“I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus. I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it, when it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.”
I’ve been singing that song the last few days- only, instead of coming back to the heart of worship, I need a whole life remodel. I need to come back to the heart of life.
Aye. How very quick I am to re-prioritize my life, making loving the Lord and seeking Him a second or third or fourteenth priority when it should always, always be first.
I can tell, almost immediately, when my priorities are off. When seeking God stops being first, taking care of myself also plummets. If Seeking God is fourteenth, Taking Care Of Myself hovers right around twenty.
It makes sense, really. If I’m no longer prioritizing my spiritual health and well-being, my physical and emotional health probably aren’t ranking so high on my list of concerns either. And a person cannot do life very long without prioritizing self-care. It becomes as futile as trying to run a car on empty. We have to receive (nutritious food, exercise, time with people, fresh air, Jesus…) in order to function well.
Sometimes during these improperly balanced phases of my life, I will catch myself aimlessly scrolling through things on the internet (*cough*Pinterest*cough*), looking for something unspecific. And not finding it. Looking for something to stir my soul. To inspire hope. To refresh my life. And I know, deep down, that what I’m searching for, longing for, aching for, isn’t going to be found online. I need Abba. Desperately, every moment of every day, I need Him. Downplaying that only leads to my suffering. It only leads to a life less full and rich and worth it.
Do I need to spend more time thinking about how to achieve my goals, or how to love my God? Do I need to devote more energy to worrying about paying my bills, or worrying about fully loving God? He is the answer. He is the answer to all of it. The more I seek Him, the more everything else will fall into place. Pinterest sure cannot say that! 😉
I don’t want to plow through life, low-energy. I want to wake up in the morning and be happy and energized. I want to go through my day present and grateful and tuned in to the voice of God. And I want to go to bed at night fulfilled and at peace. No matter how many “how to love life”, “how to make a difference”, “how to sleep well” Google searches I do, the answer just isn’t going to be found there. The answer is Him. Always, always, always, He is the answer.
“Your love is amazing, steady and unchanging. Your love is a mountain, firm beneath my feet. Your love is a mystery, how You gently lift me. When I am surrounded, Your love carries me. Your love is surprising, I can feel it rising, all the joy that’s growing deep inside of me. And every time I see You, all Your goodness shines through, and I can feel this God song rising up in me: Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, Your love makes me sing!”
In other news, I bought a new cat tree today. It is standing tall and proud in my bedroom and it’s about the size of my bed. It is quite the eye-sore. But it’s also totally worth it. Because my cat boys love it. However, should I ever actually get a human boy in my life, I might have to hide the cat tree in the garage for a while- to downplay the “crazy cat lady” thing. 😉
And now, to bring this whole blog full-circle in a way that I hadn’t anticipated and couldn’t have planned, Brittany just came into my room to tell me a story about a couple in Australia who paid a lot of money to save their goldfish’s life.
“That is one spoiled brat of a gold fish! But I am so happy for it,” Britt said.
“Me too,” I agreed. “And I totally get it. Loving a pet isn’t a rational thing. That (I pointed at my cat tree) isn’t rational. But it’s so worth it.”
And you know what? You know what I realized as soon as those words were out of my mouth? That kind of crazy, irrational “cat tree the size of my bed”, “I will spend any amount of money to save my goldfish’s life” love should be how I live out my love for God, too. Only more. Bigger.
Lord, help me love You more than anything. I want to love You with wild, reckless abandon.
That is, after all, exactly how You love me.
Only even more magnified. Magnified beyond comprehension.
“King of endless worth, no one could express how much you deserve. Though I’m weak and poor, all I have is Yours. Every single breath.”
“Notice that what the serpent told [Eve] was not only plausible; it was even partially true. Eating the fruit would indeed open her eyes to understand good and evil. In her innocence, Eve was susceptible to the devil’s half-truths and lies.”
Of course I am familiar with the story of Adam and Eve and that wretched serpent, but I don’t think I’ve looked at it quite that way before.
Certainly I know that Satan is a liar, but I didn’t realize before how subtle his lies can be. I didn’t realize how his lies might even start out as a small piece of truth. He gets you to agree with that truth and then tries to assign meaning to it. And the meaning he assigns, and the way he suggests you should respond, those are the lies. But he is so subtle about it that you don’t even realize what he’s done. He doesn’t go for the jugular so that you can fight back with what you know to be true, he is sneakier than that.
For instance, rather than say, “God doesn’t love you,” which would do little more than elicit and eye-roll from those of us who know that to be laughably false, he might get you to agree that a certain social situation was uncomfortable. Then he will start with the lies. He might suggest that people don’t like you. That you don’t fit in. That you are hopelessly flawed. That you might as well just stop trying. That you don’t matter. That your future will look just like your present. That you will be alone. That God doesn’t care. That if God loved you, your life would look different. And before you know it, you’re walking around believing that God doesn’t love you.
Satan only asks for a little- at least initially. He only asks you to agree with him on some small thing, and then he lets you run away with that lie. He lets you elaborate on it until your whole way of seeing life and yourself is based on what you FEEL to be true versus what God says is true.
Satan loves to make us act on half-truths.
Lately Satan has been reminding me that there are no guarantees in life. Is that true? Yes. But before I know it, I find myself believing that if I want my life to look a certain way, I need to take matters into my own hands. He tells me God’s timing isn’t perfect and that I deserve better than what God has for me right now.
It is about then that I catch myself running away with the lie and am able to put a stop to it, but it’s so subtle. Satan is so subtle. It would be so easy to overlook the fact that it’s a lie. It would be so easy to march off, nose in the air, believing that it was actually was some deep truth about life that I had wisely and cleverly discerned all by myself.
I am so grateful that God left us the Bible. I am so grateful that Jesus came to earth to show us how to use the Bible as a weapon against the forces of evil. I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit within me can gently remind me when I begin believing something that isn’t biblical.
I am grateful for all the discomforts of life, including having no [good] choice but to trust in God’s timing and His plan.
Over and over again lately I am reminded that my hope HAS to be in God alone.
I cannot hope in a person or a relationship, I cannot hope in the fulfillment of a dream, I cannot hope in myself.
No matter how badly I want to be a wife and a mama, for instance, my hope has to be in God alone. Whether or not I am ever a mama, God is still God. My joy and hope cannot be found in what He gives, but in Him alone. It’s only when we fully abide in His love and His truth that joy and hope are unshakable.
Even when my life looks differently than I thought it would, He is good and He doesn’t make mistakes. And I am blessed. Give or take away, Lord, I know I stand here so very blessed.
And certainly I would prefer the comfort of guarantees and the joy of having my dreams coming to fruition, but none of that compares to the comfort of Your present and the joy of knowing You love me. I choose Your will, Lord.
I choose discomfort if discomfort is what You have for me.
I choose a life of praying fervently for the things that matter to me, all the while knowing You will make the final decision and whatever You decide, it will be good.
I choose unshakable joy.
I choose unshakable hope.
I choose Truth.
Hold our hands, Lord. Hold tight to us. Help us not unknowingly believe any lies. Saturate our minds with truth. Help us feel empowered, armed, and well-equipped to face this life head-on. Help us boldly and confidently do battle against evil. And help us not to be so weighed down by the presence of evil in this life that we forget that we have every reason to rejoice. We belong to You, Lord. Help that truth sink deep into our hearts until we are so overwhelmed by Your love that we cannot help but dance.
Last night as I was reading in bed, I burst into tears. Usually Brittany doesn’t lay in bed with me and read in the evening, but last night she did. And while I was a little bit embarrassed at the time, I think my tears were a good thing for her to be privy to.
I was reading the Beth Moore book I’ve been reading, (The Beloved Disciple), and in her closing chapters she began to discuss the end times. Normally, that is a topic I avoid. In fact, I almost skipped the last chapters. But I decided instead to tiptoe through them, testing the waters. I told myself I would just close the book if things got too intense and come back to it at a later time.
But Beth, (who is quickly becoming my new BFF), in typical Beth fashion, spun it in such a way that I found myself sobbing, not in fear, but in awe of how much God loves us.
I have never, ever, not for a single moment, been unloved. I have never not mattered. I have never been invisible. I have never been insignificant. All the times I’ve felt unloved or like I didn’t measure up? They were lies. They were lies from the pit of hell. And I’ve known that in my head, but last night God freshly revealed it to my heart.
And so I sat there in bed last night, sobbing and blubbering like a small child to Brittany about how “His eyes light up when I wake up in the morning”.
Even now, the tears just keep coming. I almost don’t understand the tears myself, as I don’t consider myself much of a crier, but I think that my heart is just overwhelmed with love for Him. He has seen the best and worst of me. He knows how very undeserving I am of His love. And yet He looks me in the eyes and holds my head in his hands and smiles in His tender, Jesus way, and He tells me over and over again, “I LOVE you.”
How I cannot wait for the day when I can throw my arms around Him and tell Him, “I love You, too.”
After my crying began to lessen last night and I regained some composure, Brittany showed me this video. I think she thought it would make me giggle or something, but instead it just made me cry all over again.
Seriously, life. Sometimes you hurt so good.
And then she showed me a second video, which also made me cry and blubber aloud about how “I cannot wait to have children and be able to make them that happy and have a husband who loves our children that much”. And Brittany laughed while I cried, which was okay with me because I was laughing too. And I imagine that Jesus, with tears of joy in His eyes, was laughing as well. The three of us there, sitting on my bed, laughing.
Because life is good. It is so painfully good.
And every aspect of it that is good, is God.
And so, in closing, I cried last night. I cried because God is good. So, so good.
Thank You, Abba, for every instance in which You reveal Your heart to me.