This weekend at church, our pastor gave a great illustration that I wanted to share. He talked about how every person was created with a God-shaped void in their heart. One can never be truly happy, joyful or fulfilled until that void is filled. And the thing is that it can only be filled with one thing, one Person.
He then gave the illustration of being physically hungry. When you are hungry, you often want or crave a certain thing. When you go to the pantry or fridge to get that certain snack, and find that it is not there, you will devour anything you can find. Well, when that doesn't hit the spot, you will move onto something else, until something satisfies that hunger. Often going through ice cream, chips, cookies etc, when what you really want is just some chocolate.
The same is true in our relationship with God. We all have a desire to know God, to be in communion with God. Many times we don't know what it is that we need to satisfy that hunger or need, so we go through all sorts of things to try and fill that void. We may try relationships/friendships, certain sports, alcohol, drugs, distractions such as television/movies/internet, our spouses, and dare I say, our children and our roles as "mommy".
All of that stuff may make us happy for a season, or make us think we are happy. Some of those things listed above are extremely important in our lives. But the truth is that one day those things, those relationships, those roles that we play will bring us heartache, or disappointment. Until we find complete satisfaction, joy and contentment in Jesus, we will always be at the pantry looking for the next "snack" to devour. Until we learn that our joy, contentment, and fullness are not dependant on our circumstances and those around us, but on our awesome, unchanging Heavenly Father, we will continue to search for that missing piece, trying in vain to fill it on our own with temporary, earthly things.
So what/who are you holding on to today? What/who are you relying on to bring you happiness? What/Who is satisfying you today?
Saturday, February 5, 2011
No, this isn't a post telling you to mind your own business. It's actually the post in which God tells me to mind my own business.
Don't you just LOVE when you go to God with a very specific request or a very specific issue that you are struggling with. And then He faithfully answers you with a VERY specific answer!!
This week, actually the past few weeks, I had been REALLY stressing about some issues that didn't directly affect me or my family, but somethings that I was concerned about nonetheless. Please bear with me, because I can't give details, just wouldn't be right, and it would just be gossiping. But these were situations that were inappropriate. And I really felt like someone should say something. I prayed and prayed, lost sleep, talked to my husband, almost scheduled a meeting with a pastor at my church, I was really stressing.
God kept telling me to go to His Word. And to be completely honest, I put it off because I didn't want to do what I thought He was going to tell me to do. Ephesians 5:11-13 kept coming to mind:
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
and I didn't want to ruffle feathers or make enemies. But at the same time, I felt compelled that these things needed to be brought to light. So I didn't read the Bible for several days. Spiritually, I crossed my arms and stuck out my bottom lip and pouted. I was confused.
Then I began to pray for peace. I began to pray for a gentle and quiet spirit, and a teachable heart. Then I went to God's Word.
On Thursday, I read 1 Timothy 2:1-4:
1Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
On Friday I read 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12:
But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; 11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
So, in order to have that peace that I asked God for, I first needed to pray for those that I thought were doing wrong, not only that, but to give thanks for them. Then I just needed to mind my own business and go about my own work. God's Word is just amazing!
Friday, February 4, 2011
Historically, at our house, Sundays have been used for getting ready for the week. It was when the grocery shopping was done, the laundry was caught up, the school uniforms were gotten ready for the week, other chores that I needed to get done to get ready for the busy week of school. The thinking was that, if I could get all this stuff done on Sunday, the week would run more smoothly, which is logical thinking, right?
But at the beginning of this school year, God starting working in my heart to change this behavior. Everything I read for a while had something to say about keeping the Sabbath, or making the Sabbath a day of rest, etc. I began to see that my well-meaning attitude of working diligently to stave off chaos throughout the week, was preventing myself and my family from having a day of rest, a day of spending time with each other. It was just like any other day, just a busy, just as chaotic.
Then as I began to read Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, I immediately asked myself, "How can I apply this to my life?". I understood the concept and what a wonderful one it was. But I was so task-oriented that I couldn't even imagine what a Mary heart looked like when it was lived out. I began to pray about this and God really put it on my heart that it needed to start with Sundays. I needed to work diligently throughout the week, so that we could be together as a family without the worries of getting chores done before Monday. And, of course, to spend time with Him without all the usual distractions.
It took me a while to get it together enough to pull off a Sunday with no to-do list. I had to start trying to complete some chores during the week. I had to do more on Saturdays. But I knew that once those needed tasks were completed, I was going to do nothing the next day. I don't know about you, but it is RARE that I do nothing.
As a matter-of-fact, the very first Sunday that I was able to put this into practice was one Sunday when Cecil was out of town with work. The house was clean, we went to church, the kids and I had just eaten a simple lunch, the school bags even been packed on Sat. night and were ready for the next morning. I sat on the sofa and put the Saints game on with the kids. I'm not kidding you when I say that two minutes passed and tasks that I should be doing started creeping into my head: Martha thinking...
"You could be organizing your closet",
"You need to go through the kids' clothes and get rid of what's too small",
"You never got around to cleaning the floor in your bathroom".
I had to really make a conscious effort to sit and do nothing, to not be "productive". The kids and I played some games, I read a little and had a wonderful, relaxing day. It really made a difference in that next week, too. I felt less frazzled, calmer.
It's still a learning process, I'm still trying to get it "right". As a matter-of-fact, I do have some laundry that has to be done today. But it's definitely worth the extra effort during the week. And next week I will just try a bit harder and be a bit more diligent.
By the way, I highly recommend this book. It completely changed and is changing my thinking, my attitude( that still needs some work) and my heart. It was truly an answered prayer.