Have you ever thought about the incredible creativity of Jesus? Only very few of His teachings are not accompanied by an illustrative story, analogy or a metaphor each of which is so fitting and relevant. He was able to capture people’s attention, captivate them, interrupt their lives and point to a better alternative they can have in God. He offered tangible and familiar pictures to help people understand the Kingdom.
In our busy lives, surrounded by technology and unceasingly working on our tasks, there is no time to observe wild flowers and birds so no wonder we cannot use them as an analogy! We do not stop and contemplate on how people work; Jesus did and it enabled him to see the parallel between a sower and God which later helped people understand the Kingdom of God.
Taking time to notice our surroundings and reflect on it is crucial for our personal life and ministry alike. If we want our words to be relatable for people who do nott know Jesus, if we want to be quick to hear God’s voice and notice his work in this world, we must take time to to see these things first.
It is alright to slow down. Take time to appreciate the little things and bring them to God – ask Him what they speak about Him. Put your phone away for a few minutes and look around; find one thing that catches your attention: a huge tree, a homeless man, an unfamiliar smell, warm wind or the sound of the crowd. Slow down and really see it, feel it, hear it – be really present with all your senses and then think, what is God saying to you through it? You won’t believe what amazing things He will reveal to you! He has so many things to show us and to get excited about with us if we just give him the attention.
Slow down, observe, contemplate and talk to God. It is that simple. Be truly present in everything you do and expect God to speak to you because there is nothing better in this world than seeing the world through our Father’s eyes.
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)
“I don’t want to strive for your love anymore God.
I am so sick and tired of wanting you to be proud of me because of my actions.
Am I doing a good job?
Maybe if I could stop being such a screw up, you’d love me.”
This was me less than a month ago gushing out my heart in bewilderment to God. I had a commitment to share for a ministry in less than two days, and I felt as though I was literally about to lose my mind.
Why you may ask? The answer is simple I felt inadequate and as though I had nothing to share. On top of this, I felt distant from God.
I thought of how someone else could do so much of a better job at sharing for this ministry than myself.
I knew my feelings were rooted in the spirit of pride, but I asked the Lord “where does my insecurity stem from?”
I remember growing up in school and having no problem sharing in front of the class
(I was quite the ham), but after grade school and into college years, I had become more reserved, more self-aware, and more insecure than I had ever been before.
As I pondered on that thought, the Holy Spirit told me, “when you feel inadequate it’s because you are not leaning into the reliance of the Holy Spirit.”
For as long as I can remember, my life verse, or the verse that the Holy Spirit whispers to my heart the most often, is Proverbs 3:5-6 it says,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
You would think with how many times the Lord has whispered that into my spirit, I would have it down pat by now, but nope.
In my mind, all I could think about was how I was not doing all of the things..
You know, the praying for hours soaking in His presence kind of things.
Or reading the Bible for hours on end.
I have always been a perfectionist, a doer, a striver, a hard worker, a go-getter of sorts. While at times this mindset has helped me throughout my life, other times it has been one of my biggest downfalls, especially in my walk with Christ.
You may be thinking what is wrong with wanting to be perfect or being a hard worker? Essentially, nothing is wrong with either of those qualities, but the truth is I am not perfect, and there is nothing I can do to become perfect.
When I feel the need to perform or to be perfect, it is because I have stepped away from simply abiding in the Father. Abiding in Him means I take off all of the pressure I place on myself to be perfect and lean into the Perfect God who has infinite love, wisdom and strength for all of life’s circumstances.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NLT)
There is so much safety in relying on God and not myself. The Bible tells us in our weakness He is strong. The truth is we are all screw-ups, but God loves us in the midst of all of our garbage, setbacks, and failures.
So those two days came and went, it was finally my turn to share with the women of that ministry. I walked into that opportunity with no nerves, and no sense to perform. I simply shared of God’s goodness, relied on Him, and gave Him all the glory He deserves.
Girlfriend, let me tell you, it is not about you. It has never been about you, and it will never be about you. So do that thing that scares you, do that thing that God has called you to, do that thing that requires you to step out of your own reasoning and strength and rely on God to do the work.
If we are going to accomplish anything for God, we have to remember it is for His name’s sake. It is so His name will be glorified and that all will know of His unwavering love for them.
But Christ proved God’s passionate love for us by dying in our place while we were still lost and ungodly! Romans 5:8 (TPT)
My eyes were closed, and my heart was heavy. I had been wrestling with God without even noticing it, until I felt a small hand brush my arm. Instantly, I opened my eyes and looked over to my friend who was standing next to me with her baby boy. So sweetly, he reached out his arms to me, and I graciously accepted his invitation to cuddle him up into my arms.
I held my worship experience, still focusing on Jesus, but also enjoying the sweet affections from this baby boy. As he gently rested his head on my shoulder and patted my back with his tiny hand, tears filled my eyes, and an explainable peace swept over me.
A flood of emotions expanded my heart, and I just stood holding him, singing and surrendering to Jesus. This sweet boy represented the image of Christ, and in that moment, He was wrapping His arms around me and confirming me in the most tangible way.
Here’s what I learned: interruptions are divine appointments with Jesus. So many times, Jesus interrupted people’s daily lifestyles and invited them to sit with Him. Often times, Jesus’ own life was interrupted by people hungry for His ministry and desperate for His love. Each of the disciples were consumed with their own lives when Jesus chose them to follow Him. They could have rejected His invitation and went on with their lives, but instead, they embraced the interruption and gained the sweetest revelation and friendship.
When Mary was to marry Joseph, she had her life planned out. She would marry and have children. She would make a good wife and mother. Then suddenly those plans were interrupted. The angel Gabriel was sent to Mary in the middle of her wedding planning. He brought great news and an even greater invitation. Not only was Mary favored by God, but He had chosen her to birth the Messiah.
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee,
27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.
28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.
30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!
31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.
32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.
33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.
36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.
37 For the word of God will never fail.”
38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
How differently would things look if Mary would have rejected God’s offer and decided to proceed with her wedding untouched by the Holy Spirit?
Interruptions are invitations to sit with Jesus. He invites us to be still with Him that we may learn and know who He is.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” -Psalm 46:10
That we may honor Him and make space within our busy lives to accept the hand selected task that He specifically creates for us.
Sometimes, we see the interruptions as distractions from the plans we have mapped out for ourselves, but what if we chose to see them as encounters with Jesus. Moments to talk to Him or get alone with Him in the midst of our chaotic lives? How differently we would be if we met one of His interruptions with the heart of Samuel as he tried to sleep and the Lord called to Him several times in the middle of the night.
“Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” -1 Samuel 3:10
God has been teaching me to come away with Him in the middle of the chaos. When the noise all around me is trying to silence His voice in my life, He reassures me that solitude is not just about being alone. It is about who we are alone with. He uses the embrace of a child to confirm me and to remind me that I am still His, He is still mine, and He is good always.
Friend, if you look around you will notice Him speaking too. Maybe not always audible as we would like, but always speaking to the heart of who we are.
Like a sunset taking away the day, some interruptions are meant to be beautiful invitations to be still and know.
As we go through the hustle and bustle of everyday life, God is watching us. He longs for us to gaze upon His face in the midst of our busy, and at times, hectic schedules.
We have all been taught that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Those are really big words that mean God is all powerful, all knowing, and that He is ever present.
These are great facts, but if we are not careful, we will fail to let the very truth of those words sink into our heart. We can instead put lids on God, doubt His power, His wisdom, and that He is with us always.
Most of the time, we associate God with what we are doing instead of who He actually is. We notice God’s presence inour devotion time, when we read His word, or when we sing Him songs of praise. However, if we are not doing something that feels spiritual, we think God’s gaze upon us has left. That is simply not true!
God is very much in the moments when we feel spiritually high, but He also in the mundane tasks we do at work, while we are changing our baby’s diaper, and while we are watching movies.
“Where could I go from your Spirit? Where could I run and hide from your face?
If I go up to heaven, you’re there! If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too!
If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there! If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting!
Wherever I go, your hand will guide me; your strength will empower me.” – Psalms 139:7-10 (TPT)
One person I can relate to in the midst of my crazy schedule is Martha in the Bible. She loved Jesus, and just like me and you, she had a full plate of tasks to get done.
Luke 10:38-40 (TPT) says this: “As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.” What Martha failed to realize is that the Creator of the Universe was speaking, the one who could tell her all about who she was, was in her midst.
We often read this passage of scripture, and we think Martha should have reacted and done the exact thing as Mary and sat at Jesus’ feet. I’m not sure if that is the case, simply because these two sisters are different, and their relationship with God was different.
Maybe Jesus would have been pleased at Martha’s devotion if she had simply listened, heard, and hung on every word Jesus said while she was working and doing mundane tasks.
Devotion, prayer time, worship nights, and Bible reading are fantastic things to do and things we should be doing. But, outside of those moments, we must recognize that the Creator of the Universe longs to also speak to us during mundane tasks and the hustle and bustle of this crazy life.