As you read this post, if it feels familiar, it may be because I wrote something very similar just a few months ago ….
But God doesn’t speak into our lives once and then leave us to our own devices. He continues to teach, correct, and train us when we need it (2 Timothy 3:16)
Earlier this week, during my planning period at school, I sat down to be “productive.”
I am learning that, for me, the devil prowls around and attempts to devour me (1 Peter 5:8) through my to-do lists.
Mentally, I ran down the list of all the things I needed to do:
- Read my Bible
- Read the book for which I have agreed to write a review
- Read for the online Bible study class in which I have enrolled
- Finish reading the book for my last online Bible study
- Write a blog post
Before I even began to tackle my list I felt overwhelmed, distracted, and unsettled. I couldn’t decide how or where to start.
So instead of “doing” anything, I set aside all the books, turned off the computer, closed my eyes and tried to become quiet and still before God. Not to ask for anything specific, but just to stop and listen for His voice.
What I felt Him speaking into my spirit brought me to tears.
I realized that I was doing it again. The very thing that I wrote about just a few short months ago, I was right back in that place.
And I was not only feeling a sense of restlessness and distraction at school, I had been feeling it at home as well.
I feel as if I am always rushing from one thing to the next.
At home my to-do list contains all of the items from the list above as well as:
- Prepare dinner
- Wash dishes
- Clean kitchen
- Fold and put away laundry
- Prepare lunches for the next day
- Bathe boys
And on and on and on …
As I looked at all the things I had on my list, God brought to my attention the fact that my sweet boys and my husband weren’t even on the list. They didn’t even make the cut.
I have made myself so busy that I don’t have time for the people that I love most in this life.
So many of the things on my list are good and necessary, My children have to eat. They have to have clean clothes. Other things, while not necessary, are good and Godly, such as my desire to know God more but I have realized that sometimes …
In my quest to know Him more I have left my people behind.
During a recent Sunday morning at church, in a time of worship as I was singing with my eyes closed (as I often do) a visual image came to mind. I imagined myself climbing the hill to meet Jesus at the foot of the cross. But I realized that in my climbing, my striving, my journey, I was alone. I was charging ahead, forging a way all on my own, leaving my husband and my boys behind.
God has brought me so far but His work in me will not end this side of eternity. I am so thankful to Him that when I start to become full of myself, when I begin to think that I have “arrived”, He opens my eyes to the work that still needs to be done in me.
And He reminds me that it is His work to do, not my own.
I am so thankful that my Heavenly Father does not condemn me for my sin (Romans 8:1), He convicts me of my sin. He opens my eyes to my sin so that I may come to Him for repentance, for a cleansed heart.
And I am so thankful for the reminder that I don’t have to “do” anything other than simply love.
When Jesus was asked which commandment is the greatest His answer was not to “do” anything. It wasn’t to read Scripture for a certain amount of time each day or to commit Scripture to memory or even to teach and preach the Word. His answer was love.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
I feel the conviction of my sin, how selfish I have been, putting myself, what I want, what I need, what I feel is important, above being present and loving my family.
And I do so want my boys to know their Mama’s love.
I want them to proudly declare: “My Mama loves me. She spends time with me. She plays with me. She sees me and she listens to me.”
“My Mama loves her Bible. She spends all her time reading it or some other book. She plays on her phone a lot. She is always looking at it or her computer. She listens to a lot of Bible stuff and music.”
So I am still learning and will continue to need teaching and correcting and training.
How do I “do” what God has called me to do without letting it completely take over and overwhelm me and my family?
I don’t know how to do it all.
But isn’t that a lie straight from the enemy?
Where did God ever say that I was supposed to “do it all”?
While the enemy chants: “Do! More! Work!”
God whispers: “Be. Still. Rest.”
In some cases less truly is more.
Thank you for your great, unending, merciful love. Thank you that when I fail and fall short as I often will, Your love will never fail. Thank you that You will never leave me nor forsake me.
God, please forgive me for putting myself first, for putting my own wants and desires ahead of the people you have blessed me with. God, please forgive me for taking these sweet, precious souls for granted – my boys Smith and Charlie, as well as my husband, Aaron.
God, please help me to just be with my family – just to BE with them – not rushed or hurried or anxious or mentally running through any kind of list – but to just BE with them and to enjoy them for the gift that they are.
God, I thank you that in my selfishness and sin You do not condemn me but with Your Spirit and with Your Word You convict me. I thank You for teaching, your correcting, and your training. God please help me to not only know Your Word but to live out Your Word in my home.
In Jesus’ holy and precious name I pray,
The Way of Love
13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith,so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.