...With Jesus! (Ha! Gotcha! Did you really think I was in a relationship and you didn't know about it??)
Anyway, I guess I should start at the beginning of the middle of my life....
Lately, I've been feeling kind of restless in my spirit and about three weeks ago, I popped into my pastor's office to talk to her about it. She finally asked me one question, "so... in all of that you're constantly doing each day, how much time are you spending with the Lord?" Um, well, er.... all of that to say, not even half as much as I should be. So, she challenged me, spend an hour with the Lord, everyday. Read the Bible, really read it, and find yourself, your story in the Word.
This presented challenges to me... An hour? My brain immediately started wondering where the heck am I going to find an hour in my busy day? Since then, I've been struggling with it... Logistically, my schedule is a hot mess and I make other folks tired just posting about the places I go and things I do throughout the week.
Am I doing too much? Between my sorority, my church life, and work, is there something I can give up? The answer was nope, not right through here. Once I've committed to something, that's it. But in the future, who knows? But I can't wait til then to do this. So I tried several things...
First, I tried first thing in the morning. I would get up at 5am, jump in the shower to wake myself up, then start reading my Word. Problem here: reading any book in the morning takes me right back to sleepy-town. Then I started journaling/note taking important points as I read... Nope still sleepy.
Then I said, well, what about as soon as I get in the bed? I never immediately fall asleep, I have to wind down first. But then I decided I didn't want to give Him the wind-down. He deserves my very best!
And yet, since I still hadn't found a solution, I did pretty much nothing.*
(*Sidenote - I did start reading My Utmost for His Highest Devotional Bible in my bathroom. While it has been somewhat effective, it's FAR from being a prime location and it's not the hour I'm supposed to spending time with Him.)
So I've continued to pray about it, continued to mull over different options. (e.g. reading at lunchtime - "But then I'll get grease prints on the Bible!").
Then this morning, it hit me! (Hello, Megan!" -- in my M'gann Morriz voice)
Girl, you have not blogged in forever. And for whatever reason, journaling has always been a special way to unlock my thoughts and focus on what was really going on with me. So, that's what I gotta do. I gotta write it, I gotta blog it. I gotta get out of my bed, turn on my mobile hotspot but otherwise ignore my phone, go into the living room, turn on my computer-TV, and write about the word of God and where it takes me.
Similar to taking notes during the sermon, this process helps me. And this gives God the first-fruits of my day, which is what I really wanted to do in the first place!
And how do I know I'm on the right track already? I started writing and my cursor kept disappearing and reappearing so I would type two words, then click click click, then three more words..... spent 20 minutes researching my disappearing cursor and couldn't find the answer... Decided it was probably an IE10 issue and tried writing in Chrome. Ta Da! Problem solved. Whatever devil! Nice try! And here I am writing and engaged and already have some Word to share, that I've read and pondered about.
And who knows, maybe one day, I'll find the time, discipline, focus, to come straight home, turn everything off, and sit with Jesus. But right now, that's not even feasible for my life. Busyness is in my blood. I just have to find a way to use it for God's glory and not my own gratification.
Onto the Word... (or closer to the Word than I've been lol)
I spend a lot of time thinking about my future and talking to God about it. And I'm getting better with being at peace regarding my single status. I do know that I have to put Him first then everything else will fall into place. (Seek ye first the Kingdom of God... and all of these things will be added unto you...)
So, I gotta date, go steady with, fall in love with, and marry Jesus (and be okay with it!)
Normally, the first moments of waking, I'm coming out of a dream that makes me long for my future to start now, so I immediately begin to pray, asking God to help me with that and to draw me closer to Him while I am waiting for my future husband. This morning, the words of Jonathan Butler's song "Falling In Love With Jesus" popped in my head and then I started thinking about Love and the verse came to mind, "If you love me, feed my sheep". So, as I prepared to write this post, I jumped on that and looked for it in Mommy's Disciple's Study Bible (NIV) and had to manually search for it. Sure, I could have pulled out my Bible app, but that could have led down the oft-taken road to distraction-ville (a post on Facebook, my ham musabi in Restaurant Story is finished cooking, a text message or missed call, etc). I could have searched for it on the computer and found it and even copied and pasted it. But, seeing as the whole point in this is to actually know and study His word... you get it! So, I went old school and used the mini-concordance in the back. I knew the word "Love" was in there and that He was talking to the disciples (most likely Peter) when He said it, so I knew it had to be in the gospels somewhere.... Based on the mini-concordance, I narrowed it down to John 14 or John 21, but I had to read them to be sure... .
I found this section first (and I manually typed it. Giving myself kudos because I am the queen of cut, copy, and paste!)
John 14:15; 21; 23
"If you love me, you will obey what I command..." "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him..".Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him."
Okay, so this text is almost there. It's making it quite clear that if I loved Him, I would obey Him. I would already have His commands (i.e. the Word) and then I would actually follow them. So, I read it and highlighted it. And as I type this, I'm grateful for finding that one first, because it is confirmation for this entire exercise. Hallelujah for confirmation! But alas, that's not what I was searching for...
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you. Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."
(Gosh, so where do I even start? It's 6:45 and the sun is rising (gorgeous, by the way!). Gotta jump in the shower soon.)
I've read this text, heard sermons about this text for years. And it occurred to me that I always took this to be Jesus saying to Peter, Prove it. Prove your love for me by your actions. Take care of my sheep (i.e. the people who I've entrusted to you in this world, the people who need looking after). Feed and clothe the homeless, stuff like that. But this morning, in the context of "Falling in Love With Jesus", it echoes John 14.
Jesus: Maryn, do you love me?
Me: Are you serious, Lord? Of course, I love you
Jesus: Then do what I told you to do
Me: *looks down at shoelaces*
Do I know all of what He is telling me to do? Not yet. The point is putting my spirit in agreement with obedience. Not sure if you know this, but I am STUBBORN, so even saying "Yes Lord" is a lot for me. I know I have an assignment or two or three on this earth, but I can't start it if I don't know what it is. I'll only know what it is is, if I listen to the teacher. I've been so busy chatting in the back of class, passing notes, doodling in my notebook, secretly reading my favorite book, you get where I'm going with this.
If I'm not listening, if I'm not studying, if I'm not focusing, I'll never get to the point of saying "yes, Lord, it is I, send me" because I didn't hear him calling me in the first place. And Lord knows, the last thing I need, is a whale, bus, airplane taking me somewhere I don't want to go because I've been disobedient. Nope, there's no good reason why I have to be taken to my assignment against my will.
Another interesting tidbit that occurred to me while I was typing the scripture..
Duh, Peter, you denied Jesus three times before He was crucified. Why are you acting like "How dare you ask me these things Lord?". Hence, why He asked you three times in a row, hello! Yup, got a lot in common with Peter, that's for sure! Just talking our way through life smh.
Anyway, thank you Lord, for the Word today! Help me to keep this word ever before me, on my forehead and written in my heart, but especially today. Thank you Lord for loving me enough to choose me. Even me with all of my mess. So very grateful for that!
Here's the link to "Falling in Love With Jesus"
Peace and Blessings to you on this Monday!