My heart has been in a state of constant unrest lately. I find myself worked up about just about everything and anything. I am overwhelmed and worried. We have come up against so much opposition as we continue on our journey and there seems to be a road block at every turn. I cannot count how many times in the past month or so I have sighed and said "I am just tired of fighting." I have literally grown weary. I sometimes feel like life has deflated me like an empty balloon. I go until I have nothing left to give to anyone, let alone God.
I continually sit down with my Bible looking for guidance. It looks a lot like this: I sit, plop the book open in my lap, I begin to read and then pray to God, then a bird chirps outside the window and suddenly my thoughts are on things such as spring, flowers, Easter, gardens and fresh vegetables, laundry blowing in the warm breeze and before I know it I am doing laundry and my Bible time is a thing of the past and I have gotten nowhere.
I committed to reading through the entire Bible this year and I want to absorb and learn and grow, not just plow through. I find my concentration lacking and I am frustrated with myself. Yesterday I sat down once again with that Book, determined to soak in God's word and find some resolve for the unsettled feelings I have and I pretty much got slapped in the face. Like Jesus commanding the seas to calm, my anxious heart was at rest as I read these words:
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
Here we go again. If you recall, this is a lesson the Lord has tried many times to teach this stubborn girl and I seem to never learn. He tried here, and here, here and even here and here. Seriously folks, this should not be something new for me and yet it is something I continue to struggle with. I fight and fight until there is nothing left, and that isn't what God wants for me. He wants me to be still and find shelter in His arms to rejuvenate and I am neglecting that part. He tells us to come to Him when we are burdened and weary and he will give us rest, and yet I am continually spinning my wheels and trying to find rest and resolve in all the wrong places. Trying to push forward when the Lord is clearly telling me to wait is a struggle I've had forever.
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” Psalm 46:1-3
I have excuses for everything, I mean how could I possibly find the time to carve out quiet time with the Lord when I have three young children to care for? God will excuse me for not giving Him the time of day right now, in this stage of life, He knows I am a mom and am caring for these little ones, right? He knows I take pride in my home and taking care of the house and meals, shopping and saving money and teaching the kids at church, going through the foster care process. He knows I am trying to do good things so he can excuse me for not taking the time to sit and be in His presence right?
Not so much. The Bible tells us that the God we serve is a jealous God. He wants all of us. It is true that much of what I do in my day is for others but in turn for Him, but that is a cop out. He has to come first. I need to give Him my best, not my leftovers. How on earth am I going to have what I need to give to those three little blessings or my wonderful husband if I don't let God fill me with those things? If I don't take the time to just bask in his glorious presence each and every day, how am I going to be able to serve the people he calls me to serve? How will I know if my actions are aligning with what He wants for me?
So after the Lord set me straight yesterday in my time with Him I read through the rest of Exodus. I may not have as much time as I would like to spend in solitude with the Lord, but I have some and I am not making the most of it or offering Him ALL I have. Much like Jesus was able to take very little food and multiply it to feed the masses, I have to believe God will do the same with the time I offer him. In comparison to God's greatness, what I have to offer is so inadequate, but that is no excuse I need to offer my best and trust he will multiply it enough to nourish me. I need to isolate a bit and focus on the One who's opinion truly matters, and stop searching for affirmation and approval from everyone else.
Howard is reading a book called, The Spiritual Man by Watchman Nee and he claims it is likely the most profound book he will read aside from the Bible. I was flipping through it this morning when I came across this quote:
“One quality which characterizes a spiritual person is the great calm he maintains under every circumstance. Whatever may happen around him or however much he may be provoked, he accepts it all calmly and exhibits an unmovable nature. He is one who is able to regulate his every feeling, because his emotion has been yielded to the cross and his will and spirit are permeated with the power of the Holy Spirit. No extreme provocation has the strength to unsettle him. But if one has not accepted the dealing of the cross upon his emotion, then he will be easily influenced, stimulated, disturbed, and even governed by the external world. He will undergo constant change, for emotion shifts often. The slightest threat from outside or the smallest increase in work shall upset him and render him helpless. Whoever genuinely desires to be perfect must let the cross cut deeper into his emotion.” (P. 429)
I have been anything but calm and serene. I have been running around lately like a chicken with her head cut off, running in circles and not getting anywhere. I am feeling attacked from all sides and I am losing the will to fight. I know I must press on and I want nothing more than to glorify God with all I have. I now know in order to do that, I truly need to take a time out and be still. He is sovereign over all of it. His timing is perfect and my yearning to press on does not negate that fact. His way is higher and I need to submit. So it is my intention to spend this week moving at a slower pace, taking time to breathe and regroup. Spending intentional and focused time with our God and knowing FULL WELL that He is here, He is good and He is MIGHTY TO SAVE. There is no mountain too high for us when he is by our side and though things seem impossible right now, NOTHING is impossible for those who abide in Him. Tonight I will go to bed resting on that truth. He will never let me down. Time to pick up that cross and carry it at a rate that I can sustain. This is a marathon we are running not a sprint. We have to be able to sustain so we don't just fizzle out. I have on the brink of fizzling. I am so thankful we serve a God who is bigger than all of this, who knows our hearts and intentions and extends more grace than we deserve. He loves us in spite of who we are not because of it. That is a love worth fighting for.