I'm currently sitting at my kitchen table, working. Soft music is playing in the background in an attempt to add some tranquility to this room and my second third cup of coffee is sitting next to the computer. I have a to do list longer than there are hours left in the day, and life is just not slowing down - I'm sure I'm not the only one. Right in the middle of it all, God just whispered to me "Look Up" so I did, and this is what I saw:
Have you ever stopped and looked around? I'm sure you know the old adage "stop and smell the roses," but have you actually done it? Have you actually slowed down to take it all in?
Well, today I did. The Lord's still small voice told me to look up. So I did. I saw my daughter in our playroom. There she is, sitting in the floor playing. She's clean, fed & content. She is surrounded by so many toys that she can't decide what to play with (thanks to her super loving grandparents!) so she's carefully taking it all in. The Lord gave me two specific thoughts in this moment of observation. Am I clean, fed & content? Am I slowing down enough to see my surroundings? Herein lies my lesson today. I hope it's one that will encourage you as you read. So let's dig into these two questions ...
Am I clean fed and content?
Clean - I was reminded that I'm not perfect. Ouch! But, neither are you. We are in need of cleansing forgiveness daily. When we mess up (like speaking harshly to my husband this morning because I was tired when that cute girl in the picture woke up at 4:30am) we need to confess. He will forgive, every time, not matter what. That's a relief and it's humbling.1 John 1:19 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Fed - I'm not always studying God's word. Life is busy and sometimes personal study falls away. But when I do make that a priority, I'm healthier. That spiritual health overflows in all areas of my life positively (i.e. patience with my early rising infant). When you eat good food, it sustains you. So God was telling me to prioritize my personal time with Him. To read and "chew on" the truths in the Bible daily. John 15:4 says, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." Content - There I was worried about my long list of things to do & the Lord spoke to me in two words, "Look Up." He didn't give me a list of ways to accomplish my list in one day or a step by step guide on how to make that child sleep past 4:30am. Nope, instead He reminded me what Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still, and know that I am God." His character brings peace, He is all I need.
Am I slowing down enough to see my surroundings?
On the table in the corner, you might have noticed in the other pictures, we have some marble jars. They are a reminder to take captive our time with our girl. Each Sunday, my husband and I move a marble from one jar to the other symbolizing one week less until she graduates from high school & is off to college. It reminds us to keep the end in mind. You see, when we see how much time we have left, we'll make what matters matter more. The things that matter to us are simple, to raise her in a gospel centered home where she is pointed toward Jesus as much as possible, to love her unconditionally while teaching her right from wrong, and to have fun! We're in the beginning of a life full of parenting through all kinds of phases and reminding ourself of the things that matter can't get lost in the hustle & bustle. It's easy to say, "Its just a phase!" and work harder next time. But before we know it, without focusing on the now, we'll just wish her life at home away. We don't want to do that ... especially since time is flying! So now, we try to say, "It's just a phase, so don't miss it!"
Well, today, I think the Lord wanted me to apply that concept to my personal life. It's not just a concept for raising children. He wanted me to keep the end in mind for my life too. What matters here, is sharing about Jesus. Revelation 22:7 says, "And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book." He is coming back! Jesus came to this earth to rescue us from our sin - our separation from God. He lived a perfect life, died in our place, and rose from the dead three days later. Today, He is alive, and preparing a place for us to be with Him again one day. We don't know when He is coming back, so while we wait, we share. This is a message worth sharing. But, in all these busy life activities, I'm not slowing down enough to really see who around me needs to hear this message. God wants me to slow down and build margin in my life to share this good news message with those around me. Building in margin will take sacrifices, and they'll be worth it. This busy phase in my life will pass so I don't want to miss the opportunities I have right now to share just because I'm caught up in the hustle & bustle.
I hope you can be encouraged that you aren't the only one who has trouble finding extra time, or getting things on your to do list done. I hope that you can be encouraged that you aren't the only one saying "It's just a phase!" or "Time is flying!" The best encouragement to me, though, has been knowing that God is with me through it all and that He is all I need. He will give me patience when I'm up at 4:30am, He will forgive me when I confess my mess ups, He will nourish my soul when I prioritize my time with Him, He will give me peace in my surroundings when I recognize who He is, and He will help me find margin to share with others what He has done for me in the gift of His son Jesus. He rescued me! Oh what joy!
What about you?
Will you seek Him in all the time you do (or even don't) have this week? Will you confess wrongdoing? Will you dig into His word? Will you "be still" and depend on His character? Will you tell someone what He's done for you?
And guess what? It doesn't have to be something else you add to your to do list! This is the best part! These things can be built into the regular rhythms of your day. For me, reading the Bible might look like listening to the Bible app while I drive on a busy day. We all have drive time! Confession might happen through prayer while I get dressed in the morning. We all have to get ready for the day and I don't know about you, but my mind is usually wandering during this time! There's also bath time, playtime, down time, bed time. What about your times ... which ones can you take captive in order to "Look Up?"