My dear and sweet readers, I miss you. I am so sorry it has been a month since I have posted. I would hate to say it, that dreaded “b” word, I have been “busy”. I do not like that word. It feels like such an excuse. It feels like a tiresome burden. It feels frustrating and exhausting.
There is this notion in my head that “busy” is bad. That “busy” is something I do not want to be and that I want to steer clear of. It feels as if “busyness” is a drain upon my passion, enthusiasm and energy. But then I spent some time this morning reading the definitions of the word busy on dictionary.com.
There are definitions that I do not want to draw to, such as being “officious, meddlesome, and prying” or ” cluttered with small, unharmonious details; fussy”. BUT, then there are these definitions of the word busy, “actively and attentively engaged in work or a pastime” and “full of or characterized by activity”
It dawned on me that I have been thinking incorrectly about being busy. Those are things that I want to be. I want to be characterized as being actively and attentively engaged.
Is God ok with me being “busy” in the manner of being actively and attentively engaged? So often I read messages about slowing down, letting God lead me by still waters, about resting…
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is Christ the Lord you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)
Work at it with all your heart. Be active. Be engaged. That seems like “busy” to me.
Work for the Lord. Be actively and attentively engaged in the work God has called us to, using our gifts, talents, time and treasures to serve Christ the Lord.
In my searching this morning I found myself in 1 Timothy where I read these verses.
“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (NIV)
This statement comes following the passage about false teachers, and the eager desire & love of money that causes people to wander and become filled with grief.
It seemed a good warning about what we should be actively and attentively engaged in. But, what also stood out to me was this, “Take hold”. To me, that is an active statement. To take hold.
These two small words, this simple phrase, led me back to a quote by Oswald Chambers that I keep in the front of my Bible. Just as an FYI, I do not put quotes above Scripture, but it’s this quote that so often pushes my focus back towards God’s word, which is why I want to share it.
“Soak and soak and soak continually in the one great truth of which you have had a vision; take it to bed with you, sleep with it, rise up in the morning with it, continually bring your imagination into captivity to it, and slowly and surely as the months and years go by, God will make you one of His specialists in that particular truth.” Oswald Chambers
It is this quote that always seems to gently nudge me back to what I believe to be my life verses and my mission in life.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
My mission is to Encourage with Love, Passion and Enthusiasm. It is through Passion Encouragement and Prayer that I can UPlift people and share God’s Joy. Or shortened to PEP UP for Joy.
That is my truth, which I am passionate about, which I want to be actively and attentively engaged in – that I want to keep me busy. It takes faith to take a hold of this, to serve Christ the Lord with it.
Sometimes I get distracted. Sometimes I loose focus. Sometimes I misplace my attention and become very active in things outside of my calling. There are also times that I take on, volunteer for, or even make up, too much for this one little person to do.
There are occasions where my enthusiasm gets the best of me and I volunteer without thinking through the full implications of the responsibility. My heart wants to help and my hand so often takes that as a reason to jump up and offer something.
There are other instances where I want to be an encouragement to someone, so I try to do things for them or with them. I so long to relieve their burden that sometimes I don’t realize until it hurts badly, how much of the burden I am trying to carry on my own.
Then there are just times where I get a “great idea” and I run with it. I have learned that “great ideas” often are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s usually so much more floating under the surface.
Enthusiasm is good. There are times my hand needs to be up to volunteer for something. There are times where I will need to help bear the burden, that doing something with someone will offer the greatest encouragement. There will be “great ideas” to be followed up on. In and of themselves, these are not problematic.
But where I get myself in trouble is when I become more actively and attentively engaged with these things OVER Christ. When I put them before the truth of scripture, when I put them before pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Trouble comes when I am fighting for something, but it is not the good fight that I was called to fight.
It is these times of struggle that my hands are tired and sore. Which often leads me to the desire to DROP everything. If I am totally honest, sometimes I would like to take that which I am holding onto to and throw it at the ground smashing it into pieces, or to throw it directly at someone who I feel frustrated with.
I know for certain that is not what God wants me to do. What God does ask of me is to bring my tithes into the storehouse (Malachi 3:10). He asks me to bring not just my money, but my talents, my hopes, dreams, loves, passions, gifts, relationships, doubts, worries, stresses, feelings, mind, soul and spirit – ALL of it – to Him.
In my life, this is how I learn. This is how I am being refined. I test God’s mercy over, and over and over again. I volunteer and then realize I’m not as good of a fit as I thought. I am properly humbled when someone else comes in and does it better, with more ease. I learn that to pray for someone can help ease their burdens as much as trying to carry them. I learn that some “great ideas” are better in theory than application. All the while I learn along the way.
You want to hear something amazing?
God’s mercy is rich and lavish and are available for us to feast upon. That’s right, it’s an endless buffet of mercy, grace, love and goodness. We can take it in over and over and over and over again. Then we can still go back for more. We can come, feast, partake, dig in, and pile up. In God’s unending generosity, we are not limited.
This is what we need to continue holding on with sore and tired hands. This is what we need to fill ourselves. This is what will fuel us to actively and attentively engage in what God has called us to.
My dear, sweet, reader. I hope that what I share is an encouragement to you. I don’t know exactly what is going on in your life in intimate details, but I know that Christ does. Please take a moment to look down at your hands. Are they tired? Are they sore? Are they calloused? Are they covered in the marks of life acquired through years of work?
You have beautiful hands my dear. They were designed with a specific purpose. Your fingerprints alone are proof that you are a unique and precious treasure; a one of a kind masterpiece. Their design comes straight from the Father.
Listen as He says, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13 (NIV). Let Him take your tired and sore hand in His. Hold on to Him. Walk with Him to a place at His table. Experience joy and laughter from personally, intimately, sitting right across from Him. Leave with so much more than you came for. Don’t hesitate, for you are welcomed with warmest hugs and richest greetings.
Beloved and Amazing Lord,
When I sat down this morning I had a full schedule and an empty heart. I have been rushing around doing so much for so many, attending to what seems urgent and honestly, neglecting many important things. I was weary, exhausted, frustrated and run down.
I fell into confession about all the things I have been doing wrong – not being actively in the Scriptures, the junk food I have been putting in my body, the thoughts I have been letting tumble through my mind, and the worries that have been consuming me.
I asked for Your help, help to not write a down trodden message for my sweet readers, but help to give a message of hope that would point people to You. I asked that I would draw closer to You, and that out of that drawing near would flow renewed passion for encouragement, for love and for prayer.
Thank You Lord, for answering my prayer so beautiful. May what I see in this moment be just the initial drop. Please allow this to ripple out in incredible waves of mercy and grace to refresh, restore and renew others. Wash over them and allow them to joyfully splash about while You hold their right hand to give them confidence to let go of all their worries.
May the praise and the glory for all of the goodness of this day, be poured out in an offering to You, Lord. In the merciful name of Jesus Christ, amen.