The Caution Lights

CAUTION LIGHT

Flashing. Flashing. Flashing. Time to either dangerously push through or stop. I recently had to give up one of my favorite fun commitments to make room for another meaningful commitment. The caution light kept flashing, “Something’s gotta go.”

I know my relationship to tasks has always been troubled. Many times, I have prided myself on being able to “squeeze the blood out of time.” Not so anymore… I am at the age where it is time to savor things and enjoy what was missed in my prime time. Become Mary. Leave Martha behind. Sit at the feet of Jesus. Be and not do. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” (Psalm 37: 7a)

This is my rationale. I will always be a workaholic in my spirit. So, I’m still making a case for Martha. The “just do it” mentality. I still trade depth of sleep for length of sleep (and reason I only need 6 hours) and likewise trade depth of soul Sabbath for length of soul Sabbath, ignoring what I really need. Depth.

What I really need. The rest that comes from God sovereignly engineering my “goings.” The rest that comes from understanding that my identity is not found in my performance. The rest that comes from hearing Jesus say, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) The rest that comes from Jesus’s finished work on the cross, where God imputed my sin to Him and His righteousness to me.

I found a deeply humbling message about rest. I’ve listened intently. Tim Keller delivered a sermon (October 22, 2015) called “Work and Rest” based upon Luke 6:1-11. Because of Jesus, I can be sure that I have been brought out of slavery and into a profound rest. It is a “day off” like none other. So, why would I keep insisting upon an existence that enslaves – by being too busy, over-committed, and unable to say “no?” Because I lapse into thinking that work defines me. I forget that Jesus defines me.

There’s a caution light here. Be cautious of trying to serve Christ without knowing Him. Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest, October 3, devotional) challenges the reader to make sure that there is nothing standing between Jesus and us. Nothing. No appointments. No service. No ministry.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God…” Separate yourself from the lights and darknesses of the world. Go where there can be no interference. Where you can actually detect the caution lights flashing. Where the opinions of others can’t reach you. Where your own opinions can’t reach you. And know God.

 

 

Feet on the Ground

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Flying used to be fun. Taking off and landing provided a real rush. But now, travel by air has lost its appeal. Recycled air, sardine-like seating, the need for knee pads, and the peak of flu season on top. Still a means to a beautiful sunset end!

I recently traveled by airplane to Cape Coral, Florida. That gorgeous sunset was worth the momentary fretting with airline frustrations. Always glad to have my feet on the ground again – the truest of traveling mercies! The ground! Yes.

Well also, I just learned that my Enneagram space is #5, and as a member of the “head triad,” fear is always nipping at my heels. (If you are not familiar with the Enneagram, you should google it.) Nevertheless, I am well accustomed to excessive fight-or-flight adrenaline IV drips. Not good, of course. Adrenaline wasn’t intended for long term use…

I’m on the ground. Life is good. Sunny Florida in January is an amazing mercy! So, let the R&R begin right?

But how do we leave our burdens truly behind? We actually don’t. We bring them with us, unless we have turned them over fully to Christ our Savior. “Fully” being the operative word. Can’t say that I’ve turned over the flying anxieties. But, will work on it.

In all my lovely interconnections and outings with friends, I see those burdens surface time and again. Sometimes I identify with the apostle Paul when, in Romans 9, he expresses sadness for his own people (Jews) in their disconnection from true faith. The “so close, yet so far” syndrome. A form of faith, but denying its substance. Emptiness.

Psalm 37:30-31 says, “The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip.”

I don’t want the feet of my heart to slip, but rather to be grounded in believing faith in Christ. So much so that my words indicate my affection for my Savior.

I see the sadness. Our words tattle on us. Our words tell what is really inside our hearts. Even the rationalization that makes us believe that we believe in Christ, then our words reveal the opposite. It’s not good. We are haters. We are criticizers. We use profanity. We pick out the faults of others. We don’t put others above ourselves. We offend others. They offend us. We are not satisfied with anything really. We don’t get along very well. Have you ever said life would be great if we didn’t have to put up with people?

The gorgeous Cape Coral sunset is a reminder that, while the sun goes down, it will be followed by a sunrise. A new day. A new start. A chance for the heart to be washed and words to flow out accordingly, regenerated by genuine faith in Jesus, not a facade.

Matthew 13:22 says, in the words of Jesus, “The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.”

That sunset reminds me of God’s mercy and care. Solid grounding. Feet firmly planted.