When life, service and busyness take our time away from being in the presence of God.
Life has a way of making us hard, tough and resilient women. We become great at taking care of and managing everything in our life. We can bounce back from anything. We are super Moms. We are proud of how strong we are and how we can handle it all! We can work a forty hour a week job, carpool all the kids, be at every ballgame, bake cupcakes for the whole team, volunteer for Children’s Church, serve on the PTA board, cook dinner, do everyone’s laundry, manage the family budget and bills and the list goes on and on.
We are great at being independent and self sufficient! We don’t need any help. Or do we?
I have found myself running at a breakneck pace trying to accomplish everything that I could possibly get done in one day and eventually I found myself worn out, tired, overwhelmed, spiritually drained and hardened. I realized I wasn’t self sufficient at all. My tank had ran out and there was nothing left for me to give to anyone.
The Lord kept speaking to me, “Come spend some time with me.”
"But Lord, I know you know I have to work, we have to eat.” “I have so much to do." He understands that, right? He knows my heart. He knows all that I have to do. I know he wants me to serve and serving takes up a lot of time too, but it’s for him. He needs me to do all of this for him, right?
Years passed and I continued to live like this. I was running on fumes. I was filled more with my flesh than with God’s Spirit. I was so self sufficient.
I had a great career and was making great money! At some point I started working overtime at my job in order to save money to buy our house. I thought everything was going great.
We served as much as we could at church, greeting, ushering, drama, children’s church, cleaning and outreaches. We never said no to a job that needed to be done.
I thought, God has to be proud of how hard we work and how much we do, right? I mean, he wants us to do everything with excellence so how could this be wrong?
All these things were good in and of themselves but I was like dry bones and had taken it to another level. I was dying spiritually. I wasn’t spending enough time with my Father.
I had done what I told myself I would never do, I was going through the motions, but on the inside I was tough, hard, self sufficient, and spiritually dead.
A couple of years ago, I became sick with a chronic illness and things took a turn. All the things that I consumed myself with I no longer could do. For months I couldn’t do anything. When I couldn't work at my job, couldn’t go to my aerobics class, couldn’t serve at church, couldn’t get up when I wanted, couldn't eat without getting sick, what was left? What was my hope in? I soon realized that I had placed much of my hope in the things that I could do and my own self sufficiency.
I had placed my hope in my career, my service, ministry, my ability to do and my strength to bounce back from anything. When all of this was gone, I was devastated.
I was blinded and had put my hope in these temporary things more than I had put my trust in my Heavenly Father.
That’s a hard nugget to swallow but that’s where I was. I had lied and convinced myself that all of this was okay. My Spiritual mother would always tell me that church can be really busy and some things you just have to say no to.
She would always say, “Do only the things that God puts on your heart to do and if he doesn’t tell you to do it, say no.”
I didn’t take heed to that warning. I volunteered to do things after work and on weekends. I also had the kids in sports. At the time, I thought it was the right thing to do.
But, in doing so, I had sacrificed my time with the Lord in the name of serving him and providing for my family.
He does expect us to work and serve but there’s a balance and I didn’t have my priorities in order.
God was waiting for me in our secret place and I wasn’t there to meet him.
In the end, I found that I wasn’t all that I thought I was. I was a hot mess in desperate need of my Heavenly Father (My Daddy). I wasn’t resilient or self sufficient at all.
I sat there in my chaos, repented and wept.
I was so embarrassed that I was so blinded. I had put so much hope in what I could do and the things of this world. Things that could be gone in an instant. During the worst of my illness, my Father was right there and he never left my side. I suddenly understood the meaning of Matthew 18:3 “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
He didn’t need my self sufficiency or resiliency but I needed his. He didn’t need my control because he was in absolute control.
Although, working and serving are great things and he calls us to do them, I had consumed myself with “doing”.
God hadn’t called me to do everything I was doing.
Some things were just unnecessary busyness. Other things were birthed out of my ego and my desire to please people.
God only needed me, his child, to be still and listen. He wanted me to slow down and dwell and abide in his presence. He wanted me to have child like faith and complete trust in Him and not in my own self sufficiency. I was running at a breakneck pace without him and was accomplishing nothing.
I have been learning what is precious in life and how I have been missing it for so long. God is teaching me how to protect my sacred time with HIM and my family. I try to have more of an ear to listen to what he wants me to say “yes” to and what he wants me to say “no” to (Matthew 5:37).
The enemy tried to use busyness as a tool to steal my time with the Father and I wasn't alert and watching. He used all the good, wholesome things that I did like working, my job and even serving at my church.
God wanted my time and fellowship. He wanted my heart. Instead of always being like Martha, busy serving, he wanted me to, sometimes, be like Mary and sit at HIS feet. He says Mary did the better part (Luke 10:38-42).
In (Mark 12:30-31) it says to love the Lord God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
I was so dead and drained from busyness how could I love other people. I will be honest, sometimes, I just didn’t even like people because I was working out of my flesh and wasn’t connected to the vine, Jesus.
I couldn’t bear good fruit because I wasn’t communing with the Father, I was too busy (John 15:1-27). I could be fake and smile all day long but that wasn’t representing the true condition of my heart, it was an outward lie.
Although, I was barely producing any fruit, the Lord found fit to prune me. He pruned me so I could grow closer to him and produce more and better fruit. Pruning has definitely hurt, but I’m so thankful that he continues to give me chance after chance.
As many times as I have missed the mark, I’m still HIS child. My eyes were opened to everything I thought I was doing right but I was getting it so wrong. The less time I spent with him the more desensitized I became to my own sin. I needed my Daddy more than anything in this world.
I could do nothing apart from him. How silly I was to think that I could run along ahead of him and do my own thing.
During my pruning, I became like a child and my Father held my hand during some of the hardest times of my life.
Even though I had hurt his heart he still loved me with unfailing love. He was there to heal my brokenness. I had failed him but he never failed me.
I have nothing to offer anyone if I’m not connected to the vine (Jesus). I can offer fake love, fake smiles and fake religion. In order for me to show people God's love and the saving power of Jesus, I have to have consistent fellowship with my Father.
He is the one who gives me the Holy Spirit to transform my life and heart. I have a friend who reminded me the other day that the WORD says that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it (Jeremiah 17:9). My heart is naturally this way because I am a fallen person in a fallen world.
My heart can be deceiving. I have to become like a child and allow the Holy Spirit to search my heart (Psalm 139:23-24), to change my heart and to fill me with the Holy Spirit.
Then my service and God's love can change others through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s all for HIS glory. I can accomplish nothing in myself, I have to be connected to the vine to produce good fruit.
He wants my full attention. He wants my heart.
He wants me to come to him as a child full of faith and reliance on his abilities and not my own. Like a child has no worries and trusts completely in her parents for every need, so God also wants me to trust in HIM in this way.
He is a faithful and trustworthy Father even when I am not.
I think so many times, us women, battle with feelings of guilt if we aren't doing everything for everyone.
Father, I pray that the guilt leaves and that we hang on to your love and your voice. That we only move when you tell us to move even if it doesn't please other people.
God help us to overcome the guilt that we feel deep in our hearts that we aren't doing enough, when we are usually doing too much.
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