Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Slow Heart: Part Two

Obedience: at this point in my slowing and quieting of the heart and mind, I am ready for some action. Perhaps God has laid some things on my heart to surrender to Him and then has opened my eyes, ears and heart to some things He wanted to remind me of as I listened. Now I need to put some feet to these things. What is my response to action in light of the things I’ve written down so far? Is there an area of obedience I need to follow through on?

For example, during my time of surrender and listening perhaps I was convicted of a bad attitude or false impression I have allowed myself to believe about someone else. What is my responsibility in bringing that to peace? Do I need to have a conversation with someone about my attitude or confess a wrong I have clung to?

Or has He given me an idea or a way to serve someone that I need to follow up on? I tend to over-think things at this stage and rather than over-think all the details and ins and outs of the obedience, why don’t I just do it? What kind of obedience brings me the most joy as a mama? When my children obey all the way, right away and with a happy heart right? So it is with God. He is my heavenly Father and He understands this joy and delight in wholehearted obedience and also the struggle and discouragement in half-hearted obedience or even the sorrow of disobedience.

Obedience is not what guarantees me of my standing before Him. That is the free gift that He offers we must receive in faith. His Son paid the penalty for my sin {and yours!} that I don’t do anything to deserve, merit or earn. But obedience is rather a response to the gift of salvation He has offered us. When I am His child, my heart is grateful for the debt He has paid and I long to respond in obedience because of His love.

I’m also reminded of a friend years ago telling me that I couldn’t just get in the car and expect it to go somewhere. Yes, I wait on the Lord – but I don’t only wait. At some point, there must be action. I must turn the car on and make sure it has gas in it and maybe even turn the headlights on to see where I am going. I won’t always know the destination beforehand when I’m walking with God in obedience, but I can always trust that if I am obeying Him I’m in the best place I could ever be. Any place with Him is where I want to be and I don’t want to be any place without Him.

Practically speaking, I might just jot down some next steps in this section of my journaling page. What response is He asking of me? How can I follow through? Can I break this down into any sort of manageable chunks such as do this first and then this?

Worship: To finish off the quadrants on my page and this time set aside for the Lord, it seems fitting to cap it off with worship. How has He met me in this place and time? What has He impressed on my heart? How has He reminded me of His holiness, authority, Lordship, worthiness and power?

This means I may write the least in this section but be more active in praising and worshiping Him. Perhaps there is a song that is meeting me right now and I’d like to spend some time focusing on the lyrics or perhaps this is a walk in my neighborhood where I give thanks to God and bring honor to Him for who He is.

Worship is a choice and happens in spite of how I’m feeling but rather in response to understanding and reminding myself of who He is. This is my opportunity to be a truth-teller to myself and to rehearse Gospel-truth in my own heart and life. God is good – even when things are hard or I don’t understand them, the truth is: He is good.

A favorite passage is Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” God is all of these things, so reminding myself of these truths is a great way to worship the truth of who He is and what that means to me in my life.

Worship can also be as simple as me looking out the window and seeing a pink sky at sunset and appreciating the reminder of God as creator. It can be setting the table and inviting guests to join my family for dinner and serving them in His grace and peace. When I use what God has invested in me through spiritual gift, salvation or something I’ve learned from His Word, it can be a form of worship when done for Him. The key for worship is that it is done in the right heart and motive and for His glory not mine.

Worship can also be sharing what is on my heart with Him – this act of spending time with Him. Recently I’ve been thinking of how God longs to spend time with His people. Because I love home and beauty, I can picture something like this: two cozy, stuffed armchairs pulled up to a cheering fire. In between the chairs is a wooden table set with steaming cups of tea, a warm and inviting candle and my Bible. Soft and warming quilts or throws are handy and as I curl up with my feet tucked up in the chair – I have a sense of anticipation at this time set aside to be with a dear friend. Just as I would invite a girlfriend or one of my daughters into such an inviting scene, so it is that my Jesus wants to be with me in this inviting and intimate space where His presence is a priority and a pleasure, where we share heart-to-heart and soul-to-soul and where I feel known, understood and welcomed.

To set aside this time for the Lord is not going to mean everything will come up roses and be wonderfully smooth, but rather it is a commitment of this season and of myself to Him, to His purposes and to His plan. It is an opportunity for me to say that these squares on the calendar are not mine nor for my own uses or glory but rather for His. What greater thing could I aspire to than to grow deeper in my understanding of His character, be sold out to His fame and glory taking top place and getting a front row seat to watching Him at work?

Lord, as I enter the season ahead - I want to please and honor You, just as Spring brings new life - let the new life You bring be evident in and through me. Let Matthew 5:6 be true of me for each new day that You grant me the opportunity to live and breathe for You. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

Want more on slowing down? Check out my book: Slow Lane!

1 comment:

Mom said...

Thank you for sharing this two-day post of the article you recently wrote! I really like the idea of dividing a page into quadrants for Surrender, Listening, Obedience, and Worship. :)