Lists are a big part of my life, whether mental or hand-written. As useful as they can be at times, they can also be paralyzing, suffocating, stumbling blocks.
Yes, I said stumbling blocks.
This blog was actually formed because I realized something. My list was never going to end, and that should be totally ok. I should be delighting in the journey, not the end product.
Because if you're actually done, you're probably dead - right?
It seems, after careful observation of my everyday neurosis, that I have two types of lists - a short-term 'to do' and a longer-term 'really want to'.
For some reason, I seem to have some kind of fascination with re-writing the 'really want to' list, because I find it everywhere - in drawing pads, note pads, my bible study book...
I've found journals with nothing in them EXCEPT this 'really want to' list.
I usually don't have too much of a problem crossing things off of my short term 'to do' list. The long term? Not so much. I will usually have a flurry of 'DO ALL THE THINGS' and get a couple of them crossed off, followed by a lull of like...
I like to think I'm pretty good at time management (don't be too impressed, insomnia gives me a bit of extra time than most) but you know what I'm horrible at?
You know what I love? Knowing that you have a problem, being completely unsure of what the problem actually is - and then having God smack you upside the head with both the problem and the solution.
I've been a bit down in the dumps lately. I try not to dig too far down into the 'hole of ick' because I am completely aware of my blessings in life. These are the moments that I am most thankful for my checkered past, because they keep the present in a thankful-perspective.
I am also completely aware of how strong that 'hole of ick' can be if you let that sludge go anywhere past your kneecaps.
As I walked into church yesterday morning, in my head I was thinking what I'm usually thinking. It goes something like this:
"Ok, Lord, I really need your help. I'm not sure what I need your help with, but I need some direction. I need to understand what I'm supposed to do. Make sure you remember to get eggs...oh, and feta. Sorry, Lord. I know you are calling me towards something...I have all these things on my list - which is it that I'm supposed to do? Quinoa. Don't forget quinoa, either. And Elijah needs socks...and bubbles. SQUIRREL."
Yes, I think I have some kind of ADD...but aside from that, I'm always asking God what it is that I'm supposed to be doing. When I don't get an answer...well...like any annoying child, I just keep asking. In the meantime, my list stays stagnant, because I am so focused on where to start that I never actually start.
So we're in church, and we're reading Galatians 6: 11-18. I won't quote the whole thing - but basically, Paul is telling the Galatians that there are people trying to say that, in order to be right with God, you must live by both the cross and the law (of the Old Testament) - when in fact it is only faith in Christ that will 'save' you.
In essence - faith, not works, are what make us worthy in the eyes of God.
This is not a new message for me. I came out of church and didn't feel the usual amaze-balls 'Yay! Direction! Thank you, God!' But I still enjoyed the message, so I went about my day and pondered.
This morning, I woke to do my bible study and prayed the same prayer as the day before, minus the eggs, feta, quinoa, socks and bubbles. I pondered yesterdays message for a brief moment, and asked the Lord to set me on fire. I wanted to get out of this 'blah' feeling, and instead feel God stirring in my soul. I opened up my Bible, randomly, to Romans 4 and started to read.
Of course, the scripture was about the difference between justification by works and by faith...it went hand in hand with the message from church yesterday.
"For the promise of Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression." Romans 4:13-15
In the words of Gru, from Despicable Me:
Image from galsandhorses
Sometimes, we get so caught up in the action of trying to do what's right that we don't stop to have purposeful faith in what is happening in our lives.
Faith...regardless of what we're doing.
Prayer...not for answers, but for thanks.
The lightbulb moment, is that by accepting Christ into our hearts and choosing to live in faith through Him, we have already fulfilled God's main purpose for our lives.
All the 'good things' we want so desperately to do are just sprinkles on an already frosted cake.
I don't know about you, but I'm going to try to ease up on pummeling God with my need to know, and start reflecting on the fact that whatever I decide to do, God will use towards HIS purpose. After all, I'm pretty sure His purpose is way more important than mine, individually.
My lesson for today?
Good works are the product of much faith, not the other way around.