July 5, 2019
You may have noticed that I’ve gotten a little slack the last couple of days with my Journey to Joy postings. All is well. One of the things I’ve learned as a recovering card-carrying-Type-A personality is that I have to loosen up and be flexible to just let life come however it wants to instead of trying to schedule everything. For instance, this morning, I got dressed to go to the gym following my morning coffee. It’s now 3:26 p.m. and I still haven’t gotten there! Was I procrastinating? Was I lazy? No, actually neither!
Instead of following the schedule I had outlined for my day, I allowed myself to linger a little longer this morning and ask God what He wanted me to do today. The answer was to “stay tuned.” God knows me and enjoys testing me, I am sure! He knows that I need continual work in the area of standing down and following. I have the spiritual gift of administration, and my mind quickly goes to prioritizing, planning, and organizing. But as with any strength, if you don’t watch it, your strength or your gift can become a perversion.
The first opportunity to listen came through my morning devotions group. Some women felt safe to share some very personal burdens they are carrying. Some were so personal that they didn’t feel safe enough to share through normal church channels. However, God was glorified, and these sweet sisters were encouraged having their burdens shared and knowing that other women were standing in the gap and praying with and for them. I started to see God’s plan for the day.
The next opportunity to listen came through a group of my sorority sisters. After a fun 4th of July function with lots of laughter and discussion, some felt encouraged to continue sharing today. God was again glorified because these dear sisters feel the bond of sisterhood that they hadn’t tapped into before. Clearly, the plan for today was listening.
What does listening have to do with this journey to joy that we’ve been on the last few days? Have you ever been on a road trip and realized that you got as much out of the road trip as you did the destination? Getting to joy is sort of like that. It sneaks up on you. When we come into agreement with God (like I did with giving up my schedule today), and then align with Him (like I did with intensifying my listening antennae), you see the assignment (which was being available to my sisters and their needs), we realize that contentment (joy) comes from staying in tune with God.
I think a lot of the time, we make the Gospel, so complicated with our rules, practices, and regulations that we forget some basics like listening and we (or at least I do) get ahead of God. And this is why when things get cloudy and busy for me coming back to center with Micah 6:8 is all I need. I like the Amplified Bible version best because it shouts loud and clear three essential to-dos:
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
- Except to be just,
- and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion),
- And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?
Be free of judgment, practice compassion, and lose self…do these experienced the joy that comes from doing what the Lord requires.