I had a eye-opening and profound conversation with my dear sister this morning, a conversation orchestrated lovingly by our Father in Heaven. I was blessed beyond words by her listening ear and her words of accountability and encouragement. I was venting some of my frustrations, burdens and just general struggles as of late. She was patient with me and also could relate, we both have been in the same boat. What a glorious relationship the Lord blessed me with… to have such a close sister and built in best friend is unlike anything else on this planet. We might as well be twins, polar opposites in so many areas but still basically one in the same.
I was sharing with her where I have been the past couple of weeks and what I’ve noticed in my heart as a result. I spewed out various things and the complexities of my struggles were apparent.
Confession 1) I have not spent hardly any one-on-one time with my Best BEST Friend (Jesus) the past week and a half.
Confession 2) I have grown more and more concerned with “life” and the things I have going on and am busy with… than I have on being devoted to Christ.
I wasn’t aware of #2 necessarily until Monday morning. It’s always apparent though when I haven’t spent real time with the Lord, I become excessively self-consumed and easily ‘stressed’ and begin to take pride in my responsibilities, work, and overall self accomplishments. Essentially, I become excessively full of myself and not full of Him. I get caught up in life and the busy-ness of it all. I get overwhelmed, burdened, and miserable because basically I’ve taken my life into my own hands instead of letting God have it. So, Monday morning – I was able to have a brief quiet time. I wrote a short prayer in my journal but seemed so disconnected. My mind was everywhere and I had literally been pacing the floor that morning because I knew I was missing something… though the prayer was small, God still heard it and immediately after that I began reading my devotional for the day. It was exactly what I needed to read and here is part of it:
“Beware of any work for God which enables you to evade concentration on Him. A great many Christian workers worship their work… A worker without this solemn dominant note of concentration on God is apt to get his work on his neck; there is no margin of body, mind or spirit free, consequently he becomes spent out and crushed. There is no freedom, no delight in life; nerves, mind and heart are so crushingly burdened that God’s blessing cannot rest. But the other side is just as true – when once the concentration is on God, all the margins of life are free and under the dominance of God alone. There is no responsibility on you for the work the only responsibility you have is to keep in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your co-operation with Him.” – My Utmost for His Highest
It was almost exactly what I have been doing the past week and a half. I couldn’t understand how last month and the beginning of this month I was just so free and felt so close to Him, but the past week or so I was stressed and less joyful. I felt like taking on the world just that short time ago, there was so much joy and freedom and love – I just wanted to love everyone and abandon my life daily to Jesus. My concentration then began to shift slowly… I started to look at all the work I had to get done. Consequently, I became spent out and felt the crushing weight of it all. This is where I was late last week and even until this very morning (still a bit there, but the Lord is gently taking me in… He had some faith stretching and heart strengthening to do in me).
I learned so much in the span of these past couple of weeks that I hope to share more about soon. The Lord’s stretching is always interesting and not quite what I expect, but He knows how to get through to me. He wants every bit of our lives, He wants all of our attention (concentration), He wants every ounce of our hearts… what amazing love this is!
If I go about my life working hard, advocating, accomplishing… all because I think I should do it for God, then I’m missing the mark. None of those things in life truly matter… what matters is the Man Himself, living in constant touch with my amazing God and Best BEST Friend. Keeping my eyes fixated on the Cross and the beautiful Man, Jesus… nothing more, nothing less.
“To be faithful in every circumstance means that we have only one loyalty, and that is to our Lord…. The idea is not that we do work for God, but that we are so loyal to Him that He can do His work through us.” – My Utmost for His Highest