It’s that time of year again when many of us watch summer slipping away and fall begins to emerge. Summer evokes freedom and simplicity even in the way that we dress and fall ushers in the structure of kids going back to school, churches and ministries beginning their fall programs, and a myriad of other startups happen in the fall. The leaves begin to change color and eventually drop and we seem to have more of a can-do-attitude buckling up our seat belts to ride into the new season. But for many, it also ushers in stress. I fell prey to that last week. I could not keep up with my schedule and felt overwhelmed.
Don’t you just love how He intervenes? He is not a distant God, but Emmanuel; God with us. He spoke (whispered) into my weary heart….” Joanne, you need time alone with me.” My first reaction was that I have had a quiet time every day. What did this mean? But my heart told me differently. Time alone. Time in worship; time listening to His voice. So, I set aside a few hours in the early morning and listened to worship songs, reading through the letter to the Philippians inserting my name throughout the reading. Afterwards, my heart was soothed and my spiritual tank was filled with His Presence. I had a sweet time of repentance recognizing that I had wandered from my first love just like the church in Ephesus.
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lamp stands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance….. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you. You have forsaken the love you had at first. (Revelation 2)
Friends, we live in a society that touts a work hard ethic. All good. But when our work and our deeds take the place of our relationship with Jesus or impedes it, we find ourselves slowly leaking our heart fluid. Our hearts become empty and sometimes hardened and before we know it we are weary and burning out. Perhaps some of you feel this right now. I did not recognize that this was slowly happening… that my heart was growing cold and busyness had hijacked my love relationship with Christ. I spent the morning with Him, repenting, worshipping and reading the Word and my burdens were lifted. I still have a full schedule and that is ok. Most of us do. But my heart renewed and refreshed entered into the call of serving with joy once again.
Our goal as Christians, is not to see how much we can cram into one day. Our goal is to invite Jesus into our days– to give ourselves space to connect with Him every day. Many of you have jumped back on the hamster wheel with kids and school and carpools and activities. Others have left the simpler days of summer to start back on projects, shifts in jobs, and a more structured day. This is the ebb and flow of seasons. But in each season, we must remember that apart from Him we will wear out.
He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagles. (Psalm 103:5)
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