Sunday, June 25, 2017

May: Break Idols

 In case your keeping track, we are skipping March and April.  
Partly because I don't remember much about those months 
and mostly because I can. 
May was about to leave them in the dust anyway.

When I sat down in January to assign each month's verse, I found myself stuck on May.  I am not so naive to believe I don't have idols, I just wasn't clear on what they were or how to narrow my focus.  I left the card blank, trusting I would have clarity in time.  

May began with a blank card and a full schedule.  I was doing what I love. Pouring myself into people and projects and having a blast.  (You already know I thrive in chaos. It is, quite possibly, my spiritual gift.)

In the midst of all that crazy, I had a brief conversation, like less than 5 minutes, when I verbally committed to step into something I had been wrestling with for about 3 months.  I had known the answer for some time, but this was the first time I was brave enough to speak the words. (We're not talking Africa.  Just an opportunity to serve in a new way.  I'm no Mother Teresa.) The conversation was over as quickly as it started and I was back to my marathon week.  

When the seventh day found me all but curled in the fetal position, eating ice cream from the carton, would be all sorts of accurate to say I was a bit blindsided.  I couldn't place the feelings, I could barely describe them.  Sadness, grief, exhaustion, loneliness, fear,...all possible, none clear.  For the next two days I struggled to find peace with my thoughts.  I battled the feelings and willed myself to shake them off.  In an attempt to clear my mind and take a nap, I picked up a book that had been sitting on my table for 7 months.  Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst.  That decision would change everything.

Over the course of the next week, that book, a lot of prayer, and some raw conversations with people who love and know me well would begin to strip away emotion to reveal the source of my strife. In pursuit of all the things I had been designed to do, I had worshiped the design over the designer.  As TerKeurst says "I was doing many things with God in mind but not really spending time getting refilled by God and His abundant love at all."

I have been "dating" my husband since we were 15 years old.  For 20 years, he has been my person.  I know him.  I can predict when he will get frustrated with a new situation and what he will order from a menu with impressive accuracy.  I know that he can't sleep in hotels, hates spiders, and knows every word to every Garth Brooks song.  I can tell how his day has been as soon as he answers the phone and I know when he's trying to multitask by the tone of his "uh huh".  But I also know that simply "knowing" him is not enough.

On busy weeks when our schedules run opposite and our days slip by without connecting, the distance comes quick. We can share a house, a bed, and a bank account, but hearts have to follow suit.  Our relationship can't thrive living separate, parallel lives, it requires us to consistently press in. Turns out, the same goes in my relationship with Christ. The best intentions and the greatest of plans leave me empty when they are done without the fullness of Christ.  My calling becomes my idol when I seek it before Him.

"He wants our hearts to be in alignment with Him 
before our hands set about today's assignment for Him."
-Lysa TerKeurst

Remember that quick conversation I had the first week of May?  As I look back, I am more and more certain that God used a perfect storm of vulnerability, exhaustion, and longing to reveal and refine an idol I had been carrying for far too long. After all, He doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.  I believe He has great plans for this coming year and, if I'm honest, I find it both exciting and terrifying. I'm just glad He's taking me along for the ride.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High 
shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty
 [Whose power no foe can withstand]. (Psalm 91:1 AMPC)