Monday, 20 October 2014

When Western pressures take us away from Eastern promise {how to spend our time}

I was crawling up the stairs last night.

Yes, I do that sometimes.

At least once a week.

Not through utter exhaustion, and a longing for my bed. Crawling up the stairs, vacuuming.

I am always astounded by the amount of random fluff and stuff that makes its way around my home.  I hate the floor being messy, and I certainly don't have it the way I'd like it to be most of the time.

Actually, there are many thing in my house that are not as I would like them to be most of the time. Often, I have to just leave things, undone, and not the way I would like them to be.

The thought struck me, as I crawled up the stairs,

"We don't make life easy for ourselves these days"

What am I talking about? Surely we have many modern machines to make life easier?  Surely life is EASIER?

I was thinking, however, about my spiritual life.  The amount of work I have to do, to keep the place the way it "should" be, often takes more time, by a long stretch, than I spend applying myself to eternal things.

I spend time making my house look a particular "standard", and not the time making sure my children are to a certain "standard".

My house gets more attention than my heart. My devotions get squished into the moments I can get in the morning, but my stairs still get vacuumed...

I worry about what people will think if I don't have my house spotless, and worry less about the fact that I haven't stilled my heart and spent time with the Lord.

I can't imagine, for a minute, that the ladies in Bible times were worrying about the pen marks on the wall, drawn by their children. (Well, obviously, not having pens and all....) Their children were probably busy playing outdoors, whilst they took care about the simple and basic things in life - not worrying about aesthetics and peer pressure.

We are so busy doing all the things that civilised, western society suggest we OUGHT to be doing, in order to be the "perfect" housewife.  We give ourselves guilt complexes when ironing gets left undone, or we haven't dusted lately. Rushing around doing jobs that no-one will notice if they are left undone.  Worrying about things that just aren't necessary.

Quick pause in rambling.....

I'm not saying we should let our house turn into a DUMP.  OHHHHH no.

We need to be clean, and hygenic.  It shouldn't look like a tip.  If it does, then we are either not training our children properly, or have too  much stuff. (Guilty, and guilty....)

That's a whole other blog post...

We DO have a testimony to be an example to others of caring for our family and belongings.

I'm talking the non-essentials.  The things that we can easily obsess about, which simply aren't as important as spending time with our family, instead.

I'm really not convinced that God created us to be worrying so much about the externals of life.

We read, over and over, in the Bible, about seeking. The wise men sought after Jesus. They came, from the East, looking for the promised King.  They put aside their normal business, and travelled from far, far away, for the Promise of a King.

 What do we seek after?  Do we seek after affirmation from those around us that we have the tidiest house, the best behaved children, or the most up-to-date ways of doing things?

Or do we simply seek to serve, to worship - to live life simply, and look to "Jesus only".

We can make life so complicated.  So full of self-imposed pressure and strain.

It can wear us down, instead of lifting us up, with our eyes toward our Master, Saviour, burden-lifter, rest-giver.

"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?"
  Matthew 6

or, "how shall we make our house spotless? or, What can we do to fit in with the world around us? or, How can we squeeze so much into our day, that really doesn't matter, that we squeeze Jesus out?"

The answer?

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

The kingdom of God.

His righteousness.

Pleasing Him.  Things spiritual, not things physical.

Jesus cares less about our vacuumed stairs, and more about our seeking hearts.

Hearts that put His kingdom above our earthly habitation.

This week, I plan to slow down.  To stop worrying about the "untidiness" of life - which will, ohhhh so quickly be a season which ends, when the children grow up - and to slow down and take time with my saviour.  Seeking HIM first.  Searching for the promises in His Word, instead of conforming to the pressures of the world.

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