belief on a January Monday

“Much, much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come . . . Instead of dashing headlong toward your goal, let Me set the pace. Slow down, and enjoy the journey in My Presence.”  Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

I don’t know what slowing down and enjoying the journey looks like for you on a Monday in January. But I do know what it isn’t. It isn’t worrying about what tomorrow might bring. It isn’t shaming yourself into better or more productive behavior. It isn’t holding on to fear that perhaps you’ve messed up your kids beyond all repair.
I wrote a post at (in)courage today, about The God of Mondays. You can read it, if you want. I’ve thought more about that post since I’ve written it. I’ve done a lot of planning for the coming year, a lot of thinking about what is to come. And I’ve caught myself more than once trying to fire myself into the future like a cannonball. It helps to remember about the pace of God, how he could have made all of Creation with a blink of his eye, but instead he took a whole week, step by step.

So for me, slowing down and allowing God to set the pace is all about believing. And that can be harder than it sounds, because sometimes it feels like nothings happening right now, and shouldn’t I be busy doing something to make it otherwise? Believing God can be gritty and messy, a lot more so than some people talk about. It isn’t a bowed-head acceptance all the time. Maybe ever. On this second Monday of January, I wonder what belief looks like for you?


  1. says

    Just been praying and thinking over the last few days about how I want to sit down today and write about 10 things I really believe about God…to meditate on each morning as I go w/ Him into 2011. I’m about to embark on a new career that is so different w/ so many different measurements of success, that I want to remember what success is to my Maker. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. says

    These are lovely posts—thank you so much for these words today. This line in particular grabbed my attention:

    So for me, slowing down and allowing God to set the pace is all about believing.

    I am terrible about trying to be the boss of my world and I run around like a mad woman trying to be all things to all people at all times instead of allowing Him to lead me in the right direction. It’s so much easier when I let Him, the One who holds time in His hands, be the one that dictates my life and schedule.

    • says

      I hear that for sure, Amanda. I try to be my own world boss every day. I love the word believe, because it automatically begs the question: believe what? And that is where I have to remind myself what I believe. Again and again.

    • says

      Holy smokes Amanda, you just got my attention! I try to be the boss of my own world all too often. And YES, Emily! It’s because I’m not believing God and allowing Him “to set the pace.” In that way, I guess I’m also trying to boss God.

      The good thing about a January Monday? It’s a perfect time for a fresh start. I’m praising God today for His unlimited grace and do-overs! And I’m praising Him for you, Emily!

  3. says

    Oh Emily how true this is!!!! I am working on taking things in God’s time and doing them God’s way. Sometimes I mess things up so much when I try to do them the way that I see everyone else doing them instead of just relaxing, listening and going with God’s rhythm and plan. Learned a big lesson about that in my marriage and how we do things at our house lately. Praise God for a wonderful husband who listened to God and steps out and servant leads me. :) Thanks for the reminder…its so easy to let our goals get beyond God…all things in His time with His vision for our lives is SO much better!!! Thanks for sharing your heart today…beautiful!!!

    Building Home with Him,

    Mary Joy

  4. says

    I need to slow down so much…and let God lead and set that pace.

    I have consumed myself with work to avoid the feelings of grief still within me.

    Love Sarah Young, Jesus Calling…it was given to me, last spring by a friend. When she sensed I was so grief stricken that although I knew Jesus was walking with me…I could not feel Him or his peace in my heart, I was a mess. I am still a mess.

    Love your writing…it speaks to me.

  5. says

    Emily, I just wrote about this today, in a BIG way. I had plans for this year to be the year I really worked on my blog and all the things I knew I needed to do to make my ministry grow. But God’s plan was to tell me to “walk at the children’s pace” based on a story I read in Genesis. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I’ve been walking at the children’s pace for 14 years. I am ready to walk a little faster now, thankyouverymuch. But God’s timing is perfect.

    I love the way you said that God COULD have created the entire world in an instant, but he CHOSE to take six days. Longer, if you believe the “days’ are not literal days.

    I am discovering recently that of all the things with which I struggle, THIS is the biggest thing: feeling as if I am flawed or wrong or out of God’s will if I am not producing SOMETHING I can see.

    I am reaching deep into the word of God for strength and guidance to become free from this oppression. It is so very, very oppressive.

    Thanks for this great post.


    • says

      I thought about that too, Sandy – about how those 7 days could be even longer than a week, depending on your theology. Either way, he took a lot longer than he had to, didn’t he?

      I understand that feeling of being flawed – I think it is the seed from the Garden that is in all of us, that fear that there is something wrong, and that it is un-fixable.

      Thankful for your comment today, and the reminder of a God who makes things new without any help from us.

  6. says

    It is 8:20 and shame is already stalking me today as I read here. The thing I have to believe, it’s that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, that I am in Him, that going forward into His new morning mercies is possible.

    I’m remembering our conversation and the laughter involved today. Your smile, it brings it back. I hope you have a good Monday.

    • says

      Oh, Kelly. Talking with you in real life was oh-so-easy. I echo that truth with you today, the no condemnation part. Sitting under that banner with you today . . .

  7. says

    Hey Emily,

    Great post, I’ll move on over to (in)courage and read the whole thing. One thing I’ve decided is, even though I’m super busy and I (thought) my goals for the year were what I needed (and they are), what I really need is daily prayer and scriptures with my family REALLY needs to be my priority above all the other things I want to accomplish.

    We are so much happier and the home feels so much more peaceful when we keep that a daily habit. Have a fabulous week.

    I posted my kitchen/laundry makeover if you’re interested, go to…

  8. says

    That was absolutely beautiful. Before coming here I was just journalling about allowing God to care for the spark that is in me and to allow Him fan it into a controlled burn instead of a raging, out of control fire that would consume everything in it’s path.

    He is up to something…..!

  9. says

    Oh this was what I needed to read right now. Thank you. As our family is trying to come to some decisions it seems to be taking a far longer time than ever in the past. We are in a hurry to hurry it up, and this reminder to let God lead is what I needed to read. Thank you.

  10. says

    great thoughts, emily. belief for me is taking off that backpack i carry around. you know, the one packed up with 135 worries. belief is leaving that backpack at the feet of the one who is the author and perfecter of my faith, of my future. the worries are a burden, and one i do not have to carry.

  11. says

    I’m going through Sarah Young’s devotional this year, and that entry spoke volumes to me. I read it in the moment I needed it most. Belief for me this year really is to slow down and allow God to work. The mundane-ness of life is what gets me. It’s when I feel most invisible to God. But truth tells me He is working in the silence and in the waiting. I love that He takes the pressure and load off of us and invites us to rest while He does the work. I just have to give it over. I long for the time that I will be married and have a family. There are days where I am so sick of myself! Sometimes I even get on my own nerves! Steve L. reminds me all the time that God works in my wants. Thanks for the encouragement to take God up on that and to relax while he operates, even in the gritty, messy parts.

    • says

      Jenilee – I say that I get on my own nerves all the time!! I love Steve for saying that, how God works in our wants. It is such a new concept, as I think often we grow up thinking that we have to squelch our own desires. But that would be denying so much of how God made us. Lean hard into that truth, friend.

  12. says

    Amen. I so always want to be “there” and forget I have to be “here”, “now”, first – can’t get there without being here.

    And that is such a dynamic point, that God took the time of an artist when he fashioned everything.

    Belief? I am so quick to look around and believe everything I see, when believing has so little to do with what’s seen. It happens so often that I find myself constantly in need of reminding. I’ve been reminded today. Thank you Emily.

    May God bless and keep you and yours

  13. says

    Hi Emily-

    I came to Chatting at the Sky through Edie’s blog, and can’t wait to catch up on your archives.

    Thank you for your writing today, for reminding us to slow down and live in the moment. Sometimes I feel like the only one who struggles with this, but it’s clear from others commenting that I’m not alone.

    Especially with the New Year, it’s so easy to get caught up in our plans for our lives—when it’s really all about Him using us in our day-to-day messy lives to touch the lives of others. Thanks for the reminder to be present.

  14. says

    How could you know? I just read this last night. A friend gave me Jesus Calling for a Christmas gift and I’ve been working through it. I just love it. I to, have made alot of plans for this year, but after reading that devotion I am now wondering how much is me plowing ahead. I’m wondering if I need to slow down a little and let God lead me instead.

  15. says

    such good words to hear this morning. i have gone through a major transformation this year in that i no longer live in the “worst case scenario.” it was a horrible place to be. and so stressful. the worst case scenario forces one to try and create the impossible…perfection. for me, dealing with situations as they come has given me the freedom to enjoy every day more clearly and appreciate the ups and downs as moments not monumental events. letting go has been amazingly difficult and amazingly rewarding!

  16. says

    I guess the difficulty of slowing down is what qualifies it to be a spiritual discipline. You are so right that it takes doing it intentionally and believing that the world will not fall apart if I don’t do it all.

    Blessed and encouraged by your words, as always. :)

  17. says

    What a wonderful post! So often I find myself living in the future instead of the here and now. Or, I find myself thinking of a different life rather than the one God gave me at this very moment–the things I would change or do differently. But, in His giving, I know He has a plan for me and for the people He has surrounded me with. If only I will lean into Him and into the relationships He has given me and live this life, now. Thank you for your thoughtful words of wisdom on this Monday! –Godspeed, Elizabeth

  18. says

    I love the way you take just what so many of us are thinking and wrap it in such eloquent words. With all of the really good ideas to take into the New Year that are making their way to posts on blogs, it gets a bit overwhelming trying to fit it all into my life. I find myself printing out reams of things to do, ways to memorize, quick ways to read through the Bible in a year and so many other things. Then I sit in a muddle and wonder how I can possibly fit it all into a 24 hour day, and if not – which are the things I’m “supposed” to be doing.
    I find myself taking a deep breath and exhaling as I read your words Emily. I’m going to believe that the Father will show me the way to slowly grow into this new year.
    Thank You!

  19. says

    This Monday is a different kind of Monday for us as it is a Snow Day (and looks like it will be an ICE NIGHT)! Our city has basically shut down, but we were prepared! Hubby is home from work, and he and I are both working on projects. Mine is one that I am trying to pace myself at the pace God would seemingly have me do things, but I so have the tendency to run ahead of Him! I have to realize it will happen when it is ready to happen, and that it won’t come all and once and it is better for me that it doesn’t!

  20. says

    thank you for the amazing words that God took a whole week to create something amazing. i needed to be reminded of that, that some of the best things in life are achieved over time and not in a rat race. you are amazing.

  21. says

    I am so glad to have found you this morning and pleased to have seen a new post to enjoy in my reader this evening. I am determined to stop wishing the time away this year and enjoy the little things and small moments in my life. After a very tough year last year I hope this will help me remember this year for the good things.

  22. says

    Today, belief looks like…stopping my mind from trying to micro-manage this week’s schedule, because I know I tend to way overestimate what I am able to do, realistically. It’s stopping myself from throwing more words at God and simply resting in His presence and His capability. It’s asking Jesus to help me get through the next few hours at work with this immense pain in my neck and shoulders until I can leave to see my chiropractor. It’s extending myself the grace to leave work early to see my chiropractor, and asking God to help me remember I don’t need to feel guilty for doing that. It’s being amazed that the amount of money in our checking account will cover the exact amount of the next bill due to come out.

  23. says

    Whew- Emily- this speaks to me in this season of waiting. . . this season that stretches on and on and on. It’s so easy to want to get ahead of today, to get ahead of Him and His plans for right now.
    Thanks for the gentle reminder.

  24. says

    This second Monday in January looks like job applications and postings for my upcoming college graduation and those scary, scary (empty) months thereafter. This post was a wonderful slow down on a cold day filled with typing. After all, “if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans,” right?
    I’ll try to remember it’s not my plan nor my pace. Thank you for the reminder.

  25. says

    Here in South East Queensland peoples lives are being turned upside down with the flooding and flash floods that have happened over the last few weeks. Our little town is cut off from the outside world as we speak…no supplies in or out, businesses flooded and peoples homes destroyed….BUT the Lord is still God. Jesus is the Lord of Mondays, flooding, livlihoods, food supplies and every other part of our lives. He is our safety!

  26. says

    for me, belief looks like taking just one more step when everything’s trembling apart and i don’t know where we’re headed. always just one more step.

  27. says

    So often I want to move out of the current season…the one where my hubby suffers with his chronic back pain, where I have to carry a little extra weight around here and where I often feel overwhelmed and confused. More mundanely, December left my house unorganized and messy and I still haven’t caught up.

    This Monday brought a snow day–hooray! My mind rushed ahead to all we could accomplish to get the house back in order…not only would I be home all day, but my two kids would be around to help and to finally make progress on the pits their rooms have become. I hit the ground running, and quickly discovered a son who is under the weather, and I ( not hubby!) twist wrong and throw my back all out of whack. seriously?

    So, today was slower and less productive than I planned. I got a fresh perspective on hubby’s pain as well. :0)

    This Monday belief looks a lot like taking things day by day, laying aside my own timeline, and knowing that His timing and plans are perfect. It is also laying aside my own measure of worth–worth by what I’m on top of. Yuck–that view is laden with lies. I can’t believe I still buy into it.

    Thanks for writing this post, Emily.

  28. says

    Slowing down and smelling the roses is actually something I’m intent on doing this year. I spent way too much of my life worrying about tomorrow, and my future and it has made life so heavy and unenjoyable. Whenever I slow down, enjoy the presence of friends, and the stillness of nature and God, I feel so much more relaxed, and life actually feels enjoyable, serene, peaceful and light.

  29. Abbie says

    Belief is trusting God when I don’t see how things could possibly work, when I feel sad and lonely, when I’ve yelled at my kids, when I’m tired.

  30. adrienne says

    thank you for reminding us Emily that God didn’t rush through creation. and that he took a day of rest. i remind myself of that on sunday when i feel like being lazy and i keep thinking i should throw a load of laundry in the washer. every morning (usually!), I ask God what I should get done for the day, to have him order my day so I get the things done that He wants me to get done. I always have a better day when I do that.

  31. Courtney says


    I am a new reader to your blog, and I must give you affirmation for your bold, refreshing perspective. Your posts have been so encouraging and certainly God-breathed for me in the exact moment I need to read them and hear the words. We’re waiting to hear about a possibly life-changing (and needless to say very exciting) opportunity for our family and patience has been, shall we say, not our greatest virtue during this time – we just want to know! When I read this last night after my sweet baby girls were asleep and my husband was not yet home from work, I felt Him speaking through your words, and encouraging us to enjoy the exciting journey and truly let Him set the pace. We’ll know when He’s ready for us to know!

    Blessings to you, this Tuesday in January :)

  32. says

    Right now, for me belief is knowing that even though we may have just lost our entire business, God is with me in the middle of all of it. Our entire way of life is in jeopardy, but God knows where we are, and what we’re facing. Belief is knowing that God has something better planned for our family, though we have to swim through the flood waters to get there.

  33. says

    We have big plans for this year, my husband and I. God is prompting dreams and hopes in our heart, things that have been bubbling to the surface for the past decade. It feels like we’ve finally reached a boil! It’s exciting, but it’s also hard for me not to rush ahead of God and figure out the path. Your words were much needed this morning, Emily. :) Thank you!

  34. Diane says

    Emily…you write the sweetest words…and the most thoughtful pieces.

    Though we may know that God sets the pace. It’s truly difficult to consider that it isn’t just our daily pace….but it’s our weekly, monthly, yearly pace as well. (Yes…I do have control issues – Ha! ) For the past 19 months we have been relying completely on a gracious God for everything. And trusting (BELIEVING) that HE Will provide the job that my husband needs (and I know will be perfect for him). We’re learning not to ask why…but to believe that He is answering our prayer. And through this time….I have learned patience (not that I ever asked for it), contentment, and I’ve received peace of mind. About midway through this process God kept bringing to mind – rest….resting in HIM as well as physical rest. That was HIS pace for me. And no doubt the pace will change. Sometime. But I’m know more than ever….HE is in control. And though there is no job, and though it seems like our lives are standing still, yet, we BELIEVE.

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