Give Yourself A Break…Before You Break

I have had a really rough week because God has been telling me for a long time to get more sleep and I haven’t been listening. Now, let me clarify that I am not saying that God caused me to have a rough week. I don’t believe God causes bad things to happen to us. What I believe is that I caused me to have a bad week by ignoring His wisdom in this area over and over again; therefore, the natural consequence was that I spent the first 3 days of this week crying, stressed out and losing my temper. Not cool.

This morning when I woke up God gently reminded me the same thing that He has been telling me for months. “You need to get more sleep.” He also showed me that a lack of sleep is the reason I have been a mess this week. I don’t think anybody likes feeling as if they are out of control; I sure don’t, so all the things that I have felt – the anger, the lack of joy, the pressure – were definitely a strong wake up call for me!

God never intended for us to live with consequences. We are the ones who choose them when we don’t obey. On the other hand, we are able to enjoy positive results when we do choose to listen to God. I am really looking forward to enjoying the benefits of obedience in this area as I start getting the right amount of sleep!

Interestingly enough, I was talking with my Mom, Joyce Meyer, this morning about this and she is in Fort Worth, Texas getting ready to do a conference and will be teaching a series titled Healthy Living: Spirit, Soul and Body! She said, “I don’t think that people realize the price they pay mentally, spiritually and emotionally when they don’t take care of themselves physically.” I am definitely a witness to this.

As I talked about in last week’s blog post, when we stop living by our plan alone and start living submitted to the leading of the Spirit, our lives actually become so much more effective than we ever thought possible. By God’s grace I have made this adjustment for the most part, but I have not been following the Spirit’s lead in regards to the amount of sleep I get.

Why was I disobeying God in this area? I believe it was because of unbelief caused by fear. I have not been depending on God’s grace (His unmerited favor) in this area. In some instances I was afraid if I didn’t stay up longer and finish such and such a project that it wouldn’t get done, but in most instances I just wanted to have some quiet time to myself because I homeschool my girls , which I love to do, but this means I am with people all day long.

Well, it’s totally fine to get some time to myself, in fact, I think it’s extremely important, but God has a much better way for me to do this than giving up important hours of sleep on a regular basis. Just as I wrote in last week’s blog post, He will always show us the way to do everything that He is asking us to do if we just keep placing ourself under His grace over and over again.

As you know, in addition to the normal everyday responsibilities of life, unexpected things seem to come up for all of us on a regular basis. This happened to the McCollom’s this week; lots of extras. But now that I am looking back over the week in hindsight, I truly believe I would have been able to handle these extra and unexpected responsibilities with grace if I had been living under God’s grace in this area of sleeping when I was suppose to be sleeping. I mean, a person can only take so much stress before they break in one way or another.

Our family is taking a 27 hour road trip to Prince Edward Island, Canada later this year. This has been a dream of mine for a long time – ever since I saw the Anne Of Green Gables movies. Well, thank God that my husband Steve thought about our passports because they were expired and it hadn’t even crossed my mind to get them renewed.

Can you imagine if we would have arrived at the border to Canada and been turned away? We had to take care of these passports this week because they take quite a while to get processed and mailed back to us. So you know how it feels when you have a deadline and you have to do something and do it now.

This project has taken a good deal of time for me to fill out our applications and for all of us to go to the post office and have them look through everything to double check the applications, swear us in to make sure that those kids standing there are really our kids that we are taking out of the country and so on.

Believe me, I’m glad they go to these great lengths to keeps kids safe so I am certainly not complaining, but I quickly figured out from reading the applications that if they aren’t done with complete accuracy, we won’t be getting any passports. This was one of the things that was making me nervous.

Secondly, we recently got our car worked on and I looked down yesterday morning before heading to CrossFit and found a whole panel had fallen down on the passengers side with wires hanging and all. So, needless to say, I was at the car dealer yesterday getting that fixed.

These were just a few of the extra things that came up. I don’t mind working really, really hard, in fact I like it, but my least favorite thing in the whole world is having to run from thing to thing to thing at a ridiculous pace.

I purposely avoid planning my life like this, but sometimes things out of our control cannot be avoided, as you know. Yesterday I thought, “Wow, I do not have enough hours in this day to do all this, but it all has to be done. Suddenly I thought, “I should pray about this.” Really Sandra, what a novel idea! As I quieted my mind down long enough to pray I felt the Spirit lead me in a direction that my mind never would have considered.

My girls go to a drama and musical theater class and they were having a special performance for the parents yesterday to show us what they have been learning. Either Steve or me or both of us go to everything our girls do – all their activities (if at all possible), but this was the one thing I felt like the Holy Spirit was showing me, “Don’t go to their classes today. Talk to Angel and Starr about it.” I did and they were so understanding. I thought they were going to be worried that their friends would ask them where their Mom was and then they would be embarrassed to say, “She couldn’t come.” And to be honest, I was wondering what the other parents and teachers would think of me if I did not come.

Well, this was the way the old Sandra used to think all the time. Fear, fear, fear of what others were thinking of me and I don’t give into this fear very often anymore as a result of learning who I am in Christ, but yesterday I almost did. Thank God for the Holy Spirit Who guides us.

Having those extra couple of hours to do some other things and move at a sane pace was extremely helpful and I bet it even helped me not to be so overloaded yesterday evening that I could have even felt stressed out enough that I may have lost my temper again as I had already done a number of times earlier in the week, once in front of my family and once in a public setting. (ouch)

First, I freaked out at home while filling out those Passport applications. I literally screamed at the top of my lungs, “I hate doing this kind of stuff. I don’t want to do this.” I know why I got angry. I do not like dealing with things that confuse me or things that I have a hard time understanding and those applications were confusing to me. I have had a fear in this area dating all the way back to my elementary school years.

Things that I cannot mentally grasp almost always send me into a panic, but I believe it’s time for this fear to go as I start focusing on the fact that my God, the All-Knowing One, loves me and He is always with me. I don’t have to worry if I can’t understand something clearly. God’s got me covered.

I definitely repented in front of my family later on, but guess what God did for me? It blessed me so much! You really want me to tell you? Huh? Huh? Huh? Ok, I’ll tell you!

Even though I acted totally ridiculous, when we went to the post office the postal employee we got was a very kind and patient Christian man who had been doing passports for the last 25 years. See, God had me covered. This guy knew exactly what to do and checked everything. He made sure everything was covered and I just stood there in awe of God’s grace (His unmerited favor) toward me, even when I had just behaved the terrible way I did. And let me point out that I went in to the post office still mad. I hadn’t even gotten around to repenting yet.

Can you believe God blessed me under those circumstances? I can! It’s called grace. It’s called unmerited favor for this very reason and this is exactly why I have fallen more in love with Jesus than I ever imagined possible!

So this happened on Monday afternoon/evening and on Tuesday morning I lost my temper at CrossFit during my workout. I wasn’t screaming at anybody else. I was just mad that I had worn out my upper body very quickly during my pull-ups by not starting with the right amount of bands and just had no strength left to pull myself up anymore for the second half of my WOD (workout of the day).

I usually pace my self really good so I can complete every WOD, but not this time. During the 2nd half of the WOD I think I did more standing than working out as far as the pull-ups went. As a result of only getting 5 hours sleep the night before and not enough sleep several nights prior to that as well, I just lost it and I did it in front of a class of 15 other people. Embarrassing!

Oh, it may not have been a big deal to them because I have heard other people scream before, but now that I live in peace a majority of the time I am not fond of that tension within myself that I used to live with day in and day out. One of the ways, among many, that I feel like living under God’s grace has changed me is by causing me to have the heart desire to walk in love with people more than ever before so it also bothers me for other people now, when I get angry and cause tension in the atmosphere. I am so glad God’s grace has changed me to be this way because it has made me more sensitive to others, which was why I felt embarrassed.

Of course the devil is also right there ready to pour on the guilt if we allow him to. He was saying things like, “Just great, nobody from here is ever going to believe you have a book coming out on how they can learn to live in rest. You better not go back. I bet they’re thinking you’re really a wacko now. You’re going to be so embarrassed if you go back.”

Well, first of all, I am not interested one bit in living a life of pretense. I can’t stand that kind of stuff. This is why my blog posts contain stories about the good days and the bad days. That’s real life.

So I already knew, as the devil was wasting his breath lying to me, that I would indeed be going back and because the Holy Spirit has spent so much time patiently teaching me who I am in Christ the past couple of years I responded to the devil with this; “Oh yes, I will go back and I will not worry about what anyone thinks of me because regardless of if I behave right or wrong, I am still in Christ Jesus. God loves me no matter what (1 John 4:10; 1 John 4:16) and I receive His love right now. My righteousness isn’t based on what I do, but what Jesus’ has done (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:8-9) and in addition to this, I AM completely forgiven because of the blood of Jesus!” (Ephesians 1:7;Colossians 2:13)

My friend, you cannot allow the devil to stand there and beat your head off when you have failed. You gotta get it settled in your mind and heart that you are loved, righteous and forgiven, not based on your obedience, but based on Jesus’ perfect life of obedience to His Father. I know, I know. It’s just too good to believe, but this is why God’s grace is His unmerited favor. You cannot earn it.

As I said I would, I did go back to CrossFit today and guess what God did for me? I was so excited! I have been working on getting my Double Unders since I started at CrossFit last July. This means that I have to swing the jump rope twice under my feet in between each jump. I wasn’t even close to getting them before but the coach we had today gave me one simple tip that put me over. I was also praying, “God, after this awful week, it sure would be cool if You could help me get my first double under today.”

Well, that sure was a bold prayer Sandra, asking God to bless you after the way you behaved this week. I know! Receiving God’s grace and walking in the revelation that it’s all based on Jesus and not me has made me a very bold Christian!

Thank God, He helped me get my first double under. Now I was screaming again, but not because I was mad. I was swinging my jump rope in a circle above my head while screaming, OH YES, MY FIRST DOUBLE UNDER!

All made possible because of God’s unmerited favor toward me. Certainly not based on my good behavior, as you have seen.

I’ve learned a very important lesson this week about the value of sleep and I have fallen even more in love with Jesus, my wonderful Savior, by watching again how He treats me even when I don’t do it all right.

Regarding God’s correction, once we see it correctly because we see God for the loving Father that He is, we’ll also understand that even His correction is an aspect of His grace because He is continually pointing us back to the path of life.

I’ve been on this grace journey for a few years now so I am starting to understand how it all works. This is why I’m super excited to see what great results come out of me getting more sleep because you see, when I start getting more sleep, that means I am trusting God on a deeper level than I was before and trusting God always brings outstanding results.

We don’t have to be Super-Christians, Super-parents, Super-wives, Super-husbands, Super-moms or Super-dads. Let’s give ourselves a break. Rest is a good thing and God is all for it.

When we do place our trust in God and go ahead and take care of ourselves physically, as my Mom and I were discussing this morning, that’s when God’s grace comes on the scene. And make no mistake about it, His grace will definitely catapult you to a level of Super, far beyond anything that you could ever imagine, and it’s all for the purpose of bringing Him glory and helping others!

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

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