Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Falling Apart*

Sometimes we fall apart.

It is just a fact.  Even the best and brightest God loving, Christ Worshiping, Christian... is human and falls apart sometimes.

We all fall apart.

A friend once told me, "Don't put me on a pedestal, I am afraid of heights." I have learned: so am I.  A few years later someone called me for faith advice... didn't like my answer... then accused me of pedestal standing and I found myself uttering the same phrase, "Don't put me on a pedestal, I am afraid of heights."

I fall apart.

I hope to stand tall, I try to do what is right.  But, like everyone else (whether or not they will admit it), some more often the others... we all fall apart.  But we never fall farther apart than when we neglect our time with God.

It started out simple really: everything I saw kept reminding me, "give your best to God".  I am a night owl forced to be a morning person because of hubby's work schedule and kids' needs, etc.  I would get up crazy early to do a Bible study.  But then, for (what seemed like) no reason at all one day my mind started drifting, I was suddenly too tiered to give my best.  It never use to be that way.  I used to be able to muster the focus to soak up God's Word, be fed, and share.... But somewhere it shifted.  My best must be at night then.  Night owl, stay up late, do my study then, sleep in an extra hour... it will work.

It did at first.  It was nice to give myself over to the shroud of hours when everyone rests.  But slowly it, too,  shifted.... kids up a wee bit later, needing or interrupting.... hubby wanting to chat when typically he would sleep.  What was  happening?  My once placid family looking for early slumber was now creeping later and later into MY time.  By the time I saw everyone subdued, I myself was languishing.

Study time suffered.  It was worse than ever.  Worse then my most distracted morning.  I denied it at first.  I wanted to redeem it.  Reclaim those hours and resolved it was me... surely I didn't manage my day right that I should be so tiered so "early".

I began to fall apart.

Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.  This is only true if I am building that relationship... deliberately and devoutly inviting Him in.

But I wasn't.

Oh, I still prayed.  Those passing prayers and prayers with my husband before he drifted off to sleep.  Prayers at meal time... but I wasn't really seeking the deep quiet.  I wasn't wholly and regularly devoting MY BEST to God.

I began to see how giving our best to God isn't necessarily that prime spot of time... time being fluid in a mother's world; what is prime now may not be prime in two days.  No  I numbly began to realize a word missing from the idea of giving our best to God : sacrifice.

If we give "our" best of what we want to give to God, we are putting him into our box of what works.  Study and prayer become a time slot to fill and a duty to complete.  Anyone can pick their "best time of day" and squeeze God into the time it allows.  But not everyone will sacrifice .... sacrifice sleep, activity, comfort... that, is giving our best to God.  And I believe scripture confirms this:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
- Romans 12:1

sacrifice  according to the original 1828 Webster's dictionary:

2. To destroy, surrender or suffer to be lost for the sake of obtaining something ...
3. To devote with loss.

That being the case, why do we give "our" best time for Bible Study and prayer?  Why don't we sacrifice whatever God calls us to give so that we can meet him when we are letting go of the most?  An interesting theory when considered in the context of how Romans 12 continues:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
- Romans 12:2

Are we conforming when we wait for the right time to study and worship on our own.  Conforming to the expectations and flow of the world around us or are we sacrificing our interests, our desires, our comforts to obtain the presence of the Lord at the center of our lives and know God's will?

"For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"  "Or who has given a gift to him, to receive a gift in return?"  For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen. 
- Romans 11:34-36

What does God owe us?  Nothing.  He has already given us more than we deserve in Jesus Christ.  So why do we treat our time with him like it is indispensable?  Like it is a gift to Him that we should take the time to approach the throne?  Why do we enter it with anything other than a humble, sacrificial offering of self and a desire to know Him better simply because From Him and Through Him and To Him ALL things are.  Because HE deserves our praise, our worship, our sacrifice forever.

Maybe you know this already.  Maybe you are already an expert navigator in a life of sacrifice.  May God receive glory through you.  I thought I was the expert navigator in a life of sacrifice, until my recent bout of falling apart.  But I had to fall apart in order to be picked up and put back together... in order to realize how much of HIM I need at the center of me and how easy it is to fall into a rut of complacency and expectation without true sacrifice or proper humility.  No matter how much Bible training we receive or how old we get, we must guard our hearts from religious ruts; activity performed because that is what good Christians do... and devote ourselves daily to being relational and invested in our Lord and Savior.... after all, He has invested in us when we were (and often still are) falling apart.  He deserves the glory and worship... forever.

I pray, when you fall apart, that you find your way to Him to piece you back together... whether sacrifice or humility or some other issue busts you to pieces.... my hope is that you surrender yourself to Him for His binding Glue!



Related article:  On the Path to Center

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