Give it all away

15073490_10157786730140401_2473582584771989509_n

My current job is a ministry job. I work at a homeless shelter that believes that Jesus is Lord and when he changes hearts, he changes lives. I work at this job 8:30am until 5:00pm Monday through Friday. My husband and I also lead a married small group every Monday where we provide dinner. We volunteer at church a couple Sunday’s a month. We continue keeping in contact with friends near and far, and my dad spends almost every other weekend in our 750 square foot apartment. This is a lot of people and a lot of time. I am telling you all of this because I am an introvert; I refuel by being alone. Most of the time I can wiggle in one or two nights of rest. I can choose to say no to things most of the time. I tell myself I should say no because I already do “too much.” Though, I’m starting to wonder if this is more a selfish attitude than an attitude of Christ.

The implementation of boundaries is being preached on more and more. Saying no to something that may make you too tired or too busy is often encouraged. Let me first say there is a balance, and I do believe we need to take care of ourselves and our mental health. I’m not promoting burn out, but I am promoting being interruptible.

I am a very selfish person. I almost always choose myself. It requires the Holy Spirit to make me want to think about other people. I’ve picked up the idea of boundaries, used it and abused it. I have built walls around myself so that I don’t have to give too much, I can give just enough without being hurt. I can love Jesus and love my neighbor, but only when it is comfortable for me and when I am not too tired or when it is convenient.

Four years ago I was doing overseas missions. I was gone for about a year. Every day I was spent. I was pushed to my breaking point. I was asked to give more than I had. More time, more energy, more food, more money, more passion, more prayer, more praise, more effort, more everything. Every day I would go to bed exhausted because every ounce of me was being given. That time in my life was where I felt more alive and the closest to God. I was living and breathing the scriptures. I couldn’t do anything before first being filled with the Spirit. That’s what I think I’m missing, and maybe you’re missing it too. I’m not filling myself up. I’m not allowing God to “pour me out like a drink offering” (Phil 2:17). I will allow just enough to be poured out, but don’t pour out too much, Lord! I need to save some for myself, I need to take care of me, no one else will, right?

I’ve picked up expectations and boundaries like luggage, carrying them around with me, never letting anyone forget that these are mine. You cannot touch these.

Jesus asks for more.

He asks for me to lose my life to find it. (Matt 16:25) To love others so much that I forget about myself. He asks me to seek first his kingdom, not my own. (Matt 6:33)

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)

Jesus lived his whole life submitted to what his Father wanted. He was interrupted time after time.

I’m reminded of the story of the woman who touches the hem of Jesus’s robe in Luke chapter 8. He is walking with his disciples through a large crowd and so many people are grabbing him, including his disciples. This woman who has been bleeding for twelve years reaches out and touches the hem of his cloak and is immediately healed. Jesus, in the midst of this chaos asks “who touched me?” The story continues with a conversation with the woman. I urge you to read it on your own, but, what I want to highlight is how Jesus stops. He stops in the midst of a crowd that the scripture says is “crushing him.” He allows himself to be interrupted. He allows himself to be given to this woman. I don’t do that often enough.

I want to live my life in submission to what the Lord has in store for me, for his family. I want to be able to come home from work and still be available to be taken from. I want to say yes to someone who is in need and desires my time instead of pushing them away because I’m tired or because I need my “alone time” first. It is all an excuse. Jesus promises to be living water. We have access to that water any time we want, just as he promised the woman at the well. (John 4:14)

I believe when we are giving ourselves and serving others, Jesus is going to provide for us. He is going to fill us because he is the well that never runs dry.

That’s what it was like while I was doing missions. Living to the fullest, and pouring it all out to be filled again. I want to know I am living at my full capacity, loving with no agenda and serving without expectation. To give all I have of myself. To love so boldly it is impossible for me to keep any for myself. None of what I have is mine. It’s all his. All my gifts, all my talents, all of myself. He’s asking me to give it all away, and that is what I am going to do.

Advertisements

find the beauty.

Image

 

I love driving this time of the year in my town, it’s such a simple thing that I always forget I enjoy until it comes back around.  Twinkle lights are up and the chill in the air makes everything seem quieter.  Norah Jones hums softly in the background as I let my heart swirl in the softness of it all.  The holidays start to roll around and my mind always goes to a softer place, a place where things really aren’t that bad.  I know it’s the “Christmas cliché” to be jolly and thankful during this time of the year and people get their panties in a bunch because they want people to be thankful at all times of the year, which I agree with, but have you lived life?  Have you listened to the news? Do you live inside your own mind? Sometimes it gets so clogged with agenda’s, and bad relationships, and sucky bosses, and natural disasters, and babies that cry, and sometimes you forget life is meant to be enjoyed, that being thankful isn’t a burden but something that actually allows the weight of the world to lift from your aching shoulders. 
I think the pantie bunchers are right, but I also think it’s good to be reminded, to be quieted and softened so that you can hear the bells, or Norah Jones, or sometimes just a friend.  Sometimes your mind needs to be cleared out of all the “me, me, me’s” and it needs to be replaced with the “look at how beautiful your grace is, Lord, look at how much you love me!”  Wonder is something I’ve noticed I’ve lacked lately.  Wonder of God, and wonder of the small things throughout the day that actually would allow my day to look a little brighter.

Image

I put a candle in my room, It’s called “Christmas morning latte”, I’ve never been in a family that has latte’s on Christmas morning but I enjoy that my room smells like I am.  Every time I walk into my room my heart lifts a bit and somehow I’m reminded that life is ok, that I’m not the center, and it’s ok that I want to take a very long nap. I’m a smell person, people remember moments and events by food, or a song, or maybe even the colors; I always remember things by smells; The way someone smelled, or the smell of a house, or even the smell of the road we walked on.  I can be brought back to that moment in an instant as soon as I smell whatever aroma is passing through.  This candle tickles whatever memory sensor of mine and reminds me of peace and stillness. I’m able to think without my own self getting in the way, and I’m able to relax and see things beautifully, which is so important to me.  I’m able to let The Lord whisper his plans into my ear and I hear them, I hear his soft voice and my heart is full and happy and I smell the candle and the twinkle lights in town are glowing and Norah Jones is singing and my sweater is soft on my skin, and my eyes are open and I’m able to see. 

Image

Life is beautiful, even in the chaos, in the typhoons, in the family breakage, in the baby cries, in the horrible days at work, in the news of cancer; there is always a light, a hope, bigger than me, bigger than you.  This hope has called you His, let that be beautiful enough to carry you through.