One of my favorite Christian artists went and got married a few years ago to an amazing woman and…as most amazing women should, she started a blog. It’s probably one of the few that I read consistently. Her name is Kelly Needham and recently, she decided to do a 10 day Prayer and Repentance deal while her husband was out-of-town/country. You can find the start to her 10 day adventure here.
But I decided to do my own 10 day time, starting yesterday. I’ve been feeling a little in a rut and recent events have left me wondering if God is trying to tell me something and I’m not listening to Him.
I felt yesterday, that it would be good to start with what Kelly began within her reflections. Her first point was, “It’s not about me.” And I really like the Scripture she started each day with, so I’m definitely keeping that. Here it is:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts,
See if there is any offensive way in me;
and lead me in the way everlasting.
– Psalm 139:23-24 –
I was saying over and over in my mind, “It’s not about me, it’s not about me,” but nothing was coming. And then I realized that I had forgotten how to pray. I’m not saying totally, as in, I never talk to God…but I definitely have opted for the whole “pray continually” throughout the day without much concern for God speaking back to me. To spend an hour, in determined prayer…it’s hard if you’re out of practice. I went away thinking that it had all been a waste of time. I didn’t feel like my prayer had been anything substantial. Or had it? I was determined to reflect on one thing and that one thing only while God was seeking to open my eyes to something else: my double-mindedness.
I’m caught between the two sides – truly investing my heart and mind in God and all that He is and pretending to do so, which is to say, to not invest my heart and mind in God. I have been well-trained in looking the part. But not only that, it is easier to camp in the place of “Do well” and not mean it, than to face the reality of my double-heart. It’s easy to go in with purpose and meaning, and then live out your time steadily more for yourself and out of habit.
And so, for today, the sermon on Contentment and the joy thereby was great and touched me, but I think God wants me to reflect on my bitterness.
“The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.”
– Proverbs 14:10 –
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”
– Ephesians 4:31 –
“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.”
– Hebrews 12:15 –
I’m very good at hiding my own bitterness. In truth, I hardly recognize it myself.
[Insert list of things bitter about]
“…and many become defiled.” It’s like when something begins to burn in the kitchen and you slowly realize the smell is there. Then it takes a long time to get rid of the smoke and smell. That’s how this bitterness feels in me. What is contained in that list is not what matters. That’s between me and God. He has known it for some time and some of it I only just realized today.
But I am bitter about these things because I am thinking that I know best what I need. And as God shows me that and how, I flip back and forth between joy and sadness. I can try to force myself to joy, but I don’t think that’s what God wants. He could do that, if He wanted to. But He desires me to want it, and not just to show it or know that I need to want it.
“Jesus, You are my greatest treasure,
Nothing this world can offer
Could ever compare to You.
~Nani yori mo
Nani yori mo
Nani yori mo
(Jap – Above all else, give me Yourself)
Above All Else by Vicki Beeching