The past few weeks have been filled with travel. I was in Atlanta, then in Los Angeles, back to Northern California for 5 days at a beach house, wrapping it all up with a weekend in Carmel. I have been reading, relaxing and doing some fun vaction things. But, truth be told, I am now exhaused and ready to be home for a few days. These past couple of weeks have been focused and different than any rountine vacation I have taken in the past. I have made a committment to myself to unplug, really unplug, from the familiar things that pull me and tug at me each day…what an eye opener it has been!
It’s been 19 days since I have logged onto a computer. And, though I have my iphone and have tweeted here and there, I have been largely out of touch . I wished I could say it’s been easy breezy and that I am becoming a spiritual giant from all this disconnection, but not so much.
What I have found is that without the social interaction and without constant input to keep my mind busy, I have been able to think at a much deeper level about life, love, direction and faith. That is quite a “statement” for a sanguine like me, who prefers people and social interaction more than just about anything else.Call it sabbatical, because for me it is, but for each of you it is my prayer that God will bring you to a place of unplugging in order to plug into him in a much richer fuller way.
Seeking the Heart of the Father
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
My eyes have been opened to my routine. We all have a routine and for the most part we do things without even thinking, because we have done them a certain way for a long enough period of time for them to become routine.Generally the first thing I set my mind on each day is the news, the local paper, my email, twitter feed, or facebook. There you have it. I seek first social connection. Jesus told his disciples to seek first His kingdom, and I seek first people and how it all fits into my little kingdom.
It has been strange to NOT have connection at my fingertips, and to have no television to fall back on. This has all been by design for the beginning of my sabattical, and I feel as if I have fasted something very significant and feel purged of a huge burden of having to be connected, accepted, in the know, valuable by what I can bring to the table, etc… The past few weeks there has been a sweet fresh presence of Jesus within my mind and attitude. I am at peace with who I am and whose I am. I guess you can say it’s as if I have had a fresh dose of Jesus.
The trouble is, we don’t realize that we need a fresh dose of Jesus. We are normally so consumed with our self, our life, our plans, hopes, dreams and personal dramas, that we forget all about him in the daily stuff. Or for those of us in public ministry may I suggest that we often are consumed with programming, ministry proposals and all the things that make us feel useful to God’s kingdom.I am not saying we don’t love him, but I AM saying we forget about his heart, his will, his kingdom, his plans, and in so doing we also lose the sound of his voice in our ears.
We were not created to be spiritually deaf, dumb and blind. We were created to hear his voice, find wisdom from God himself, and see signs, wonders and the miraculous work of God in our midst. Sadly, we are too complex for the simplicity of the kingdom.
I began my sabattical with one simple prayer. ” Lord, I want you.” And, he answered just as simply, ” Debbie, I want your heart.” His answer rocked me a bit because I thought my heart was sold out to him, and now he was making it very clear that it was my heart he was after during this time of rest. There is so much I can write down about this journey already, but I will just leave one thought for now…our heart is the center of who we are and as such it is the most important part of our being. We are to pay close attention to our hearts, our center place. We are to guard our hearts from the ugly spell of bitterness and unforgiveness, judgements and idols. This would mean that for many of us we must pay attention to the idols that we have unknowingly set up in our hearts. An idol is anything that takes a position in our lives that keeps us divided from loving God with all of us.
I am not sure where this road will take me, but this one thing I do know…God loves me with a relentless and compassionate love. He is sympathetic with my hurts and the wounding of my heart and past. He is sincere in his desire to make me completely His own. He is wooing me once again into His Heart, so that he might live through me.
I know that this is true for you too. He loves you more than you can imagine and likes you more than any friend or lover has ever thought of liking you. He hurts when you hurt and watches out for you when you think he is not paying attention. His love is relentless and actively working in your life this very moment.
But…He wants your heart. He wants to interact with you, connect with you, message you….yes, God wants that first place in your life.
Where are you today? Take a heart inventory.
What is the most important thing to you in your life right now? Is that important thing taking the place of God being the very center of all you are, all you love, and all you hope for?
Five minutes goes a long way. Sit down and close out everything around you. Ask God to fill you with His presence and dialogue with Him about your heart, your dreams, the areas that you sense you are divided in. Offer generous thanksgiving for who He is, and His place in your life. Ask him to forgive you for anyone you are holding a grudge against. Ask God to purify your heart.
Praying for you and am asking you to pray for me too. I am asking God to speak to me in ways I have never heard him before. Thanks in advance for joining me in that prayer.
with His love,