This past week my family and I go to this annual bible conference and spend it with my in-laws, my wife's sisters and their kids. I have been staying the whole week for the past 5 years as my wife told me that she truly enjoys having me there and that my kids really enjoy my company as well. My other brother-in-laws cannot attend as they have jobs that don't afford them the extra week that I can take. In either case, the past few years I have honestly connected to the missionaries, the speakers and the worship, but for some reason this year I didn't. It is not to say that they weren't engaging (they were) or that they were good (they were) or that they were walking with God (they are), but I think that it was more my spiritual condition and I had to do a heart check. So on the last day I went for a 6.2 mile run only to be taunted by a large dune that needed to be climbed - so I climbed it and went on a two-mile climb, hike, run and walk through the dune side. I prayed and confessed and asked God to reveal in me what I needed to change along this pathway (aka my journey). Oh wretched soul that I am, thank you Lord for your redeeming blood. I want to qualify that I do pray everyday and I also read Scripture everyday. I try to be humble and I work on my walk (almost daily), but as I returned home from my week up in Michigan, I realized that connecting with God is not His issue, but mine. He is faithful and he is always there, but I am weak and am lazy and have turned more "religious" in routine rather than pursuing a relationship with Him.
I turned my daily walk into a religious routine instead of a relationship. Wake up at 4:00am and check the internet (for work) read scripture for me and pray (not like I used to). Drive to work, pray periodically throughout the day (more for me instead of His will) and I am holding and walking with others and focusing more on them and how to challenge their walk instead of taking the challenges that they present me daily. Don't get me wrong, we do have brutal accountability and we have seen each other's walks improve. However, each day that I have made this more clinical instead of relational I have slid into a spiritual desert. I need to have some honest conversations with three people this week and to tell them about this heart check of mine.
What I am struggling with most this season:
- Workload and industry challenges
- To much focus on work and "to-do" lists instead of the correct priorities
- Me instead of God's will for me
- Not hearing from Him like I used to
- My prayer life
- My journal life
- And lack of song writing (I believe this is hand in hand with the previous two on this list)
- Some of my old struggles have re-surfaced
What am I going to do about this:
Prayer (more of intentional prayer) and confession
Confess to my brothers (true accountability)
More journal time
More prayer journal time
More intentional reading of the Bible
Using my gifts for God's will and not mine
What do you struggle with right now? I "googled" the top 10 things that people struggle with most and was not surprised by the lists and lists of things that we struggle with daily: Bills (money), Relationships (or lack thereof), terrorism, rogue nations, corrupt politicians, spending, anxiety, healthcare, retirement, family and so so much more. I think Romans 8 is the place that all of us need to turn to in times such as these - God is in control!!!
Romans 8: 22 "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
More Than Conquerors
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j] 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus..."
What do you need to give to the Lord this week? What do you need to confess? Who do you need to be honest with? Who do you need to forgive? Who do you need to apologize to? What do you need to ask God for? What is God's will for your life?
Ask Him, Pray to Him and trust in His will for your life!
To God be the Glory for ever and ever!