Rest is good. And there’s never a bad time to open up God’s Word and dig in.
But I have a tendency to rest too much and a habit of always reading and very seldom ever doing.
I have two devotional books that I use during the day. One for home and one for work. I like to read the one at home before I leave the house. The one at work I read sometime in the afternoon for a quick encouragement.
I recently bought a third devotional and thought I might could add it in at night. As I sat trying to read it yesterday, the words seemed to bounce right off my brain. I couldn’t process what I was reading and I had a unsettled feeling in my chest.
“Why, Lord?” I asked.
Immediately an image came to mind of a pail already packed to the rim with sand. And as I tried to pile more sand on top, it would simply fall over the sides and back onto the ground.
I heard the Lord saying, “You’re full. Give some of this away first.”
I honestly didn’t feel full. I didn’t feel like I had anything to give. I needed to learn more, read more, rest more before I felt qualified to give anything.
The ironic thing is that even though I am absolutely sure God was speaking to me, I still set the book down and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening watching TV with my kids.
I wasn’t ready. Even though in my life time I’ve written more words than I can count, for some reason I still don’t feel ready.
It’s so hard and so vulnerable. And even though I tell myself over and over again it’s not about me, the fear of rejection can be crippling.
But sometimes my fear is more about actually experiencing God in new ways than anything else. Because I know that the more I experience Him, the more I change.
The Lord shows me more during the actual process of writing than He does before I start. Maybe He allows an idea to sprout in my mind but it’s not until I sit down and tend it that He really shows me what’s it’s about.
Experiencing God can be terrifying. And rightly so. In Exodus when Moses askes God to show him His glory the Lord responds that “you can not see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
But in His goodness the Lord allowed Moses to speak with Him and to see a glimpse of Him after He had passed over. And when he came down from the mountain, he was changed in a way that was visible to all.
Something in our very souls understands the intensity of being with God. Of hearing Him talk and seeing glimpses of Him.
And it can be very tempting to stay busy with other things in an effort to “miss” it.
“I’m doing these other things right now, Lord. I don’t have time to stop and listen.”
I think of that day when Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha. And I wonder if maybe the reason why Martha rushed to prepare was really in an attempt to avoid the intensity of the intimacy with the Son of God.
Maybe she was afraid of what He would reveal to her. What He may see in her heart. What He may ask her to give up. Or what He may ask her to do.
And understanding even in our limited capacity who God is can make it hard for us to face ourselves. So we hide from both.
We don’t want to submit our wills and lives to God. We are afraid to let go of our mirage of control. We don’t feel prepared and we don’t like stepping into something when we don’t know what to expect. We don’t want to preach and love on those people because they’ve hurt us. And even though we’ve justified our own sins we cannot justify theirs.
We pray… but we do most of the talking. We read… but only to feel like we are actually doing something. We worship… but only to feel good.
And even in all that selfishness, He still fills us up.
But when He says pour out. We don’t. We won’t.
Because we fear that if we give it all away, we won’t have anything left.
We don’t understand that it is not our own knowledge… our own understanding. It is not our capabilities. Our gifts. It is not for our own glory or fame.
Sometimes we will be like Joseph in Egypt. Storing up blessings and gifts and love for years to come. And maybe we find it easier to give then. But sometimes we will be like the Israelites in the wilderness… when the only thing we have to give is what we hold in our hands that day.
Lord, help us to give…out of our abundance or out of our lack. Help us to give. Because it all belongs to you anyways.
Lord, help us to quiet the noise and the busyness… to sit at your feet and listen. To give up this ridiculous idea of control and allow ourselves to be truly changed by You.
Lord, help us to loosen our grip. To let go of the things that are not pleasing to You. To submit ourselves before You and trust… trust Lord that even if it hurts and even if we don’t understand… YOU ARE GOOD. YOU ARE FAITHFUL.
Your grace abounds Lord. Thank you. But may we stop using that grace as an excuse to forge our own paths and do our own things. May we stop claiming grace in areas that You want us to claim freedom.
True worship is not just standing in church on Sunday morning with arms lifted and voices raised. It is the quiet and hard laying down every day of our own pride and will to live a life that points all the lost and hurting people back to You. A life and a voice to glorify God.
May we trust You when You say we are full. May we obey You when You say to pour out. May we follow You when You say to go. And may we be our absolute bravest when we simply agree to hear and experience You.
And all the people say… AMEN.