By Brennan Hamrin
For the last few weeks I have been thinking and praying about what to write about for this post. I’ve been hoping that something I read in my devotions would jump out at me and the heavens would open and the Lord would say, “Write about this.”
Unfortunately, I’ve been struggling lately in my quiet time with the Lord. Far from the heavens opening and the voice of the Lord sounding, my devotions have sounded more like crickets chirping in the stillness. Often I’m so hurried and rushed and stressed that my attitude is to just get my devotion over with so I can get on with my day.
Lately, it’s been rare that I get up before my kids, so I end up reading my Bible in three minute intervals- since that is apparently the amount of time my children can survive without needing something from me. So even in this time to sit and rest with Lord, I’m hurried and rushed and stressed. My mind is only partly on the Word as I stress over all the things I’ve placed on my to-do list, or try to multitask and deal with my kids. I began to feel like I’m not hearing from the Lord or being pierced by the Word. In light of all the hurry and rush, my quiet time has lost its vitality. It no longer seems life-giving, but just another thing on an impossibly long list of things to do.
I have worked my way into a routine. I do my time in the Word in the morning (sometimes), then I go about my day trying to accomplish too much, and all in my own strength. At the end of each day I feel completely spent. Like, curl-up-in-the-fetal-position-and-cry spent. I feel empty and defeated and I don’t have much to show for my efforts.
I have come to the conclusion that this routine is not working! I need Jesus. Like Peter when he was walking on water, I’ve taken my eyes off the Lord and I feel like I’m sinking. All I can do is cry out, “Lord, save me!” before I go completely under.
What the Lord has been revealing to me in all this is that I haven’t actually been seeking Him. I’ve been a Christian for a long time, so sometimes I find myself doing things out of habit, or because I know I should, but my heart is in the wrong place. When it comes to my time in the Word, my heart has been in the wrong place and, honestly, it took me awhile to even realize it.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” For some reason, I’ve always focused on the “desperately wicked” part and thought, “Amen! My heart is wicked!” But it is also deceitful- above all things. The Bible says, “Who can know it?”
Often I don’t even know the intentions of my own heart until God reveals them to me. Thankfully, the Lord gently spoke to my heart that my intentions have been amiss. In my quiet time… and the rest of my life.
I have been seeking to please men rather than God. I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember, so I feel like I should be a lot farther along in the holiness department than I am. I do want to be holy, but lately, not to please God but to impress people.
I have a lot of ideas about how I should be perceived as a Christian woman, as a wife, a mother, a friend, a photographer, etc. Rather than seeking how God would have me fulfill these roles, I have been shaping these ideas through what I perceive people expect of me. I have had nothing inspiring to add at my Bible study/prayer group/huddle group. FAIL. I don’t cook paleo meals for my family. (Ever.) FAIL. I have not done any Pinterest- worthy crafts with my children of late. FAIL. I haven’t exercised in approximately 7 years. FAIL. My kids aren’t doing enough extracurricular activities. FAIL.
When you make pleasing people your chief aim your priorities are going to shift. Instead of focusing my energy and time on the things God wants me to do, I find myself stretched thin, running in a million different directions so that I can check things off of a ridiculous to-do list. The result, for me, has been hurry, rush, stress and a constant sense of failure.
Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” God says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light and God’s words are true. So if I’m feeling overwhelmed and weighed down then I know the issue is with me. The problem is that I’m being weighed down by burdens He didn’t intend me to bear. It’s so easy to get involved in so many good things that you miss out on the best thing- Jesus. And the rest that only He gives.
It’s an area that I’m constantly having to evaluate and make sure that my intentions don’t slip. The enemy wants to rob my quiet time- and my whole life- of its vitality by taking my eyes off the Lord. He wants me to miss out on hearing the Lord speak into my life because I’m too busy worrying about what other people are thinking about me. Ultimately, what the Lord is telling me is, “Fix your eyes on Me. Search the Scriptures for Me. Don’t worry about pleasing people. Seek Me with your whole heart and you will find Me.”
“O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”
- Hymn by Helen H. Lemmel