As we sat outside at a picnic table, watching our boys play, my friend and I talked about one of my favorite little daily reads, Jesus Calling. She had actually downloaded it on her phone, but was so far behind that she had avoided reading it. The idea of catching up to where she was supposed to be seemed daunting. "Why not just pick up with today?" I suggested. She had thought about it, but initially felt guilty for not reading from the beginning.
Ladies, why do we do that to ourselves?
As women, we have so many voices in our head. We are constantly putting pressure on ourselves to do better, do more, not fall short, catch up...even when it comes to our quiet time. Heaven forbid we get behind in a bible study! When we do, we are even tempted to quit doing it altogether because it's become this insurmountable task-just one more thing we have to do.
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats willl brim over with new wine. Prov. 3:9-10
First fruits is a term used in the Bible, often used in the context of money and tithing. God wants our first fruits. Not because he needs our money, but because he wants our heart.
But what about the first fruits of our time?
Oh boy... that one hits home for this busy mama.
God doesn't want our leftovers and that includes our time. He wants the first fruits. He doesn't want the scraps after everything else is done at the end of the day or when I can "fit" Him in. How many times have I said "I haven't had time to read my Bible". Funny, I've had time to go shopping, text friends or surf the web. I've wasted hours on social media or in front of the television, but haven't had time to read my bible? How many times do I let the day come at me or allow "the urgent" (as in laundry, demands of my kids or household responsibilities) take the place of what is most important?
Years ago, my hubby and I met with our pastor for some counseling. Our marriage was in a rocky place. You don't have to spend much time around me to know that I am a fan of Christian counseling or a third party neutral perspective at times...especially when it comes to two strong willed people in a marriage, like mine. During this particular counseling session, my pastor asked me if I was spending daily time in God's word. My response was No. I was a young overwhelmed mother and I quickly rationalized my answer away. Our pastor then asked my husband if he was in God's word. His response was "Yes, I read the Daily Bread." For those that don't know, the Daily Bread is a quick little 5 minute read with a scripture to support the reading. I like the Daily Bread. But it's more of a supplemental read.
When our pastor heard my husbands response, he asked "How is it changing you?" My hubby contemplated his answer and honestly replied "It's not". And there we have our problem. Don't get me wrong, I'm not pointing fingers. Remember, I wasn't having ANY quiet time, so who was I to knock my husband's choice? BUT, if our time with the Lord isn't changing us, molding us, and making us into a better version of who we are, that's a problem. A big one. When we read our Bibles out of obligation and it becomes one more thing for us to check off of our list, without allowing God's word to permeate our hearts, the Devil laughs, God is grieved and we are deceived!
If my greatest aspiration in life is to shine bright for Jesus, I have to spend intentional time in His presence and fill my heart with his word. It’s the overflow that is going to spill over onto others. But how will there by any overflow when I’m not allowing Him to pour into my heart?
Lately life has just been moving fast. Too many commitments and too many balls in the air. I've just been waiting for one to a drop. A constant tinge of anxiousness has filled my heart. Selfishness and impatience has crept back in. This is not the way I want to live life. I'm not me when I haven't spent time with the Lord. Slow down and be present. This was one of the first lesson's God taught me after Sawyer went home. How quickly, I let old ways easily sneak back in. Why is it that I have to continue to relearn the same lessons?
I could very easily let discouragement and defeat settle in.
In another season, things won't be so busy and I will have more time with the Lord. Next week, I will have more time. After this big event, life won't be so crazy. When family leaves in a couple of days, I can spend some quality time with Jesus. All of these are excuses I have used to rationalize giving Jesus my sloppy seconds. Allowing myself to believe these thoughts means buying into the lie that the enemy wants me to believe--that it's just the way this busy life goes.
Nope. Not today Satan.
The good news is, it's never too late to start again. Instead of being discouraged that I have yet again, slipped back into my old ways of being so task-oriented that I am giving Jesus my leftovers. I am going to pick myself back up, dust myself off, and fill my soul with the goodness of the Savior.
How about you friends? What is getting in the way of you spending time with Jesus? Is Jesus getting your sloppy seconds or are you giving him the first fruits of your time? Maybe you're like me and struggle with having all of your "to do's" done before you slow down enough to lean in to the one who fills your soul. Oh, life is much too hard for us to not tap into the supernatural peace of being in God's presence daily. Let's stop what we are doing, pick up his word and engage with our savior...