Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Don't Touch my Tuesdays!

"Busy, busy, dreadfully busy. More than a bumblebee, more than an ant. Busy, busy, dreadfully busy, I'd love to help but I can't." These are the lyrics of an old Veggie Tale tune but they ring in my ears and sadly sum up many of my days. With six kids (three in high school) life is never dull, and never slow!

This summer, my husband and I went away together for a whole week. It was the first time we had gotten away by ourselves for more than a night or two since we were married 18 years ago and it was delightful. We took part in an amazing ministry called, Broomtree (www.broomtreeministries.org). It is a ministry for pastor's and their spouse to get away from the busyness of life and regroup. One of the conditions of the retreat was that you leave your computers and home and your cell phones off. That was quite a challenge for me because I am plugged in....I love to connect with people over the phone, through texts, via facebook, or email. So I have a confession to make, I did leave my computer home but I brought my phone. Now I left in my room most of the time but it was there just in case someone needed me (or I needed someone??) But you know what I did every time I walked back into my room? I ran over and checked to see what I had missed. Not only that, but I have a smart phone, which means I can still see facebook and check my emails. I could still be connected.

As the week progressed though I began to realize how I was affected by being connected. I spent one of my "retreat" days in tears because of a phone message I had gotten. Of course that never would have happened had I not had my phone on but I justified it by telling my husband that our kids might need us, or something might go wrong back home and we wouldn't know. I realized how much being connected was draining me. The Lord began to work on my heart through others at the retreat and through His word. "Be still..." (Psalm 46:10) If you know me, you know I don't really have it in me to "be still." I rarely sit through a whole movie or even television show without getting up to do something. If you call me you can be certain that I am folding laundry or doing dishes while we are talking. And finish a meal without hopping up ten times? Don't be ridiculous! Of course, part of that is just being a mom, but part of it is that I just can't be still.

Years ago, when the kids were younger, I started a routine of seeking God's face during my quiet time. I must admit it was very difficult at first. My quiet time folder was dived into sections: Study, Prayer, Praise, Listening. When I got to the listening section I would just sit quietly and try to process what I had read in the Scriptures and then just listen to what God had to say to me. This is when I would remember that we needed milk, or that I needed to switch loads of laundry, or call to make an appointment. So to help, I always brought along a notepad where I could jot those things down and then get back to listening. As I think back on it now, I realize how much I grew in my faith during that time and even as I write this, I am yearning to begin this practice again. In fact, I will start today!

One other thing that came from my Broomtree retreat was the realization that everyone doesn't need me...if I don't answer a phone call or a text right away, the world will not end. (This was a shocking reality for me :) I love helping people, and God made me to be a servant to others, but it is okay to take a step back from time to time and regroup! So I am working on a new challenge that I have decided to call, "Don't touch my Tuesdays." I am going to stay off facebook and not check my emails on Tuesday. This is a day I will save for blogging, for stepping back to listen and seek God's face. I am even going to try to limit my phone calls and text to my children and hubby only. It will be difficult for me (I have already taken several calls today and spent time on Facebook...and it is Tuesday so I am going to have to work on this!) But I am going to work on this! I wonder if any of you would like to join me in this challenge to choose one day a week to disconnect? Let me hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I see Jesus!

While doing my devotions this morning, I was struck by this phrase: "When the people recognized Jesus..." I mean how did they recognize Him? Had they seen his picture on the evening news? Did they see his latest sermon on youtube? No, of course not! They hadn't even seen a photo of Him, because the camera had not yet been invented. So how is it that they recognized Him?

I think two things come into play here: 1- the people were talking, and everyone knows that word of mouth is the best advertisement! and 2- they recognized the face of hope, the face of salvation, because we all long for that.

The people were talking, and what a challenge to us today! We have so many more resources than the people of Jesus' day had. They didn't have facebook, twitter, blogspots, newspapers, televisions, youtube, etc... and yet they managed to spread the word about Jesus. It should be so much easier for us to spread the message. So my challenge here is simple, who are you going to tell today? D.L. Moody never went to bed until he had shared God's word with at least one person. Will you agree to do the same? I am going to give it a try!

They recognized the face of hope, the face of salvation! I know I have shared this analogy before but I can't resist the truth of it so here it comes again! Matthew 5 tells us that we are a city on a hill, that CANNOT be hidden. Think about the light of a flashlight, if you look at it, even in the daytime, you can see the light coming out. That is how we, as believers should be, when people look at us they should see the face of Jesus, shining through. But, you and I know that the world is not always "daytime." In fact, there is much darkness in the world we live in. Let's think about that same flashlight on a dark, moonless night. Your eyes are drawn to the light it sheds, you cannot help but seek it out. That, too is how we as believers should be, when the world around us is walking in darkness, their eyes will be drawn to the light of Christ in us, they won't be able to help it! And then we can be ready to give an answer for the hope that lives within us. (1 Peter 3:15) My second challenge is as simple as the first, be the light of Jesus today!