In my last blog post, I mentioned I've been extremely affected by Ruben Job's When you Pray.
This week, one of the opening verses is Luke 5:27, which I'm sure I've read at least 10 times.
When Jesus called Levi (we know him as Matthew), he wasn't in church. No, Levi was at his job, doing his thing. Same with all the other disciples. I like to think they were, in their hearts, yearning for something more. Maybe Levi was sitting there thinking "I am so tired of this bogus job! Everyone hates me and frankly, I hate them back. I want to be away from this mess." Maybe they wanted a smoke break from their lives - just some time off. Time to do what they want.
Scripture makes it clear, just like Levi, Christ came to deliver them of that mess. He calls them out of their own self-centeredness and says "Follow Me." He gives them the option (always the gentleman) to stay in their mess of a life (the pigsty) or follow Him to the most excellent way (The Garden.)
Jesus has come to me several times when I'm in that state. Heck-several times in the last 2 days! He has come into the midst of my own mess - sick of the people around me, sick of what I have to do, sick of my most blessed life.
He has been showing me these ugly thoughts: God, I don't want more of You - I'm to the point of breaking. I am tired of giving and giving and giving, especially when no one around me cares. I need to disconnect from all that You have given me. Lord, I can't take anymore of Your goodness, I just need some time for me.
Just give me five minutes to myself, just for a spiritual smoke break. And by doing that, I run FROM the Garden TO the pigsty.
Usually around 6 in the evening, I just want to turn off my brain and be in my happy place; away from crazy kids, questioning husband and demanding life. Come on People Magazine, entertain me.
But Jesus doesn't allow for smoke breaks. He came to me where I am not just to say "I love you", but to give me a chance to let His love change me.
Further in my devotional there is a passage out of Prayer by Foster that defines exactly what He is trying to show me I could have if I just follow Him:
How good of God to provide a path whereby our lives can be taken over by love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control.
What a benefit list! How much better would the witching hour (between 5-7) in my house be, if instead of escaping to my computer, I was engaged? When I disconnect, I become irritable, full of wrath. When I engage, it allows those fruits of The Spirit to become tangible because I am walking in His most excellent way. I am giving what my family needs - my attention and my time.
So, this is my current struggle. In fact, during the time I've been writing this post, I've been interrupted 3 times to dress Barbies. The Lord never fails to give us opportunities to practice the truth He has given us.
I will keep fighting in the ultimate war - flesh versus the Spirit. It's a Death Match and I will only have victory if, when I feel that creeping feeling of the need to get away - I will choose to be present, rather than tucking my head into my shell.
And I will pray for His Grace to come close and chase away those deep, dark thoughts, so instead, I can be filled with joy.