A River of Self

I have always considered myself fairly good at multi-tasking. That confidence has continued despite somewhat alarming indicators that perhaps my abilities were either overrated (by myself) at one time, or the joking concept of “Mommy Brain” has combined with my advanced age of 44 to render me somewhat Less than Before. I used to consider myself a pretty sharp cookie, one of the sharper knives in the drawer. Now I’m doing good if I can get the peanut butter and jelly spread.

All of us have a bunch of Big Things to do in our lives… for me that is being a Christ-follower, a wife, a mom, a homeschool teacher, a homemaker and family chef.

Then we’ve got our medium-sized responsibilities. Those include serving at my church as the Grounds Committee chairperson (currently I am also the entire Grounds committee), working at our local community garden as both a gardener and a helper on common ground areas, working as a nonprofit corporation president of the board (it’s a small nonprofit, but it’s fairly active), and working with a larger group trying to get an ordinance changed in our city of 100,000 – which has been going on for about 18 months now.

Finally we have our details. All the things that we like to do that may or may not be necessary. Hobbies, crafts, interests, pets,

Hmm. Where should friendship fit in these 3 categories? Jesus always put people first. Even to meeting the Samaritan woman at the well to talk to her and meet her spiritual and emotional needs, when He and His disciples were hungry and the others had gone in search of food. So maybe as a medium-sized responsibility? Although with the prevalence of things like email and Facebook, the term “friendship” can have blurry edges as well. I find it so easy to get caught up enough in my friend’s lives and activities that sometimes I’m neglecting my own responsibilities.

Lately I’ve been hearing messages and reading daily devotions based on Matthew 6:19-21, where Jesus tells us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” He continues in verse 33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards,” (Song of Solomon 2:15). It’s rarely the big things but so often the little things that ruin our vineyards, steal our time, and derail our best intentions. It strikes me that the little foxes are running rampant in my own vineyard… little foxes of interesting blogs and websites and books to read, cookbooks, intriguing new projects, entire craft/hobby stores, ideas to explore, stores to check out, Facebook pages to peruse, and on and on and on. The world is really full of an incredible amount of interesting, thought-provoking, fascinating ideas, concepts, and points of view. There are many causes to become involved in, including those that are extremely worthy. The richness of the world is not only monetary, but also artistic, creative, emotional, physical.

Life can so easily become a river of self. Of things that involve, provoke, excite, encourage, inflame, intrigue, and require our attention. As a people we are proud of our ability to multi-task. Our computers can carry on multiple processes at one time and our computers are rarely the only digital device available to us at any given time. We share life in 140 characters or less, thumbs flashing as we drive through the fast-food restaurant on our way to other activities. Americans are busy. Our attention is at best divided, at worse parsed into dozens of different directions at any given time.

I am finding that this is too much for me, or perhaps better looked at as not enough. Like Martha, I’m busy scurrying about taking care of all the details, when I am actually missing out. Jesus told Martha that Mary was concerning herself with the better thing, and that was the relationship He Himself was building with her… the same relationship we can build with Him. I cannot sit at His feet and listen enraptured to His explanations, analogies, and love for me. But I can immerse myself in His Word and spend true time in prayer, His Spirit in my heart bearing witness to the truth and changing me from the inside out.

I strongly suspect that our relationship with Him is a worthy part of those treasures that we can store up in heaven, along with the subject that really has His heart: His people, and more specifically our bringing other people with us to heaven.

I’m tired of swimming in the river of myself, all my energies pointed toward survival, my brain going seven different directions at once while I “multi-task” fit to beat the band. I want the living water. I want to rest in Him and find His peace, to wait upon Him until I find He has given me wings to soar like an eagle. And like the manna in the desert that was given to the Israelites daily, I need that daily dependence on Him.

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