When I drew some simple flowers one morning and I wanted to share it with my friends online in my Whispers of Rest Book Club, a critical voice said, “This is child’s play. Please don’t embarrass yourself. Other artists will be like ‘pfft, please.'”
But then I turned to Jesus, and I saw His gentle smile. And then I breathed. And I decided to share this moment with you. I hope it encourages you to be bold and be you.
Don’t listen to the critical voices. Hear instead your loving Savior whisper —
You are beautiful and beloved. And you are cherished, valued, vibrant and here.
We like to hold onto a plan, but Jesus tenderly holds onto your hand.
What would happen if you were to let go of whatever you’re holding onto that’s gripping your heart — and reach instead for what you truly long for? To return to who you’ve always been created to be: alive, to experience something deeper, more beautiful, honest, and real with God? I wonder what you’d discover?
Jesus wants you to say YES to surrendering your heart, rather than putting your safety into executing a plan.
Say yes. Let go of your nets. Set your heart free.
“Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”
Matthew 4:20 CSB
I know. It’s not easy letting go of what we’re used to doing, especially if we do things well and people have expectations about what we should do and how we should do them. Someone might not be happy with us or have something to say about the changes we want to make and new things we want to try. Maybe harder still, might be our own expectations of ourselves.
We should be better by now, we shame ourselves — more confident, more trusting of God, less worried, and whatever else.
But, whose critical voice is this really? Is it someone in our past or someone close in your today? Is it someone you look up to, who-you-think-is-stronger-in-faith-with-Jesus than you?
Turn from those voices. Pause and listen to God’s loving whispers to you –
as we look at the winter trees standing bare and beautiful,
as we breathe and notice the snow glistening in the morning light,
as we pause to hold a cup of freshly brewed tea in our hands,
when we miss the feel of a good book as the rain taps on our window pane,
– you realize God’s voice of peace and total acceptance is so much more gentle, like the patient waves that continually wait their turn to return to the shore.
I think that’s why Jesus loved meeting the disciples along the water’s edge. No more toiling and washing empty nets.
Jesus whispers –
Leave the safety of what you know
and let my love be your safety instead.
Be my beloved.
Come follow me. And I will give you rest.
This is a deeper kind of rest, that people who might want to put you in a box (or have you stay in it) – or expect you to do something in order to gain their influence, approval, or attention – won’t understand.
You were made to come alive, just as you are. Turn from the critical voices.
Place your hand in your loving Savior’s and do whatever it is you feel God’s prompting you to enjoy, express, do or begin, when you are wrapped in the safety of the One who calls you His.
For in this very moment in God’s arms of love, you are your true self. You are the beloved.
Pull up a chair. What’s gripping your heart – what is God gently inviting you to let go? What is Jesus calling you to say YES to experience with Him?
By Bonnie Gray, author of the new 40-day devotional detox Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God’s Love to Revitalize Your Soul.