I had a rough day yesterday. Well, let me start at the beginning. Awesome quiet time yesterday morning- I was ready and excited to go to church and so thankful I had woken up early because I had been tempted to sleep in.
The service at church was incredible, I felt God speaking to me. We had great discussion at Sunday School and I was so encouraged by fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I got home and my hubby was leaving to go pick up a new playset for the kids that we found on Craig’s List. This left me at home with the kids all afternoon and evening which was not something that I am not used to dealing with- I am home with them all day most of the time after all.
Things went well at first. We played in the rain, I chased them and tickled them, we watching Singing in the Rain (I love musicals) and I sang and danced with the kids while we watched. I was feeling really good. I had a great run and in general I was feeling at peace, calm, collected.
I sat down to try to write my post yesterday, and suddenly the kiddos were nagging and bothering each other. I needed to stop what I was doing and provide gentle instruction and support in helping them both to interact with each other in kindness.
But I did not patiently leave behind what I wanted to do and go to them.
I got snippy and used a sharp tone. I didn’t get up from the computer. I wasn’t willing to let go of what I wanted to do in that moment and be where I needed to be. To do what God was calling me to do.
There have been times when I have gotten up from the computer and waited to do things later when my kids have needed me. But for some reason, in that moment yesterday- I stubbornly clung to what I wanted- to my own selfish desire of that moment- rather than being willing to put my children first.
It is very humbling to admit this. I remember using the excuse- I am writing this as a ministry- to benefit others. Yes, that’s true. I pray that God will encourage others through my openness and honesty in how He is working in my life.
But that doesn’t excuse my failure to act in obedience when I knew He was calling me in that particular moment- to wait to write- to put my kids first.
I ended up getting angry and using a sharp tone with my kids for the first time in weeks. I had been praying so hard to refrain from anger, to be slow to anger- and here I was on a wonderful day when I had felt so connected with the Lord and at peace in my spirit- and I was angry.
I asked my daughter for forgiveness later that night before bed- but I was still harboring an attitude of- this is not fair- in my spirit. I was unwilling to submit to the Lord, to humble myself before Him and acknowledge that sometimes I have to give up what I want.
Have you ever had days when you have spent hours playing with your children, interacting with them and loving on them, and then you feel like you owe it to yourself to have just one hour to yourself?
That’s what I was feeling. I felt like I had paid my time and now I deserved to have some time to myself. I felt as though God was telling me this morning- that’s not how it works.
God calls us to radical love. We don’t get to stop giving love or being patient or putting others needs before our own. That is a 24/7 calling that God gives us.
You may be thinking- like I have sometimes- I can’t do that! We are right- we can’t. But God can do it through us. He can give us the strength to submit ourselves to Him. To tell our selfish thoughts and desires that spring up-I will not choose you over what God is calling me to do in this moment.
I was studying Romans 12:9-21 this morning- and as I was reading those verses and hearing the sermon preached- I found myself thinking- and I wrote in my journal- God- I am still working on loving my children with this kind of love- and loving them is really very easy. How can I love my enemies? Those who are cruel and unkind and mean to do harm to me?
He brought 1 Peter 5:6-11 to mind.
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The version above is the English Standard Version. I use the New Revised Standard Version and it words verse 8 a little differently- “Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.”
That word discipline stuck out to me.
I must seek God every moment of the day today. I must hide His Word in my heart. I must discipline myself to consistently seek the things of God and reject the things of this world- to tune myself to hear and promptly respond when God speaks into my life. There is no negotiating, no- not right now God- but only immediate submission and obedience.
I am not my own, I was bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20).
I wrote in my journal today, “Transform my worldly, get even mind to be one filled with love and the fruits of a life surrendered to you. I know Lord that as I seek to keep you before me, I will fail at times. Please help me to not be discouraged or to give up, but to seek forgiveness and keep redirecting my focus back to you.”
I pray that today, moment by moment, we will live in submission to God- that He may direct our paths. In our love, service, and sacrifice today- may we bring glory and honor to His Name.