I often read the daily selections from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest. I like the way Chambers’ cuts to the quick: “Beware of any work for God that causes or allows you to avoid concentrating on Him (April 23).”
Last night, like many nights of late, I didn’t sleep. It’s a season of life, I suspect–a tiring one. As I wrestled with my sheets, my mind began churning with thoughts of all I need to do. While I could have spent the wee morning hours focused on God and communing with Him, instead, I listened to the call of my to-do list. Eventually, I turned on the light, reached for my laptop, and revised a proposal and sent it off to my agent.
Revising the proposal allowed me to check one thing off my list. And for that, I’m grateful.
But Oswald Chambers’ point is well-taken for those of us whose work is ministry related. Because I wrote of spiritual matters in the night, it felt as though I’d spent time with God. But that’s a deception, and one I recognize.
The struggle for me, these days, is keeping up with the work for God, but not to the exclusion of God. A question my spiritual director asked me this week helped me maintain my perspective: “How do you define success for yourself?” After several minutes of silence, time to weed out the answers that didn’t resonate, I landed on the one that did fit. Success for me is resting in God.
That’s it. It’s my greatest desire and the one I lose sight of most often.
As I strive for worldly success–or even ministry success, I can, as Chambers’ suggested, begin worshipping the work rather than worshipping God. But there’s no satisfaction in that. The accolades, the awards, the sales–all of those are fine and even good–if they’re from God. But when they become my focus, I’m left empty.
And God’s left waiting…
Waiting to spend time with me.
That’s a hard concept for me to embrace. Yet, as much as I long to rest with God, I also long to offer my friendship to God. To be like Abraham–a friend of God.
So… What’s keeping you up?
P.S. Because I didn’t sleep, I’m feeling giddy and like giving books away today. It is Friday, after all. So, here’s today’s game in the name of marketing, or stewardship, as I prefer to think of it: Refer one new subscriber to my blog or one more “fan” to my FB author page and have them leave a comment on this post mentioning you or have them like my FB page and leave a comment there mentioning you. Then, I’ll do a random drawing on Monday and send a free signed copy of either Words or Lost and Found to you and to the friend who mentioned you in their comment. Deal?