I had a few too many things going on and I wasn’t very pleasant to be around. I was missing my kids’ soccer games, working a lot, under a lot of stress, and my wife and kids weren’t super happy with me. I was making decisions way outside my comfort zone and to be honest, I wasn’t very certain I was making the right decisions. I was under a lot of pressure. Sundays and Wednesdays were still coming with peculiar regularity. I still had to teach, but I just wanted to crawl in a hole and die.
I prepped. And I studied. And I taught. And it felt like flesh. It felt like me. It felt like the message was a giant run-on sentence, one ginormous blah, blah, blah, blah. I finished the message, went home, and of course, I couldn’t sleep, beating myself up: “You shouldn’t have said that, you should have said that, you missed that, you misquoted that, you said um 150 times. What the heck is wrong with you?”
I just wanted to crawl in a hole and die.
Some assume it happens over decades. I love Jesus, then not as much the next year, and then not as much the next year, and the next year not as much…But it can happen in a moment. Literally, overnight.
I went to bed and realized I needed to get back with the Lord. He hadn’t gone anywhere. The problem was not the Lord; the problem was me. I was trying to do it all on my own strength, trying to wrestle my life to the ground on my own – and it was too much.
I began to look at my spiritual life. What did my time in the Word look like? What did my time in prayer look like? And I realized it was scarce, if not non-existent. So I spent good time with the Lord, and good time in prayer and good time in my Bible – and the funny thing was, my wife liked me more, and my kids wanted to snuggle with me and I actually had the time. When my life gets crazy, I get very selfish. I need this. I need that. When my life is about other people, that’s where I find joy.
I was trying to do it all on my own strength, trying to wrestle my life to the ground on my own – and it was too much.
I walked into OSH, and I saw this guy with his wife sitting on patio furniture. I was feeling full, so I said, “Oh dude, you have got to have it.”
“Yeah, it’s like three grand,” he said.
“Well, happy wife, happy life.”
“If I buy this, you have to come party with us later.”
“If you need a truck, let me know.” And I walked away.
Five minutes later, this guy walked up and asks, “Were you serious?”
“That’s why I bought a truck, so I could help people. Do you need it?”
I loaded his furniture into my truck – and while he didn’t live right down the street, but way down the street, I left with joy. And that’s what I’m talking about. That’s what I love. If I’m in myself, if I’m in the flesh, if I’m being selfish, I’m not going to offer that guy anything. I don’t have time for that guy.
When my life is about other people, that’s where I find joy.
Don’t forget your first love. Recognize from where you have fallen, repent, and do the deeds that you did at first. (Revelation 2:4-5)
The challenge is to check our hearts day by day, moment by moment, and process what it means to stay connected to Him.
If there is stress, frustration, fruitlessness, then you are not abiding. You are not being filled by Him and His strength.
If there’s a word that I would like to define my life, it’s abide. Because when I abide in Him and He abides in me – and literally, abide means to sink deeply into, to remain in – when I remain in Him, and He remains in me, and when I sink deeply into Him, and He sinks deeply into me, I bear much fruit. But apart from Him, I can do nothing. Not that I can’t do some things or I’m not as effective. No. I can’t do anything without him. (John 15:5)
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Copyright: bizoon / 123RF Stock Photo
Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on Brad’s site, and has been republished with permission.