: draw into deeper intimacy with God or walk in independence from Him.
Recently I went on a work trip to Papua New Guinea. Our goal was to set up strategic meetings to build momentum and relationship between our growing medical ship ministry and members of the provincial government. With a big task at hand, I flew into PNG feeling a bit of pressure, and a lot of responsibility for the outcomes of the week.
Arriving in PNG on a weekend, every office was closed. I couldn’t work or plan even if I wanted to. I was forced to a place of being still. However, I have lived a constant struggle of being still physically, while my mind races in circles – robbing me of true rest. I hadn’t learnt what it is to truly rest my mind.
God met me in this place and revealed something that has radically changed how I work, and how I rest.
God showed me that he gave me this gift of responsibility. It is from God, it’s good, and it can draw me into deeper intimacy with God if I let it. However, when the responsibility I carry is not submitted before God, it will always take away from rest.
I’ve lived the majority of my life aware of the high level of responsibility that I carry. Although, because I have become so familiar with this strength, I started deciding how to use the gift without acknowledging the one who gave it to me. Though it may have saddened God’s heart as I claimed this gift as “mine,” He would never step outside of his nature to take the gift back as His own. He gave it to me for good. Rather, being solely motivated by relationship, God gives gifts which lead us back to him.
Like a Father giving his son a book, he won’t take the gift away when the son uses the book as a table for pretend food, or a hard surface to write on, or a fortress for superheroes. Instead, the father will teach the son how to use the gift to its fullest potential, he will teach his son to read. In the same way, we can ask God how to use what He has given us, or we can choose to try on our own, coming short of the greatest potential and original design of the gift.
God revealed how easy it was for me to pride myself on hard work and responsibility, which started leading to independence from God.
He showed me that if I truly wanted to experience rest, and learn how to still my mind, the extent of this rest would be impacted by the submissive nature of my heart.
Sometimes, responsibility and pride aren’t loud, sometimes they are the quiet, restless mind that can’t stop thinking of what needs to be done next. Often we find ourselves lost in unexplained anxiety, because we strive (usually with the best intentions), to do what we think is best with what we have. We try to control what is outside of our realm of influence. We respond to a false sense of pressure that we have put on ourselves. This subtle, yet powerful act of independence takes us away from acknowledging the giver, and consequently takes away peace that surpasses all understanding.
God won’t force my personality to fit the gifts He has given me, but He forms the same gifts into endless personalities.
Responsibility looks a certain way on me, yet somebody quite different may share the same gift. What gifts have I seen on others, and don’t recognize in my own life because I think it has to look a certain way? No matter which strengths and gifts emerge in my life, I never want to fail to acknowledge the giver.
by Audrey Walter
YWAM Newcastle Staff