Life is busy. For everyone. No matter how much you simplify, life is demanding.
I like to keep things simple. I have a fear of over committing. I often spend quality time worrying about whether there will be enough of me to give, or complaining about how I just do not have enough time. Oh, I get the irony that I would have the time to complain, but not the time to give. If we are being honest, when I get to the complaining point that is when I am truly starting to step into the sacrificial giving zone.
Christ calls us to sacrifice. He paved the way with His ultimate sacrifice. So why do I occasionally struggle to follow His lead? Well, the easiest answer is that I often try to do sacrificial giving on my own, without seeking His help. I am finding there is no quicker way to drain my spiritual, physical, and mental resources than to try to do what He has called me to do in my own power.
I know God has called me to share Him through writing, but I have been battling to find time to do it. It has been an uphill fight to find quiet time when my brain is actually functioning. I had become so accustomed to having my morning time to pray, read, and write that it definitely knocked the wind out of me when that time was suddenly stolen. And how could I be angry with the thief when it was my baby boy? We transitioned him from his crib to a big boy bed, and suddenly 5 a.m. seemed like a beautiful time to be awake- for him, us, and his sister. Would you judge me if I said I was slightly angry on the inside?
I tried a few 4:30 rises to sneak in the time I so desperately needed. That wasn’t happening. I tried both nap time and staying up later. Not happening with this disease either. So then I tried to train him, as I had his sister. Nope. As the struggle went on my resentment started to build, not towards my son, but towards God because I felt as if He wasn’t helping me find the time. Yeah, let me tell you how well that worked out for me. I am not sure I will ever out grow my toddler like behavior in faith when it comes to certain battles. I know it is ridiculous to be upset with my Caregiver, but knowing that doesn’t always stop me.
One morning a couple of weeks ago I had just enough time to get inspired, open my computer, start typing, and then the circus broke loose from watching their show on Netflix in my room. I would compare this situation to getting my first treat after many weeks of dieting. Imagine taking a month long fast of sweets. To break your fast you bake a beautiful chocolate cake. You cut yourself a slice, and sit down to enjoy it. Right when you bring that first delectable bite to your mouth, someone slaps it right out of your hand. That is how I felt. Jesus knows all about how this mama loves her cake. He knows how much this mama was desperate for that one bite of cake.
I tried to maintain focus. I tried to redirect the indignation that was growing, but I just couldn’t. I looked up at God, and cried – “That is it. Have someone else do this. You put this dream in my heart, and now no matter how hard I try or pray, You won’t give me the time to follow through. And now look at me!” I slammed my laptop closed and vowed to be done with it.
It didn’t take long for me to ask God for forgiveness for my actions. I sent a text to a dear friend, who understands my health situation, and she prayed for me via text. She told me when she felt that way she would pray a rote prayer, and it would carry her through. What an idea. One foot in front of the other, and eventually we will find our way back. I prayed her prayer, and then I just started talking to God. Right in the midst of folding laundry and the hundred other things I needed to get done that morning.
I gave up the need for perfection and there in the midst of my daily chores God met with me. I let Him shine light on the darkness that I was holding in my heart. I let Him illuminate that there were parts of my life I wasn’t ready to sacrifice to Him. There were things I wasn’t trusting Him with. I wanted to serve Him, but not always sacrificially. Is there really any other way of serving? I was willing to give a lot up to do what He has called me to do, but there were certain things I was holding on to tightly. One on which was was my schedule.
My battle for finding time started a long time ago. It often revolves around my health and what I can’t do. The things I do not have energy for. The things I am missing out on. A few weeks ago, God reminded me that I needed to grieve what my disease has stolen from me. It has helped tremendously. He has taken my hand and guided me through finding a new way of doing things. He has shown me a way of living a fulfilling life outside of the box of normalcy. He has gently lifted my chin and helped me focus on watching Him. Like a toddler who is learning to walk for the first time. And there are times where I feel His praise, over the small things that are adding up to larger accomplishments. I smile, because I need it and He knows that.
There are days when I take my eyes off Him. There are days when I sneak over to that box of “normal” and peek inside, longing for what other people have. Envying what only the eyes can see. It doesn’t take long before I feel My Father tug my hand and guide me back to where I need to be. Again, He lifts my chin and helps me focus, because He knows the best way to learn to run is to look upward and onward.
Today was an upward and onward kind of day. After bringing the kids in from a short walk and playground time, I found myself confronted with what felt like an overwhelming amount of tasks. I needed to start dinner, finish sweeping and mopping up lunch, and to vacuum up all the little bits of snacks that were dropped in the bedrooms that morning. My husband wanted to spend some time with the kids, and that left me alone with my to-do list.
Believe me, my heart wanted to complain. How could I get all of it done on the little bit of energy I had in my already insufficient tank? When you have an autoimmune disease, making it through the hours of 5 to 8 in the evening is often like climbing Mount Everest. It was then that God gave the nudge, “Bring it to Me. Come to Me.” And that is just what I did.
I started some praise and worship music on my phone, slipped in my ear buds, and got moving. I got after Jesus, and before I knew it my work was done. I know my cup was not only full, it was overflowing, because here I am writing away.
When fear starts creeping in, the fear of not being enough or having enough, that is when we need to go to our life source. I was fearful I would have to sacrifice my attitude, maybe a shower until later, the quality of dinner I cooked, and a plethora of other ridiculous things, all because of my lack of energy. I wanted to be angry with my disease, but instead I chose joy. I chose Jesus. I got after Him.
And yes, my husband probably would have thought I was crazy if he stepped into my son’s room while I was vacuuming. There I was hands, held high, singing at the top of my lungs to Here For You by Passion Worship Band.
Let our praise be Your welcome. Let our songs be a sign. We are here for You. We are here for You. Let Your breath come from Heaven. Fill our hearts with Your life….
To You our hearts are open. Nothing here is hidden. You are our one desire. You alone are holy. Only You are worthy. God let your fire fall down…
In the midst of my vacuuming I was reminded of why I am here. I am here for Him, and if He calls me to spend every second of every day asking for His help then so be it. If He has to hold my hand every step of the way, shouldn’t I consider myself blessed that My Father loves me enough to do so? If He calls me to sacrificially give of what little I have, then He will walk me through it.
I am still learning and still growing, thankfully. Hopefully I always will be. Today I made a small break through and it filled my cup with joy. I praised God where I was. I let Him fill my cup in the imperfect place. I stopped mid life just to give Him the praise He is due, and He met me there. His fire came down. He met me over the noise of the vacuum, over my need to start supper, over my need to shower, and to do a hundred other things.
I know life is busy. I know everywhere we turn we are met with more things demanding our attention, our time, our finances, our breath. I pray that you are stronger than me. I pray that instead of throwing your hands up in the air and saying “Forget this!” that you immediately stomp that fear of not having or being enough into the ground by opening up your heart to the Lord and asking Him to fill what only He can.
When we get to the point of sacrificially giving of ourselves and our resources that is when we really walk hand in hand with God. He is the only one who can take the impossible and make it Him-possible. He is the difference between having to give up and being able to keep on giving.
Friends, as many of you struggle with the guilt of not finding time to spend with the Lord, I pray I can encourage you by saying the time doesn’t have to be perfect. You do not need to have the perfect setting. Your heart doesn’t have to be in the perfect place. Your attitude doesn’t need to be just right. He just wants you to come as you are. He will bring your heart to the right place. He will adjust your attitude. Truth be told, no matter how “right” our heart and attitudes feel for worship, there is always going to be a need for God to cleanse them of darkness that we didn’t even know were there. That is part of spiritual growth. That is part of bringing our brokenness into His Light.
I pray you find strength to endure and conquer whatever mountains you are confronted with today. All need grace and all is grace, friends.