The alarm started shrieking at me at 6:30. I reached over to turn off the alarm, grabbed my Bible and read the Psalm I picked for the day. I prayed for my husband, kids and a plethora of people on my list. At 6:42 I got up to start my day. I spent a whopping 12 minutes with my Father.
I felt so far away from God. Yet, I was tending to the ministries I support, leading Bible study and doing my own personal study. Louie Giglio's Goliath Must Fall was on my nightstand. My prayer list was in my planner and received my attention daily. I thought I was doing all the "right" things - but I just couldn't feel the closeness I crave from Him. I know that the distance between God and I came from me. I moved, He didn’t. When I really took time to reflect on this distance, I could see that I was doing just enough to be able to check Bible time off my list. I was giving time to all the ministries, but I was also behind in keeping up with them. Goliath Must Fall was on my nightstand and got read every few nights. My quiet time with God was often quick just so I could say it was done. I am a list girl. I have them everywhere. Sometimes that works, other times it doesn't. I find them helpful at work because the point there is to get the task done. But my time with God should not be about just getting it done. It should be about getting to know Him better and growing closer to Him. That’s what it had become though, I was doing the mechanics of what I need to be closer to holy, but completely missing out on the delight that comes from really studying His word. Bible time and quiet time with God became tasks to cross off the list. I can tell you that I have to fight finding my worth in my accomplishments. I am very goal oriented, and like to make lists to see how much I get done in any given month. Is this the purpose God has ordained for me? Consider Mary and Martha and the choices they made when Jesus came to their home. (Luke 10:38-42) Mary was enthralled by Jesus and the things He had to say, sitting at His feet, basking in His holiness. Martha was doing the things she was supposed to as a hostess, but she was also distracted by all those things, perhaps checking tasks off her to-do list before she felt she could relax and hear the words of Jesus. She was allowing her tasks to keep her from experiencing the holiness of Jesus. The irony is, Martha was in the presence of Jesus, but her heart was not with Him. Ugh! It turns out that I am going through a season of distractions instead of holiness. My idol of accomplishing is keeping me from the quiet time I crave with Jesus. And it happens because I let the world distract me, even when that distraction is ministry. Sometimes, even when I am in the presence of Jesus, my heart is not with Him. I cannot tell you how much pain this brings me. The greatest desire of my heart is to be with Jesus, and yet I find myself lonely, longing for Him because I allowed my ministry tasks to distract me. When we look at what Martha was doing, it isn’t bad. She welcomes Jesus, she serves Jesus, she wants to be with Him – at His feet, immersing herself in His holiness. She was following what was culturally correct, and those tasks of her ministry seemed more important than time with Jesus. Have you ever been there? (Please tell me I am not the only one who struggles with this!) Have you been doing all the right things in your ministry only to find yourself lonely and distracted? Are you finding short term satisfaction in crossing the tasks off your list but losing the long-term joy of being with Jesus? “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9 If you, like me, sometimes find yourself distracted or weary by the tasks you are doing to further His kingdom, there is hope my friends. There is freedom in completely trusting Jesus and letting go of our tasks, He wants you to find joy in your ministry to further His kingdom. Bask in the sovereignty of sitting at Jesus feet, delighting in His holiness because His timing is always perfect.