Last week I wrote a post called, “Lessons from a Little Lamb.” If you haven’t read it, check it out. It challenged me (and hopefully you) to look up from the world and into the eyes or our Shepherd. It has helped me to pause from the busyness of constantly feeding on the empty things of the world because when our heads are down, distracted by all the “pretty grass”, we continually walk further and further away from the Lord until we find ourselves lost.
Today, I wanted to give you some practical steps on how to do that. You might have read that post and thought, “YES! That’s me! I’ve been so busy and so distracted that I’ve lost sight of my Savior and what HE would want me to do and I’m lost, alone, feeling hopeless, anxious and hungry!” But now what? How do I get back!?
Here are a few reminders that will help us daily move our eyes back onto our Shepherd:
1. Remember your first love.
When I think about how I feel when I stand in the presence of my Savior and worship, or sit with my Bible open drinking of His promises, I can’t help but fall in love with Him and feel my cup fill with peace and an overwhelming sense of awe. I remember in those moments how empty the world is and how full and satisfying it is to be in the presence of my Savior. The cravings of the world begin to fade in the Light of His love, glory and grace. You literally dis-taste what you previously thought made you feel good. Remember the grace and love that first drew you to Christ. Remember what He’s done for you. Spend time journaling and writing down His precious promises, who you are in Christ (read Ephesians) and the ways He has shown us to live a life of love.
One way I do this is through the act of communion. It’s how I remember what Jesus has done for me. His body was broken because He loved us. His blood was shed to wash us clean so we can be made righteous. Jesus said, “Do this often in rememberance of me.” (Luke 22:19) Read Luke 22 and have your own time of communion to draw close to your Savior. He says, do this often. You don’t need a priest. Jesus is your high priest and He wants to sup with you. I know some of you might be freaking out right now! – but no where in the Bible does it say you need a special cup and a priest to bless the communion. If you give worth and glory to God through the breaking of bread (or crackers in our house) and the drinking of the wine (or grape juice in our house), then it’s a matter of the heart. The Lord loves that we would come to Him to remember what He did for us on the cross. Remember, He’s a gracious and loving heavenly Father. He wants His kids to remember. It’s between you and Him and this is one simple way you can remember your first love.
2. Remember the Word…it’s your sword and your shield.
This is a BIG one!
In Romans 10:17 it says, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” (NLT) In Ephesians, our faith is described as a shield, “In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.” (NLT) When our faith is strong, our shield is BIG and can extinguish the fiery arrows the evil one wants to throw at us. Our faith can grow and be strengthened by hearing the Good News about Christ and reading His Word. The more we meditate on His word, the greater our faith becomes! The evil of this world is constantly throwing “arrows” our way!! They fling thoughts of discouragement, insecurities, lies, worry and anxiety. If you don’t know who you are in Christ and how great God is and how GREAT His love is for you, it can be easy to let those arrows hit our hearts and for us to bleed. Then we become too weak and defeated to be used. We MUST be in His word increasing our faith, growing stronger and stronger so the enemy can’t have his way with us.
How do we use the Word as protection against the enemy?? – “The Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you!” (Psalm 119:11 NIV) We must hide it away in our heart. How did Jesus defeat Satan during his 40 years in the desert? – with the Word! If Jesus spoke the word to defeat Satan, how much more do we need to know the word and speak it with our mouths!! For me, I’ve found this is an incredibly powerful tool…to literally speak it out loud when I’m feeling discouraged, tempted or weary. There is something extremely powerful in the spoken word! Try it. You can feel it!
Depending on where you are and what you are going through, I challenge you today to spend 10-15 minutes finding 3-5 Bible verses that can encourage your soul and grow your faith today. Go to Pinterest and search “Verses for _____” and you’ll get lots of direction. Write them down on index cards and put them EVERYWHERE!! – by your sink, on your mirror, in your car, purse or pocket. These are your shields. They are your sword. We are battling against our flesh and the evil one daily. We need the Word. It will make you strong, give you peace, clarity, direction and help you to make choices that will bring blessing to you and your family. It will help you to see your Shepherd and know He is with you.
3. Remember to say no.
Last week I mentioned the importance of clearing your plate. That means removing things from our lives that are not helping to create eternal value. Now, this is broad!! This is something you’ll need to pray about with a humble and open hand. When I got off Facebook, it was crazy! It was an incredibly emotional experience for me because I had placed so much of my mental effort and worth into it. I spent hours over the course of a day thinking about it, checking it, figuring out how to grow my target audience, etc, etc, etc. I now think, if I would have spent that time in the Word, memorizing scripture and meditating on the promises of God, the level of wisdom I could have gained to help me to teach, train and love on my family would have been radical! There’s no comparison between having a peaceful, beautiful, wise word to say at the right time vs. knowing what my neighbor had for lunch today!! :) The eternal vs. the temporal. It’s a spiritual battle that’s heavy on us today.
I’m not saying you need to get off Facebook or social media, or say no to sports, public school, working part-time/full-time, etc!! – the Lord calls each of us to an area of ministry and to things that challenge us and grow our hearts and character! – it’s NEVER to be a legalism thing. BUT, we too quickly register our children for the next sport or activity without thinking about the eternal consequences. We say yes too easily to committees and ministries without considering if these things are our gifts and where the Lord wants us to spend our time. Our plates fill up so quickly with worthless things that we become empty, hungry and dis-satisfied. That’s why we keep our heads down in a continuous search looking for something to fill us…when all along, what we really need is more time in the presence of our Shepherd who is already standing there waiting for us.
Right now, spend time praying about what HE wants you to do. It might take a few weeks or a month or two, but in your heart, you’ll know. I knew a few months before I pulled the plug on Facebook that the Lord was asking me to disconnect. It took me a few months to obey and build up the courage to do it, but I wish I would have listened quicker. It was SO freeing!! When you feel it in your heart, please be willing to obey!! Cut off anything that’s keeping you distracted for a season. Say no. Experience life without those distractions and see what great and wonderful things HE can do through you!! It’s INCREDIBLE!! I have never once regretted saying no to Facebook. It has literally freed me mentally (and physically) to where my kids have said, “Mom, you seem so much less distracted!” Yes! – I am.
4. Remember it’s okay to be bored!
This might seem silly, but we NEED a siesta time!! We need to just be still. If we are too busy to spend time with the Lord, to sit and read a book with our kids, to stare at the beautiful night sky or watch the power of the wind bend the trees and blow the leaves, then we are missing out on the goodness of life. We are missing out on the beauty and the peace God has for us.
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) It’s a command. He made us. He knows us. God loves us! He knows His sheep need rest and need to be still. He knows we need to stop and ponder Him…His glory, His power, His purpose and plans. Turn it off. Shut it down. Walk outside and just sit. Be still.
Let your mind be at rest.
THEN, show your kids how to do it. We get to lead by example. We get to show them how it feels to be still and know He is God. If we don’t stop and ponder His glory, how will they know how to do it?
5. Remember it’s not about you.
Yes…this world does not revolve around me. I’ve realized I don’t exist to hold it all together. LOL!
If you are a Christian, if you have confessed Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, if you have accepted the work He did on the cross as payment for your sin, then you have been crucified with Christ. You have been purchased with the precious blood of Christ and you are now a child of God. Our life is no longer our own.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is,
seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life,
is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4)
Our life is hidden with Christ. THIS is the key sweet friends…this is the mystery.
Is HE your life?
When He becomes your life (not just a priority in your life) and you surrender to His beautiful love you will feel freedom like you’ve never known. It will be easier to forgive because you know how much you have been forgiven. It will be easier to love when someone doesn’t deserve it because you know you are His vessel and His hands and feet and it’s His love flowing through you. Your life, your agenda and your expectations won’t matter any more. It’s not a sacrifice…you literally won’t care! You will find such joy in the surrender, such freedom and peace in choosing to make Him your life that you cannot imagine wanting anything else.
If you’re a mom with little ones, a grandma, a sister, a mom with older kids, an auntie, single or a single mom, let Christ be your life. You don’t have to hold it all together. His holy spirit will guide you…all you have to do is stop, listen, then walk in His ways. No more crazy expectations. No more feeling like you’re failing. No more guilt. You were created for Him. You are perfect and perfectly forgiven. He is your Shepherd. He wants to walk with you. He wants to lead you. You simply have to keep your eyes on Him and obey. He has wonderful things for you to do today.
Live for Christ, meditating on His word, quenching the fiery arrows around you, loving others as He has loved you. By doing this, you will show your kids who Christ is by the love and the power that flows through you. They will fall in love with Christ because they see Him in you.
With all my love,