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Anxiety No Longer: The Overpowering Revelation of Rest and Comfort

I just returned from one-week away at a Father Heart “A” School in Taupo led by James and Denise Jordan and their team of other lovely mothers and fathers. I feel born again, again. I want to invite you into the transformation…

Sometimes we don’t know that we’ve had a cloud hanging over us all our lives, until that cloud is removed and we come into the full blown beams of the burning sun. Until the sun is revealed, we think that life is cloudy. Who knew?! The cloud is the vapourous veil to the true reality. The sun is the true reality.

Who knew?!

Who knew that life was sunny?! I thought that clouds were like cement — a cold, hard reality. Who knew that clouds are actually a misty vapour, that dissipate when the atmosphere and climate changes. Atmosphere change. Poof. Clouds gone. But the sun never changes. It just shines and shines — continually. Do you know that the sun has never stopped shining? WE just come under a cloud, so we think the sun is gone. WE just move away from it as we move with the revolving globe, so we think the sun is gone. But the sun never moves. The sun never changes. It just shines and shines and shines and shines. The SUN is the true reality; clouds are not. Who knew that clouds are so flimsy that they are blown away by invisible air that we call wind. They are OVERPOWERED BY AIR!

Who knew?!

Who knew what SUBSTANTIAL SUBSTANCE was really contained in the rays of the sun? Who knew that the PEACE of God was supposed to actually FEEL GOOD and that the HOPE that comes from His Spirit, who is OUR COMFORTER, was supposed to actually FEEL COMFORTING!

I feel like I’ve been dooped for most of my life, under this dark cloud, but thank God, I’ve been brought into His glorious light!

I have run from comfort, shunning it as evil, not knowing that our GOOD GOD is called the GOD OF ALL COMFORT, and that ALL COMFORT comes from HIM. Comfort is not evil. It is good!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Cor 1:3-4)

To be comfortable is the ability to be comforted. Comfort-able.

For some reason, I had thought that I was supposed to feel perpetually restless. I thought I was supposed to always feel like I was in danger, as if it somehow made me more radical. ‘Woo, look at HER. She lives such a dangerous, radical life for God. And whoa, she’s single, going around solo all the time. She’s so radical.’ No, I was no radical. I was a lonely, isolated, cloudy loner, living under the deception of Satan, the most restless wanderer on this earth!

I had thought I was supposed to feel like a solo sojourner through this wild and dangerous world. I had NO IDEA that I was supposed to actually FEEL the COMFORT of the Father’s love filling my HEART, which permeates my MIND, embraces my EMOTIONS, and seeps out into my BODY. I thought I was supposed to feel like a stranger and an outsider in this world. I had no idea that I was supposed to feel AT HOME and AT REST in this world because this is my Father’s HOME. His RESTING PLACE. His DWELLING PLACE. I didn’t know that my internal world was supposed to FEEL RESTFUL. I didn’t know that my heart could abide in rest, like a soft pillow to lay my weary head upon and receive comfort. I thought my heart was supposed to feel so strong and resilient and driven. I never knew….

I had no idea that I was allowed to REST, that I was supposed to REST. I have spoken to countless groups about how God gives rest and God created a day of rest to bless us, but I didn’t know that you could actually experience that rest, and FEEL rested.

I didn’t know that rest could actually be a FEELING.

I knew I was supposed to stop my outward activity, but I could never escape that inner frantic rush and restless drivenness, always under this debilitating PRESSURE inside me. Paralyzing burdens that got heavier and heavier with each passing year. Every year not accomplishing all the lists of “shoulds” and “musts”. Always falling short. Always missing out. Always behind. Always disappointing myself. All my failed expectations of myself heaping up endless condemnation upon my heart.

Whoa. I’m allowed to rest.

I had no idea!

I had no idea!

I had no idea!

One of the most radical things that was prayed over me last week was this:
“Father, would you give Alison the courage to relax”. What?!?! Courage to relax?!?! What about courage to forge on into dangerous territory with might and power, to labour for the Lord and win the battle against the enemy?!?! What?!?! Courage to RELAX?!?!

Everything in me resisted the whole idea of RELAXING! (like it was somehow blasphemous and demonic!) I was freaking out inside and in protest! Duh… everyone else could see it — this girl is wound up in anxiety and needs to relax!

Then it hit me – like a soft pillow. Wow, I really do need courage to relax. I am terrified of relaxing. I need more courage to relax, than I need to be all strong and radical.

Like a pillow, the Spirit of God came to lay my weary head down. I had permission from God to relax. I was allowed to rest. No wait, I was commanded to rest. One of the first commands God gave to mankind, was to rest. How did I miss this all my life?!

“Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

This is the good news! This is the gospel! There is a rest for the people of God.

To describe what happened this past week, simply put, I’d call it ONE WEEK-LONG SIGH OF RELIEF. Sometimes we have no idea that we’ve been holding our breath all our lives, until we let our breath out and SIGH. Sometimes we just have no idea how heavy a burden we’ve been carrying on our shoulders, until it is lifted off of us.

We have no idea… until our eyes are opened.

They say that “Love does not transform until it is felt.” This is so true. Someone can TELL you truth all your life, and it doesn’t change a thing in your life, until it finally bypasses your mind, and dives into the deep crevices of your heart, so much so that it is FELT. Then, the lightbulb goes on in your heart, and you are changed.

All my life I have lived in anxiety and worry, like an obsessive mental racehorse running the never-ending marathon race of anxiety. A loop that never stops. I was never diagnosed as abnormal because I was just following the example of my family, the example of all the people I’ve lived around, and the example of the whole world. All my life I have lived with a fear of the future, a fear of getting old, a fear of dying, a fear of the bad guy just around the corner, a fear of the unknown. I have been crippled by dread. And then crippled by regret, thinking that everything I’d done or not done in the past, was somehow contributing to the impending DOOM that was just around the corner. The future, to me, was bleak, dark, horrible, hard and hopeless. I believed that everything gets worse and worse, and life gets harder and harder. It’s like I had been wincing my whole life, just waiting for the smack down. You could have named me Dismal Forebodings. I was Anxiety Girl to the max. The superhero of mental and emotional torture.

Well, no longer. I’ve been renamed.

All I can say is that God has delivered me from these dismal forebodings of the future. And He has renamed me Joyful Anticipations. I am so excited about the future! I am giggling randomly throughout the day, and as I lay there in my bed before I go to sleep. Giggling and chuckling. I have this felt hope and this felt anticipation like a little kid who can’t wait for the next day to come.

God has filled my heart with bright hope for tomorrow. I am filled with hope for the future.

I have been born again into excitement for what’s ahead.

God has been playing the biggest joke on me, and I can’t stop laughing! Jehovah Sneaky, thou hast tricked me!

I thought it was all supposed to be so horrible! I thought that hope was the biggest risk in the world. I didn’t know that hope is the most safe, secure and certain reality. Hope is like the burning sun that just shines and shines and shines. It’s not like a cloud that blows away the moment the climate changes.

It’s like I had laid my life down at His feet, willing to die for Him, certain that the sword of pain would slice me to the core, as I bore the cross for the rest of my life. And suddenly, my Heavenly Father gathers me in His arms, lifts my downturned face and beckons me to look out the window. He opens the shades, and reveals to me this wide and spacious field, a glorious and splendid garden of delight. And He looks back to me and locks His gaze with mine and says, “You will laugh at the days to come.” (Prov 31:25).

Oh how funny and kind the Lord is! He is so hilariously kind. So excessively kind and indulgent in His love. He is over-the-top in His GOODNESS.

“Those who sow in tears, will reap with songs of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:5-6a)

So there, you have it! My week, in a nut-shell. And that was just ONE of a beautiful ABUNDANCE of revelations that I received from my Heavenly Father last week. As I said, He was over-the-top in His goodness. He gives good gifts.

With joyful anticipations,