When the Holy Spirit prompted me to write this devotional today, I had one of those cringing moments. My calling is to share my life through stories and look for God in the every day. I try to keep myself (and my own sins!) out of it for the most part (sorry Trey!).
But today, when this verse popped out at me, I knew it was time to air my dirty laundry, er, I mean, dishes.
You see, I hate doing dishes. I mean, I REALLY hate it. When I was single, I would leave the dishes for... well, you don't need that much information. Just suffice it to say that my idea of satisfying work runs more along the lines of working out in the yard than in the house.
Unfortunately for me, my husband's primary respect-language, is a neat, orderly home.
You see where this is going, don't you?
Lately, God's been putting it on my heart (thanks so my husband's loving honesty) that I should have the kitchen neat and cleaned up when my husband comes home to work.
Can I just say, I'm not some Suzie-homemaker, whipped, bare-feet-in-the-kitchen kind of wife. God created me a powerful, strong, brave, outspoken, truth-speaking woman. So don't go down that road that I'm turning into a doormat. Just sayin'.
I'll confess, since it's just you, one reader, that I have a bad attitude about cleaning. A really bad attitude. In my mind, I need a wife of my own.
But lately, as Tom's homecoming creeps closer, I get this compulsion to get that kitchen clean. And it ticks me off, because I hate doing it.
So I've been saying a lot of 'Lord, please forgive my bad attitude, Please help me to put Tom's respect-language need before my own desire to _____ (fill in the blank).'
The other day, I was doing the dishes, saying my prayer, and the following verse popped into my head:
Whatsoever ye do, labour at it heartily, as [doing it] to the Lord, and not to men...Colossians 3:23
And it keeps coming back, those words echoing in my mind each time I begin to feel the grumblings coming on...
And I'm fine now! I can do those dishes with a cheerful heart and a respectful attitude.
Okay, I'm working on it.
What I AM fine about is the truth Jesus is teaching me: that each task I undertake, if I can keep my focus on my purpose, my goal of becoming like Jesus, I can look forward to a reward.
See, the second part of the verse goes like this:"...since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:24
What's this inheritance he's talking about? I'm no bible scholar (if you are, and have good input on this, heck, chime in!), but my heart tells me that this inheritance is the gift of being like Jesus.
Is there a task in your life that has you gritting your teeth? Today, be encouraged - over time, disciplining yourself to keep your relationship with Jesus at the forefront, any task becomes a catalyst that God can use to help change your attitude, your mindset, your focus - your life.
To help you become more like Jesus.
And isn't THAT ultimate goal, our purpose?
I am so blessed to know Jesus - and to know that I can talk to him and listen to his plans for my life. It helps so much to know that he's going to use every circumstance - good or difficult - for his ultimate goal: bringing glory to God the Father.
As a inspiration writer, my vocation is not to write the best devotionals I can produce. My vocation is to listen to the Holy Spirit, allowing myself to be a conduit for the truth. And when I'm 'just not feeling it' - I have the blessing of being able to write anyway, knowing that this isn't MY website, my devotional or my project. It's God's.
I think of this in context of my toddler. When Trey is frustrated or angry, I use the situation to love him no matter what, to show him the value of saying 'Jesus help me' - allowing Jesus to help get himself under control. I allow him his voice - expressing how it feels - but I'm always bringing him back to our goal: a young man who learns to lean on Jesus, take responsibility for his reactions and actions, and who chooses to move past his feelings into concrete truths.
Have you consecrated your gift, your calling, to God? When you do, you'll find a freedom to create in the midst of chaos, encourage in the midst of frustration, and be inspired by the creativity provided by the Holy Spirit.
"Mere humans don't have what it takes; when they die, their projects die with them.
Instead, get help from God of Jacob, put your hope in God and know real blessing!" (Psalm 146:4-5 MSG)
PS ~ Enjoy some God-groove this morning, this new song will get your feet dancing!
God is all about the everyday. Not everyone will be a missionary, a pastor, a church-worker or a worship leader. The majority of us will live the everyday life as bankers, real estate agents, farmers, teachers, mill workers, truck drivers, childcare workers, mechanics, cooks...
We are ALL important in our everyday life to God's plan for the salvation of the world.
God wants to encourage you today that your job matters. He does not want you to see Sundays as the only day that means something to his plans.
Even if you never utter the name of Jesus in your workplace, your attitude, spirit and the joy and peace of Jesus will speak his name.
As you move into Monday, and a new work week, I encourage you to be asking God to use you in the midst of your everyday.
A few verses to meditate on:
1 Thessalonians 2:9-12 - Paul describing how he and Silas and Timothy preached by also worked regular 'day jobs' as well.
Philippians 2:12-16 - Living cheerfully, as an example of what life in Jesus looks like.
Romans 12: 1-2 - Your everyday life is an offering to God.
“Momma, you done yet?” Trey tugged at my sleeve. “No, honey. We're still eating breakfast. You can either sit here with us or get down and play.”
Trey looked around Alice's Diner, familiar from our vacation the year before, not familiar enough to feel like our hometown diner. He wanted to explore, but wasn't sure about venturing off on his own.
He tried a different tack.
“Dad, you get down now?” “No, Trey. I'm still eating too.”
Seeing the frustration on Trey's face, I finally said, “Trey, are you afraid of walking around where you can't see us?” Behind us, the line of booths offered a maze of fun, but obscured Trey's view of us.
Nodding, Trey looked at me. “Honey, what do we say when we're afraid of something?” Trey cocked his head to one side and thought for a moment. Pointing his finger he said firmly, “In name of Jesus, GO. A. WAY!"
Overcoming fear... Even swans do it!
“If you're afraid, honey, you just tell that fear to go away. Momma and Dad are right here, we'll see you.”
Trey's face cleared up, and he began to pick his way over to the far end of the restaurant. Facing fear with the faith of a little one and courage backed by knowing that we were watching, he went exploring.
Earlier that week, Trey and I had visited the playground with my local Mothers of Preschoolers group. A seven year old girl was playing on the small rock wall, but would get to the top and freeze. Crying, she would call for her mother to come and get her down. “She's afraid to go over the wall,” her mom explained to me. “Every time she gets to the top, she's too afraid to swing her leg over the side. Watching her little sister shimmy up one side and down the other is so frustrating for her! I just don't know how to help her...”
Boy, could I empathize with that little girl's fear. Earlier in the year, I had stood by our new pony Sarah's side, crying in frustration at the fear I felt about getting back into the saddle after years of not riding.
Walking over to the rock wall, I started to climb it. “You know, Jenny*, I get afraid too.” With each word, I inched my way up to the top of the wall. “Did you know that God doesn't want us to be afraid?” She nodded her head. “And if God doesn't want us to be afraid, then who does want us to feel afraid?” “The devil!”, she stated seriously. “So if God doesn't want us to be afraid, and the devil does, who wins if we don't do the things that make us afraid?” “The devil!”, she agreed.
“When I get afraid,” I added from my precarious perch on the top of the rock wall. “I have a bible verse that I use to help me do the thing that scares me. Do you want me to tell you what it is?” Jenny nodded, eyes wide as she watched me climb over the wall and begin my descent. “For God does not give us a spirit of fear,” I said, “but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV) My foot touched the ground and I breathed my own inward sigh of relief. That wall was high!
“Your turn,” I said brightly. “Ready?”
Jenny began her ascent, saying the bible verse to herself. Her voice grew louder and stronger as she reached the top. Throwing her leg confidently over the side, she began her descent, her mom's hand poised to steady her. She called out firmly, “God has not given us a spirit of fear! But of power. And of Love! And of a SOUND MIND!”
Reaching the bottom, she turned to her mom, gave her a huge grin, and ran off to conquer the next playground obstacle.
Her mom threw her arms around me. “Thank you! I can never think of what to say when they're afraid. Now I know!”
And now YOU know.
Something scaring you these days? It could be the prompting the holy spirit, warning you. If you're not sure, pray about it, read your bible and ask a trusted mature friend (You know, the one that doesn't always tell you what you want to hear.)
But if you're afaid of something you're supposed to do, ask yourself: who wins if I let fear rule my life? Then throw your leg over that fear, and speak the truth – and move forward with confidence!
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)