Wednesday, May 9, 2018

When Life Got Busy

Can I be honest with you? For the last few months, I’ve been a walking hot mess. Is that too real? I know I’m supposed to say that life has been pretty awesome and I have blessings on top of blessings. These things are definitely true but it hasn’t been all lollipops and sugar cookies. I’ve been away from the blog for a few months because God has been working in my life.  He is revealing those things that are not like Him, those things that separate me from abiding in His Presence, and keep me in full distraction mode.

Did anyone warn you about this part of following Jesus? No one gave me the heads-up that once I gave my life to Him He would begin to turn it upside down and some things that seemed so easy before would become difficult. No one explained to me about the Holy Spirit smack-down, that I would see other people acting a certain way and participating in certain activities,  but the moment I try, the Holy Spirit would check me quickly letting me know “what we NOT gonna do…” Oh this season has been a season of learning that I am not in control. The honeymoon period is over and God is saying to me Did you count the cost? {Luke 14:25-33}.

Each morning He is asking me to push aside my own desires to follow His. He is giving me tests to see if I will say no to my flesh and yes to His ways, His desires, and His plans. He is taking me into the wilderness so that I can hear His voice among all the noise of this world and teaching me some very tough lessons about time management and my lack of it. It’s so amazing that we serve a God that cares about every detail of our lives {Psalms 37:23}. 

Although this hasn’t been an easy season, it’s been a season that has forced me to hold on to Jesus with all I can. To learn to focus on Him in the dark and in a crowded room. When I was first saved, I didn’t have too much going on. It was so easy to spend an abundance of time in God’s Presence. On most days I would spend time worshiping Him, writing in my journal, reading His Word, and experiencing an overflow that was so tangible. From those moments in His Presence, I was able to encourage and pray for people with the Spirit’s leading because His love, peace, and joy were flowing out of me. I felt like Moses, who put a veil over His face after spending time with God because He had a "radiant glow" {Exodus 34:34-35}. It was so easy to be in a place to intercede for others because I was truly walking in the Spirit. 

Yeah, it was so easy then. As I got closer to Jesus, my desire to be transparent with my life, lead a small group, serve in His church, walk closely with certain women, intercede for my family, and be a light in the world grew. But I soon found myself comparing my gifts and my walk with others. I found myself more concerned about creating a "platform" for myself and operating like other Christian women on the Gram (Instagram). Suddenly, I looked up to see that my life was completely full of things that I placed on my plate. I started to go my own direction with my desires, Jesus was no longer the center. I was doing work for God without actually asking about His plan for me, in this season. I began to make decisions that were motivated by my flesh and desire to be noticed rather than the gentle guidance of the Holy Spirit. I was in God’s presence but for just a quick exchange: God I need a Word for this devotional, for this offering message, and to speak to women. Instead of checking His agenda, I gave Him mine and asked Him to co-sign it. Staying in His Presence was no longer just something I could ease into—I can’t even remember the last time I had a full on a date with Jesus. I used to do that all the time: movie nights, dinner nights, dance nights, etc. 

I soon found myself at a point where when I tried to sit in silence, I could only hear the 80 million things that were on my to-do list for the day. On Days where I had just a little free time, I wanted to watch HGTV, surf Pinterest or Instagram, and let my brain and body rest; Only to wake up the next day to realize that the time I spent resting, was not rest at all. Is this too transparent, too honest? We like to talk a lot about the abundance of blessings that God will provide but somehow we miss talking about the process and the work that it requires. We miss telling each other that God will allow some not so pleasant experiences in order to build our character. God will allow situations to occur in order to show us what is in our heart. Yes...The Christian life is no walk in the park. But oh the reward...He is the reward. The reward of obeying Him equals a transformed heart and a renewed mind. Freedom...that is truly the Prize. 

God allowed me to experience this season of feeling away from Him only to draw me back closer. He knew that when I reached the end of myself that I would crawl back to Him, asking for forgiveness, and pleading with Him to remove things from my plate. He knew that I would eventually hear Him knocking and ask Him back to the table {Revelation 3:20}.  

He Called Me Back

God reminded me of our precious times together. The moments when I would just rest in His presence. I could give Him one word “overwhelmed” and He would say to me come to me, my daughter. I know you are weary and carrying burdens I didn’t ask you to carry. Come to me and I will give you rest and peace. {Matthew 11:28-30). I didn’t have to force out a blog post or try to think of something to say to a family member or friend because as I filled myself up with God, His love overflowed out of me. 

Refocus, Man!

"I lay it all at your feet, Abba." This is what I found myself saying to my Heavenly Daddy. Help me figure out what I picked up that wasn't Your plan. Although they are good things, they may not be what He has for me in this season. God reminded me, I keep a journal to clear my head but to also keep track of those things that God places in my heart. I can pray for these things and watch as He brings them to light, in His perfect timing. The Bible says that He makes everything beautiful in it’s time {Ecclesiastes 3:11}. If I try to create something out of its time, there is no guarantee that it will be beautiful or have lasting fruit. He began to place in my heart the question, what’s the last thing I asked you to do? He gently reminded me that I am to continue doing those things until He reveals the next step through guidance and opening/closing doors {Revelation 3:7}.

And in my heart, I asked Him, what was the last thing you told me to do?

Now you know it’s bad when I can't remember what He originally asked me to do. Thank You, God, that You are so merciful, patient, and faithful. 

Managing my Time According to His Plan 

Manage Your time Amber- I want control of your social life Amber. I want control of your plans. Ask me first. Will you surrender those things to me? Yep, this is a pretty difficult concept for me. His Word tells us that He wants to guide us toward the right path {Psalms 25:4}. We know that we can make plans but He will ultimately make the final call {Proverbs 16:9}. How do I know His plans, His ways, and His desires? Romans 12 gave me insight on how to learn God's will which is good and pleasing and perfect {Romans 12:2, NLT}.

The Message Bible says

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around-life and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."

Am I totally back to that sweet-spot? Am I back to the same relationship I had with God when I first gave my life to Christ. No, it's a new season, and now I'm closer. I'm learning to walk with Him in a different way that is needed for this season. I am so grateful that He teaches us to adjust. That He teaches us to seek Him in every season of life. I am thankful that He is my Abba, my Savior, my Lord, my Provider, my Rock, my Protection, my Shield, my Fortress, my Friend, my Everything. 

Thank You, Abba that You will never leave me nor abandon me.  

Are you in a season that is just too busy? What is God asking you to put down?  

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