Seek First God
I have been sitting with a question this week that has been serving as a mirror to my heart.
“Are you going to build your little kingdom, or are you going to build My kingdom?”
At first glance it feels like an easy question to answer, “Your’s Lord, of course. I’m not trying to build a kingdom.”
But, then the Spirit begins to dig deeper.
“Do you have a specific place in mind for yourself, or can you be content with the place I have for you?”
“Um, well…” I duck my head and look over my shoulder.
“Do you value certain places and positions more than others? Do you value certain people more than others? Do you want certain people to like you, to comment on and like the things you share? Do you want to work with certain people and not others? Do you want to be part of certain communities and not others?”
“Well, of course, we all have some people that we connect with easily, that resonate with us, that we want to have in our community more than others.” I can feel the excuse in it even as I make the argument.
“But, will you receive each person I bring your way with the same love, and grace, and openness? Will you seek to build a following for yourself, a platform, a voice, among certain people, OR will you seek me and let me bring whoever I desire into your community, your circles, both in daily life and online? Can you find your value and place in me, not in who likes you or who doesn’t? Will you let me lead completely and utterly, or will you grasp at control even while saying you surrender?”
Oh. Poop. Seriously, that’s the best word for it. Hello mirror. There it is, all the poop and junk in my heart.
Friends, I want to be significant. I want my voice to have weight. I want a following and an audience. I want to feel valuable and important. And when I’m honest, I want a particular audience. I want to be seen as valuable and important to particular people and particular types of people.
When I don’t feel valuable and important to particular people, or groups of people, I internalize and generalize that feeling. I begin to think I am not valuable at all, no matter how many loving people tell me otherwise.
I do the same with place. I want a particular place and position within a community and when I don’t have it I begin to internalize and generalize. I begin to say I am worthless, without value, have nothing to give, am not needed. Ugh! See, poop. There it is.
Oh, but God… God pours out love.
I keep coming back to this quote from Spurgeon that Amy Scott recently shared on Instagram:
“Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, Divine Love would have put you there.”
Oh, friends, what truth! You are where you are because of Divine Love. God’s sovereignty has placed you exactly where you need to be and his sovereignty is driven by love. It is motivated by love. It is love to you.
Me being where I am, just where I am right now, is God’s divine love to me.
He is weeding my heart, so gently and carefully. Asking these questions, stirring up my heart’s soil with the answers. And always he ends with a gentle command:
I think that’s the key, friends. Following.
I can strive and push to build my own little kingdom, or a can follow Jesus. I can listen to the prompting of the spirit that says, “Don’t look at Instagram today.” Or I can ignore it. I can respond to the voice that says, “You need to go be with these woman today, even though you would rather go to yoga.” I can find peace in the prompting that says, “I know you’d like to be over there, but this is where I have you, this is the community I’ve placed you in today.” Or I can argue and wrestle and fight and ignore it.
So often I have doubted my ability to hear God’s prompting and follow His Spirit, but I’m beginning to think I made (make) it harder than it should be.
It’s like inhaling. We don’t really exert effort to force air into our lungs, all we really do is open up (stop fighting) and allow the atmospheric pressure that is around us all the time to fill us (thanks Stephanie for this imagery!).
I think it’s a little like that. Following becomes hard when I over think things, when I clutch at my own desires and ideas and grasp for control. When I surrender, and openly ask for God’s leading, he is right there. Often the response is just “There’s freedom.” Sometimes the response is more precise. And the more I listen the easier it becomes to listen.
That’s what I’m trying to do right now. I’m asking a lot of questions in response to the questions God’s been asking me. I’m trying to respond, with a simple, open handed, “Where do you want me today? Where do you want me this moment?” Some days it’s hard, and there’s wrestling involved. Some days I fail. Other days there’s just peace.
Who knows maybe someday I’ll be that crazy lady who prays over the lost pencil and can’t do anything without seeking God over the most mundane and ridiculous aspects of life. Maybe. I’d like to think that I’m a little more down to earth than that. But, I’m also starting to think I’d rather be her, than go at it alone. I’d rather be sort of ridiculous and irrelevant, than build my own kingdom. I’d rather live in tune with the Spirit, even if that means a small, hidden, un-understood life.
Lord, take me where you will, use me as you will. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in my heart as it is in all reality. In Jesus name.
(I made two meditation videos this week both centered on the themes in this post. You can see them here.)
Rejoicing in the journey,