"Comforsations" June 11, 2009

Be Here Now!

Quote: “Now we should live when the pulse of life is strong. Life is a tenuous thing…fragile, fleeting. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Be here now! Be here now! Be here now!” – Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge, Thomas Nelson, 2005.

This year has been extremely busy for me; too busy, in fact. As my children wrapped up the school year this past week, it has caused me to reflect on just how quickly it has passed by – I’m not even sure “super fast” describes it accurately enough! It seems that each year goes by quicker and quicker; much like our birthdays once we’ve passed over into adulthood. The above quote struck me in such a way that I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. We just finished studying Captivating – Unveiling the Mystery of Woman’s Soul , by John and Stasi Eldredge (the counterpart to Wild at Heart for men). As I was reading the last chapter in the book in preparation for my Sunday school lesson, I read the above quote. It was taken from an elderly couple the authors met who shared their “family motto” with them. In fact, the couple even said that these words have been on their refrigerator for the past thirty years! I had to ask myself these questions, “Have I been living like this? Am I really here for my family and the people who matter most to me, or am I just going through the motions of the everyday demands of life, surviving the craziness of each weekday morning, racing to beat the clock? How often do I wish my life away? Telling myself I will do it tomorrow, next week, when school is out, or next year when my youngest goes to preschool.” Ouch!

For several months now I have felt overwhelmed with some of the commitments I have made this past year and as unusual as it may seem for a stay-at-home mom to say, I have simply become burnt out. However, this year has been a learning process for me, and I believe God has shown me that I need to be more careful in what I sign up for, so to speak. For instance, in our previous study, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, (Moody Press, 2001) we covered an entire chapter on priorities. There are two sentences that I highlighted and starred for myself in the book. First, Nancy says, “The frustration comes when I attempt to take on responsibilities that are not on His agenda for me.” And second, “What God has called you to do as a mother with three toddlers [or in my personal case one toddler and two older children] will not be the same as the ‘job description’ He has for your husband, or for a single, young woman or an empty nester.” I will confess that when I started this website ministry a little over a year ago I was excited about the release of my book and kept trying to determine the vision in ministry that God wanted me to take. I think I was a little too gung ho about jumping in without considering how much time it would actually require. Last fall, I started teaching a Ladies’ Sunday school Class, helped lead a 12 week Beth Moore Bible Study, had a couple of speaking engagements lined up that I had to prepare for (I had never spoken before and used to hyperventilate when giving presentations in college!) and had to proof and re-proof my book as it was not released until November.

By January, I was getting tired, and by March (after not having missed a Sunday of teaching) I was feeling the signs of burn out. I had not considered how much time (other than lesson preparation) would go into teaching a class. My house was a mess and I did not feel that I was good at anything because I had spread myself too thin. In retrospect, I had not set proper boundaries in my life and I began to question my motives. What was God’s will for my life and ministry? I was certain that is wasn’t to be stressed out and cranky with my immediate family. Yes, we need to serve within the Body of Christ, but God wants us to take care of our husbands, children, and parents (when the time comes). I have felt guilty because last year I spent much more time praying and reading the Bible with my children. This year, however, I have been putting the spiritual needs of others first. I have been reevaluating my priorities and asking God what He wants me to do in ministry. I feel strongly that a commitment on a weekly basis is not something that I can continue and have therefore told the ladies in my class that I will not be teaching in the fall. I love each of them dearly and have really enjoyed teaching. I have no doubt that God has used it to help me grow this year, but He has also taught me a lesson in boundaries and priorities. He has shown me that I need to “Be Here Now!”

A week or so ago, I awoke to my alarm clock playing an old Billy Joel song – “The Times To Remember.” I had not heard that song in ages and as I lied there in the bed, still groggy, I just listened to the words. My heart began to beat faster as I became very aware of what he was saying. As the beautiful melody played, I heard these words over and over:

“These are the times to remember
Cause it will not last forever.
These are the days to hold onto
Cause we won’t although we’ll want to.
This is the time, but time is going to change.
You’ve given me the best of you,
And now I need the rest of you.”

Good and awake now, I remembered “Be Here Now! Be Here Now! Be Here Now!” My oldest- my daughter Madison, just finished sixth grade. She would only be living in this house six more years before she goes to college. That’s not a long time. I suddenly realized that I need to do everything in my power to make sure that she is spiritually prepared for life; that she will make good choices, and she will know Jesus as her All in All. The same goes for my younger two boys, of course. I’m just beginning to feel the urgency with her as she is quickly becoming a young lady. She is no longer my little girl. Am I giving her my best? Am I giving anybody my best? Lately, I have felt pretty mediocre.

A very dear Christian lady that I love so much, recently told me that this is the most important job I will ever have – being a wife and mother. That resonated with me as well.

Now, having said all that; please don’t misunderstand me. I am not going to sit back and never serve again in any way. Galatians 5:9 reminds us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I am certainly not going to give up. I will continue to post on this website, although I do plan to enjoy the summer with my kids. While I can’t make up for this past year of not “being here,” I can “be here” this summer! I hope to devote more time to this website ministry again in the fall. I am also praying about how Comfort to Comfort Ministries can do some type of monthly outreach and I have some new ideas. Whatever the ministry becomes, whatever I do, I just want to make sure I’m listening to what God’s plans are for the ministry and for my life.

Life Applications

What about you? Have you ever felt overwhelmed with life? Who hasn’t? Maybe it’s time we women get back to basics and examine our priorities. Are we really putting our relationship with God first, then family, then others?

Lord, it’s so easy to get wrapped up with the busyness of life. As I’ve seen this past year, Lord, sometimes it’s the “good” things that can still distract us from what Your perfect will is for our life. Help me, Lord, to hear you clearly. Help me to find the personal, intimate time I need with you daily in order to hear Your direction for my life. I pray that from now on, Lord, I will seek Your will before I make commitments. Help me to remember that I only need to be concerned with pleasing You. There is such freedom in that! May I never grow weary of doing good; and doing my job (the job you have selected for me) to help further Your kingdom.

Key Scriptures

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)

“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1Timothy 5:8 (NIV)

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 5:9 (NIV)

Copyright 2009 by Christy Long
All Rights Reserved. Comfort to Comfort Ministries.

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