I signed up for two Bible Studies this fall. One on Monday evening, and another on Tuesday mornings. Maybe I just have too much time on my hands? Life has definitely been getting less busy and my schedule is getting less hectic, so maybe I am just trying to fill in the time with things to do?
Recently while I was reading Soul Custody by Stephen Smith he said that Mother Theresa had developed a rhythm of rest for herself and the nuns she served alongside. It went like this: 1 day a week, 1 week per month, 1 month per year, 1 year every six years.
After reading this I started thinking about the rhythm of my life.
For me, I have been doings things because I thought that was the right thing to do. I had been engulfed in cultures that require you to serve & perform.
Don’t get me wrong, I think laying down your life for Christ is a good thing, and I feel every Christian should embrace this in their life. While it is good to serve we need to realize it is best done out of the overflow.
I was doing these things because I thought that’s what I had to do in order to please God.
But I look to the pace I was working at, and it was one that was developed out of fear and insecurity.
I thought I was worshipping Him when in fact I was just building idols in my life.
Now that I am at a point of trying to tear down these things and move forward, I am beginning to doubt myself.
Also, in the midst of my striving, I doubted myself.
The fear I have is that it has been so engrained in my mind that in order to please God I have to do these things, that I just can’t embrace who I am in Christ because I am afraid He will be displeased with me.
As my children grow up I am realizing that systems don’t work on people. When they were little I would get so frustrated because no amount of parenting seemed to “work.” I looked around for answers through church, blogs, and the people closest to me.
It was funny, because they either didn’t have an answer or they had another system for me to start implementing.
But as they grew I realized I needed to be present with them, pray for them, and trust God enough to know that the condition of my heart will affect how I lead by example.
All of these lessons were learned in the trenches of life, which I am still in.
Life is about the trenches. If we don’t recognize that this life is far from perfect, and will never be perfect, or that even the Son of God endured more than we ever will, then we will always have a false sense of what this life is really all about.
We will also have a false sense of security in the systems of life.Systems might work with your to-do list, but they do not work with people.
But systems make us feel secure.When we start doubting ourselves we turn to our security blanket, the system that is set before us.
I used to belong to a church where I doubted myself, a lot. When the doubt began to creep in I would fully dive into the system that was in place at that church. I learned a lot while I was there, but I learned even MORE when I left.
The biggest lesson I learned is to guard my heart towards anyone or anything that causes me to doubt myself, and most importantly that makes me doubt God.
It hurts my heart when I see people doubting their salvation in Christ. Or when I experience the body of Christ putting themselves in a category of “at least I don’t sin like them so that makes me better.”
It bothers me when people judge and criticize someone they have never met nor have they every had a conversation with them.How can we judge someone’s heart or intent without even KNOWING them?
I have learned that living a life of integrity doesn’t make me obedient, and being critical of someone doesn’t make me more spiritual than them.
Doubt can creep in at any time, but especially when the people closest to us (and even people who don’t even know us) begin to doubt and criticize us. I’m not saying we should stay away from people who offer constructive criticism, I am saying we should guard our hearts from those who nitpick, and use their criticisms in order to control or manipulate us in a certain situation.
Everyone has room for growth. I want to grow in my walk with Christ and I value the opinions of others. However I have had to learn what it means to guard my heart, and to whom I need to guard my heart against.
As I was finishing up lunch with a friend, my mind wandered to a different relationship that has been struggling recently in regards to dealing with criticism, and how I am not happy with the state of the relationship. Unfortunately I feel I need to guard my heart from this person, but the hardest part about that is knowing we are more similar and agree on more than this person will ever know because they are simply walking in their tunnel vision, and covered in their false security blanket.
But for me, I just need to trust God, guard my heart, and allow room for growth in that relationship and in that person.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that I NEED the Holy Spirit to hold everything together, and I truly believe He will. I just need to trust Him, and I already do.
This is when we move from doubt to faith.
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No matter what Christmas was for us in the past, it seems like every year it has the opportunity, and the possibility, to be something completely different and brand new. That’s what Jesus brought with Him as He was born into this world; He brought with Him a clean slate, a fresh start, and something brand new to our lives and to our faith.
Today I invite you to come and take this imperfect advent journey with me to discover the beauty of the good and perfect gifts God has given us through His Son Jesus. Let us journey together to discover what those gifts are, how we can receive those gifts, and most importantly the importance of being a good steward of those gifts.