This morning I realized that once again~amidst the chaos of life~ I have been seeking God only for His blessings, and not seeking God for God Himself.
Often we look at the word “blessings” and think about gifts, but God’s blessings come in many forms. In the ability to bring the needs of others to Him. In asking Him to give us wisdom on our path ahead. In countless prayers throughout our days. Yes, prayer is a huge blessing and lately, amid my rushed mornings my prayers have consisted of quick requests before starting my day. I wanted something from God without spending quality time with God.
But to truly know, love and seek Him~ that takes intention. It takes stillness. It takes the daily “to do” list out of the equation. It’s a blank slate and a heart seeking Jesus alone. No agenda.
This is something that seems to be a recurring issue with me. Life gets ahead of God. I can’t seem to turn my brain off to focus on Him, so I utter some quick requests and go about my day.
Please don’t misunderstand, I realize there are times that the busyness of life is completely out of our control, and in those moments all we can do is utter quick prayers to our Heavenly Father, but that hasn’t been my case. Yes life has been busy, but I have put many things before God. When I do this, His fruits seem to whither quickly and I feel farther and farther away from Him. Fruits like love, joy, peace, long suffering etc.
I notice myself getting irritable, and judgmental, overwhelmed and discouraged. I feel sorry for myself, I don’t think about others like I should. My identity in my Jesus becomes my identity in Charisse alone.
Just last week I had set up facial recognition on my phone. The very next morning it didn’t recognize me. As I stumbled into the bathroom in my sleepy state, I muttered “stupid phone”.
Then I looked in the mirror.
Sometimes I think we all need to take a good long look in the mirror.
When I get to the point where even my phone irritates me, I don’t recognize Jesus’ reflection looking back at me. I simply see Charisse. Grumpy Charisse. I need that time with Jesus. To push the world aside and just be wrapped in His presence. It’s in those moments that my love for Him grows stronger and my fruits bear His name.
This reminded me of a beautiful memory from year’s past. My husband coached soccer at our local public school for 15 years. One year stands out to me more than all the others.
It was almost Christmas. The soccer season was over, but one night there was a knock on our door. The captain of the team stood outside with a gift for my husband. The team had gotten together and purchased a beautiful soccer jacket with the word “coach” stitched on the front. A sweet, thoughtful, out-of-the-norm gesture that was completely uncharacteristic of high school boys. A lot of love was wrapped up in that special gift. Later that year at the sports awards ceremony, that group of “cool, popular” boys stood on the platform and weeped as they expressed their love for my husband. Just recalling these memories brings the tears. Many teachers told my husband later that they had never seen anything Iike it.
My husband was their coach. He taught them the lessons they needed to win. Those lessons weren’t always easy but those boys knew that my husband loved them and wanted the best for them~ because they spent so much time with him. Their hearts were changed because of it. They asked nothing of him, yet spending time in his presence taught them so much. And it showed. Love was reflected in them.
That’s what I want. My love for Jesus to be reflected back to a world that desperately needs Him just as much as I do. If you find yourself feeling far from God, irritable and judgmental, overwhelmed or discouraged~ maybe it’s time to push the “to-do’s” aside, intentionally spending time with Jesus, for no other reason than to just be with Him.
That’s a beautiful place to be.
John 15:4-5, 8-9, 11
Psalm 143:6, 8
Psalm 42:1-2, 8