Every few months or so I go through my dresser drawers. I mean well--I really do--but over time, my drawers just become disorganized. I run out of time to fix the pile of shirts that fell over when I pulled one out from underneath the stack. You know how it goes. It just becomes a heap of clothes instead of an organized stack. I pride myself in being an organized person, so this is difficult to admit to you all. While going through the clothes and reorganizing the heap to a beautiful stack, I find a shirt or a pair of pants that I don't wear too often or maybe ever. I take a long look at this item and I then I look again. "Do I REALLY need you?" I ask myself. Sometimes it's an easy answer and I throw it into the give-away pile as fast as I can blink. But every now and then, I become nostalgic. I've had so many memories with you, corduroys. We had a nice time out on the town with the ladies, black top. I cringe as I put it into the give-away pile. I leave my room and cozy into a good book--proud of myself for all the good organizing I just did. About 5 minutes into reading, I put down the book, reenter my bedroom, and I put that beautiful black top that I never wear--and don't even NEED--back into my drawer with all the others. *Sigh* just a few more months of you sitting in my drawer not needed or used, simply taking up space.
This semester, I have been interning with the college ministry we have at our church in the hopes that I will go full-time into campus ministry alongside my husband. One of my favorite things to do is sit down over coffee, or a cinnamon sugar pretzel from Auntie Anne's (can I get an Amen JMU ladies?) with the ladies in our ministry and check in with them. During this season of quarantining due to COVID-19, our chats have been moved to over the phone. It might be better with some coffee or a pretzel, but the company is just as sweet to me. As I have checked in with the ladies during this season, I have heard a common theme:
This season is uncovering things in my heart and life that I have not fully given over to Jesus.
When the distractions have been removed, we can see more clearly. What are those things that we turn to that is not Jesus? Fear, insecurity, addiction to entertainment, pornography, unhealthy eating habits, etc. As my organization of my drawers revealed clothes I had forgotten I still had, this quarantine is revealing things in our hearts and lives we didn't know were still there.
My word for this year is "Listen." My scripture verse to back that is John 10:27 which says, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." As I started this year, my desire was to not just listen to God's voice, but listen to His heart. To really listen to the voice of the one whose heart is to know me and have me stay close to Him. In order to really listen to God, my prayer has been to have a posture like Mary of Bethany. In my last post, I talked about how Mary was the woman who poured out the expensive jar of perfume at the feet of Jesus; and how she also sat at the feet of Jesus, fully attentive to His every word while Mary was in the kitchen distracted. I truly believe that Jesus' heart for Martha was not that she stop working, but instead to shift her perspective. He wanted her to cease striving and anxiety and change it to having an ever-attentive heart to Jesus; where we will find true rest--even in business. So that is my heart for this year. To be a woman who is taking care of my home with my eyes on Jesus. Who is thriving in ministry with my eyes on Jesus. Who is loving my husband, family, and friends with my eyes on Jesus.
As I have been in this quarantine, however, I am learning how quickly I can shift my gaze from Him. I go from starting the morning in a beautiful time of prayer and studying of the Word to then rushing through all the household chores I need to get done. I continue in a harried pursuit of my daily tasks feeling heavy. I exchange His peace for my own control. And as I have now become heavy-laden, my heart wants less of Jesus. I pick up my phone instead of my Bible. I scroll instagram instead of praying. I stop listening for the heart of God. I'm distracted. I'm heavy. I'm inattentive.
And I realize quickly that something has been in my drawer that I don't actually need. It's simply taking up space.
In Proverbs 31:10-31, we see the characteristics of a wife of noble character. In the text, we see that she is always working for her husband and family (v.15). We see that she bounces on opportunities, she is strong, and she is hard-working (v.16-18). We see that she desires to give to the poor (v. 20). This woman is busy! But in verse 25 we see that she "...can laugh at the days to come." This suggests a carefreeness and a playfulness about the Proverbs 31 woman that reminds me of Mary of Bethany. This woman has a lot going on. She is able to do many things WELL. One might ask--HOW?! How can she juggle all of these things and still be smiling let alone laughing? Verse 30 tells us: She fears the Lord.
During this time of crisis, we all need to clean out our drawers so-to-speak. We have an opportunity to purge some things in a literal sense, but we also have an opportunity to purge some things in a spiritual sense. There are some things in our lives that our distracting us from Jesus. And He is pleading to be our all--our everything. As we gaze into our hearts, let's get rid of those things that are within us that we don't have space for, in order to make more room for Him. He's it. He's enough. He's everything. Let's set our hearts on Him completely and laugh without fear of the future. How? Because we fear Him.