“A steady diet of [these] worldly influences will shape our view of what is valuable, what is beautiful, and what is important in life.” Nancy Leigh DeMoss
The these this author is referring to includes television, friends, magazines, movies, and malls.
The older I get, the more I realize just how vital it is to be aware of what I allow into my mind. And even more important, for me, mindful of what I allow to remain there.
I say ‘aware of what I allow’ because while sometimes I can’t help seeing a billboard driving down the interstate, more often than not, it’s my choice.
Internal stillness takes practice. It is the fruit of hiddenness — a life that’s lived looking at God, a life of wonder in Him — and it needs to be cultivated. Sara Hagerty, Unseen
Do you ever feel tempted to make your relationship with God about appearances or productivity?
It can sometimes happen unknowingly, and the mindset shift can be stealthy. It sometimes happens under the guise of church activity or mentorship, even bible study and service.
God continues to bring the story of Mary and Martha in Luke to my mind.
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Martha, perhaps busying herself with tasks she had deemed more important than gazing at Jesus. She might have even had that internal warring going on many of us can relate to: so many people in my home, it needs to be clean…. I need to appear productive and making things happen…. I wonder what that person is thinking about me… These things need to be done first, then I’ll listen to Jesus.
Can you relate?
The tendency to believe the lie that work done for God is more important than my friendship with and love for Him.
But I think a greater truth is that our unseen time with Him is what makes all the difference.
The other night was a women’s ministry event complete with good food, laughter, and creativity. The speaker’s bread and butter was the ministry of relationships.
Her recent book is all about listening well, loving those in front of you, and relationships. She told of her new favorite practice, listening for heart drops.
The definition of a heart drop is (in Karen’s words): When a person, either directly or in a subtle way, gives you a peek into their heart. It may be through actual words, or you may pick up on a feeling, perhaps sadness or loneliness. It could even be a simple preference or “like” of theirs, such as their most-loved high-maintenance coffee drink or a favorite sports team.
I sat next to a only-known-for-a-year-but-love-dearly friend and told her in between dinner courses how overwhelmed I have been feeling lately.
A few days later, I opened up to the girls in my small group, friends (and they families) I have come to admire, trust, and love. I was honest about where I’m struggling and my raw emotions about my current situation.
They pointed me to Jesus and Scripture, but also were bummed with me.
They reminded me that they love me, and committed to pray for me.
Have you ever gone through a season, challenging or joyful, and realized at the end of it that it was what you had prayed for?
Or asked God to change something about you and He does it in a way you weren’t expecting?
If yes to either of those questions, I can relate to you. Big time.
A consistent prayer of mine for last few years has been ‘Lord, change me.’
I read Evelyn Christianson’s book of the same title and was deeply convicted about how I prayerfully approach and handle situations. The different between spending great amounts of praying energy asking God to change someone else’s behavior or tendencies and looking inward is vast.
I grew in this way of praying (after lots of time and practicing) and I’m grateful for it. It’s actually been a beautifier of inner chaos instead of adding to the mess.
For example, when it comes to my sister, I used to wrestle with God over how she wasn’t super talkative with me, wouldn’t open up a lot, but it became a burden that was tiring, and hurting our friendship. Thanks to Holy Spirit I then began to pray, Okay, God, change me. Change my perspective, to see her through Your eyes, how You wired her. Change the way I put unnecessary pressure on our relationship. Change me, help me trust that You are working in our midst.
And I found it was a little easier to trust Him with the situation as a whole because I could see progress in me, believing He had good plans for our future friendship. Now we’re in a great place and it is a gift from Him. All grace upon grace.
My husband came over to church to watch the eclipse with me; quite nice of him. Here in Appling it didn’t get too dark, but it was pretty fun to hear all the insects buzzing and street lights come on because it felt like nighttime. A fun break in the normality of a Monday!
The below image I posted to our church’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, with a word about how incredible our Creator God is. I also have this mental image of God smiling really big at our amazement. The sky proclaims the work of His hands!