What do our lives say about what we treasure? No, really, what do we treasure?
The answer to this question can be a difficult one to admit. It takes brutal honesty. It requires a willingness to openly search our hearts and minds, occasionally finding a need to confess and release things of lesser value and distraction from what we are to truly treasure.
Here’s my answer for this morning:
I treasure relationships. Not to a fault, but occasionally yes, to the point of distraction. I can (and will!) spend countless minutes, days and seasons going so hard at maintaining relationships with people that I become mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted. I don’t just like people, I love people. I love their life stories. I love listening to their joys and their struggles. I love leaning into the desires of their hearts. And I so love sharing things which remind them they are loved – whether that be a home cooked meal, a “just because” note in the mail, a flower bouquet on a doorstep, a favorite treat hidden for them waiting to be found…
I love people.
That is never, ever a bad thing. There have been moments people question my motives, my reason for doing things. (Because dropping off a Get Well bag and their favorite cup of coffee for someone who isn’t feeling well surely has a hidden agenda? Eesh!)
Yet if I’m honest with myself and God, loving people at full throttle can be a struggle. It can have me consumed with doing rather than being.
Even when I’m good at being “Mary”, leaving “Martha” behind or at least quieted for a bit, I can occasionally find myself being drained and depleted. Loving others, sacrificing time energy and money…”dying to self” is not a bad way to go through this earthly life. But to effectively minister to, and love people, I have to step out of the way and allow God to guide me.
These are ways I work on keeping His Will ahead of my efforts. Perhaps one of the practices I’ve learned through spiritual maturity will equip you as well.
1. Before getting out of bed, pray. Thank God for a new day. For His Provision, Presence, Strength and Eyes to see. Clear the mind of all concerns. Lift those on your heart, ask God to reveal if there is anything you can do for them beyond prayer. (Side note: Never think prayer is the “only thing” you can do for someone. Don’t minimize the power and gift of prayer. It’s not the “only thing” we can do, it is the BEST thing we can do.)
2. Spend some time in Bible study. Not only in the words of a new devotional, but in reading the Scripture referenced by the writer. God’s Word does more for us than any human’s best attempts to reflect Him.
3. Stay in touch with God all day long. Look for Him. Amidst the clutter and chaos, the lengthy to do list, the bills faced, the rush from one place to another…God is in all of it. Keeping Him front and center, within our view, helps to focus our efforts on His Will.
All this said, I still struggle. I still wear myself out. I still lose sight of what God has right in front of me because I’m distracted by my best efforts. However, the days I discipline myself to engage in these three spiritual practices always end in nights I fall asleep in peace, contentment and gratitude rather than exhaustion, frustration and failure.
How about you, Friend? Where does your treasure lie? Be honest with yourself – good, bad, all of the above. Praying and considering your response presents opportunity for growth.
With love, Laura
photo credit: Angela Osmon