Have you ever just wanted to start fresh?
A fresh season
A fresh breath
A fresh strength
A fresh purpose
As we close down 2017 and open the new year of 2018, I am in a place of searching for freshness and hope, newness and joy.
Oh, how bogged down we can get in the midst of fundraising, ministering, working, helping, and living overseas.
We all know the never-ending lists of nearly impossible tasks that face us each day. We all understand the depth and width of our jobs and work overseas. We all experience the knowledge that we are fighting an uphill battle most days in most situations.
We also know how quickly our quiet times, family days, vacations, rest hours and even a simple lunch break can get skipped or missed in the course of our busy seasons.
All of that mixed together leaves us dry, empty and overwhelmed.
Do you feel it? The need to find something fresh? Especially at the end of a long, hard year?
I’ve learned over our time in ministry that when I need something fresh, I need to go back to the basics.
Simplify and start over at square one.
So I did. I went to my Bible app and did a simple search for the word “fresh.”
One of the first results that came up was Genesis 26:19 which says, “Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there.”
A well of fresh water … that sounds good. So, I clicked to read the full chapter and found a sweet little story smashed between the birth of Isaac’s twins and their full out fight for a birthright.
The story is this. Isaac had been living in the land of the Philistines under the protection of King Abimilek. But Isaac was doing so well there that the Philistines became jealous of him and the King asked him to leave. Isaac left and settled in the Valley of Gerar. He began reopening the old wells that his father, Abraham, had dug, naming each well the same name that Abraham had named them.
Then, something amazing happens. Isaac’s servants dig in the valley and discover a well of fresh water. But the herders in Gerar hear about it and start claiming that water for themselves. So, Isaac names that well Esek, which means dispute.
That sounds pretty, doesn’t it?
They dig another fresh well and again, there is a fight for the fresh water so Isaac names that well Sitnah, which means opposition.
This brings us to Genesis 26:22 which says, “He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
Rehoboth means room. God, through the fresh water they found, was giving them room to flourish.
From this short story, God showed me a few life lessons about the search for fresh.
- Sometimes the search means moving. Isaac had to move. He had to move away from where he was prosperous and start over in a new valley. He had to move away from the wells his father had dug and dig in new places. He had to let go of things he found so that God could get him to the right place. For us, this might not be a physical move. It could just be a heart move. A new place in our heart that needs attention.
- Sometimes the search means digging. And digging again. Perseverance. Struggle. Opposition. Pushing through. Putting in the work and energy to find the freshness we desperately need.
- Sometimes the search takes help. Genesis 26:18 says, “Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of Abraham…” Isaac went looking for fresh water in old wells. But, verse 19 says, “Isaac’s servants dug in the valley…” It was his servants who helped him find the fresh water in a fresh well.
- Sometimes we need to give ourselves room to flourish. Once we move and dig and dig again and get help and find fresh water, we need to accept that we need room to flourish. We need time and space and margin and God-given rest to flourish in our newly found freshness. Extending grace to ourselves as we transition from old to new, stagnant to fresh.
I love how in just a few verses, God can speak, encourage and challenge us to get up and go search for fresh!
Don’t stay in the yuck or overwhelm of this season but get up, go out and find a fresh season, a fresh breath, a fresh wind in your sail!
I can’t wait to see what else God helps you pull from these few verses about fresh or maybe, if you do your own search for the word fresh, you might come back and share what you’ve found.
How is God speaking to you about the search for fresh? Are you needing a fresh something as you go into the new year? How do you go about starting your search when you need something fresh?