I recently mentioned that I am feeling pretty busy these days, perhaps too busy. I have been thinking that something needs to go, and have been spending a fair amount of time contemplating which good thing I should let go of. After much thought and discussion, I thought I had it figured out. Everyone I talked to about it was in agreement. But there was one vital step in this decision-making process that I had left out, and one friend reminded me - ask God! (Thanks, Bobbie.)
Yes, really, I somehow forgot about asking God what He wants me to be doing.
(I should note that I have never "heard" God speak to me audibly. God's part in our conversation is usually more like an impression of what He is saying in my heart. And after I "hear" Him speak to my heart, I look to His Word for confirmation of what I sense Him saying in my spirit. Often, to help me hear more clearly, I write out our conversation as it happens - both my thoughts and questions and God's answers.
For the record, I've been wrong more than once. While the initial discovery that I had heard God incorrectly was disheartening, I have learned that this is a warning sign for me - a caution that I have not been in fellowship with Him the way I should be. More often than not, though, when I am submitted to His will over my wishes, I believe I have heard right. And stepping out in obedience to what He has called me to do has brought peace, joy, and many blessings.)
Here's how my conversation with God went this morning...
Lord, please help me to put aside my own will, my own desires, and speak to me about what You want for me. Am I supposed to step away from this area of ministry that I signed up for?
I have called you (and everyone) to serve Me in three ways: at home, in your local church, and through a ministry or mission that reaches out beyond the walls of the church. Are you doing all of these?
(I find that God often answers my questions by asking me questions. I'm more of a "get to the point" kinda girl. But who am I to question His methods?!)
I am, Lord. But I feel as though I went ahead with a couple things without consulting You and that I was motivated by selfish reasons.
Do everything as if you are serving Me and Me alone.
I waited, pondered, and tried to quiet my own thoughts to hear more. (Because there must be more than just that!)
(At this point I'm pretty sure I sensed a heavenly chuckle, like the one I give my kids when I've answered their questions yet they ask again.)
Father, I don't know what to do. Do I step back from women's ministry at the church? Do I step away from the Logos board? Do you want me to stick with all of them?
Honor your commitments, for this will glorify My Name.
Before I even formed my next question...
You do have enough time. It is none these things that causes you to be busy.
I know He's talking about my chosen form of "relaxation" and "entertainment" during the day - facebook.
But Lord, what about this urge I have to build real, true, deep relationships? What about making our home a place of welcome? Having coffee with friends? Inviting families for dinner? Offering to watch friends' children?
Yes? (I feel like He's slightly sarcastic at this point, "And your question is???")
Well, how do I do it all?
You don't. I do. Be with Me, immerse yourself in My Word, and whenever you feel Me nudge you, act on it. Joyfully.
And I realize what the true problem is. I'm not so busy. But I've had a poor attitude. These new things I'm involved in tap into my time in a different way. They mean I have less "down time" than I've grown accustomed to this past year. And I've resented that. How can I serve with joy when I'm feeling selfish with my time. My time, ha! Time is not mine, but His. It occurs to me how selfish I've been in using His time this fall.
I'm sorry, Lord.
I know. It's okay. Everyone loses their way now and then. But now that you have found your way again, walk in it with joy, serving with the fullness of all the gifts I have given you. Don't forget to check in with me throughout your days; if you are listening, you will hear Me tell you when to turn to the left or the right, when to move ahead and when to stay still.
Then, it felt as though God gave me a little gift. A reminder of what stirs up my passion. Women - fellowshipping together, being real and intimate, building strong friendships, growing deep in their faith, taking time away with God and one another to do these things. My first love, seven-ish years ago, was to plan a women's retreat. Something I had thought of at the first church we attended here, yet it had not crossed my mind at this new church.
It occurs to me that perhaps I've been less-than-joyful about some of the things I'm involved in simply because they're not where my passion lies and I haven't really been serving within my gifts. Ironic, considering that I "preach" serving within your gifts to virtually everyone I meet.
So with a smile on my face and a lightness to my step, I will go about His business today. And maybe, if He says to go for it, I'll just have to send a little email asking about the possibility of returning to my first love and planning a retreat... But first, I think I need to get on facebook and delete those little applications that tempt me to while away His time.
What is God talking to you about lately?