Friday, September 6, 2013
FIRST, BE QUIET 2
I have approached this “title” before in a very different way. This time I am concerned about jumping into things that seem to be right, but should be held off in favor of quietness. We must not throw ourselves into service or personal improvement programs when what we need is healing and growth.
I have been traveling through some serious pruning these last few months. It has been an eye opening blessing to read and study the work of the Vinedresser as He cuts away at the branches in my life that hinder me from producing more fruit. They were not evil branches, just unnecessary ones that took up too much of my time and focus.
I have also mentioned pruning before and I know how much I pruned my roses in order to keep them blooming all season and again the next season. Every fall it looked like I hated them, but I loved them and that is why I pruned away in early fall and kept them tidy through out the spring and summer. The Vinedresser does not prune us to keep us weak; He does it to make us stronger for what He has in mind for our current and future service for Him. And to make more room for the fullness He offers us.
Frankly, I have had this problem since the day I started back into my walk with Him. Do this, do that, make yourself useful here, or there. Get involved. Be a good servant in the church. The call was loud. But it was not from God. And He knocked me off my feet several times over those years of growth and told me over and over again to “Be Quiet, and listen.” “Walk slowly into growth,” He said. “Don’t rush.”
But rush I would and down I would go. Like when I tried helping in the nursery and got so sick I had to ask for help to see a doctor, then found out I was a Type-2 diabetic. Like the time I joined a food group to be up to snuff on a current food trend and got knocked back to worse than square one due to the very fussiness of the whole thing. Or, like last fall when I decided to try to be like others and joined a fitness program that cost me a lot in gas money (going 3 days a week, eight miles each time.) And which also cost me time away from what I was really supposed to be doing: writing.
Writing? Really? God, you know that I am not a writer. What in the world are You thinking? I have a hard time with this, Lord. How does this work as service for you? What blessings or fruit come from It? “That is not for you to know, dear. That is my business, my job. You just be quiet and listen to what I want you to say. Then write. If no one reads it, or if many read it, that is my work. You just write, and pray for blessings to come from it. Yes, Lord.
And then He sent me another blogger who just keeps feeding me courage after courage. She will never know just how much God is using her in my life. She has thousands of followers and books and speaking engagements. But she is affecting the lives of many people because that is her place in God’s will and she is willing to be there for whatever He has for her to do, big or small. I am very thankful that He sent her words my way through someone else who shared her blog one day. I hope I am listening more carefully these days because of what has been going on for such a long time now.
But I am also concerned for others: Those who scurry to get involved because they think they should. Those who see following Christ as ALL or NOTHING, not in surrender, but in busily meeting expectations they carry in their minds over how to live for Christ. Having this compulsion to meet the “standards” of what a Christian life should look like is almost as frightening for me to watch as to watch those who have no compulsion at all to live for Christ, even though they know Him.
Both need to do some serious listening. Both need to be quiet and allow God to enter their lives in thoughts that they otherwise would never have. Both need to breath and relax and let God rearrange their hearts and minds to fit His chosen tempo for their lives. Both need to stop trying to live up to, or avoid, the standards they think they are supposed to meet; instead they need to start letting God retrain them into the beautiful people God sees in them.
Like it or not, we really can be too busy in trying to serve God and we can also be very lazy about trying at all. God is not in a hurry, but neither is He happy with slothfulness. To find our place in between, we must, first, be quiet. And as we get moving along, we must continue to take time to “Be quiet and know that [He] is God.”
May we all be listening for that quiet, but sure voice within us that is the Holy Spirit speaking God’s directions to us through our own minds and hearts. May we all learn to treasure each and every word. And may we all be willing to let those words become a blessing to others along the road as well. God, may we be a blessing to someone today. Amen.