The holidays are near and it’s a wonderful time to begin reflecting on not only how we will spend our time this season but also how we have “spent” our time all year long.
Even though we may be aware that our moments in time are precious, slowing down to enjoy them or taking intentional time to create “life-giving” experiences seem to escape us. Our days seem to be cut short by the myriad of requests that we feel obligated to respond to, or we are stretched to exhaustion due to the demands on our time. At the end of the day, and sometimes even at the beginning, we are simply void of energy or motivation to explore the very solution(s) we need to encounter the fullness of what God is offering us.
What do I mean by the “fullness that God is offering us?” Well, I’m glad you’re curious too! My response to this question is that “being with God” is the only way to encounter the fullness of what He is offering. “Doing for” God will never sustain us if being with Him is not the essential and top priority. We can meet all kinds of goals and aspirations that bring us external satisfaction (and fleeting happiness), but we won’t have the power to stay free from the things that trouble us and experience unshakeable joy if we are too busy to hear the instructions we are given. If we are so busy with distractions or being the source of comfort for others all the time, how can God comfort us when we (too) are suffering? Do we have a sufficient supply of comfort if we are not cared for? Where does our, help, strength, love, and comfort come from? Every good thing we give away is granted by Him.
“I lift my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” – Psalm 121: 1-2
The “Emotionally Healthy Discipleship” author, Pete Scazzero, reminds us that we cannot give away what we do not have. Imagine what we are giving away then sisters when we pour out from empty vessels. He talks about how love is the measure of spiritual maturity rather than simply “doing’ good things. We want to seek God so that He reveals what we should/should not do. Like our Founding Pastor Rich Nathan has said before, we can do good things and still not be doing “God things”.
For instance, when was the last time you shared with someone that you truly love how you really felt about what they did to hurt or offend you? Perhaps you continue to “do for them” so the evidence of your love is there but you don’t want to “be with them” because it is still painful to do so. It’s a viscous cycle to be in and there are so many more. These kinds of cycles of avoiding what God calls us to do never give us the freedom to be unapologetically ourselves and to radically love others while maintaining healthy limits and boundaries. But this holiday season, we get to heal, break out of our shells, our comfort zones, our unforgiveness, our fears, our doubts, guilt, shame, etc. We get to accept and enter into the safety of our Savior’s love and friendship and embrace new opportunities to do what He did! The Bible tells us…
“But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” – 1 John 2:5-6
“Being with Him” shows us how being a friend doesn’t have to feel like a burden. That loving our neighbor can establish loyal and joyous relationships and imitating Him is not impossible. I pray this holiday season we will take time to intentionally be with Him so we can enjoy “being” as well as we enjoy “doing”. We are blessed to offer meaningful ways to enjoy being amongst community at Vineyard Columbus. Please join us and participate in connection opportunities like signing up for a Prayer Partner, attending Friendsgiving, Women’s Breakfast, coming to Church, or getting involved in a Small Group. Happy Holidays, Sisters. May the Lord’s light shine on you and through you!