Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Spiritually Empty

Three months ago if you would have asked me how I was doing I would have given you the answer that most Americans give when asked that question: "I'm good"

If you would have pushed me a little on that answer you probably would have gotten: "I'm tired"

As I reflect back on the last couple years of my life I realize that I was constantly "tired".  I was tired of school, I was tired from being woken up at night by our daughters, I was tired of ministry being tough and I was tired of not spending time with Jesus.  The day after I left for sabbatical I took a picture of my phone and it was a good representation of where my life was at; I was empty.  You could also say: tired, drained, exhausted, depleted, empty, not full and pretty much any other word that relates to those words.

Now I understand that writing about this subject makes me vulnerable but I have to image that I am not the only one out there who has experienced this.  Now I also understand that not everyone is given the opportunity that I have been given (a sabbatical) to address this issue.  In reality it took me about three weeks of sabbatical before I actually realized how drained I was.

One glaring issue was that I had made my quiet time just that.  I would read the Bible, try to pray and failed to sit and have a relationship with God: it was definitely quite.  Let me share a handful of things that I began to realize on sabbatical that is going to change in my personal walk with Christ as I move forward in life (at this point I am not talking as a pastor but a believer in Christ).

Maybe you have called the time that you spend with God on a daily basis your "quiet time" I want to push back on that verbiage.  Over the last couple months I have become convicted that I do not want the time that I spend with God to be quite.  I want the time I spend with God to be interactive, communicative and uplifting.  I want to sit on my face before God.  If I feel I am not hearing God's voice I want to read the Bible out loud.  I am going to switch up my relationship with God to be multi-faceted and interactive but in ways that will require me to shut up and listen.

During my sabbatical I was able to get a few days in Utah, by myself, to connect with God.  There is something important about not just getting away but about being intentional with that time.  I'm not going to take too much time here since I will go more in-depth in a few days on this topic.  To wet your appetite go check out Mark 1:35.

While on sabbatical I realized how important friendships are to my life.  When we are busy some of the first things to go are our time with God and then our time with others.  You cannot read the Gospels and tell me that friendships are not important.  Jesus calls us to a life with others, share meals with others, be real with others and walk with others.  I had neglected that in my life and realized that is going to change as I move forward.

I'm not sure if most people would include this in their spiritual health but I cannot see it being separate from my spiritual health.  I make that statement because as the leader of my home it is my responsibility to take care of my family.  One thing that God spoke clearly to me is: "Love your girls."  That will be a main focus in my life from here on out.  I have put other things above the needs of my family too many times and moving forward I am going to make sure that is not the case.

In conclusion I want you to think about this verse and ask yourself: "Who is in control of my life?"

"Come to me, all you who are wearied and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

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