I hope my previous challenge to you is going well! And I pray that you’re learning more and more about God as you learn to love Him more and more. My next challenge to you is related to the previous one. While it’s awesome to get our daily time with God established, we have to be careful not to compartmentalize God. Not to essentially say to Him: “okay, You had Your time. Now I’m going to get on with my day.”
This next challenge took me longer, and I’ve found it to be far more difficult. Primarily because, to be honest, it brings more change and refocusing to my day. My daily time with God helps get me focused, helps me connect with Him, and teaches me valuable truths, but staying in communication with God all day actually keeps me focused on Him (and others), connects me more deeply with His heart, and allows me to put those truths into action. And, frankly, that’s not always what I feel like doing. But, as we’ve discussed, loving God isn’t about a feeling. It’s about an action, a choice, to put Him above yourself.
So, I started making a specific effort to involve God in every part of my day. Every decision, every interaction, every word. Daily I fail at this. Daily I say something and immediately realize I shouldn’t have — and that, had I checked with God first, He would have helped me avoid those careless words.
I also fail in another way, which I think is actually the more problematic. See, I think God rewards, and is happy with, our sincere efforts. As He has been training me to look to Him all day, I think He accepts that I will sometimes fall into the old habit of going about my day without Him. We cut this kind of slack to people in our lives and even to the animals in our lives.
If I’m training a puppy to go to the bathroom outside, and he’s trying, but then has an accident, I may gently chastise him, but I also recognize that he’s still learning. (Yes, I am the puppy having an accident on the floor in this metaphor.)
However, if the dog is grown and trained and knows he should go outside, but chooses not to because he doesn’t feel like it or it was more convenient not to or because he’s just being defiant, I have a much bigger problem with that.
I think it’s similar with God. During our training stages, he knows we’re going to make mistakes. However, once we’ve been trained to look to Him all day and we CHOOSE not to, then I think we have a real problem.
For instance, sometimes I get an email that I want to respond to right away. Sometimes it’s an email asking for volunteers for something that sounds fun to me, and I want to make sure I’m one of the first to reply. So many times God has to sort of clear His throat and remind me of His presence — and remind me that I should probably check with Him first. This makes me anxious. The opportunity in the email seems like a good one, I want to do it, but time is limited. (You’d think I’d remember that God isn’t much bothered by our ideas of time as I talked about in last Monday’s post, but often I don’t — at least not at first.)
Over and over, God has shown me why I need to listen to Him. Opportunities that sounded good ended up going really wrong for those involved. Something that sounded fun ended up being more work that I would have been able to do. Whatever the event was ended up conflicting with another, more pressing obligation that I couldn’t have known about at the time. And sometimes, He just asks me to wait, to seek His will, then He gives me the okay.
But here’s the puppy and the carpet mistake I make: Sometimes, I let my anxiety get the better of me, and I respond quickly because I think that this opportunity working out for me is somehow in my control. I think that if I seek God’s will on this, I will somehow be at a disadvantage. That He won’t move on this fast enough. Etc. Pretty presumptuous stuff, really. In these moments, I know I should wait, but I don’t. I’m essentially looking at God and making a giant pile on the floor because it’s what I want to do. I think God is far more angry about that sort of willful disobedience than our more honest mistakes at the beginning. Sometimes in my haste to respond to an email, something goes wrong. I later regret it. It causes me trouble later. Sometimes it goes just fine, except for the guilt of not trusting God.
This is just one of countless examples where I often let my own fear or anxiety or pride or confidence override my love for God. What area(s) do you least trust God with? What is the source of that distrust? Why, honestly, do you think you can handle it better than God?
So the challenge today is to let God’s presence into every part of your life. Make a concerted effort to go to Him in prayer before you speak, reply to an email, make a choice. You will mess this up; we all do. But try in the next few days to start concentrating on allowing God to infuse more of your life with His light and His love. (And, as always, I’d love to hear about successes, roadblocks, and helpful strategies!)
Want to read more?
Start of the fully submitted series: (becoming) fully submitted
Start of the wife series: (becoming) a godly wife
Start of the stewardship series: (becoming) a good steward
Start of the role model series: (becoming) a role model, part one
Start of the wisdom series: (becoming) wise, part one
Start of the Proverbs 6 series: (becoming) closer to God through Proverbs 6
Start of the Christmas series: (becoming) peaceful
Are you a worrier? Try this post: (becoming) less of a worrier