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2014 Archives

R-E-S-T: A Labor of Love

I love how creative the Lord is in the ways He teaches me. His frequent use of an acrostic is a favorite of mine. I usually know when one is coming because I just keep hearing a word repeat over and over in my head and heart. At the beginning of 2011, during a long morning walk, that word was “rest”. I finally just told the Lord to lay it on me and this is what came, “R-E-S-T is Receiving Everlasting Salvation and Truth.” This began an enlightening dialogue.

I walked and pondered for several minutes when the Lord broke into my thoughts, “You do not enter rest just because you receive salvation. Rest is a result of everlasting Truth replacing your beliefs. What you believe has no power to change Truth, but Truth has the power to change what you believe.”

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I continued to walk, ponder, and listen. There are times when I know the Lord is taking me much deeper into understanding a particular topic and I have nothing to contribute from my limited storehouse of knowledge. I follow His lead, and He typically guides with questions.

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I had recently gone through a time of focus on my physical fitness, shedding several unwanted pounds resulting in a new size of clothing. The Lord drew on this for an illustration. He asked, “Before you lost weight, if I had bought you a pair of jeans in your current size as a gift, what would you have done with them?” My response was that I probably would have exchanged them for a size that fit. I could feel His smile at my honesty, but His reply expressed sadness, “That is exactly what people do with My Truth. They exchange it, or alter it, to make it fit what they believe, what they have been taught, or simply what they prefer. If I give you a pair of jeans that are meant to fit you based on how I created you, it is then up to you to decide if you will do the work necessary to fit into them.”

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More walking. More processing. Just as things were really beginning to churn inside, He interjected into my thoughts again. “Do you know what it means to worship Me with your mind?” I know enough from my experiences with the Lord to know that when He asks me a question like that, the answer is always, “Umm, I’m guessing that if You’re asking, it means I don’t, even if I think I do.” He proceeded to explain that worshipping Him with my mind is to surrender everything (and I mean everything) I believe to Him. It means giving Him permission to enter into my mind and question whatever He finds there, to shake everything loose that holds no Truth, to replace every wrong belief with His thoughts and perspectives. It is an invitation to go into deep reasoning and critical thinking with Him (Isaiah 1:18).

He extended the invitation to me that morning on my walk. And because He is my absolute delight, He has proven Himself so utterly faithful in my journey with Him, I can deny Him nothing. I readily said “YES”, and entered into the most revelatory, yet intense struggle I have ever experienced. I felt consumed by a burning cloud.
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There were times when I literally could feel my brain moving around loosely inside my skull as if it was being shaken and had come unhinged. Things that I had believed as foundational truths I found held no light or life. They fell and were burned up as I sat in what felt like great uncertainty. Nothing had form or shape anymore. I was terrified of being deceived and trembled before the Lord begging Him to hold onto me. It felt like a free fall. My hope was completely in His promise and ability to keep me and never let me go. His simple, provoking questions shook me to the core. He positioned Truth against beliefs rooted in duality; both simply could not be true.

Eventually the cloud lifted, the dust settled, and the ashes blew away. I rested into a clarity I had never known before. I understood double-mindedness as it existed in my thinking, and can easily detect it in others. There are many things we profess to believe, yet our actions expose the depth of our unbelief and self-deception. We can say all the right things, yet never actualize them in our lives. We often do the exact opposite and cannot even see it. It takes a great listener and observer to notice the discrepancies. That level of listening and observing must start with Self.

Deuteronomy 29:4 states, But to this day the Lord has not given you minds that understand, nor eyes that see, nor ears that hear! Enkindle the Lord of all Truth by praying Psalm 119:29, Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions. Grant Him access into your mind and allow Him to instruct you by exercising your critical thinking and reasoning muscles with Him—utilizing both Word and Spirit.
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There are layers of surrender with the Lord. Our will is one layer. This is a heart decision. Our emotions and the meanings we have ascribed to events in our lives are additional layers. This is a deeper soul work. Our beliefs and thoughts are yet another layer. We do what we believe regardless of what we say we believe, so the labor involved in dissecting and deconstructing the belief system we have ascribed to our lives is truly an endeavor rooted in a love for the Lord and an uncompromising desire for Truth and nothing else.
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Tricia Kaye Exman is a transmutation coach, leadership developer, author, and speaker. A graduate from the University of Alabama, her credentials include Professional Path Certified Coach, accreditation in Emotional Intelligence, and introductory level training in Right Brain Therapy. She also holds certifications in numerous personality profiling tools and facilitation skills for leadership training. An Organization and Leadership Consultant, Tricia has over twenty years of experience in corporate roles that include Account Manager, Operations Director, and Vice President of Project Management. Tricia is the President and Founder of Presence Coaching and Tricia Exman Ministries.