Give Jesus Some Elbow Room

I had just finished my Soul Shepherding meetings with pastors and ministry leaders and I had a few hours before the seminar I was leading that night. As I sat down at my desk I thought to myself, “I have too much to do: multiple talks to prepare, articles to write, ministry reports to complete, and an inbox full of e-mails to respond to.”

Out of the blue a God-inspired thought came to me: “Step away. Take a walk — a slow prayer walk with Jesus. Don’t rush. Listen.”

I remembered my morning devotional by Oswald Chambers (January 25th) and the question that God had impressed upon my heart, “Are you leaving elbow room for Jesus? Are you making space for the hand of God to move in your midst? Or are you just making your own plans and working hard to get your work done?”

I remembered how often Jesus left the crowds of people and set aside his work to pray. He delighted in his Abba. He listened. Then he ministered to the people in the Spirit.

No More Circles of Frenzy!

I shoved aside the mountain of work I had to do and went for a prayer walk with Jesus around the lake near our home! It was a sunny, breezy winter day and I was smiling as I held Jesus’ hand. Suddenly, a gust of wind lifted some dried up leaves and blew them in circles of frenzy till they were scattered everywhere. Then I noticed a sea gull flying gracefully, carried by a gentle breeze and landing on the glass-like surface of the lake. I understood the Lord’s message immediately.

When I dive into my work to get through my “To Do” list I am like those dead leaves blown anxiously in all sorts of directions by the wrong spirit. But when I give Jesus some elbow room next to me and I wait upon his leading and strength for my work then like the seagull I am lifted by his Spirit and set gently on the still waters.

I prayed over the people and projects related to my list. I submitted them to the Lord Jesus, accepting my limitations and rejoicing in his capacities. I knew what to work on first. More importantly, I was in the right Spirit to do the work.

You might like it if I told you that empowered by God I accomplished everything on my To Do List. Actually, my story has a happier ending than that! God’s peace came over me and I did an afternoon’s work in the easy yoke of Jesus. The rest of my work could wait for another day.

Try an Experiment with Your To Do List

Your To Do List may look quite different than mine, but I’m sure you have one and that sometimes it’s a source of pressure or discouragement to you. Sometime, try an experiment. Give Jesus some extra elbow room: resist the impulse to get to work on your list and instead pause to pray: worship and enjoy the Lord and submit to him all of your work and projects. Then when he releases you to work look for his hand of grace to move as he assists you in the work.

Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke is my book with inspiring stories, practical examples, and guided experiences to help you overcome stress by living for Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

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