Y’all? Can I kinda bare my soul today?
This may be more like a journal entry than a blog post.
So, bear with me while I pour out my guts onto this screen.
I pray God meets you somewhere in these words like He’s meeting me today.
On Love and Obedience and Weakness
I so long to love God really well.
Serve Him- yes.
Obey Him- absolutely. Radically.
But to really adore Him with crazy-undignified fire in my heart.
To passionately respond again and again to His relentless pursuit.
It’s been said that to obey Him is to love Him.
But Jesus never said obedience equates to love.
If you love me, you will obey what I command.
We can obey for a variety of reasons.
We can obey simply because we know it’s right.
We can obey out of fear.
We can even obey out of a desire to manipulate God.
And other than obeying just to “get God to do what we want,” these motives for obedience aren’t necessarily “bad.”
I just believe there’s better.
I believe what Jesus was saying here was not exactly that obedience always = love. But something more along the lines of:
“If you are overcome by love for Me – obedience will be a natural outflow.”
I want to love Him like that.
I want my obedience to flow unstoppably from a heart that is so wrecked by His kindness, that how can I not respond by laying my life down in love for Him?
Fading Fire and Half-Alive Hearts
And here’s the thing about loving Him like this.
That fire? It has to be stewarded. Tended. Like an actual fire that’ll go out if it’s left unattended.
And y’all? As much as I’m THANKFUL for my life? This season of mothering my amazing little ones makes stewarding the fire of my desire for Him excruciatingly difficult at times.
[I mean – constant.]
Laundry. Dishes. Diapers. Feeding people. Picking up the same toys 10 times a day- and after a while? My heart sort of slips into autopilot mode.
Just get ‘er done. Today.
And for the next 18+ years.
I’ve seen this happen to dear friends. I’ve experienced it myself. And let me just say right now – I have zero judgement in my heart toward others because like I said – I know from experience that it is a mighty struggle.
But this is what I’ve observed:
A woman (or a man, for that matter – but I’m writing mostly to women) is white-hot with love for Jesus as a young adult.
Life goes on. She gets married. Has a few kids.
She spends her days with her precious, gift-from-God little people, talking about dinosaurs and trains and Curious George and don’t touch that and please be gentle with your sister and talk to Mommy with an honoring voice (yes – this is my life ) and MAN – somewhere between beginning to feel a little sorry for herself and her brain turning slightly to mush- her heart turns mushy as well.
And this isn’t a good kind of mush. It’s the numb, semi-shut down, only-half-alive-to-God kind.
Her overwhelmed-by-His-love-ness fades.
The fire in her heart dims.
Y’all, this has happened to me in the [possibly not-so-distant] past. And it threatens to re-happen every. single. day.
The End of Self-Righteousness and the Undoing of Our Hearts
Before you start feeling guilty/condemned (which is another struggle for me – lemme tell ya), can I just remind you that it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4)?
I feel like I’ve done precious little as of late to “steward” my internal fire and desire for Him.
I so love my life, y’all. Everything about it. But I’ve also been tired – physically, emotionally, even spiritually.
And my ability to do much of anything that would feel like “earning” God’s attention – it’s been next to nil.
I’ve used many of my occasional “spare” moments to “veg” on Facebook. I’ve not spent much focused time before the Lord.
And? Being brutally honest? I’ve not spent time in simple stillness before the Lord in I dunno how long.
Even though I know better. I know I need to intentionally tend and steward my desire for God if I’m to be fully alive inside.
I’ve just. been. tired. Bone-tired.
But oh, guys, His GRACE. The sweetness of His grace.
Undone By His Tender Pursuit
I am sitting here today, my heart just a puddle (a good kind of puddle)- because guys? God has caught me off guard today – has so undone me – by the sweetness of His affection for me.
He pursues my heart when I’m exhausted and caught up in lamenting my lack of sleep. He puts this song on the radio at the precise time I need it. He catches my attention in random moments and nudges my heart to remember His extravagant goodness.
Just because He adores me and wants me to know it. Really know it.
And I am doing nothing. to earn it. [Nor could I earn it if I tried.]
Friends, God takes us through seasons of feeling weaker-than-weak to halt all our self-righteousness doing and wreck our hearts with ruthless Love.
I mean – seriously. Why He still desires me and loves me this fiercely when I’m living only half-alive to Him – it’s beyond my ability to grasp.
But guys, it’s Who He is. He is Love. He is Kindness.
And all my weakness and failure don’t change His heart toward me. Not for half a second.
So He woos me and draws me and undoes me over and over.
His tenderness breathes new life into my tired heart. Again. And again.
And what else can I do but respond to Him with a heart of repentance and surrender?
I’ll tell ya what – if we’re tuned in to His heart toward us? If we’re tuned in to the fact that even when our brains and hearts are numbed-out mush, it doesn’t stop Him from pursuing us with this crazy-fierce love?
Even the most draining of seasons doesn’t have to dim our fire. It doesn’t have to dilute our passion. Doesn’t have to weaken the ferocity of our affection and desire for Him.
Not in the least.
Because when we’re bone-tired (and we absolutely will be) – and when we fail to be intentional before Him (and we absolutely will fail) – instead of freaking out over our inability to be worthy of His pursuit? We can fall. back. into. Grace.
This is the Gospel, friends.
We can’t earn His pursuit. And we don’t have to try. Our job is to simply receive it – receive Him – in the midst of our weakness. Our brokenness. Our drained-ness.
And really? This is the best (albeit sometimes the hardest) place to receive and respond to Him.
Because in letting Him overwhelm us by His affectionate pursuit when we feel absolutely incapable of deserving it? Our hearts are undone.
He wins our hearts, and our religious self-righteousness loses. Big time.
We’ll never be more wrecked by His love than when we receive it freely, extravagantly, in the place of our utter weakness.
And how then can we not lay our lives down in obedience to Him?
And won’t we then, under this covering of crazy grace, live lives of radical obedience as a response to His love? Tend the fire that grows inside us? And confidently receive His mercy-filled pursuit all over again when our weakness yet again catches up with us?
Because He’s purchased confidence for us. And we love Him [and obey Him] because He loved us first.
I want to love Him like that, y’all. With crazy fire in my heart.
And even in this season – especially in this season – I believe I can.
Because I’m weak.
And in my weakness, He loves me first.
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