taken this morning from my back door
A few weeks ago, I shared my heart and apparently struck a chord. I think we all struggle to some extent with how to slow down and live more in the moment. As you could tell, I was deep in the pit.
But I was determined not to stay in the pit, so I immediately saturated myself in God's Word and in prayer. I meditated on His promises day and night . . .
Ha! I wish the above paragraph were true. Sadly, when I'm in the pit, I tend to go to Amazon, rather than the Bible sitting right next to me. Thankfully, God knows how stubborn I am and He patiently waited for me to discover the hard way what He was trying to teach me.
In December, Mr. UPS guy delivered this gem of a book.
I had seen it mentioned on a few blogs and I thought this was the key. If I could just simplify and organize my life better, then I'd have time to slow down. It really is a wonderful resource with great suggestions and tools; and the layout with just the right colors, pictures and balance of white space makes it such a pleasant read. I have referred to the book many, many times since reading it.
But there was one part of the book that just turned me off. Tsh devotes an entire chapter to writing a family purpose statement. As I read, I was thinking
Blah, blah, blah . . . whatever.
After all, as Christians we are called to glorify God in all we do, so what's the point of family purpose statement?
It just seemed like a pointless, silly, exercise. So I quickly skimmed through that chapter to get to the good stuff.
The following Sunday at church our pastor read from the third chapter of Colossians. After an uncomfortable passage about putting to death your earthly nature, we read what the Christian life should look like.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:12-17 NKJV, emphasis added)
And suddenly I got it; this is what I wanted our family to be. A family that loves. A family ruled by peace. A family that is thankful. Our purpose statement was right there in Colossians 3; we just needed to be intentional about it. Yes, as Christians we are called to glorify God in all we do.
But it's so easy to accept mediocrity when you aren't actively pursuing a goal.
I felt like we were in a constant state of mediocrity. Of course we love. Peace and thankfulness can be found in the Blue House too. But not in the way Paul was describing. Something about this passage was tugging at my heart.
So I did nothing about it.
Remember, I'm stubborn. I'm ashamed to admit this, but while in the pit I had no desire to read the Bible. It was different than when you neglect to be in God's Word and feel guilty about it. I was so hardened I hardly felt the guilt. I did at least recognize that this was a bad thing, but I felt powerless to do anything about it.
It wasn't until I started listening to sermons online that I began to crave God's voice again. So when God spoke through the Colossians passage, I was just beginning to open my ears and heart again. Though I was touched, I apparently needed a stronger push.
The holidays rolled by and suddenly everyone was abuzz with New Year's resolutions. I didn't really make any resolutions, but concentrated on some organizing projects at home. I was still convinced that if I just got more organized, things would be better.
The first Sunday in January I picked up a copy of Tabletalk from the stack that my church leaves on a table in the foyer. I've always heard what a great devotional it is, but had never bothered to read it until now. So I started the new year with a new devotional, not really expecting to keep up with it. But guess what book of the Bible was the focus of the January issue (and half the February issue).
Colossians. Hmmm . . .
A week or so later, I visited Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience. I explained here how I had been following a few blogs that participate in her Multitude Mondays, but I had never really spent much time at her blog until then. And, of course, I came across a post about memorizing the book of Colossians in a year.
Enough, Lord! I can take a hint.
I'm just giving the most noteworthy examples, but let me tell you, everywhere I turned there was something leading me to Colossians! I opened the book my husband is reading for men's Bible study and the page I opened to was the beginning of a chapter on a Colossians passage. I cleaned out some papers in my office and I came across a copy of a lecture I gave years ago on another Colossians passage. The list goes on . . .
So one night as Marc and I were out on a date, I explained to him the whole Colossians story and he was pumped. We decided that night that we would, as a family, memorize the entire book of Colossians. The plan calls for two verses a week, but since we got a late start and we're going a little slower than what's on the schedule, it might take us closer to two years. I hope not, but we'll see. I've always been terrible at memorizing things, so this is well out of my comfort zone. My family is being very patient with me. The kids are doing great, and so is Marc, but I'm struggling. I would love prayers for me to get better at this.
Being in the Word again is just part of how God is pulling me from the pit, but it is the most important part. It's not that there is anything wrong with getting organized. I highly recommend the book mentioned above (it is much more than a how-to book). And some of my organizing projects really have made my life so much easier (I plan to share one project with you in the near future). But God has made it clear that He is what I need most. Apparently, this is a lesson I need to learn again
and again . . .