Category Archives: Rest

Introvert Energy Crisis

Quoting again from The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, PsD., this time her sidebar in the Chapter on Personal Pacing. This is a list of symptoms indicating the Introvert has overloaded, drained away all her energy and is in sore need of rest and solitude to re-invigorate:

Trouble sleeping
Unable to think (recall things)
Unable to concentrate
Unable to make decisions
Confused and Discombobulated (as if dashing from thing to thing in a blur)
Drained, tired, put upon, pooped
Disconnected from self

In recent weeks I’ve suffered from all of this. At the same time. I have introverted and semi-introverted friends who have as well. You begin to wonder what is wrong with you. Am I going crazy? Now, though, when I see this array of symptoms appearing in my life I know it’s time to hold the line and retreat to the Fortress of Solitude for a time and just rest.

Amazing what just a little bit of that does.


I have been largely wordless this past week. I think it’s because I’ve been grappling with these new things God is teaching me — in Bible class, in old notes suddenly discovered, in the remarks of friends and even through my own reflections, like the post about the fruit ripening.

Our lessons continue to be about living in the peace and rest of God. The peace and rest of knowing that we have been reconciled to the living God, to the creator and controller of the universe… Let me rephrase that: knowing that I have been reconciled to the living God. That there really is no more condemnation. That it really is about resting in Him. Letting Him do it. 

Letting Him write the book, arrange the time to write it, move me to write it when I do. Letting Him produce the self-control in me, rather than me striving to do that.

Back at the AZ conference I spoke to Pastor Joe briefly about that. How I get these glimpses of the peace that I could have and I back away. I see it, and then think, No, that can’t possibly be right. He referenced that conversation shortly afterward in his teaching, but his take was not that it couldn’t be right, but that it was scary. I thought at the time that it wasn’t scary, just didn’t seem possible.

That conversation has been brought to my attention numerous times since. Pastor Joe has mentioned it himself, but I’ve also thought about it. And finally today in class, when I heard it yet again, something clicked. It is scary. Because it’s so not like what the world says, what man says, what I am comfortable with. The old ways.

We’re studying about the new things that have come and the old things that have passed away (2 Co 5:17). And it’s a big subject with lots of complexities, the latter, I think, mainly produced by my own faulty thinking, which has come from the world. But if man’s thoughts are not God’s thoughts, and his ways aren’t God’s and if, as Pastor Bob says, everything is opposite in God’s way… then it makes a kind of sense that the way to acquire self-control is to stop trying to acquire it. Stop trying to control myself (if only I were more disciplined!  If only I could effectively use the time I’ve been given…)  (And even those if onlies have been refuted in the past month. They are unrealistic expectations, the result of the flesh thinking it can fix itself with some self improvement effort. When it’s impossible to improve a dead man…

But I digress. The only way to acquire self-control, which is a fruit of the Spirit and not of me, is to stop trying to acquire it. Stop trying to love people, stop trying to live for others… and live for Him. Make it your goal to acquire not self-control, or love or selflessness, but to acquire His mind. When you acquire His mind, you think like Him, you want what He wants and the other stuff just follows.

And the first thing that comes out of thinking as He thinks is the awareness that I am reconciled to Him forever. There is not one thing I can ever do wrong that will un-reconcile me. It’s done. He sees me as He has made me: perfectly righteous, because I have His own righteousness. And the work of righteousness shall be peace. And the effect of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever. (Is 32:17)

But only if you consider it. Only if you turn your mind in this direction. The only thing we are to fear is failing to enter His rest. (Heb 4:1) He wants us to be at rest.

And the only way we fail is by not believing. Not believing that the work is finished and there is literally NOTHING we can add. Not believing His promises that if we seek Him first, HE will add all things to us. Not believing His word that He will provide all we need, that He will always be there, never leave or forsake us…

Can it really be that easy? Yes, I believe it can be. And I now think that yes, part of my aversion to simply letting go of it all was indeed fear. Fear that I’d just sit about like a wastrel and do nothing. It’s interesting to contemplate that thought now, because I see the flesh protesting in it. I see that from the flesh’s viewpoint, there is no power but its own. If it does nothing, then nothing will happen. But that is wrong. When the flesh does nothing, the Spirit of God is freed to work. He waits until we step back and let Him.

The problem is, we really have to step back and then we have to wait. We have to rest in utter confidence. We have to be convinced — absolutely convinced that what the Bible says is true — and then we rest. I can still plan my day, or make a list of some things that can be done… but not with the attitude that I’m going to do it. That I’m going to take responsibility for seeing it all done. That’s not what my life’s about.

My life is about following my Lord. Staying in fellowship with Him. Being alert to His leading. Not trying to take control and get my human power in there, with my plans and attempts to control things. My ideas of who I should be and what I should be doing, crappy ideas that I have picked up over the years that do nothing but provoke me to self-condemnation. They need to be rejected.  Ideas like If you don’t write every day, you’re not a writer. If you don’t have a special time to do your work, you’re not a professional. These people are depending on you. You have an obligation.

Oh really? I have an obligation to people? I think not. My only obligation is to my Master. I’ve been bought with a price, and I am obligated to serve the one who bought me and no one else. (though of course in serving Him I do serve them, but not out of guilt, sense of “responsibility”, obligation, etc. Freeing thoughts. Challenging thoughts. Scary thoughts. Way out of the mainstream kind of thoughts…

But I like them. And I think they are right.

 And with that, I guess I wasn’t so wordless after all.

Fruit Ripening

He is the Vine. I am the branch. A branch doesn’t do anything. It just sits there, attached to the vine, a conduit for nutrients and moisture, a support for the leaves and the fruit.

The fruit of the spiritual life is not the fruit of the branch but of the Vine, of the Spirit. Not of me. Considering our lemon tree and how the lemons grow is instructive. Water and nutrients come up the trunk along the branch and at certain points, cell by cell a stem begins to develop. At some point, known only to the stem, the cells begin to change and now it’s no longer a stem but a fruit. First no more than a swelling, then a small green nubbin, then larger and, ever so slowly, larger still. Gradually it takes on its distinctive lemon shape though it is still as green as the leaves around it and hard to spot when you just glance at the tree. As the months pass, it grows larger still, and during all that time if you were to pick it, it would be no good. It would be hard and dry and more bitter than sour, I think.

Finally, though, again with no visible sign or trigger, the ripening process occurs. The fruit goes from green to yellow and suddenly you have the lemon. Compared to the rest of it, the time of ripening is short. And after the fruit has ripened, it is only a month before it begins to fall from the tree and by then if the weather is right, the new blossoms have already come, starting the next batch of fruit.

That’s how it is with writing and I think that’s how it is with the spiritual life, as well. There is a long time of growth when the fruit is barely visible or isn’t ripe yet, isn’t useful. It just sits there on the tree, growing. The brnch just sits there, attached the trunk, delivering the nutrients, keeping the fruit off the ground. Most of all, fruit-bearing isn’t something the branch controls. Nor do we. Our job is to stay connected to the Vine and receiving the nutrients it provides (Filled with the Spirit and taking in doctrine). Those things plus the innate nature of the branch produces the fruit.