Monday, February 11, 2019

Just Stop

(Originally published 2017)
This week has been one of those blah weeks where I can’t seem to find the energy to be thankful for anything, but there is more than enough energy for complaining and finding the worst. It’s been one of those weeks where I stop asking God to change my heart and start begging him to change everything and everyone else- just make it stop. Stop with potholes, flat tires, and yet another suspicious noise on the vehicle. Stop with children’s eye rolling and sighing every time you ask something. Stop with ants in the pantry, the (expensive) peanut butter, and the refrigerator. (How is that even possible?)  Stop with team tension, change, and miscommunication.  Stop with school projects, tests, and bake sales that seem endless. Just stop.
When I feel that way I get tired, sulky, and overly sensitive and I stop. I stop praying for his eyes. I stop pursuing peace, patience, kindness, joy, compassion, forgiveness, and love. I stop believing the best in people and do an instant 180 to think that everyone is against me and has only their own good in mind. I settle into being annoyed by life happening around me.  I get (more) self-righteous, feel like I have all the answers if people would just stop being stupid and listen for once, and allow that deep pride to bloom into all out arrogance. It’s rotten.
I was in that mind frame walking into church is morning.  Believe me when I say I know how to put on a good face. I can be the happy Christian-pastor’s wife- missionary when I need to be. But it’s not genuine at times, and this was one of those days.  Inside I have a bad attitude, am super critical, and impatient.
Then the worship team played the song above, and the Spirit, whom I was so stubbornly avoiding, broke through.
“That’s the cry of my heart…”
It has been the cry of my heart at times. But not recently. My heart has cried only for my own self, my own comfort, my own recognition, my own desire to be acknowledged and needed, my own longing for a role and place in this world.  And not in a way where I was pleading for it so others could know him, but because I want to be recognized as valuable to the people around me. I want to be important.  I want to recognized- because it’s what I’ve been seeking in my flesh.
But the Spirit, in a loving, patient, compassionate, firm way broke through that wall of self this morning. He didn’t wait for me to ask. He didn’t hold back until I had repented and became “good” again. No, he overwhelmed me with his love for me. He pressed his truth into my heart and mind and opened my eyes to this being my purpose.
He met me where I was, and it wasn’t a pretty place.
All of the things that I’ve been clinging to so desperately – a job description that’s more tangible, a place in this ministry, a recognition of my worth, a desire for my kids to seek him…they aren’t bad. But my reason for seeking them out- for my own self worth, for my own pride- was eating away at me because it is not from him.
When I heard him this morning in that song, I was reminded that my call is to love him and be loved by him.  What a burden was lifted!  He didn’t change the wants and needs, but he put the reasoning behind them back in order. Yes, I want to see my children love him because that is his heart- not because it makes my life easier and I look better. Yes, I want to know my role and my place in this ministry- because then I can go whole heartedly in it for him, not because I want to be irreplaceable and thought of as this great person. I was also reminded my primary ministry is to have a heart that cries for the lost.
And my worth doesn’t come from people recognizing my piano “skills”, my writing ability, my wonderful ideas or anything else that I so crave. It comes from knowing that he pursued me, and continues to do so, even when I’m in the ugly, prideful phases where I stubbornly refuse to ask.
So in a matter of moments God took this heart- blackened, hardened, and angry as it was- and reminded me that he loves me. He values me. I am precious. I am worthwhile. My only need is to allow my heart to cry for others to know this about themselves.  The truth will set us free.

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