So - The Lord has straightened me out quite a bit since my last blog. A faker no longer - I am finally feeling I am living for my purpose in Him, again. Turns out - He had to smack me upside the back of the head a few times. You see - I was wasting His time. I was pursing things, imbibing things and generally being a Jonah. I was not running towards Him but staying put and He finally got tired of my childish antics. I seriously see what was happening because I experience it all the time with my kids. I ask them to do something but they pish-posh around till I get exasperated and have to put my foot down.
And that's exactly what The Lord did. I had been considering taking on a few other commitments, all good and several helping ministries in the Church. I'd gotten no clear answer one way or the other until I started saying yes to a few of them. Then last week - watching our Bible Study video - she started talking about an interview she'd seen with a prize-wining Tomato grower. Then she said the sentence that changed my perspective - you have to prune off other perfectly good fruit from the vine in order to grow the prize winner. If you don't, the other perfectly good fruit will steal nutrients from the prize winner.
Her point was to align ourselves with God's priorities for our life - to let Him divinely prune what we are involved in until we are focused on Him and His purposes. My Sunday School study also is focused on this.
I sat through the majority of that video with my head in my hands because God was speaking into my heart - "ENOUGH! I've had enough of this foolishness. Get down to the purpose I have for you because you are WASTING MY TIME!" I have been doing things, some good, some bad, that have been stealing the nutrients away from the prize in the life God has for me. Can you imagine! My watching junk T.V., drinking beer, helping prayer ministry, etc. has all prevented me from writing. Now - I've known that but the difference is I have not had the proper motivation to STOP doing it and DO WHAT I AM SUPPOSED TO DO.
It took a little divine head slap to make me let go of a few things. So, I decided to start clipping. I told UMM's Golf Tourny Leadership Team I couldn't lead the prayer ministry. I decided I would not be involved in the Walnut Bend Mom's Club or the PTO for any committees this year. I would curtail drinking to a minimum. I would stop watching "Keeping up with The Kardashians" and "Bridezillas." All of these things took me out of a God-focused mindset.
He did add a few things in there though. I decided to run a 1/2 marathon in December, so my running has gone from maybe, possibly doing a triathlon with Dave (he nixed that a couple of weeks ago) to training for this race. He gave me ways to increase my giving to His church and an opportunity to do a carpool and a time and place for me to have 2 hours to write every week - at a minimum. He gave me sweet study time to prepare for my Sunday School class. He gave my husband a heart to help me with a few things around the house. I have never felt so free of burdens and most things are just a joy to do and I have the kind of peace I have not had for a LONG TIME.
My point is this - obedience, making the HEART change allows me to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.." and let's me "run with perseverance the race marked out" for me (Hebrews 12:1). You see, I could not do this myself - I could not make the head change and win certain battles in my thought life without Him making the heart change in me. He showed me the error of my ways and He allowed me to confess and give it up so I could start back again on the path He has laid out for me. I really get the race analogy - we each have a different course marked out for us in life - we just have to trust He will show us the way.
I had an opportunity to teach my children this principle this morning. You see - today is Natalie's 6th birthday! Very exciting and the morning had been going well until she only ate her birthday cookie and nothing else. She then got wacky and started doing just foolish things. I was going to walk her into school (as I usually drop her off) but as I explained, because she made foolish choices with her time, we would have to go back to the right path - finish those things I'd asked her to do - which would not leave time for me to walk her in.
I told her that if she'd chosen to do what I'd asked, she would have been blessed by me walking her in. But she didn't so she lost that blessing. Tough lesson to learn but it goes back to "easy way or hard way?" (a concept we both know well as I've been teaching that a lot too).
Is there something God is asking or has been asking you to do and you have yet to obey? Don't miss the window of opportunity because it will close one day. And you will lose the blessings He desires to send you.
But, if you obey - He makes this promise in Malachi 3:10 (The MSG)- "Test me in this and see if I don't open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams."
Pretty bold huh? Beyond your wildest dreams? He dares you in that passage "Test me!" Well, I dare you - do what He has asked of you - no matter how small or how big - and see how He can and WILL bless you today!!
(And the greatest thing about blessing is that it spills over into family too so not only will YOU be blessed - so will all the people in your life!!)