There aren't many among us that don't enjoy doing things for others. Whether they are done out of the goodness of our hearts, the feeling of satisfaction to see another smile, or false motives to gain recognition, we give our time, talents, and gifts to others.
There are also times we do things because of unspoken expectations that we think, or assume, exist. We place pressure upon ourselves to perform, commit, or comply. We over-extend ourselves to be accepted, liked, or deemed worthy. And in the process, we become worn out, exhausted, and joyless.
David's words in the beginning of Chapter 7 strike me...."Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent." And there is Nathan, faithful friend, with his words of approval, "Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you."
I wonder about the tone of David's voice. Were his words spoken with a sigh? Did they sound indignant? Was there an element of boredom as if he were looking for something to do? Could there have been a brightening of his eyes upon a revelation of what was next? All things we aren't told that leave our minds to wonder.
After Nathan hastily blessed David's idea with his encouragement, God sends His words to Nathan to ask David a question, 'Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?" ' Game.Set.Match.
So many times I find myself filled with ideas based on those unspoken expectations that may or may not actually exist. Most likely they are the whispers of the enemy to keep me bound to busyness and unfocused on what truly matters. It's why I should always be seeking God as to what I should be doing with my time and talents before I jump headlong into something He doesn't have planned for me in the first place.
Recently, I had the opporunity to hear Beth Moore's talk at Passion 2017. She put forth a challenge that I believe is difficult and worthy of accepting. Are we willing to do what God has asked us to do without having it defined by a name, trying to nail it down to a process, and live a life lead by the Holy Spirit? Is that even possible in a world where we feel defined by what we do?
Jesus told us that the two most important things are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. What if we applied that directive to everything we think we want to do or are wondering if we are called to do it? Could we stop long enough to ask, "Will this help me love God and others well?" And if not, we will be courageous enough to say no?
This process of rewiring our thinking and actions won't be easy, but I believe it's possible. We can pray and seek God knowing that when we do, He will be found. His desire has never been to keep us guessing to see if we'll get it right. It's always been to lead us as we simply choose to follow Him.
Father, help us to slow down, to listen for your voice, and to quit thinking we are supposed to do things you haven't planned for us. Remind us that we are to follow where You lead and give us the courage to do things without having to name it and claim it. Amen