Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's NOT All About Me (Even When I Think It Is)!

This week the Lord has really used some key ladies in my life to remind me that this life is NOT about me, it's ALL about Christ.

Over the years, my spiritual life has definitely been more mountains and valleys than a consistent foothill, if that makes any sense at all! I've had times of spiritual highs (i.e. - Kanakuk, Retreats, etc...) where I truly feel like I am in constant communion with the Lord, and then other times, more times than not, I am in a valley of just feeling very complacent with my life and not pursing Christ the same way that He continually pursues me. I'm sure there are some out there that can totally relate to this! I do realize that these highs and lows, in my life at least, are circumstantial. A couple of my best excuses are, "well, I just had a baby, I don't have time for anything else, not even a shower!", or one of my most recent ones, "I'm too lazy, all I want to do is watch TV, be on the computer, etc...." And the all encompassing one, "I just couldn't get out of bed this morning before my child woke me up, even though I had my alarm set." It makes me sad to not only write those down, but read them over, becuase it's such truth in my everyday life, and I know that the Lord is not looking for excuses, but for a humble and willing heart to just listen to Him and follow Him and spend even 15 minutes a day with Him!

As many of you know I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember, and I'm thankful for that for many reasons, but honestly I think there is a small part of it that is also a detriment to myself. The part where I'm great at speaking the "Christian" language, saying all the right things, at the right time, even if that's not truly where my heart is at. I blame myself, and only myself for this, but it rings so true in my ears this week.

With all that said, there will always be an excuse to use to not spend time with the Lord, whether in prayer, journaling, worshipping, reading the Word, doing a study, or just being quiet before the Lord. no matter how old I get, there will always be something, it's part of being human, and not perfect. What I have the opportunity to do, is to look at my daily life, my priorities, and decide, "is this really what is best for me, or am I giving into my selfish nature and fulfilling what I want out of today, be it to do lists, crafting, sleeping (excessive), being lazy, etc...." And while I know I will never be perfect at my walk with the Lord, I feel like that's almost the point of it all. If I was perfect at getting up at the same time everyday, reading the same amount of scripture, praying for the exact same thing at the same length, journaling for the same amount of time or length, what would be the point? The Lord does not ask for perfection, just a willing heart to come to Him, in ALL honesty, and be able to say, "you know what, I've screwed up this week, and I'm sorry. Please forgive me and help me to forgive myself and move on so that I don't miss out on the amazing things you have for me."

Francis Chan has a great quote in Crazy Love, that I'm stealing from an e-mail I received from a friend this week...

"If you merely pretend that you enjoy God or love Him, He knows. You can't fool Him; don't even try. Instead, tell Him how you feel. Tell Him that He isn't (or hasn't been) the most important thing in this life to you, and that you're sorry for that. Tell Him that you've been lukewarm, that you've chosen _____(fill in the blank) over Him time and again. Tell Him that you want Him to change you, that you long to genuinely enjoy Him. Tell Him how you want to experience true satisfaction and pleasure and joy in your relationship with Him. Tell Him you want to love Him more than anything on this earth. Tell Him you want to treasure the kingdom of heaven so much that you'd willingly sell everything in order to get it. Tell Him what you like about Him, what you appreciate, and what brings you joy."

I would add a few things to this quote, from my perspective only...

~Ask for forgiveness, from Him, and forgive yourself. It's too ridiculous to hold on to guilt and shame. You will miss out on so many great things He has planned for you!


~Affirm Him, His characteristics. Yes, He already knows who He is, but He LOVES hearing it from the mouths of His children!!!!

~LISTEN~ Listen for the Lord, just be quiet before Him, and listen. He has so much He wants to bless you with!!

Last Monday (no, not this past one, but the one before) was the last time I have spent time with the Lord. In my mind, I think, "Jill, that's PATHETIC!" And is it, but to also be able to move forward, and say you know what, I have messed up, I haven't spent invaluable time with my Savior today, and then move past it is the very best thing I could do for myself. I'm doing Beth Moore's "Jesus" study and it truly has been wonderful. Thought provoking questions, time in the Word each day, learning who Jesus was and is. A little background...Aaron was up by 5am and headed to the airport for a business trip to NYC (yes, I was jealous). I got up with him, around 6am and sent him off. When I looked at the clock and realized I had at least an hour before Caleb was going to wake up, I immediately went and did the dishes, cleaned off the kitchen table, took a shower, and then when I realized I still had at least 30 minutes, I FINALLY decided to sit down and have a quiet time. Wow, what a revelation, to actually sit down for time with the Lord! (See what I mean about priorities)!

Anyway, the study that I did that morning was titled, "Jesus in the Morning, Jesus in the Evening". Mark 1:35 was the passage, "And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed."

Wow, for the first time in I don't know how long, I was up before it was even daylight, sitting on my couch with my coffee, bible and journal and THIS is what my study was about! HOW COOL! It's so amazing to me how the Lord plans these things out! It was like I could picture exactly what Jesus was doing at that same moment (obviously thousands of years earlier). Anyway, my point is, the days that I am faithful and prioritize the Lord before myself, are my best days. I have more patience, I am more forgiving and gracious, I love better, I am more thankful for my life and the blessings that I have been given, and most of all, I am more conscience of the work the Lord is doing in my life, as long as I choose to let him!

My prayer that early morning was this...

"Lord, so often I dictate my day, rather than allowing you the ultimate control. I pray now, for more mornings like this, where I am uninterrupted by anything and can truly take you in! Help me to be diligent in finding my quiet place each and every morning before Caleb rises, so that I can be a better mommy and a better wife. Pull me from complacency and into your presence. I long to be in communion with you! I love you Lord!"

Something that was brought to my attention this week, thankfully, is a concern that my blog does not consistently coincide with how I am if you truly were to sit down with me and get to know me. While that was a VERY difficult thing to hear, I know that the Lord used that person specifically to bring that to the light. Not that I'm a lier, but just that my struggle with consistency in my spiritual walk is much more than what I allow others to perceive when reading my blog (if anyone does for that matter). With that said, I want to be transparent, I want my life to reflect the glory and grace of Christ, and I truly do not want to be misleading whatsoever in any of my posts. Yes, my spiritual walk is not consistent, or daily for that matter, but I truly believe my heart is in the right place as I struggle with the balance of everyday life. The times that I do post "spiritual" postings, is more becuase I've just had an awesome time with the Lord and want others to know what I've learned or what he has shown me, than to give off the impression that I'm perfect, have it all together, and have this amazing relationship with the Lord that happens on a daily basis.

If I have been misleading at all, I am so very sorry, and ask for your forgiveness. This blog is not just a daily musings blog of what goes on in my life, it is my journal. My insight to my relationship with the Lord, and with others, and my desire is that somehow, whomever actually reads this, would be encouraged to spend more time with Christ.

All that to say, I'm so thankful that I am at a place in my life where I truly feel like I have a teachable and willing heart to listen to those around me (this does NOT come naturally to me, and it took a long time for me to allow the Lord to break me), who love me and want to see me grow as a woman of God, and not just sit in the complacency that I often find myself in.

I promise to do a better job of sharing both sides of my walk with my Savior, in hopes that each of you who might not know me fully, will have a better understanding of the grace and mercy of our Lord, and the passion that I have for the Kingdom of God.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!


Matt and Cristin said...

Hey Jill...!
I just ready this post and was moved! I am (believe it or not!) experiencing the same thing....
I have to say it is shameful to admit to a friend (and def. to God) how often I spend quality time with God. I have recently proclaimed that I will get up with my husband (he's supposed to get up at 6am) and get going in my day with a shower and spending time with God. But...have I done it? Only a few times....It is refreshing to know I"m starting my day off right...this post was motivating to me and also encouraging to know that other people deal with it. I know's just nice to see that someone else talks about it. :) Hope you have a great day!

Self Family said...

So encouraged by your post!! Yes, Jill, you do have such a teachable heart and such makes it even easier to call you my dear friend and sister in Christ. Way to go for staying up at 6am - I know I would have crawled back into bed, hoping to steal another hour of sleep before my kids got up. I can understand the struggle for sure. Thank you for being you, and for being real. Love you!!

Katie said...

Thank you for your honesty, vulnerability, and encouragement in this journal entry. Ever since the pregnancy tiredness kicked in, I've been making excuses left and right about why I'm not sitting down with the Lord (whether that be prayer, reading, or whatever). It's flat out selfishness on my part, pure and simple. Thanks for giving me an extra dose of encouragement to get back on track with choosing the right priorities instead of my selfish ones. I hope to watch Passion of the Christ this weekend to reawaken my soul to just how much the Lord loves me and sacrificed for me. Hope you guys have a blessed Easter. Love you!