This week I started a new session with Good Morning Girls. We are studying the idea of being Intentionally Focused. So instead of giving my group a novel to read through everyday, I decided to try and put all my thoughts together here.
The main idea this week was on working toward the goal of being more like Christ. We talked about letting go of things that hold us back, what it means to imitate God, and how little time we actually have to do all that in our life. I wouldn’t consider myself much of a goal setter. I’m a little more of a ‘go with the flow’ type. Having said that, everyone is searching for purpose in life, so essentially that is a goal to work toward. As a Christian, my purpose here is to glorify God; seek his kingdom above all else. We bring God glory when we live the righteous life that he has planned for us. He’s given us plenty of examples of people who have followed that path, they’ve run the race. A lot of them fell on their face along the way, but ultimately they did good enough to make it into the Bible. There is one though, that did it perfectly. It was a short 30 something years, but he lived them well. He ran the race and nothing slowed him down, he persevered and endured more than we ever will in our lifetime and did not crack under pressure. So this is our example, the goal to work toward. Notice it is not something that we attain, just something we make progress in getting closer to. This is a hard concept for me. I like to win. I like to be the best. I usually don’t even attempt to do something unless I know I am pretty darn good at it. If you’ve read any of my other blogs though, you know that I am getting better with surrendering to this refining (perfecting) process. There are a lot of things I’m not good at, like joy, and peace, and patience, and self control…the list goes on, but God continues to put me in situations that give me the opportunity to grow in those areas. I know I won’t achieve these things fully, ever, but seeing the work of God and how he transform my heart to be more like Christ, it is humbling and truly a miracle.
Another part of this I struggle with is the idea of a race. When I compare life to a race and running I think it has to be fast and busy and full. I lived like that for many years in high school and beyond, many of the things being very good things, but it was like I was a sprinter in a marathon. I’d dash from one thing to the next and try to catch my breath in between. I’ve never run a marathon, wouldn’t be surprised if I never do, but from what I know, they pace themselves. Its not about speed, but longevity. This Christian life isn’t about cramming as much stuff into it as possible, but taking each day in stride. In a sprint you’ve got barely enough time to see anyone around you, but a marathon, there are crowds of people in the race together. So I need to remember that its OK to slow down sometimes, still moving forward of course and focused on the goal, but it will help me to be able to endure the miles ahead.
So what do I do now? I’ve got all this great knowledge of what my perspective should be and what my purpose (goal) is, so now I’ve got to apply it to my life. Currently I am a stay-at-home mom. When I think about living like Jesus, I think of him traveling around teaching and preaching and doing miracles and having great compassion. And then I think, “But I just stay at home all day.” Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but comparing it to the life of Jesus is kind of tough. Then I thought, what if Jesus was a stay-at-home mom? I know he didn’t have kids, but just go with it, OK?
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Jesus would get up early to spend time with his Heavenly Father. He wouldn’t wait until the kids wake up and then try to doze for a little while longer while they play with Daddy. (Yes, this is my life, and I have an amazing husband.) I am not an early riser, except for that time I worked at a coffee shop, it was awful. This has always been the case. As a child, I would lay in bed until the last minute asking my mom to pick out my clothes for school. I really like sleep, but I also really like being filled with the Spirit and knowing that he will sustain me for whatever the day brings. Lately God has been giving me opportunity in this by jolting me awake at about 5:30 am… everyday this week. I’ve been able to get through a few verses and some groggy thoughts about them, but it’s still a work in progress.
Matthew 6:26, 28
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.”
Jesus used familiar, everyday things to connect God’s love for us. I’ve got this sponge of a daughter just soaking up everything around her in this world and there is so much opportunity for me to show her God. Its hard to know how much she comprehends, but I just need to remember it is preparing the soil of her heart for the future. I’ll be seeking out these ways to weave God into our lives. You let me know if you have any ideas, OK?
‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Jesus talks in this parable of the great compassion he desires from his followers. He exemplified this is many instances by the miracles he performed. Now I don’t have the ability to do miracles (although that would be nice when it comes to laundry) but there are many ways I could show compassion to those around me. Friends, family, strangers even, they have need written all over them and it is my responsibility as a follower of Christ to seek these out and take action.
I’ll probably be going into some of these things deeper as the weeks go by since they are topics for our study. I’m looking forward to seeing the work God does in each of these areas. How do you feel about this race you are on?