Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Heart Work

Colossians 1:25-27
25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
God has been working on my heart lately. Rooting out the perfectionism and performance that has so marked my life and at times have prided myself on. It's wrong. I know that, and it's exhausting to be a professional perfectionist. People sometimes appluad it and say how great it is that I'm such an organizer or so detail oriented. I'm just glad that I have a husband who keeps me in check and is mindful of my weakness to push myself into exhaustion for the sake of things being perfect or the way that I imagine them or what I think other Christian women, usually homemakers, applaud. I'm not perfect. It reminds me of high school. People would tell me that I was so perfect. They'd say I had perfect friends, perfect family, perfect grades, perfect this, perfect that...blah, blah, blah. Inside I would be writhing in pain, thinking of how I walked through the hallways of high school holding my breath.

Now, don't be misled God has definitely freed me from that type of bondage of perfectionism and performance. Don't let yourself be fooled, it is bondage. The enemy loves to get into the sneaky, quiet, good looking areas of our lives. It's good that I'm organized and etc, but Satan taints that good and works to turn it to evil. And I have let him. (Interesting tangent: A pastor once said that if you're not working with God you're working against Him. It's the same with sin. I choose to sin, like all of us, so there are times when I choose to work with Satan. It's a bad thing that Christ in me eradicates as I walk with Him.)

Having just been married I've been emmersing myself in articles, blogs, podcasts, and books on biblical womanhood, femininity, and homemaking. All these are topics which I have studied for a few years now and truly love, enjoy, and believe. However, over the last few days God has been revealing the striving and perfection that I have been trying to attain in my own strength in regard to these things. Let me tell you, it's exhausting. Here's an excerpt from my journal where I was talking about this:

  1. There's a chance I might be striving too hard in my role as helper in the home--in my own strength.
  2. I'm trying (and wishing) so hard to be like those of the blogs I read.
  3. I should be excited about my biblical role as helper and submission (see John Piper's definition) and to live that out joyfully. [<-- This is where striving for perfection gets you.]

I've found that I've wanted #2 so bad, I'm trying to emulate and think of things that would be like them. I wish I was home so I could do #1 better, at least in my own eyes. And with #3 I get frustrated at Joe or myself (or both) and lose (or really give up) my joy.

So, what to do?

Live as God designed me; not to emulate other believers, learn from them, yes, but emulate Christ. And I have my own gifts and ministry that are useful and people need, so I should be doing that.

That's where I've been recently. Yet, yesterday God started knocking on another door. In youth, one of the college guys was teaching on the chapter in Acts where Phillip followed the Spirit to Gaza where he met the Ethiopian eunch and began talking to him about Jesus and the man was baptized. We broke up into small groups to go over some questions. As a leader, I felt pretty unprepared. My mind had not really been set on ministry, evangelism, etc. as of late. But one of the questions was, "What is keeping you from witnessing like Phillip?" The question was eluding to the fact that Phillip readily went where the Lord sent him, not knowing what but followed the Spirit and witnessed. A follow-up question was "What is keeping you from witnessing?" The answers in our group were fear, inconvenience, busyness, lack of passion, and not knowing what to say or do (all of which I could confess).

It convicted me, so I confessed my sin along with the other girls in my group. As the day went on and also today the idea has struck me, and continually grown, that I've been so consumed by focusing my attention on biblical womanhood, femininity, and homemaking--all which are good and need attention---yet, have turned my attention from the Lord. In some ways they have been focused on myself and not the Lord. More importantly, God has been revealing to me that in those things I have lost my focus on the job Christ has given me--to be a minister of freedom and a proclaimer of grace. Basically, I haven't been focused and mindful of the great commission that Christ has given to all believers. I've been living my life paying attention to important things, but ignoring the most important: spreading a passion for the glory of God.

I have a role in the body of Christ that is my own. The women whose blogs, books, and podcasts I read and listen to have their own role in the body of Christ, yet for all of us our utmost goal is to spread a passion for God throughout our homes, churches, community, country, and world. We, I, have to get outside of myself, outside of my home to spread a passion for the glory of God.

It starts in my home, but if it stays there or even in my small little community of family, friends, and believers it's sin. Christ has anointed me to spread the Good News and as good as it is to study, learn, and implement biblical womanhood, femininity, and homemaking if I stop there I've lost my mission. I've fallen short. I've stopped at myself. Christ in me, the hope of glory.

Spread it...

"Domestics duties are good, but how long are you going to shine the furniture? You use to not need furniture. You use to not need all those things that have consumed you. You need to save your money and get a passport."

-Brian Brennt, Pastor of New Song Church (To hear the whole sermon go here.)

1 comment:

April said...

Great post, Jess. :-) And so very true.