Two men were chopping wood side-by-side. One man stops every hour and rests for a few moments. At the end of the day, he chopped more wood than his friend. His friend asked, “How did you manage to chop more wood than me even though you kept stopping all the time?” The answer was simple, “Well, when I stopped to rest I also sharpened my ax!”
Confession: I would be the one with the flannel shirt and hiking boots; having had a hardy breakfast in preparation for the task set before me, and out the door, ax over my shoulder – ready to swing away with all that I’ve got. Enthusiasm plus…get it done! I would also be the one to step back, rubbing my callused hands against my jeans, and questioning my fellow laborer how it was possible to chop more wood than me!
Along those lines, it has recently been brought to my attention about an area in my life where I am not “out of the woods yet.” While there I’m not understanding that the Lord actually knows better about what my body needs, and what it doesn’t need; what I should be doing, when I should be doing it, and when not. Why I chose not to stop, rest, and examine my blade.
Having had major surgery a few weeks ago was actually a God-opportunity to learn about resting my body. In fact, I’m still in the process because the “calluses” are still there. In my urgency I went back to doing sessions sooner than I should have, and Holy Spirit spoke to me, “Louise, take off that flannel shirt and put on sleepwear; take off your work boots and slip in to what I call “shoes” of surefootedness that leads to peace (Eph.6:15). Otherwise you can end up coming too close to going over the edge and in to the pit of burn out. Worse yet – dark night of the soul.
Without the rest my body needs it not only concerns my body, but also to the “health” of the body of Christ – as I minister to them. If I am not resting my body (temple of of Holy Spirit) then I will be foolish to think that I can continue in the anointing placed upon me many years ago. I know that, in my mind, but my body is waiting for me to (learn) that I have an opportunity to take care of myself with rest, assess my dull blade, and realize the deeper level of mandate the Lord gave me from Isaiah 61:1,2:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me. He has appointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it…He will give beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair.”
Webster’s defines a dull blade: “Slow in perception or sensibility; somewhat dull of hearing, dull to what is going on with others.” So, in reality, I am not very sharp in my thinking when my reasoning says that I need to take care of my client before I take care of myself. Translated: taking things in to my own hands is the exact opposite of what I model in my sessions when I make it known that it is CHRIST working through me, not anything of myself. A perfectly defined double standard.
Father God is saying that in order to enjoy the abundant life of the Lord Jesus Christ to work in me and through me I need to cease from striving. Every one of us are guilty, at one level or another, of not stopping to sharpen our tools…the instruments that we were given to advance the Kingdom of God on this earth. So, let us stop and rest, like the laborer who knew no urgency to get the job done. He simple practiced excellence.
“The rest of my life.” An opportunity to rest today; a clarion call to practice it for the rest of my life. In-my- face reality for growing spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally and relationally. How about you? What do you use your ax for? There is a different ax for each category, and maybe some blades are sharper than others. Maybe some have been neglected. Sometimes we need someone to point out to us that we are dull; need to stop; to rest from our agenda, and enjoy the day our Father has given us.