Though I love to clean, I am not talking about cleaning of our house today...I am talking about spring cleaning our hearts and our lives.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8
I have been in a funk lately. I tend to go through these cycles and typically good comes from the funk. :) I am not saying I am in a funk in that I am sad or depressed or anything like that. I am just in a constant state of unrest and confusion. I think that in many ways my desire to do God's will is my downfall. I know that likely makes little sense, but I feel like I often get gung ho about something and I desperately DO want to honor God and so I go full speed ahead...sometimes perhaps leaving God in the dust so to speak.
I want for God to look at my life and the things I accomplished and I want Him to smile and say "Well done, good and faithful servant". I want to please Him, but in all honesty I think sometimes in an effort to do just that I accomplish the exact opposite. I have always been a people pleaser. I got good grades, not because I liked school or learning, but because it pleased my dad. My whole life I have wanted to please others and many of the paths I have taken have been largely to please someone else. I have thus far approached my relationship with God much the same. I want to please him so He will love me more.
When am I going to get it through my thick skull that there is NOTHING I can do to make Him love me more or less? I have in effect been rejecting the gift of love He has given by putting conditions on it myself. He hasn't done this. I have. He loves freely and without condition or stipulation. It is so hard for my finite mind to grasp such things.
In an effort to be a good girl and DO what the Lord calls us to do I have neglected becoming WHO he wants me to be. I have busied myself with the things I think the Lord would have me do all the while busying myself to the point of getting snippy with my children, and not having time to listen to what my husband has to say and spend time with him. I have literally spun my wheels and gotten nowhere.
As I have taken some time to really seek out the Lord and to know Him better so that I can know His will, I have come to realize that while he does want us all to DO good things, he is more concerned with us BEING who he wants us to be. I have lost sight of that. Sometimes we need to realize that the state of our heart and soul matter. God commands us to (above all else) love Him with all our hearts, with all our soul, all our strength and all our minds. ALL. Not part, not what is left over after the world has its way with us. ALL of us.
"'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27
Last night Howard and I sat down and had a much needed talk about our family and our direction and while I found it disconcerting, I also know that God is at work. Howard is reading Watchman Nee's "The Spiritual Man" and claims it to be (aside from the Bible) the most profound book he has read. He said that he feels like our life is filled with too much distraction that is taking us away from God. That things, even if they are not bad in and of themselves, if they direct our attention away from God that they are not worthy of our time. God should be the center of EVERYTHING.
I have to admit...while I didn't want to admit to him initially that he was right. He was. Satan uses all of the chaos of the world to distract us from the One who brings peace and contentment. I am not even talking about things that are obviously inappropriate to spend time on...even things that seem innocent enough...if they are not done in a way that honors God or with him as the focus, they are not worthy of our time. Consequently, we can spend ALL of our time doing good and noble things, but if we are not seeking God first, none of it matters. We cannot put the cart before the horse. God first and then he will use us for good...not the opposite.
As we look forward to what the Lord really IS calling our family to do, we know He has a good plan for us. We know big things are to come. The thing is that it isn't about our plan and what WE can do for him...it is about what He can do through us and unless we make sure he is the central focus of it all we won't succeed.
In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9
This verse hangs on an index card next to our family calendar and I try to take care when planning our weeks and days that we do not fill them up so much that we lose sight of what is truly important and what the main focus is. I have kind of missed it in the big picture though. As we work on spring cleaning our house we will also be spring cleaning our hearts, our souls and our lives. We are renovating at the Bolte house and trying to rid ourselves of the distractions that are cluttering up our lives and not allowing us to see God's will as clearly as we need to. God is not confusion. Satan is. Satan wants to sneak in subtly and steal us away...he wants to divert our minds to things that don't matter and we have got to be on guard. We have got to rid our lives of the distractions. Sometimes we have got to stop DOING and just BE. We need to work on our relationship with the One who matters most before we can know how He wants to use us.
What are some of the distractions in your life? Do you have any spring cleaning to do?