So yesterday I couldn’t blog, and today when I tried, the internet wasn’t working (is this Africa or what, people?), and tonight here I am with Jack’s computer on and I am 48 minutes late for bedtime. Needless to say, I’ll be writing quick. It’s not that I’m bursting with such inspiration about winter, I will tell you that much. It is so freezing cold outside and staticky inside; my skin is dry and I haven’t lost the goosebumps long enough to have a chance to shave my legs in…well, TMI.
About winter, I can say this: It is so uncomfortable that it makes the smallest things, for me anyway, so blissful. It’s like a big glass of ice water on a 100 degree day in July…just blissful. Well, today I accidentally left my electric blanket on while we were at church and then when I came home, I crawled into bed and…rapture!!! It’s the little things, you know?
There really are many things I would like to blog about right now. From big to small, mainly small. I’m feeling a little distant and distracted from my own heart, and it does help me to write about it. It’s weird–and I’m saying this so honestly because I think it may be poignant to you as well, maybe–that distance and distraction from myself, from the Lord, from stillness, is a warning. It’s an important warning…It’s like before I even get myself involved in something that is going to take some of my attention, thoughts, focus, etc, I begin to feel this warning. It’s an alarm that says, “If just thinking about this is taking you away from what the Lord told you to be thinking about, then the thing itself is definitely off limits for now.”
I realize I’m being vague, but I just am having these thoughts roll around in my mind. It’s hard to stay still. I do get ideas of things I want to do. They aren’t super important like they would have been to me in the past, but they are cool ideas that I would enjoy and maybe are the Lord’s will. And just as a disclaimer, I need to say that they could be, in a different season, exactly what God wants me thinking about and working out the details of. But as this year began, my heart was set on one thing, just rolling over from 2010, I want to learn how to truly dwell with the Lord. I know that doesn’t mean sitting literally with my Bible open all day, because He has given me things to take care of; I am learning how dwelling with Him has a lot to do with my heart, soul, mind, and strength…what I care most about deep down, my motives, my desires, what I want in the end, what I put my time, energy, and thoughts into all day, what makes me feel complete or successful. Literally, what am I thinking about all day? What am I trying to figure out or fix or work out? The answer tells me what I love, maybe even what I worship. I want Jesus in this place.
Well, anyway, I just feel a warning and I want to heed it. With the free time of my mind, with the free time of my day (so precious little there is), am I free to do what I want? With my will turned toward Him, regardless of how I feel and the lazy choices I may make, I’m really not free to do what I want IF I want Him in the way I say I want Him. I say about God, “Oh, He doesn’t want anything from me. Such relief, such freedom to just be and not have to perform and measure up!” And that is 100% true. Yet it is equally true, oh so unbelievably true, that He wants everything from me!! Not anything…yet everything.
We talked about this at church tonight; it’s so hard to put into words, this issue of abiding. John 15 describes it best, of course. But something that struck me as we were talking is that if I had to describe abiding in Christ, like my personal experience with this, I would talk about what had to go and get out of the way first, what space had to be made for Him. He will not abide with sin, we all know that; He will kindly work out those thorns, He will bring light to the darkness and overcome it. But maybe less realized, at least for me it was, is that He will not share space with all our self-focused obsessions, goals, demands of Him, self-consciousness, judgments, materialism, unforgiveness, even dreams sometimes if they are not surrendered (whatever it is we find ourselves longing for and daydreaming about); He won’t share mental and emotional space with other lovers, so it begs us to begin clearing out what our mind and heart are set on all of our waking hours. Is there room for Him to abide? Is there room for scripture, or His beauty and characteristics, or Him talking with you or is it very packed with to-do lists, goals you’ve set for yourself that keep you going, etc? I don’t know. It’s different for everybody, but one thing I am pretty sure most American Christians have in common is that they aren’t careful in the planning of their days, meaning they don’t plan their time and energy around making space for the Lord to commune with them. Sickness and kids and a few other things led me to a quieter, smaller life, and when I spend time with women I thought they would think my life was kind of less, kind of pitiful, kind of lazy or defeated even because I’m not “doing” anything besides taking care of me, my family, and knowing Jesus. But instead, I sense that they kind of wish they could leave it all behind like I did. They can.
Maybe this new year could start off with the journey of housecleaning…If you’re like me, you’re like, “Okay, let’s do that right now. I want to do it once and walk on.” But it doesn’t work that way. It is a constant thing of going, “What was I just thinking about and why?” or “What did I just get upset about and why?” Then, inwardly turning back to the Lord in communion with Him. This is not a witch hunt, we’re not going inside looking for stuff to be condemned about! This is taking the words “I desire to abide in the Lord with my heart and mind more” and making it a practice and a discipline. We’re going deeper and growing more mature through this, and in the meantime, realizing how we are absolutely just at the beginning! Yes, friends, this is elementary, and yet it is the sum total. It’s not a means to an end, it is the end. This is a huge challenge…so much to grasp of the Lord!! He is so good, and He rewards those who diligently seek Him, just to know Him and nothing more.
He also rewards those who don’t go to bed this late. Yikes! Goodnight! Thanks for reading.