Do You Want to Be Holy or Happy?

imageWell, that’s quite a question, isn’t it?  Sometimes, I think I’d say happy instead.  Sometimes I get tired of this hard road that God calls me to, as I have been honest about in many of my posts.  Sorry, if I seem whiny.  I’m just sharing those feelings because I know I’m not the only one who’s tired, and who feels like giving up.  Sometimes, it’s just all too much, and we want to settle for second best, for happy.  Happy is so much easier, but it’s so short-sighted.  I’ve settled for happy so many times, and boy have I missed out.  We are so used to being comfortable, and having those little things that make us happy, that when those things are taken away, we just think we can’t cope with life.  Things like Facebook, coffee, nap time, me-time, a clean house, a schedule, a nice routine, fill in the blank.  Please notice the finger is pointed at me here, but just thought I’d throw out some examples, I’m sure you are thinking of your own.

Our pastor spoke about this on Sunday, and this is where most of my post stems from.  I’d been struggling with those feelings recently.  Just feeling overwhelmed and lost in life, and not sure if I was doing anything right, it sure didn’t feel like it.  (We all know where feelings get us).  I realized as I was listening to our pastor that somewhere along the way, I had traded happy for holy.  Holiness is something I really want, and I pray, asking God for it.  Well, I think He’s been answering, but not in the way I’d go about it!  I realized that because the things that I thought I needed to make me happy were mostly unattainable lately, that I allowed myself to lose my joy.  I lost my contentment, because normally this and that happened, but now no more.  Another life shift, routine shift, and I got lost in it, and also got lost in a bad attitude.  Sitting in church, God showed me the problem.  I started seeking happiness instead of holiness without even noticing when it shifted.  How sad.  How unbelievably frustrated I am with myself that here I am again.  I know I’m not perfect, none of us are, but I hate getting caught up in those same cycles.  Putting self on the throne instead staying in constant surrender.  I guess that’s just how it goes.  Now, God seems to show me sooner, and we are further down the journey of this Christian life.  I should be thankful for that, and just get back up and keep going. Let’s not wallow, let’s not dwell.  God tells us:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  Hebrews 12:1-2

Did you catch that?  Keep our eyes on Jesus, that’s the key isn’t it?  He’s our goal, He’s what we get, more of Him.  That’s what I want, I may not always live that way, but I know for sure He is worth it.  I’ve already chased after most things this world has offered, and it’s left me feeling dry and empty.  When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can live above our circumstances.  I can NOT lose it when my three year old does (which is constantly, by the way), because I’m fully surrendered to Him.  That’s the idea, that we are so focused on Him, we have tunnel vision, and holiness is the end result.  He is, after all, perfecting our faith.  The Bible is clear about perfecting and how God changes us and molds us, it’s painful.  The Bible tells us that this road will not be easy and “in this world you will have trouble.”  He then goes on to say, “But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I am so glad that God never leaves it there, there is always a “but”, followed by some much needed encouragement.  He is refining us, He uses our relationships, especially kids, I can attest to that!  Becoming a mother, and being on this journey has been one of the most trying and stretching parts of my life.  We ALL have these trying and stretching things in life.  They are there for a reason, for our good.  For those of us who are following Christ, they are pushing us towards holiness.  Are you ready to throw away the myth of happy with me?  Let’s trade it for contentment and joy, let’s trade it for holiness, but most of all let’s trade it for more Jesus.

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.        Hebrews 12:14

 

A Time for Everything

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There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens…   Ecclesiastes 4:12

I was trying to figure out what to write about this week, and I had so many pieces of thoughts, and so many starting points, but no complete ideas.  I’m sure your shocked, because I’m well a bit distracted most of the time.  There’s enough going on with just trying to take care of my own kids and trying to keep my house in order, and all that goes along with that.  You know how it is, though, you know there’s even more responsibility on top of my own.  We all have those things we do above and beyond, whether it’s a full time job and career, or just doing things to serve our friends, and the church.  There’s so much to do, and it seems that there are not enough workers to do it.  I can see that everyone is busy this month, and I’m not alone in that.  I wish I could do something to slow us all down, to just take a breath!   Sometimes I want my slower paced life back.  When I tell God that, this is what I hear:

Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.      Luke 17:33

So, that’s something God has been reminding me.  This is not my life.  I gave it to Him many years ago, and told Him I was serious, and here we are.  We have hard seasons and easier ones, that’s the ebb and flow of life.  As I was reading to the kids last night before bed, God reminded me of this as I read a kids version of Ecclesiastes 3.  That’s when it hit me, this is what God wants me to share!  I wasn’t sure when I was supposed to write about this, but the kids are actually napping today, and I get to be home today, so I am doing my best to obey.

So, this is simple, but it gave me such peace, as God reminded me of this truth from His word, that there IS a time for everything.  A time to be busy, maybe busier than you’re comfortable with, because He is pushing you past your limits, so it’s Him people see serving.  A time to be sleep deprived, well, because you’re baby or three year old needs you in the middle of the night.  A time to rest, and just breathe, to just soak in God’s truth and His awesome presence.  A time to teach, a time to learn.  A time to tell your friends all about something, a time to listen to a friend’s grief and struggles.  A time to laugh as your child does a silly dance, and a time to cry in the bathroom, because don’t know how to parent your child.  A time to rejoice for all the Lord has done, and a time to get down on your knees and cry out to God.  A time to work your tail off, and a time to get down and play with your kids.  A time to love, and a time to let someone love you.  A time to give, a time to take. A time to serve, and a time to be served.  A time to clean, and a time to live life fully in the mess.  There is a time for everything God tells us!  I love that, it gives me such peace to remember that, to rest in the time I’m in.

So, remember that, as you pass through all of these times.  Each time is special, and I feel is God-appointed.  These times of growth, and times of just pure enjoyment.  These times all serve a purpose in our life, and in our relationship with Christ.  We can go through all of these times in a day, or they may be weekly or monthly.  Find ways to rest in your time, to just be in that moment with God, and see what He is saying to you, what’s He teaching you now?  The longer I’m alive, I’m finding there is not always balance to life, sometimes things are just more busy or more slow.  I think that’s because God wants us to completely rely on Him, to not put Him in a box, so He is always showing us that we need Him.  Trust Him with me with our “times”.

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens…         Ecclesiastes 3:1