Sunday, March 12, 2017

Leaving My Love for Less

"Why" is my favorite question. The answer to it always tells so much about a person, if they answer it honestly and completely (although if they don't answer honestly, that also explains a lot). I routinely ask myself this question about various life issues.

For example, I am switching jobs next month. Why am I doing that? I have a couple of reasons. My old job was very stressful (I've heard my new job is too.....). I had a forever long commute - like, an hour. Each way. That plus a 1 hour lunch made my days 11 hours long - and I still had to find time to live, love, and serve. That's a pretty good reason. I'm not switching for the pay. Working for a lawyer vs. working for a pastor, enh, God will provide. I stopped trying to do the math in my finances a while ago. Some more reasons: saving on gas, free lunch, and a flexible schedule.

Those are all perks, and not bad things. But at the root of my decision to switch jobs, was simply because now my husband and I will be working at the same place (not in the same office, though. That could get awkward - for everyone else). And coming in a very close second is the opportunity to work full time for my church. Those are my reasons.

The reason I ask so many questions of others and myself is because I love to set goals. And I love to achieve them. I've wondered a few times if this is for my own personal glory and satisfaction, but most of the times the why answer is not inherently selfish. I set daily goals at work, and I feel good about reaching them, but in reality I set them so that I produce at the level expected of me at work. 

So, goals and why stopped my brain in the middle of my Sunday evening class (sorry, Pastor Todd). Lately, I've been struggling like nobody's business to be in my Bible (see above mentioned long work day). I've been convicted about it, and I try to set goals and work and plan and schedule - and I'm still failing. 

I've always been a failure to a certain degree in this area. But I've never really asked myself why. So here goes. 

I want to study my Bible, memorize, and pray more because I studied ministry and that's what ministry people do. Because I know I should. Because I have people who ask me ministry/Bible questions, and I love people/counseling. Because I want to write more on this blog. Because I'm serving as a full time ministry person this summer. Because I feel like a failure. 

So, last week this is again on my heart as I'm in the morning service, and I begin to write down my plan. Every week, I will:

1. Translate 1 Chapter from the Greek
2. Memorize 1 Chapter
3. Write 1 Devotional Blog Post
4. Pray through every prayer card 1x
5. Do a Bio of God on 1 Chapter

Plus, I made a calendar of which books of the Bible I'm studying! Yay Goals! 


Yeah, I read through Galatians 2 or 3 times this week, and I found my Greek New Testament (took me like 2 whole minutes because it was on the bookcase where it belonged). And here I am working on the blog post! I actually wasn't planning on writing this until this evening, which was long after I had forgotten all of my goals. 

Because I have forgotten why. 

No, all the reasons above are still there, but I need to put them back in the perks category.

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,

I have lost focus on the one Who called me to Himself, and have created a different ideal of what a perfect life is, a different gospel or good news. 

A couple of things, this passage is addressed to Christians who are listening to teachers who insist on legalism as a requirement for salvation. Though I would not say that I have added to or taken away from the Gospel, I have distorted my view on what the Christian life is about. And Salvation is not a moment, though it happens in a moment, but a continuing status. 

And this happens quickly, like Paul says! One minute I am completely in love with Christ and His Word, and the next I'm making rules and disciplining myself to reach my goals. I've been told that when we don't feel like doing our devotions, we should do them anyway because we won't always want to love our spouse, but we have to anyway.

I have always thought that was a good reason! Now I'm reconsidering. If you don't want to do your devotions, maybe you should find out why. (There's that question again) Maybe you have been intentionally sinning. That'll kill your love for Christ quickly. Maybe, you're being selfish in your life, and would rather serve you than spend time with the lover of your soul. That would be a problem. Maybe you have allowed the cares of the day to burden you until you are exhausted and need more sleep. Yes, I said need. Cast your care on Him! Take His light burden. Life happens, and you may not have 45 minutes a day everyday - but it's not about the long chunks of time (even though you MUST get those) but about the moment-by-moment heart connection with God. 

Play-acting love is not healthy in a relationship, and it is not healthy in our spiritual life. Don't force it, unless you want to force it for the rest of your life. 

My life is not to be lived by a checklist or obligation, but rather by the answer to this question:


Because of Him.

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