The hot bath water surrounded me. I settled into the bubbles and grabbed the book from the toilet seat. After a full day, I finally could relax and read, even if that reading was a review book called, The God-First Life by Stovall Weems. Still, it was reading, and I am so addicted to books. The first thing that hit me was chapter two.
“Whatever has first place in your life directs how you live it.” (Pg. 21)
It’s been stressful for a long time. I won’t go into the reasons. Even a blogging sabbatical wasn’t really a sabbatical. A self-imposed deadline, poor choices in how I spent my time, and other unrelated items left me stretched emotionally and made me struggle physically as I trained for tomorrow’s marathon. Whatever has first place in our lives directs how we live it. The struggle began when I neglected my time with God. God wasn’t done with me yet.
Last Saturday, our Fellowship Group (or small group) met. We watched David Jeremiah’s Sunday recordings. David told the story of how we have to place the bigger rocks in the jar first which represent our priorities in life, and all the other stuff will fit in neatly (gravel, sand, water). I used to have an orderly life. It’s how I worked a full time job, running a magazine, and how I finished a novel. The stress hit its peak this week. I broke in two. God hit me over the head by reminding me of my lack of order.
In chapter two, page 30, Weems continued. He talked about how the lion has to go after the big meal because to chase the smaller meals, that would burn too many calories, which the smaller meals, the rodents, can’t replenish.
“I think the lion is on to something here, and we should pay attention to it. The lion knows what’s important, and he stays focused on that one big thing. He’s better than scurrying after rodents. And you know what? You’re better than that too. You’ve got a bigger purpose than chasing after all the little things in this life. Unless we focus on the kingdom, we’re going to burn ourselves out chasing the little rodents in our lives. The God-first life offers us that focus.” (emphasis mine, pg. 31).
Before this paragraph, God used this book to reaffirm what David Jeremiah said last Saturday to our group: recognize the difference between the urgent and the important.
I couldn’t believe what I read in chapter two! It’s as if God, after a week of stressing and crying out to Him, started to answer the prayers. He started to reprimand me for not putting Him first and relying on my own strength. I am fighting real battles (who isn’t?), but I was fighting them by myself. Hopelessness stole into my life. While the situation hasn’t really changed, my attitude is slowly firming and I am becoming stronger as I nestle deep into God’s Word once again. It will take time to heal, but I am surrounded by wise and loving friends and a wonderful husband who, not only support me, but also tell me what I don’t want to hear. I am grateful for them. The small changes I am making in my life will help me to rest a while. Marathons have aid stations for runners to get nourishment. God gives us aid stations where in our race we can pause and re-focus our eyes back on Him.
Meanwhile, my husband has placed large and small rocks all over our coffee table in the living room.
Are you struggling, too? Please write in the comments your prayer needs and let us pray for you.