But let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No”…James 5:12
Wow did this one smack be upside the head! I think I would be shamefully astounded if I counted the times I approached things looking for the “easier” way to do them. More than a few times I’ve re-routed plans and projects searching for increased benefit and decreased personal discomfort! The biggest problem with that is what I usually get in return is minimal satisfaction! I also shudder when I think of the things in my life that lack true commitment and consistent effort.
I remember when Jason was an infant. He loved sleeping if it was light outside but not so much during the middle of the night. Kevin was 18 months old and I remember some of those days and nights felt so long. In my exasperation and exhaustion one day I was pouring out my heart and frustration to a wise friend and she said, “You’re looking at this all wrong; your goal is to get him to sleep so you can sleep too but your mission should be to relax, rock, pray and enjoy your precious son.” I thought she was nuts at first but I was desperate enough to try it her way and she was right. It was hard to remember that I had said “Yes” to motherhood and all that came with it. I was feeling deprived and uncomfortable…it was all about what I was missing and giving up and not what I had been given. The next many nights were different. I rocked and held him with a peace I hadn’t had before and said “Yes” to all the parts of motherhood and believed with all my heart that God would give me the strength and patience to chase my 18 month old the next day even if I didn’t get much sleep. That’s exactly what He did! It didn’t take long before Jason got his sleeping straightened out and I never admitted it out loud but I kind of missed that quiet time in the middle of the night with a new baby.
God calls us so many times a day and He leads us so tenderly but so much of it we miss. I’m so busy trying to make things easy on myself I often lack the consistency to follow through on the things I say “Yes” to in my faith life. I am also painfully aware of the times I vow to say “No” to screen time or procrastination only to let it dribble into my hours leaving little or no time for reading, prayer or study. I think St. James was speaking directly to me. I suppose if I spent more time honoring my yes’s and my no’s instead of trying to negotiate an easier path God would have some abundant blessings for me and I would be filled with great satisfaction. I can be a stubborn woman though!
When I finally stopped fussing about my fussing baby and just enjoyed being in the moment God honored my “yes”. He gave me joy, peace and energy because I was more concerned with the minutes I gained with my baby and less worried about the minutes of sleep I lost. As Lent approaches, I plan to make a list of “Yes” and “No” and I will spend this prayerful season consistently honoring both…I’ll be sure to keep you posted!
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of “Yes” and “No” things that you can offer God the Father this Lenten season. Ask Him to show you where you need to say yes and where He’d like you to say no.
Blessings on your day!
and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. Mark 12:30
There are a few things that I’m ok with having just a part of. I don’t mind mowing part of the lawn or washing part of the windows or eating part of the brussle sprouts, but there are some things I want all of! Carrot cake, my favorite movie for the tenth time and baby giggles are just a few of those things I want ALL of! As I read these words from St. Mark not long ago my mind seemed to get stuck on the word “all”. Four times he said it; all, not part or some, but all. After sitting with this verse for a bit I realized there was a lesson!
I think I’m often guilty of “how much will do” thinking. I sometimes want to do things in a hurry with just enough effort to say I’ve finished but I can honestly say I don’t always go that extra mile with the stuff that’s not my favorite. I can wash all the downstairs windows and rationalize skipping the upstairs windows because the boys aren’t living up there anymore so who will notice. I can feel pretty good about sweeping around the garage rugs instead of picking them all up, giving them a good shake and doing the job with full effort. As I’ve been thinking about the word ALL, I’ve had to ask myself how many things do I just stay on the edges of without fully jumping all in.
Many times the past several days the Lord has gently drawn my attention to the things that I just puddle around the edges of. I say I want to grow in my knowledge of Scripture but what have I really done to make that a reality? I say I want to get healthy and loose weight but have I gone all in to make the necessary changes, or do I just want to do a few things and pout because the result isn’t what I’d like. I can say I want to see others with eyes of mercy instead of eyes that judge but am I really prayerfully trying to make those changes? I can say I want more time to read things that fill my soul with goodness but how many minutes a day do I waste scrolling through Twitter and Face Book? I can say I want to do more acts of service and charity but what am I actually doing to serve? If all my thoughts remain just thoughts, I’ll continue to skirt the change and hover on the edge. I don’t think that’s the best plan!
Christ reveals himself to us in several ways and Scripture is one of them. I think in this verse he had a lot to reveal to me. I’ve spent the better part of two weeks thinking and praying about how giving him my ALL connects to the silly things I can’t seem to get right here on earth. Seriously, if I can’t go all in with the fruits and vegetables or with the off button on my computer how can I expect to ever be able to love him with ALL my heart, soul, mind and strength? I got a little rattled just thinking about the consequence of living my faith on the edge instead of all in! It was right at that moment of; “holy cow, I’m in big trouble”, that he made me realize the two are intimately connected. Learning to go all in with things of earth is how we learn to go all in for him. If I were to offer each of those tasks I’m on the edge of to him as an act of love, he will meet me where my strength ends and carry me through the tough parts with his mighty strength. I need to trust that his power is more than enough and his grace is sufficient. I have to ask him to meet me in those situations where I’m on the edge and ask him to walk with me and help me give my all…for HIM not for me! Sounds simple doesn’t it! I’m ready to get off the edge, go all in and make some things happen. How about you?
A Seed To Plant: Make a list of the things you’re on the edge of? Lift those things up the the Father and ask him to help you go all in!
Blessings on your day!
Click on the items below to expand the options available to you to explore the Joyful Words blog.