I recently read a post from Mel Wild (http://melwild.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/working-from-rest-part-one/ ) on “why we should work from rest, which is simply abiding in Christ when you’re busy doing other things”. One of the main things that I got from it was a notion that I felt I had slipped recently from living a life of worship into more trying to find time slots for God. This is a message I have heard several times before & something I have tried so hard to implement over the years, especially the past few years. The thing is, it is difficult, very difficult. It takes an initial conscious discipline that I am not always very good at.
In a way the most difficult part is rationalizing my life in my mind. I am without questions my harshest critic, often times I focus only on what I perceive to be the negatives of my life & behaviors instead of recognizing and embracing the good.
The problem with this way of thinking is that when we focus on the negative, we feed the negative and when we feed it grows, it becomes bigger, it becomes all you can see when you look at yourself. All of a sudden you are beating yourself up form not reading enough or meditating enough or praying enough or whatever it is that you’ve convinced yourself you should be doing more of.
It is the same with most of our struggles, struggle with working too much or drinking too much? The more you think about it the more it is all you focus on & invariably the more you do if it regardless of the fact that you know you need a better balance in your life.
Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of our life, not just the perceived negative. For me that is almost always initiated by a moment from / with God. Following these moments I always find myself focusing on God more & life in general just works better when I am living that way. When I focus on Him instead of the rest, the rest sort of just fades away.
This past weekend I had one of those moments, actually several. Following on from Mel’s message last week, there was a powerful sermon at my church on Sunday which taught on being patient, waiting for God to do what He has promised. To surmise, we were looking at when Joshua was walking around Jericho, six days they marched around with only trumpets playing, yet nowhere does it say that Joshua ever told his army why they were walking around this seriously fortified city & then going back to camp without saying a word.
What do you think the soldiers were thinking as they sat there in the evening? What were they saying to each other? Yet they prevailed, they trusted & on the final day the walls came tumbling down. Sometimes we have to remember that we may only be on day 2 or 3 of what God has planned (in this context). We have to trust, keep going, keep believing, keep pressing.
Sure, maybe you’re not who you think you should be yet (I know I’m not), but you are a work in progress & God, unlike us, is not in any hurry, so be gentle to yourself, be kind to yourself & trust that in His time, your struggles will pass away. The struggles or doubts or fears that you may be going through now are just a small part of your much larger journey. They are an opportunity for growth, and opportunity for faith. Hold fast, keep believing, he will see you through the whole journey, not just this one part.
Prior to this message on Sunday though was a real moment of God speaking identity to me through someone (I love it when He does that). A moment that confused me slightly at the time, yet has caused me to look a little differently at myself this week. Maybe I need to stop focusing on my perceived lack of time management skills that makes me feel somehow less devoted and instead live out of this identity that was spoken to me. Somehow I feel that my failings and struggles will seem less significant if I do this (it always has in these seasons in the past).
So what happened? On Saturday I was at Solomon’s Porch leading worship as I usually do once a month. In between sets a young lady came up to me and asked if I was the worship pastor. She asked as she wanted to thank me for leading worship and offer some edification. My initial reaction to the question was, no, that’s not me, I’m just a guy who plays guitar and sings here some times. I’ve been called many different p-words before, but never a pastor, lol. Yet, in that moment at least that is exactly what I was.
Later in the day another person asked if I wrote songs, when I explained that I write many but finish few she strongly encouraged me to get working on them & to finish them. She told me I had a gift & that God would use it to help people if I would let Him.
Now, here’s some absolute honesty, I really wasn’t feeling it that morning. I felt physically a little under the weather, dehydrated or something, also my allergies were messing with my throat. To me I wasn’t doing that well, but to everyone that spoke to me during or after I brought the gift of beautiful worship. Leading worship is not about the leader, I get that, yet in those moments I think it finally really sank in. Even when I am not “feeling it” personally, genuine love, devotion & worship will still be heard.
In these few simple moments, my loving Father spoke to me, He spoke to my true identity in Him. Yes there are some wonderful titles that people used, but that is not what I am referring to, He showed me once again that He loves me & He sees & loves my affection for Him. I need to stop looking at what I am “doing wrong” and get back to just focusing on loving my Father, for when I do, the rest will fade away regardless.
Focus on the good my friends, not the bad, feed your love, not your fears. Your life will be better for it, I promise you , my Daddy told me
PS Part 2 of Mel’s post came online this week while I was (slowly) figuring out what I was trying to say here J you can find it here: http://melwild.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/working-from-rest-part-two/