Thursday, May 30, 2013

what you need when times are good or bad...happy or sad

i am.
grateful.
to be part of a kingdom that is not shaken...despite both our wildly unpredictable behaviors and our content neglect.
i am grateful to submit to the authority of a king who is good and just and never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

i've learned there is danger in contentment as much as there is danger in crisis.

lately i've found major crises few and far between...i've experienced relatively smooth sailing.  that's not to say i haven't had to deal with a 3-year-old calling me names 
or a 5-year-old who broke every candle in my kitchen with one toss of a ball 
or excessive amounts of laundry that i can't seem to find time to tackle 
or imperfect people doing annoying things...
but there hasn't been anything to really shake me to the core...you know what i mean?  nothing that i feel i can't quickly recover from.

during these seasons it's easy to be content.
and content we should be...
with our situation...with what we have or don't have.

but...{you knew there was going to be a 'but'}
i step into the danger zone when i become content with myself.  
content that maybe i have finally become 'good enough'.  
content that i have all my bases covered for the moment.
content that i have not completely messed up anything that needs to be fixed.  
this kind of contentment isn't really contentment at all...it's pride wearing a pretty mask.

my behavior begins to shift during these times.
my prayers become less desperate.  
my need to seek wisdom from others is overlooked.  
i'm reading and writing completely for pleasure instead of pursuit...

and there i find myself lulled right to sleep on top of a ticking time bomb.

God...help me to test and examine my ways that i might return to you...

if we're not daily returning we're retreating.  

we are falling further and further away.  down, down, down we go into the depths of this world.  whether it's the crisis we are facing or the contentment we are embracing we sink down deep.  we begin to forget who we are and what we were supposed to be doing here in the first place...we get swallowed up by the world.

and so i lift my heart and hands back up to you, my sovereign King...

in both the easy-going and the hard-fought seasons of life there is a need for us to be lifted back up. 
yesterday i had my gentle, yet firm reminder.  


why be lifted?
why get still and quiet and down on our knees?
why not just allow ourselves to fall into the current of this world and be carried away wherever the waters might flow?

i found the answer here...


lift up your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet...strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

am i striving for peace with EVERYONE?
and the bigger question - am i striving for holiness?
in other words...am i striving for moral and spiritual excellence through my complete dedication and submission to God?
if i'm not - i'm obstructing someone's view...of the one thing i would want them to see...Him.  
wow...that's disturbing. 

i work for a church.  we are in the business of helping people see God.  even if i didn't work for a church i would still be in that business.  the last thing i would ever want to do is get in the way of that...but that's exactly what i do if i am not personally striving for holiness every. single. day.

achieving - no.
striving - yes.

and striving for holiness must begin with the lifting...the returning...from the depths of this world to the heights of his heavenly kingdom...the one that is never shaken.  my wobbly, unsteady legs that always seem to get tripped up need solid ground beneath them if they will ever stand firm.

i texted my pastor a couple of days ago and when he texted me back later he apologized for the delay saying he had been on a prayer walk.  when was the last time you took a prayer walk?  for me...never.  but my heart leapt at the idea...and i have one planned for tonight.  it's just one way of returning...of not getting swallowed up...of seeking holiness
so that i might not keep others from seeing Him.

how are you striving for holiness?  how are you ensuring that no one fails to receive the grace of God?  we can all use one another's encouragement on this most important of journeys.