"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

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Friday, October 7, 2011

FALLOW GROUND - PART 2

Jeremiah 4:3 (NIV) "This is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: 'Break up your fallow ground and do not sow among thorns.' "



Flying by the seat of my pants; burning the candle at both ends; living at break-neck speed; going mock-90; running a mile a minute; hardly coming up for air; ready for more than a vacation; nose to the grindstone; shoulder to the wheel; pedal to the metal; drivin' it like I stole it. Sound familiar? These descriptions are the state of most people and perhaps yourself. C'mon, you can admit it. Maybe you echo these phrases too.

We are creatures of schedule. We pride ourselves in all we do. Our lives are full from sun up to sundown with minimal margin to enjoy simple yet profound blessings . . . in our spouse . . . in our children . . . in creation . . . We overextend ourselves to others and bypass quiet moments of peace. We run around not able to make sense of our chaos. It seems our nature and expectation of our culture is to be products of activity.

My tank has been near empty for awhile. Moments of slowness and tranquility have appeared but not consistent quietness. God presented, through various ways, a desire for my life in these past two months. REST. Hardly seems spiritual for a woman like me who has gotten accustomed to racing and rushing through life. I mean, how can I rest when there is so much to do?

Jeremiah 4:3 captured my attention recently. It says, “Break up your fallow ground and do not sow among thorns." The Israelites were required by law to let their ground lie fallow one year in seven. Some may think, What a waste! Look at all the money and crops you won’t receive by not planting. But, the Creator of farming and the King of the harvest knows much better than we do.

The purpose in fallow ground is to allow the soil the rest needed in order for nutrients to be returned to the soil. When the soil rests and absorbs the proper nutrition it is then ready to produce an even more abundant crop in the next planting season.

Fallow ground is not intended to stay fallow. If it does, the ground will begin to grow weeds. Jeremiah is telling us to till up our hearts and don’t sow among thorns. He is saying we need to prepare our hearts by sowing the right spiritual seed of righteousness if we expect to reap a harvest.

God is asking me to rest and experience fallow ground. He whispers, “Hester, you have poured your life into ministry for seven years and you’re struggling to find balance with extra things. Now is the time for you to rest and clear out some weeds. Give me this season of fallow ground.” The Lord wants me to focus only on being a wife, mother, and daughter of the King.

During a recent afternoon at the river with my boys, God gave me what I call a "Red Flag List." It serves as a warning meter to show me when I am too busy.

  • When the plea of another exhausts me.
  • When the needs of my children irritate me.
  • When the desire for my husband takes back seat to my “list.”
  • When the urgent prayer request of a friend doesn’t take me to my knees.
  • When loving another does not fit into my schedule.
  • When the sunset doesn’t bless my weary heart.
  • When saying yes to God is met with disclaimers.
  • When I leave no room for God to "interrupt" my life.
  • When the phone rings and it causes me to sigh.
  • When my full email inbox disrupts my peace.
  • When I rush through bed time devotions with my children.
  • When my cell phone is an appendage to my body.
  • When I talk on my cell phone instead of to my kids when they are in the van.
  • When I can’t be spontaneous and do something I haven't scheduled.
  • When I constantly feel behind and the list never gets completed.

This list provides accountability for me. If too many of these statements define my current realities it causes me to question my priorities.

After I realized the "Red Flag List" described me way too much, God had me rewrite my priorities and cut back. He is granting me rest from mentoring women, being a Bible study leader, participating in an online writing critique group, attending Toastmasters, and volunteering in my boys' classroom.

The Lord doesn’t want my days filled with appointments and meetings, but rather, freed up to spend even more time with Him and His Word. In order to receive the nutrients for His next planting and harvesting season in my life this rest is necessary. The Lord allows this fallow ground that I might become more fruitful. Like water in a desert land, this sabbatical is welcomed with open arms.

Whew! What a break. What do I do all day? Well friends, that’s between God and I. But, I will tell you, I find more pleasure and fulfillment in what I am doing because of what I am not doing. How’s that for productivity!

Laying fallow and getting my tank filled. Want to join me?



Heart Work:
Write down your priorities. Then write down everything you give your time to. Pray over both of these lists. Ask God to rearrange where necessary.

Please share/comment what you would add to your "Red Flag List?"

Yesterday’s iMOM thought is directly related to this devotion and provides several links with very practical tools for slowing down. It is titled, “5 Ways to UnOverschedule Your Family”. It will take less than two minutes to check out.


Heart Exam:
Another recent decision my husband and I made is to take a break from sports this Fall. Instead of being spread out between soccer fields, quality time together is what we need. Is there something your family needs a break from?

How can you be more intentional to create margin in your days? What do you need to rest from?

If every minute of your day is jammed with to-do's, how can you be available to the needs of your husband and children?


Heart Changing Word:
Exodus 33:14 (NIV) "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."

Psalm 62:1 "My soul finds rest in God alone."

Psalm 62:5 "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him."

Isaiah 40:29 "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."

Hosea 10:12 "Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you."

Matthew 11:28 "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."




Copyright 2011 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.