I began writing this particular entry some time in April of this year but shelved it for a while. I pulled it back up tonight to review what I had written. How strange that I chose today to pull this particular rough draft up and read it when I had just had similar thoughts while driving around today. Fate? Possibly.
Incase you didn’t know, I’m an absolute SUCKER for a good romance novel. Once upon a time, in a land far far away, a younger version of myself would have only been caught reading trashy romances capable of sizzling your panties right off. Well, being the classy, reputable, upstanding, good Christian lady that I am, (stop laughing, all you folks that know I can still drop a cuss word faster than my, once Naval, husband) fast forward to present day, when I read only Christian romance…or at bare minimum, romance without as much juice. Did I mention I am an absolute SUCKER for a good romance?
Moving right along; I remember a particularly well written book by Francine Rivers, “And the Shofar Blew”. The fictional story of the struggles of Paul Hudson, a young pastor who had just taken on a new church and his wife Eunice, who tried to find common ground as her husband poured heart and soul into building God’s Kingdom…but oftentimes at the expense of marriage and family. One Sunday as my own pastor shared from the pulpit of removing some of the excess from our chaotic lives, I immediately thought of this book. As I sat and compared his sermon that day to what I remembered from the fictional Hudson’s, it seemed that you could be too busy, even doing what naturally seemed to be God’s business, to truly be working toward God’s business. Let that sink in. You could be too busy doing what naturally appeared to be God’s business to truly be working on God’s business.
Picture this…a young mom missing her baby girl’s t-ball games for the singles prayer group every Tuesday night and women’s ministry every Thursday night…a pastor constantly working late in his office on the next sermon while missing dinners with his wife who eats alone most nights…a deacon who constantly visits church members in the hospital but doesn’t have enough time to take his wife to her doctor appointments…a dad who teaches Sunday school, facilitates a small group and works on the ground crew but is unable to locate the time for family devotion and prayer with his wife and kids. Man, all sound like wonderful tasks that are very commendable, but when there is an expense to family or our own well-being, does it continue to be God-breathed? I’m leaning toward a negative.
Why do we keep up the church charade? Why do we feel like it’s better to keep up appearances than to truly live the Love of God, show the Love of God, share the Love of God or give the Love of God? If we are not showing this love to our family including church family and other humans in our paths, are our priorities correctly aligned? Again, I’m leaning toward a negative.
How do we get ourselves so loaded with so many things to do that we lose our focus on the why; our relationship with a God who loved us so deeply and without restraint that He sent His only Son to die for us, and to share the love of Christ with others so they can have that same relationship. I think we have such good intentions when we start our walk. Somehow we get overloaded and all of this service turns into struggle.
How can we keep from being overloaded with “service” in the church? It mostly happens so gradually we don’t see it coming, until one day we wake up and realize we don’t even have time to sit with God’s Word and just listen for that still, small voice. The voice we should long to hear.
Please don’t misconstrue what I’m sharing tonight. You can’t stop working in the church. Often a small handful are stuck doing many jobs because of the inactivity of others. If we all shared equally, things could be so much better. We can’t stop working, but we can make certain we have time for what are the only important things; time spent in God’s Word, time spent in prayer and time spent sharing our faith with others. I’m pretty certain time spent in prayer while actually listening to God’s voice and direction would provide the wisdom to know what services are for you and which are not.
I think my desire for less chaos has forced me to evaluate all areas of my life. My cluttered home, that I’m proud to say is slowly becoming less cluttered (still looks like hell because it often gets worse before it gets better, but I see improvements weekly, guest bedroom is next); my cluttered schedule, that still needs a good spring cleaning but has clearly shown mild improvement lately; and, my cluttered mind that often has too much to think about, but even that is regularly getting spruced up now thanks to Coffee with Paula.
What areas do you need to clear out, de-clutter? We can not continue the madness of busy, hectic, chaotic lifestyles and be about God’s business. We can not continue the madness of busy, hectic, chaotic lifestyles and raise healthy, well-adjusted children. We can not continue the madness of busy, hectic, chaotic lifestyles and maintain our own physical or mental well-being. We can not continue the madness of busy, hectic, chaotic lifestyles and maintain healthy relationships with children, family, spouses or friends.
Sipping coffee and wondering how I managed to combine panty sizzling romance novels, a minimalist lifestyle and our relationship with God all into one entry in this little spot I call my happy place…and hoping it encouraged some thoughts tonight. ~paula