How is it nearing the end of July? Seriously, it has not slowed down this year one bit. We have finished a school core, painted the dining room, watched things grow (mostly kids, but some vegetables, and a puppy too.) Taken a marriage retreat and a trip to grandparents, the beach, and two to the ER – not in that order.
Lately I’ve been seeing life for what it is- a vapor. A fleeting gift.
A breath. A vital battle. Time that should be spent with focus – sometimes we really need a time of refining to wake us up from our distractions. ( I call it waking up from the Matrix).
The enemy is such a great distractor, as C.S. Lewis has described, (and the Bible warns us)
“You will find that anything or nothing is sufficient to attract his (the human soul’s) wandering attention. You no longer need a good book, which he really likes, to keep him from his prayers, or his work, or his sleep; a column of advertisements from yesterday’s paper will do. You can make him waste his time… in conversations about subjects that bore him. You can make him do nothing at all for long periods. You can keep him up late at night, not roistering, but staring at a dead fire in a cold room.”
(The Screwtape Letters)
And C.S. Lewis didn’t live in the age of screens and social media.
Life is just flying by at the speed of … life. It really does go by as quickly as the Bible says it does, and we’re spending so much of it being overcome by daily distractions. (totally guilty here)
I bet only a handful of you will make to the end of this post without getting bored and distracted by something else (wink).
We’re just swimming (and drowning) in distractions. And we’re also overcome with an illusion of our own power – power to control our lives (and the lives of others- again, guilty over here.)
Work. School. Career. Spending. Borrowing. More spending. Vacations. Renovations. Physical alterations.
We are caught up in the notion that we have the power to control the details of our existence – down to the shape of our noses and the wrinkles on our face, the strings of silver multiplying in our hair, and the size of our muscles – and our bank accounts… and our living rooms. (Interesting side note: in America our houses and cars are getting bigger but our families are getting smaller…)
Just think about the current trend. Everywhere I look on social media we are encouraging each other about how much control we have over our own life and destiny – how “strong” we are.
We are “enough”.
We are “bold”.
We are “fierce”.
We are “brave”.
We are “mighty”.
The truth is that’s what our hearts are telling us, but our hearts are deceitful, and can’t be trusted. The truth is that we’re really not in control of much, least of all our own tongues, though that’s one thing God does tell us to control, but that’s another subject.
We think we can guard our turf, and the Word tells us to guard our hearts.
We revel in the advice to “set boundaries”, but Jesus tells us to think of others as more important than ourselves, and love them as we love ourselves,…. and to put others first, turn the other cheek, and forgive to infinity.
We like to wear our sign (t-shirt, tattoo, whatever) labeling ourselves “fierce” and Jesus tells us to be tenderhearted.
We like to put on our warpaint and our workout clothes (the ones that make us look good, of course) and tell each other how “strong” we all are, and yet God says
“My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”
And we forget that when Paul said “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength” he was referring to being content in his difficult circumstances – not killing it at his job or his workout at the gym.
We are proud. So very proud. We actually take pride in being proud. But God says He opposes the proud – He actually fights against the proud – and gives grace to the humble. Think about that for a minute. That’s a frightening thought, actually, but don’t push it away. Remember, we need to wake up from the matrix.
God loves humility. Humility is beautiful. Imagine that. We come close to making it a Bible principle that we should stand our ground and fight for our rights. Jesus didn’t.
And God says, “vengeance is mine” – not ours to take.
This life i s a v a p o r.
And we as believers are awfully (deadly) distracted these days – maybe more than ever before in history. And we look like the world more than ever before. Lately, as the Lord has been bringing me through the fire of refining, I’ve come out with this renewed awareness that we are in danger of wasting our lives on building up our earthly bodies and homes- and neglecting to disappear behind a sign pointing the world to Jesus, who is really the answer for a dying world searching for the fountain of youth.
And neglecting to see the beauty of life that isn’t fixed-up with a “perfection” filter slapped on, with just the right caption to describe it. (me, guilty again)
I as a Mom have been in danger of neglecting to teach my children the dangers of pride, the beauty of humility, and the focus of eternity.
And the cruciality of true, face-to-the-ground worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – Yaweh.
I have in my possession 1) a quiver of arrows to be sharpened and sent out into a dark world, 2) a very real enemy who “prowls about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour,” and 3) a short puff of a life to complete this task. And a huge propensity for distraction.
I too get caught up in thinking about where in the world we want to travel…. how are we going to pay off student loans… what color should we paint the dining room….
Life is jam-packed full of things to distract us from the actually important things. It’s time for (me, at least- I’m not sure any of you are left reading this) to w a k e u p.
I need more than just a little #bulletproofcoffee & Jesus – I need to realize I am absolutely powerless to fight my own pride and win battles that actually matter for eternity. And I need the covering of God, to be filled with His Word – not just the favorite parts that look good painted on the wall – but all of it. Especially the “sharp as a two-edged sword” parts.
I need to wake up and disengage from the matrix of this glittered-up world and be on my face in prayer – throughout the day. Not just a few sentences breathed over the steam of my mug while I find the right lighting and angle to post my devo to IG.
It’s time for me to come out of the fog and see this life for what it really is….. I’m not promised another breath of it.
If you’ve made it to the end – wow! Thanks for sticking with me. Join me tomorrow for Part II, where I share what I’m actually doing about this “wakeup call”.