Monday, April 2, 2012


The long, drawn out sacrifice period of Lent is coming to an end this week.  I've always gotten a little bit weary coming into the home stretch of Easter Week, like the last mile or two of a half marathon.  It feels like I'll never finish.  I start to wonder that if I can barely make it without chocolate, caffeine, beer or shopping (to name a few of the items I've given up in years past) for 40 days, how in the world did Jesus go without food in the desert for so long??

I keep coming back to the same conclusion (or theme, as it were) that the spirit is willing, but my flesh is certainly very weak.

That's kind of where I'm coming from today.  My flesh hasn't been weak lately - actually the last few days it has more or less been totally in control.  It's this whole idea of everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial that I seem to be pushing to the limit.  Since Christmas 2009, I have been felt The Lord calling me to change my lifestyle in certain ways, and while I've made very earnest efforts, it hasn't stuck yet. 

The difficulty has been in changing the parts of my life I really enjoy.  It isn't even that I have to give everything up and become a hermit in the desert (which would certainly put a damper on my marriage and motherhood.)  What it boils down to is a choice (doesn't it always?).  There are certain things I like to do, at certain times of the week, but if I do them, it doesn't leave me with the time or energy to be with the Lord.  It is just becoming so clear to me that there are so many times I choose to pour into myself instead of giving that time to God.

In short, I've got to get to a point where I love The Lord more than my lifestyle.

It's not an easy decision to come to, and no doubt He has been working this desire in me for awhile.  Nothing quite satisfies like reading Scripture, prayer or being in connection with people about The Lord.  And before I go putting on boundaries or restraints, or even more appointments on my schedule, I need to stop.  I don't need more law in my life - what I need is more grace.

As I was praying and reading Scripture this morning, focusing on the Easter story, it hit me that I need the kind of wake up call the moneychangers in the Temple got.  I need that kind of shock to my system - to remember what my mind, my body, my heart, my life is for.  Not to just focus on whatever feels good in the moment.  But, to use my parent's pastor's sermon message yesterday (that my Mom just quoted to me), my, you, our purpose in this life is to be in relationship with God.  Everything else is gravy. 

Being in relationship with God brings a whole host of good things along with it.  We are to enjoy the blessings that are part of the goodness of God: good food, good shelter, good friends, good "stuff".  We are to recognize the moments of joy in whatever form they come.  But just because something is good, doesn't mean we focus on just that.  It makes sense now what he meant when The Apostle Paul told us not to grieve The Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is part of us and when we get so caught up in "us", we lose the vitality of Him.  That little light of mine gets dimmer and dimmer when I stoke the fire of my flesh instead of the fire of my spirit.  My flesh fights it though - it hangs on tooth and nail, waving all manner of shiny and attractive things in my face.  It doesn't want to be ignored. 

But I'm back here again - I know I've experienced better.  I know there is more than just what I can eat, drink, do or feel.  I'm seeking a balance, surely but more than that; I'm seeking revival. 

I need to be revived from the sinful ways that I have just poured into my flesh, instead of taking time out to fan my fire for The Lord.  I'm parched, after spending too much time in the desert of this world and not enough time in the Garden of eternity. 

If I can just be open to it, if I can just crack the door to my heart a little wider - all that real goodness (from God) will come rushing in.  It only takes just that much, a little crack, and I will be changed. 

Easter Week is as good a time as any for a revival.  Maybe this hunger to be with God more will lead to whatever He has next for our family.  Maybe it won't.  Maybe it will lead to great inspiration and more effective ministry to those around me.  Maybe it won't.  Maybe it will lead to a spiritual revival in my family.  Maybe it won't. 

What I do know is, though, from my previous attempts, it will lead to a better Amy.

And that is always worth seeking.

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