Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Real Need

The theme running through my life lately, okay - always actually, is a real need for the deep, deep love of Jesus.

Here's a little sample of what that has looked like lately.  Let's start with Psalm 146:3-5: 

Put not your trust in princes, 
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. 
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; 
on that very day his plans perish.
 Blessed is he whose help is in the God of Jacob, 
whose hope is in the Lord his God ...

Now, as much as I think Princess Kate of Wales is thoroughly beautiful, I don't really struggle with putting my trust in royalty. But, let me tell you, I struggle with putting my trust in a whole lot of other things in which there is no salvation. Most recently, my struggle has been putting my trust in perfection. Somehow I came to believe that if I could just get my house in perfect order with Pottery Barn-worthy organization, everything would be okay.  If I could just get the drawers cleaned out, a system for laundry put in place, and every closet in good order then life would be pure bliss. Basically if I was perfect and the things in my domain were perfect, life would be, well, perfect

But you know, it's a lie. Just like a man dies and returns to the earth, my organization eventually dies. The reality of having four (beautiful, fun-loving and very messy) children is that my home will soon fall into disarray yet again. I mean, I have a 24-pound, 10-month old baby boy who likes to be toted around on my hip and has gleefully learned to open cupboards and drawers. And, I have a 3 year old who drops random things all over the house all day long. Half of the play kitchen is on the great room floor, his toothbrush is under the dining room table, my best whisk is under the breakfast table and there are random bits of kleenex all over the house right now. Don't even get me started on the state of my kitchen floors even though I just cleaned them last night. 

Two years ago, I wrote about our big home organization project. Feel free to go back and read it with a chuckle. I felt so accomplished two years ago, and I thought it was the answer to everything. You know the illusion of control that a perfectly clean house brings? Well, needless to say it didn't last. Now, I'm not saying that we should just ignore cleanliness all together, but for moms of young children   our expectations need to align with the reality of our daily lives! The problem for me lies in putting my trust in having a perfect house (and essentially a perfect life) and idolizing the false sense of control it gives me, when really all control belongs to our Sovereign God.

The Lord continued to drive this point home to me through Matthew 4:4: "Jesus answered, "It is written, man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." And all I could hear was "man shall not live on organization (or perfection) alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." When I start feeling like I want my house and life under control, I sometimes get tunnel vision. I just want to jump into projects first thing, often to the neglect of God's Word or the priorities that the Lord has for me. When I insist on living in the physical realm (the bread of Matthew 4:4), God shows me my real need for every word that comes from Him. See how God was weaving this ribbon of a theme through my week? 

Now, add in Psalm 147:10-11: 

His (God's) delight is not in the strength of the horse,
 nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, 
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, 
in those who hope in his steadfast love. 

God graciously told me that just as His delight and pleasure is not in the strength of the horse or the legs of a man, His delight and pleasure is not in how organized I am, how clean my house is, or how perfectly I run our homeschool day. More than anything, he wants me to put my hope in his love. Yet, I struggle with placing my hope in my own abilities and striving for perfection even though they fail me again and again. 

This morning, God really drive the point home with Luke 10:38-42: 

"Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.' But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'"

Oh gosh. Could it be any more clear? Can we just sub my name in here? . . . But Jocelyn was distracted with much serving . . . the Lord answered her, "Jocelyn, Jocelyn, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary."

But I want to choose the good portion!! I want to be like Mary and choose that which will not be taken away from me.

Sometimes I am a Mary. I choose the good portion. At times, I choose Jesus and I rest in His love: I spend time in the Word first. Instead of being anxious and striving so much, I just live and trust that His grace will be enough to fill in the gaps that my sin and humanity inevitably leave gaping wide open.

But other times, the Word hits my heart more like the way Jesus described a seed landing among thorns: "As for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature." (Luke 8:14). So often the Word gets choked out by the cares and the riches and the pleasures. Mountains of laundry and breakfast dishes stacked high. Friends and playdates. Vacuuming and clutter. Parties and dance classes. Difficult relationships and stubborn children. Good books and The Bachelor (cringe). Messy closets and overflowing desk drawers. Facebook and blogs. Messy cars and crumbs on hardwood floors. Board games and Legos.

The list could go on . . . and on . . . and on. But, Jesus is good - He's pulling back those thorns. He is not content to let His Word be choked out in my life. He wants the Word to bear fruit in my life and grow up to maturity. Just as Paul told the Philippians, He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion .... (Philippians 1:6). He is relentless in keeping that promise! Even when He has to repeat Himself everyday with the same theme, the same lesson, the same idea. Even when He has to make it  uncomfortable and even painful, Jesus refuses to let me forget my real need for His deep, deep love.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lord Jesus for "hitting us over the head" with your truth when we need it. Thank you Jocelyn for sharing so that we remember to slow down enough to notice that we are being "hit" with truth.