I love my church.
Each week I attend, I am challenged in my faith. Some days I leave with a gentle reminder of something I already knew but needed to be nudged on; some days I walk out with a new conviction and have to ask God to help me with it; and some sermons stick and roll around in my mind pushing me towards major life change.
I experienced one of those sermons a few weeks ago.
The pastor had the congregation take ninety seconds and write out everything we had to accomplish before December 25th. My list consisted of things such as Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts and even baking.
He then instructed us to make a second list of the important things – the things we want to accomplish in the big picture of life.
Surprisingly to me, not any of the things on my “to do list by December 25th” even closely resembled that of my “important list”. And that left me questioning if the various ways I keep busy are helping me attain my goals in life, or if they are just distracting me to fill my time until I just stumble upon those goals.
The journey I started to walk 502 days ago has been the hardest work I’ve ever done. It’s drudged up many memories I would use alcohol to help me forget. Keeping busy has been my alcohol replacement. I’ve justified it with knowing I’ve been helpful to someone else.
Since that sermon, I’ve been reflecting much on my younger, more vulnerable years. I can recall lying on my bed for hours listening to the newest song on the airwaves to learn all of the lyrics (this was before the internet where the lyrics can just be googled). I remember dreaming about what life would be like as I grew up…what my husband and children would look like. Back when I used the words “TRUE LOVE” with our names to add up how great of a couple we would make – and if the score didn’t tally high enough, I’d recalculate using our middle names.
Since this sermon, two things have occurred to me: the first is that at some point I quit dreaming. I quit believing in true love. And secondly, I realized that is had been a very long time since I had been okay in my own company. Both realizations equally disturbed me.
I knew if I wanted to accomplish the things on my “important list”, I would need to be able to accomplish these two small things.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
So I gave it to God. I asked Him to help me to dream again; to help me believe in true love again and almost instantly He changed my mindset. Almost immediately upon asking for God’s Help, He provided.
Tonight I have spent mostly alone listening to old cds, cleaning and dreaming. My thoughts haven’t been chaotic and racing. I feel completely content and fulfilled in this moment.
And that’s how God works.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
While I didn’t get any baking done (you can thank me later) and I still have yet to wrap a single gift, I am okay. I have made progress towards accomplishing my important list, and that is worth living for.