Monday, July 6, 2015
I kind of feel like Jonah. You might know him as the guy who ended up in the whale (which is actually just a 'big fish', but fish do tend to grow in size as the stories are told, don't they?). I don't feel like I'm stuck in a whale, but I do feel like I've been avoiding God's direction for my life. Which if you don't know, is how Jonah got stuck in the whale in the first place. God told him to go one direction and Jonah, for many reasons, chose to go the opposite direction. God wasn't letting him go so easy, which long story short - explains how he got sucked up in the smelly whale!
It's strange, I mean - I'm not intentionally trying to avoid it, but it dawned on me this weekend that I think that's just what I've been doing. I have a few things that have been placed on my heart. I don't know if they are there from God or my own desires or if it was just a thought that popped up and I thought "hmm, that would be awesome!". I suppose it's hard to know if they are meant for me since I'm not spending as much time with the Lord as I should be.
I pray for friends and family and special requests. I count my blessings and thank God each day for the ability to notice them. I come to God with my needs and desires and feelings and hurts and I know He hears me. But I'm not sitting and reading the word, per se. Instead, I pick up one of many other books I'm reading, I spend time on social media, I watch movies or listen to music, I paint. None of these things are bad, but they are replacing my quiet time and I can feel my soul just twitching because of it. I can't get out of my own way and really it's for a lack of me trying. I feel stuck. I feel overwhelmed by the chaos of my life, the clutter in my world, the financial needs I have climbing up and up. I want to do more, be more, see more, experience more. I want to be a better friend, I want to grow my relationships with those I've known forever and those I've never met. I want to open up and get to know people more and talk about me less. I want to be a better person, I want to be more thoughtful, more caring, more proactive. MORE, MORE, MORE. ME, ME, ME. I WANT, I WANT, I WANT.
I've been stuck in this "be better than I used to be" mentality since my last relationship devastatingly broke my heart. I keep thinking if I can figure out the magic formula to "make myself better", then next time, the guy won't leave me for someone else. I've discovered I am people pleasing to a high degree. I overcommit. I chase down dreams, buy a million books and devotionals, start countless workout plans - none of which stick. There's a heart issue here. It's not because I'm a failure, though that's what I find myself whispering each time I fail. I could list all the devotionals and studies I've started and never finished. The prayer routine I've stuck to for just a week. Even meal planning or exercising. It works for a burst of time and then fails. I'm run down because I'm running in every different direction. I want so much out of life, and these are not bad things - but I'm not seeking first the kingdom of God.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you." The things provided talks about the things we tend to worry about. The header for this paragraph in the bible is "The Cure for Anxiety". Jesus speaks about not worrying about life, what I'll eat or what I'll drink. He says don't worry about my body and what I'll wear. These things will be provided to me as needed and worrying / chasing / striving after them will never add value to my life.
These other things? They'll never fulfill me. They'll never be enough. Just like I'll never really be enough. I keep chasing this idea of good enough as if I could grasp it and hold it up for everyone to see so that they'll like me. There's the saying, "You could be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there's still going to be someone who hates peaches". I laugh because, I like the flavor of peaches, but it's a texture thing for me, so I wouldn't just eat a peach outright. So I really get this statement. I much rather have a donut!
The hopes and dreams I have for my life have me running the other way, even though I desire them. Why? Because it's hard work. Because I feel overwhelmed when I think about starting. Because I feel like I don't have the time to start, at least not without putting off something else that means a lot to me. Because I don't think I'm good enough. The most recent dream I've had is amazing and beautiful and would really take all this brokenness and use it for good. Yet, I haven't done much with it because I don't feel that I'm equipped enough for this. It would require a lot of work and focus and that's an area where I really struggle. Yet, if I spent enough time in my bible I might trip over the story of Gideon who took his army of 300 and beat and army of thousands with God's strength. Or the story of David and how he overcame a 7'2 giant named Goliath with just a few stones. Again, in God's strength. I might even find new stories of hope and inspiration and reminders of how God carries us through the things that we didn't think were possible.
I'm going to be taking some time and trying to figure out what God wants me to pursue and what He doesn't. Also, just to spend time with Him. I've had so many friends who are not single, tell me they wish they had this time to grow closer in their walk with the Lord and I don't want to take this for granted. My last relationship suffered because my ex was always tied up in something else. Helping someone do something, working overtime, chasing after his dreams, spending our time together either watching tv or on his phone. I didn't feel important or cared for, which is what lead to our breakup initially. I still loved him like crazy, but it was making me crazy and because my worth resided in how much he did or didn't care about me, I started to feel worthless. I know we could have worked through it, but we didn't. I am still suffering those choices to this day and I don't want to do that to God. This relationship is sacred and if I'm spending all my time reading blog posts and hanging out with friends and focusing on all the things I want out of this life, I'm going to miss out on all He has to offer. I'm going to miss out on the most beautiful relationship I can ever have and I most certainly will continue to suffer for it.
So here's to recommitting my time to the Lord. You should expect to see less of me online - and if you are seeing a lot of me - feel free to call me out on it. I actually implore you to do that. Sometimes I just need a healthy dose of encouragement or maybe a swift kick in the behind. Just not too hard, okay? ;)