My heart has heard You say, "Come and talk with me." And my heart responds, "LORD, I am coming." ~Psalm 27:8
Last night, after a long day of accomplishing so much - the list of To Do's seemed endless - I breathed a sigh of relief that what I had set out to do, and even more, was finally completed... and it was only 11:00pm. Only 11pm? My busy day was behind me. Well, 99% of it was. I had focused my energies in a purposeful way and had placed check marks next to the list of tasks that constantly run through my head. Done, done, done, done...
And yet, as I sat for a couple minutes finally thinking of nothing - it had been the first time all day - that small voice that I know so well spoke to me, "Get your Bible".
(It's ironic how hearing God's voice can instantly stir two opposite emotions in me - one of excitement that I've just heard God, and the other of guilt that God had to remind me to come spend time with Him. It brings to mind the picture of an angel whispering in my ear as my heart responds with joy to the holy message. And then my enemy wastes not even a second to whisper in my other ear; questioning me, condemning me, making me feel shame over the joy of hearing from my Savior.)
So, I opened my Bible and my heart was prompted to turn to the Psalms and read the one that matched last night's date... Psalm 27. As I read, verse 8 stuck out to me...
My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me." And my heart responds, "LORD, I am coming."
This morning I woke up with the need to start my day with the Lord. Oh, it wasn't but a couple months ago that I woke up daily with the overwhelming need to be in front of God, to hear His voice, to spend time soaking up His presence with worship. But lately, since God has been showering blessing after blessing upon us, that need has faded - bit by bit - until it was only a thought that crossed my mind. I won't lament about that now. I'll just say that even though I often recognized this crisis, I did nothing about the fact that I was allowing myself to become complacent, lazy... self-sufficient.
As I sat in my living room, I opened back up to Psalm 27 and read it again. I listened to a couple praise songs and then was strongly drawn to the outdoors. I picked up my laptop, my earphones, my Bible and my cup o' Joe and headed out my back door. It was warm already. The sun was shining, but it felt good. I instantly knew that God had called my heart and was going to meet me.
I chose my songs, pushed play and closed my eyes. The sun's warmth was at my back and a cool breeze drifted over me. It took but seconds for my heart to be lifted to the heavenlies; to be drawn into God's presence. The only way this moment could have been better is if it was taking place while sitting on cool sand and watching ocean waves roll into shore, one by one.
Singing to the lyrics that I know so well, I knew I was right where I was supposed to be. Then it happened.
As I sang, "Sweep me away in your love, where nothing else matters", I was reminded of the burden I was choosing to carry; the burden of self-sufficiency and complacency, task lists, and all of my want-to's and supposed need-to's. And in that same moment, Jesus came and removed it all from me. By doing this, He allowed me to feel - for the first time in two months - the full joy of being in His presence... where nothing else matters.
Tears rollin down my face
because of Your mercy and tender embrace
The peace that just overflows
It's here that I know You have been waiting
To sweep me away in your love...
Where nothing else matters
As I finished this song, Jesus moved me on to the next one, where He broke me in the most tender way that I have ever been broken. So sweetly did He do this, that the pain that came from breaking my stubborn heart felt good... necessary. My heart itself wasn't breaking, the self-imposed, reinforced shell of "fear, self-protection, stubbornness and selfishness" was falling off, like shelves of polar ice fall into a waiting ocean of forgiveness, love, mercy and grace.
Here in Your hands, You have remade me...
All of my heart I give you now
Laying aside my fears and doubt
You are the life from which I draw my breath
Breaking my heart, You beckon me
Desperate for You I ever cling
You are the hope for which I gain my strength
I have been Remade
As I sang these words, my heart was overwhelmed by a flood of varying emotions that rushed in like a set of waves that couldn't wait to break on shore. Sobs of hurt, guilt, anger and shame poured out of me as the wall I had built, brick by brick, came crashing down. I literally could not control my tears. From within the deepest part of me, my spirit cried over the condition of my soul. But in the moments that followed, I no longer felt the condemnation of my complacent choices; instead, I felt the longing for Jesus that had been missing. My Spirit so greatly missed the companionship of my Savior. I then cried over the relationship and fellowship I had chosen so carelessly to place on the shelf of "tomorrow".
God has placed in me an incredible capacity to go deep with Him through worship. When I'm lost in worship, my Spirit connects with Him in ways for which I can't seem to find words. It's this initial call to worship that moves me into a greater prayer life and a deeper desire for God's Word; and also changes my heart perspective from me to Him. And yet, it's this door to His throne room that I closed without thought of the repercussions to my soul. God didn't remove the door, I simply kept choosing not to open it.
Instead, I chose the other doors... the ones marked "Tasks", "Chores" and "To Do". I also gladly walked through the doors marked "Fun", "Family" and "Relaxation". Ironically, none of these doors can be labeled as bad choices because all of them have their place of necessity in my life. Unfortunately, what I chose to ignore was the ginormous warning sign that preceded these doors...
WARNING! WALKING THROUGH THESE DOORS WITHOUT FIRST ENTERING THROUGH THE DOOR OF WORSHIP IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR SOUL AND WILL RESULT IN LOSS OF LIFE!
God has shown me today that the choices I've made lately - selfish, self-centered, self-focused and self-reliant choices - have kept me from the very source of life that feeds me and from being the very person He created me to be.
Today, I have been Remade... Again!