To do lists, emails to send, meetings to plan, people to meet, youth to hang out with, a new church community to get integrated in, reading for my assignments and course work. All of these things are on the agenda for the next coming weeks and months. All I find great joy in, all I love to do.
But if I am not careful my life can easily become a bunch of to do lists and the pressure to complete each set task list can become where I find fulfillment in my day rather than finding my purpose in my connection with God. Busyness bombards our lives and making sure things get done can almost drive our every thought. Then we sit back, tired, exhausted and weary in our spirits thinking, I’ve done all these things to get myself in order so surely I shouldn’t be feeling this way. Sometimes we want to run ahead when God is calling us to just walk with Him. Only when we get the walking with Him part down we will be in a place to fly with Him.
I find myself struggling at my own human limitations. That my body works to a 24 hours time clock. Why can’t I have all the energy in the world to conquer all the tasks that are at hand? Why is moving back to the UK and all the changes that it brings so tiring? Why I am struggling with the tiredness but then still being driven by the sense that all this stuff needs to get done right now in this moment? I am left with feelings of agitation and sometimes feelings of failure and defeat.
Then it hits me….NOTE TO SELF: I am not a superhero. I can’ t be all things, to all people, in all places, all the time. No one else is requiring this of me. I can’t meet every need that I see before my eyes (however I would like to) I am not in control. I am not God. Nor do I want to be. I say that and I look at how my days go sometimes and think that’s what I am doing though. And then I sit and wonder why I feel the way I do.
I recognize I have high expectations of myself that are only driven in by me. What I am thankful for is being a part of a leadership that values rest, that instills the Sabbath, and are solid in making sure this happens for me on a weekly basis without compromise. That my pastor sees it as priority to guard this day in order to stay effective in all that God has called me to do. He is keen to put it as time scheduled into the planner, where I usually end up on the other side of it. Not having the time and space needed because I don’t see it as a priority and then feeling burnt out.
So how do I combat this mindset? It’s such a temptation to fall into. To find our worth in the busyness we create. Our level of productivity gives us identity. If we have a good day we are feeling on top of the world, we are more than conquerors right? But if we have an off day or feel we are lacking then we feel like failures. This gives us inaccurate self image because it’s all coming from the wrong place.
Apart from me, you can do nothing (John 15:5) I know this truth. I stand in this truth. I love this truth. But sometimes I try to operate in my own strength convinced it will count for something eternal and I am easily deceived.
a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group. It also means closeness, familiarity, warmth and affection.
This is what God continuously draws me back to as the most important thing I need to be doing during my days. Making time, creating space to be intimate with Him. Meeting with Him, sitting at His feet and being still. Spending time with Him and having no agenda of set specific prayers that I need to bring before Him. Just to soak in His love for me is enough. His love that He initiated through Jesus on the cross. It’s not a religious requirement that I feel obligated to do. There is a desperateness to do this because I recognize that I am not whole and only in His presence do I find wholeness. Only in His presence does my worry, doubt, frustrations, and anxieties taper off and fade into nothing. Only in His presence do my dreams, my relationships, and my heart come fully alive. Only in His presence to do I feel freedom to overcome and conquer anything that is placed before me. Only in His presence to I find the strength to hold onto His truth when the world around me is trying to dictate what my purpose in life should be.
Practicing His presence is a daily thing yes but it’s so much more than that. It’s our lifeline. It’s our connection to the One who has no
limits, to the One who gives unconditional love and understands our limits in extending that same love in return due to our human condition. It’s our Father reaching out to us and saying , only with me can you do immeasurable more than what your own mind can understand. I don’t take that lightly. I don’t want to settle for too less in my life. I don’t want to stand before God and He says I know you served in my name but I don’t know your heart. I don’t want Him to say, Shannon you had not because you asked not.
“If you give Him the first of who you are, He will give you the first of who He is.”
Intimacy with Him often comes with self sacrifice. The laying down of one’s own time, agenda, busyness, you name it, for a greater reward. An eternal perspective and posture in heart that leaves you transformed into the likeness of Christ.
That moment that we sit down with Him, He rushes in to meet us. You can physically feel it. And you know that He is there. That He Is with you, that He is who He says He is. ( This has reduced me to uncontrollable sobbing) Why? Because he loves me enough to sit with me and show me who He is but also who I am. Don’t settle for the cheap exchanges that promise intimacy and never come through. Run to the One who is the author of Love and allow Him to lavish it on you. There is a promise that if we do this, we will never be the same again. If we run to Him daily, who knows what will come from it. Lives will be transformed, communities will be transformed, the world will be transformed and the Kingdom will be established here on the earth. Isn’t that really the only thing worth living for? I am convinced it is.
To meditate on:
Scripture to mediate on: I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples. ( John 15: 5 message)
How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
( Ephesians 1: 3-12)
– Your love: Shane and Shane