Just Stop

A couple weeks ago I talked about how there is always more love to receive from God – the love that transforms our lives from the inside out. God spoke to my anxiety and said, “you have yet to experience the fullness of My love for you.”

That’s sweet, you might be thinking, but what does that even look like in a practical sense? What do I have to DO to experience God’s love for me?

The messy history of theology in the Church has made this seem like a complicated question, trapping us on a swinging pendulum from legalism to irreverence and back. We’ve turned it into a Great Christian Bake-Off show in which everyone seeks the combination of liturgical ingredients – prayers, quiet time disciplines, Bible study attendances, bookshelf collections, podcast playlists, or intentional restriction of any of these – which yields the flavor most pleasing to God in hopes that we may witness more of His promises ringing true in our lives.

It’s all very exhausting if you ask me. It sounds more like the voices of my anxieties and less like the still waters and green pastures I read about in the Word.

I invite you to join me in Matthew 6, the landmark Jesus quote for two thousand years’ worth of worriers. (For a full dose read verses 25-34)

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (v. 31-33)

Maybe you’ve read this a million times before, but you still feel like your life consistently falls short of the picture. You’re constantly hustling to work extra hours, book more contracts, make more professional connections, or re-rework the budget so you can be the best provider for yourself and your family. You’re diving into a new self-help book on the weekly to reorder your personal life goals, use time more efficiently, renew your meditation practice, or get a healthier lifestyle so you can create the best climate for peace and fulfillment in your life. But has God showed up yet to help you out? No, it looks like you’re the one doing all the work and He’s just watching you struggling to tread water.

I’m writing to tell you these are the very areas where God wants to reveal the fullness of his love for you.

If you want to experience more of God’s love for you, here’s what you need to do: just stop.

Stop looking for more to do and actually do less.

It’s very counterintuitive, I know. So far you’re the one who’s gotten you this far, and if you slow down, it’s all going to fall apart, right? Let me emphasize: These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Our heavenly Father is a mighty, miraculous provider, but He’s also a gentleman. When we take all our worries into our own hands with a glamorous #hustle lifestyle, we’re telling God, “no, that’s okay, I know how this needs to be done, let me take care of it.” And He doesn’t argue with us. He patiently lingers a breath away, holding the manuscript of this extravagant, finely orchestrated, clearly divine plan for our wellbeing, and waits for us to offer Him authorship over our lives.

The key is in that last verse: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Please don’t use this to just place your striving in a different basket, the Christian stuff basket. “Seeking the kingdom” and “living righteously” is not some complicated recipe quest. It’s a life described so simply by Jesus: love God, love people.

Put down the reigns. If you’re living life like I was for a long time, anxious over how you spend every minute, you may need a very drastic change. Look honestly at the order of your current priorities, defined by what you invest in the most and the least. Make a daily decision to turn that list of priorities on its head. Love first. Dare to make sacrifices where you never would before. Slowly but surely you will open up wide chasms of risk for God to enter with His miraculous love. You will start to see a plan unfolding which you could not have imagined yourself.

As soon as I tried this, it felt uncomfortable. At first I had to wake up every single morning and recommit myself to not pursuing the day with my own plans and abilities. I completely stopped pursuing auditions and job opportunities and poured everything into serving with my new church family, genuinely connecting with and supporting people in and out of my industry, going out of my comfort zone to engage with social justice in my city, and embracing my calling as a child of the Creator to actually create things without guarantee of furthering a career. It was so counterintuitive to what someone pursuing a performing career should be doing. But then, in the coming weeks, God busied Himself dropping surprise after surprise into my life. In two months I was personally invited to audition for three shows and participate in a staged reading, received unexpected financial provision, and booked a dream of a performing gig.

When we try to be God for ourselves, we miss out on experiencing the fullness of God’s love for us. He can’t wait to bring you to your knees with the enormity of His affection manifest in over-answered prayers, life-changing relationships, and powerful moments when your passions are aligned with the passions of the Father.

Just stop, and let Him love you.

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