“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always” Psalm 105:4 (NIV).
Whether I’m at work or at the office, each day I am faced with a list of expectations. The list can seem endless, with so many things that need to get done that affect the people who depend on me each day. Some days the list is easier to tackle than others. The expectations that usually are the most difficult to manage; however, are the ones I put on myself.
On the days, when the list is longer than usual – those are the days that I need to find time with God the most. However, the challenge is to set aside the time to do so. I have found that in order to set aside that necessary time with God, I need to let go of something. Usually, that something is what I think is too important to let go of. Having control issues, maintaining order is something I constantly seek in my life.
But, if I look closely, there are always things that I can set aside and the earth will still revolve around its axis tomorrow. For instance, the laundry can wait. I love to have a nice empty laundry basket in my room each week. When the clothes start to tower over the lid, it’s enough to make me physically start to twitch. It’s messy. Disorganized. And I hate looking at it. However, if I have a packed day & spend that ½ hour or so I that I have free tackling that heap of dirty laundry, then I have subtracted time I could have spent with God that day.
Lessons on love, obedience, reverence and service to the Lord are interwoven throughout chapters 11 through 15 in the Book of Deuteronomy. Moses tells the Israelites, “Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him” Deuteronomy 11:22 (NLT). If God’s people follow these commands, they are assured blessings. But, if they fail to obey they will be cursed (see Deuteronomy 11:26-28).
What does “walking in his ways” mean? As Moses points out in the very next chapter, it means that we are required to follow God’s ways – not the worlds. We can only follow His ways by worshipping Him for the many blessings He has provided for us. One of the best ways we can follow God is through reading His Word. The Bible is our only guide to how God intends for us to live. It links the past to the present. We can learn from the mistakes of those who came before us. And God wants us to know Him in this more intimate way, so our hearts grow closer to Him.
Chapter 13 warns us against following the ways of the world. As Moses says, “Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him” Deuteronomy 13:4 (NLT).
When so many distractions are coming at us, it is so easy to forget this. However, when I allow myself to stop and slow down long enough to spend time in God’s Word – the noise is immediately silenced. It is a relief that brings much clarity and strength to my life, allowing me to see things a bit more clearly than I did before.
It also makes it easier to let go of my own “dirty laundry.” So, many things in this world distract us from paying attention to what God wants us to learn. The more we give in to those distractions, the farther we place ourselves from Him and the harder it is to hear what He is trying to teach us.
I can’t help but notice that when I start to fill my day with little chores tucked in between my work, the errands, getting dinner on the table for my family, etc. – then it becomes harder to focus, to smile, to breathe. Physically, I don’t feel like myself. Then, I can find myself snapping at someone I love when they ask me a simple question. And ironically, piling on the added chore to my list that day ends up leaving me feeling quite out of control, which is what I wanted to avoid feeling in the first place.
The only thing, I have learned, that adds peace and sanity to my day, is spending time with God. That, for me, is reading his Word and spending time in prayer. It makes me feel solid – grounded to the floor, if you will – versus feeling shaky and like I’m spinning out of control. In other words, the laundry can wait.
Father God, protect me from the unrealistic expectations of others and from the unrealistic expectations I put on myself. Help me to seek you first and foremost each day. Forgive me for the times when I forget that I need to seek Your face always. Thank You for the loving reminder of how important it is to “cling” to You. What a blessing it is that You are always available and willing to nurture, help and correct me when I need it. Praise to You for giving me redemption and grace through the cross. It is in Your Son, Jesus’ Most Precious Name, I pray. Amen.