Busy, Busy, Busy

Some weeks my life is just crazy busy. There are some days when I am so caught up in all the work I have to do that I forget to eat, forget what day of the week it is, and have trouble keeping track of how many cups of coffee, if any, I have enjoyed that day. At that point, I must ask myself two very important questions: am I forgetting to spend time with the Lord? and am I forgetting to take time to write? What if the work load increases to test your priorities, your faithfulness, your dependence on Him, your dedication to the work He has called you to do? What do you do then? Torn between what you are called to do by the grace of God and the responsibility you have been entrusted with, a balance must be found.

That balance is exactly where I struggle. The work load itself is rather daunting and, when combined with other aspects and events of life, the priority scale tends to get tipped the wrong direction from time to time. What does it look like when this happens in my life, not counting an increase in the stress level and blood pressure? The result is this – I completely forgot to write my blog post for last week and here we are, most of the way through this week and I am just now sitting down to write this now. The frightening thing is, had it not been for a wonderful conversation with my dear friend Paula Michelson, I would probably have forgotten all about it period.

Now, to some people, this may seem like no big deal, but for me, it is. You see, I am trying to make writing more of a priority in my life just as the Lord Himself must be more of a priority. If the words I write are given by Him, if I am not writing, then were does the message go? If I am not writing, I am missing out on that special time I spend with Him. Yes, it is nice to take care of responsibilities, finish to-do lists, and see where progress has been made in the mountainous pile called laundry, but my heart needs that break, that time with Him where He speaks directly into my heart.

One lesson I am learning through this particular moment in my life is that, when He is placed in priority, the other things don’t seem to be as stressful, the work tends to be accomplished quicker, and there is a greater sense of peace. This may seem like an elementary lesson to some, and to some degree it is. In fact, this is a lesson I have learned before in my life – several times over. (One would think I would have remembered it by now…..) However, I am grateful that my Lord loves me enough to teach me the same lesson, to prove Himself to be faithful in the same areas, and to continually remind me of the same things because He knows that I will eventually get it right. He has enough faith in me to know that I will turn to Him, I will put Him back in the forefront, and that I will remember Who is really in charge – and that it is not the work load, the laundry pile, or the grocery list either.

May this week – although it is nearing an end – find you in a place where you are resting in Him, trusting Him for the endurance and strength to conquer the mountains you may face (whether they be laundry filled or not), and placing Him at the forefront of your life. When He offers the “Great Invitation” in Matthew 11:28-30, He never offers to remove the situations, alter the bounds of time and space, or make it all go away. What He does offer to those of us who are willing to answer the invitation, is the opportunity to come to Him, to accept the rest He offers, to learn from Him, and to trust Him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I am not there yet and I still have a ways to go, but, as we all are, I am a work in progress. Thankfully, I know who is the Author and Finisher of my faith and I know that He will be faithful to complete the work He began in me. All I have to do is come to Him, accept His rest, and fall into His everlasting arms.

Never Forget

The excitement of Christmas morning comes along. The anticipation is so thick you can almost cut it with a knife. The constant wondering if you are going to receive the gift you wanted so badly is finally met with the amazing realization that you did!! The most fantastic gift ever given to you has been received that morning! Joy is incredible! The excitement is palpable! Success!!!

Fast forward to week later… The gift is still awesome. You are still amazed that it worked out the way you hoped it would… It is still the coolest thing ever!! You still remember to be grateful.

Now, fast forward six months down the road… Gift? What gift? “I don’t remember”…”oh, yeah, well, I guess I remember that”… It was a fantastic gift at the time, but what about now…. “I am happy you got that for me, but I already expressed my gratitude when you gave it to me.”

Is that not how we as human being tend to be? We are excited for what we receive right now, but we so quickly forget once the emotions have quieted down and the “calm” returns. While the newness is intact, we are grateful, we are happy, we are excited, and we do not hesitate to share it. Once the newness begins to wear off, we slowly loose most of these until we eventually lose it all – and ultimately forget.

How much more so do we do the same with the faithfulness of God? With the providence of God? With the grace of God? How often do we take Him for granted, forget to be grateful for all of the blessings He pours on our lives, or forget that He is holy?

Reading through the Old Testament, one theme seems to be repeated on a regular basis – constant reminders to never forget.

When the Children of Israel were being delivered from Egypt and instructions given for the first Passover, they were told to celebrate this every year at the same time so that they never forget. When the Israelites were saved through the bravery of Esther, they were instructed to remember that day every year so that they never forget. The feasts and celebrations that are observed throughout the year all serve that same purpose – they celebrate an important event in Jewish history when the providence of God was manifested on their behalf and they are to remember it always. Seemingly minor details, such as the manner in which they pray and the prayers that are said, were designed to ensure that they did not forget to be mindful of God, to be focused on pleasing God, following Him, and on not their own desires.

Within my own soul, I know how quick I am to forget all He has done on my behalf – especially during the rough times – and I also must question myself as to why I am so careless with His grace. If the Almighty, Omniscient God took the time to remind His people and institute celebrations and practices to help keep them focused, should I also not take such determined care to ensure that I do not forget all He has done for me? Should I wait for Easter/Resurrection Sunday to celebrate the fact that my debt is paid, that He became the ultimate sacrifice to cover MY sin, that He made a way for all people to come to the Father through the shedding of His blood on Calvary, and that He loves me more than I can comprehend? Should I wait for Christmas to remember that He willingly set aside His glory in Heaven and His place with the Father to come and be Emmanuel, to be God with us, to live as one of us, to experience all that we do? Should I wait for communion to be observed in church before I seriously take time to search out my heart, deal with hidden, unrepentant sin, and celebrate the Cross of Christ?

Unfortunately, and all too often, the answer to these questions tends to be “yes”…… We tend to get so wrapped up in our day-to-day lives and forget or overlook the ways in which He is moving and working in our lives. Perhaps we, like the Jewish people, need to be more diligent in remembering Him in even the little things in life…. I can only speak from personal experience, but, in talking with my Jewish friends, I am continually convicted of how lazy I tend to be and how casually I treat my relationship with my Father.

We must be more diligent in our relationship with the Almighty. We must take time and make time to remember all that He has done for us, all the He will continue to do. I am so grateful that He remains faithful even when I am faithless! However, I do not want that to be the case any longer! If the Good Lord took the time to institute remembrances throughout the daily lives of His people, we need to be diligent to remember Him as well. After all, He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He knows how easily we forget.

My challenge to myself – and to anyone else who needs the help – is this:

*Find God in everything each day because He really is there if we will take the time to look.
*Be mindful of all the blessings He has poured out on my life and return all the glory back to Him.
*Thank Him continuously and in everything – He is worthy to be praised!
*Don’t let the busyness of my life supersede His authority in my heart or His position in my life.

May you see Him clearer, know Him better, love Him deeper, and cherish Him always.