Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Can saying no to a ministry be a form of worship?

I am a "yes" girl. If you ask me to say it, I'll say it. If you ask me to teach it, I'll teach it. If you ask me to make it, I'll make it. I have always wanted to do as much as I can for God, and anyone else for that matter.
I'm not sure if it is to please people or to please God, but either way, it wasn't the right reason. Even pleasing God was more about hoping the longer my list of responsibilities was, the happier He would be with me.

Recently, I have realized I have had it all wrong for so many years. God doesn't need me to keep a calendar full to prove I am worthy of His love. I could never be worthy of His love. That's what makes it even more beautiful. He loves me without me deserving even an ounce of it. And what He wants from me, really craves from me, is a real relationship.

He wants me to share every part of who I am with Him. Sure, He knows me. He knows everything. He doesn't need me to tell Him my fears and my disappointments and my hopes to know them. But there is something special about that intimate time, when I do share those things with Him. I also learn more about Him.

The times when I sincerely spend that personal, intimate time with God alone, is worth so much more than my list of things I've done "for Him." I know all of the things on my list were good things. Nursery worker, Sunday School helper, van driver, board member, etc. are all important things that do help our chuch and God is pleased with them.

But there are times when even those good things can begin to take away from our relationship with God. They can become minor distractions, where the time we spend doing that one more thing is the time we would have spent with God, but now we're just a little too tired. At worst, they can become reasons for resentment. We begin to feel frustrated with all the things we're doing, feeling exhausted and empty.

I have, within the last few years, been able to see God in such a different way. I have seen that He is in love with me. He wants to spend time with me. He wants to give me His attention. These kinds of things I have been looking for from people my whole life, have been right there, from the creator of the life. He hearts me.

I think there are times in our lives where God wants us to be more Mary and less Martha (Luke 10:38-42). I am feeling God say that to me now. I have recently given up a couple of great ministries, and ministry opportunities, feeling like God wants me to spend more time at His feet right now, just like Mary.

Angela Thomas, in her book, "Do You Think I'm Beautfiul?" answers the question, "How do I get close to God?" by saying the first step is to put down the church-lady pretending. Put aside the lists, activities, committees and assignments, and only pick them back up after getting God's direction. She said, "Let Him direct every step toward reclaiming your heart."

I heart Him.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lessons from Wal-Mart...

Okay, so I was at Wal-Mart the other day, after a long day at work. And it was a Monday - did I mention that? My hair was frumpy, pulled up in a clippie, and my makeup was well past worn off. Just when I thought I couldn't feel crummier, I see her. No one I knew, a complete stranger. She was gorgeous. She had perfect hair, was at least 6 feet tall, and was more fit than I have seen anyone in a long time. Her clothes were fabulous and she was wearing high heels! to Wal-Mart! She was listening to her iPod as she was shopping, because that's what really cool people do, and she was buying all this fancy food, including, but not limited to, the enormously large loaf of French bread from the deli/bakery, the kind of bread everyone in movies has sticking out of their single brown paper grocery bag after a shopping trip.

I realize, at this point, it probably seems like I was stalking this unsuspecting stranger, and it's possible I was. I like to think it was really some sick sort of fate as to why we kept ending up in the same aisles.

I am a relatively insecure person, and I'm not too proud to admit that. That's something I have struggled with  from the time I first became interested in boys. Instinctively, when I saw Wal-Mart girl, my first thought was to wonder why I am not that thin, that tall, that put together. While I cannot be held responsible for my short stature, the other stuff is something I am in charge of. So I began unconsciously going over a list of all the things I dislike about myself and then I had to stop.

For the first time in a long time I have seen that I don't have to compare myself to anyone else. God loves me. Period. Not because I am pretty or smart or tall or short or anything else. He just loves me. It's not a contest. I don't have to measure up to Wal-Mart girl or anyone else. God doesn't judge me by them, so who am I to try to do that? And if God loves me, why would I worry about what mere people think?

Not to mention, I would almost bet there is something Wal-Mart girl even feels insecure about or someone she feels intimidated by. None of us are perfect.

I still have a long way to go in my battle with my insecrities. I have to remind myself frequently that my Jesus loves me and if He thinks I am worth something, it must be true.

I left Wal-Mart feeling a little better and I'm hoping I'm on my way to a more secure idea of who I am and who God is helping me become.

I also left there glad I wasn't Wal-Mart girl, as I saw her lean over to get her whole-grain pasta and saw her low-cut jeans reveal, to me and everyone else in the aisle, her thong underwear! *snicker* :)