Back in November, I took advantage of the $1 monthly trial for She Works His Way. This has lead to a number of benefits for both myself and family in the accountability department (for me), not to mention the spiritual growth I have received by being challenged in so many of my weakest areas. My continued membership has been by far one of the smallest decisions I have ever made that has lead to results that would equate to the multiplication of loaves of bread and fish.
Earlier this year, I was part of book launch team for Rebekah Lyons. Because I follow her on facebook, I signed up to be part of a video session study she is over the next few days. Why? Because her book was incredible, her teaching style is fantastic, and her story resonates with me.
Two very separate decisions that have just married themselves in the most ridiculous way.
Whenever you go on a job interview, it seems one of the most popular questions is: What are your weaknesses? While I would not readily admit this, my two greatest areas of weakness are discipline and rest. I get distracted easily and I am often tired and therefore unmotivated. It would seem to me there is a direct correlation between these two areas.
She Works His Way this summer is doing a study from Elisabeth Elliot's book The Glad Surrender. It's about discipline. Rebekah Lyons' study that I signed up for? Yep, rest. My book is coming tomorrow, today was day 2 of the video. But oh...what a video it was.
Several times over the past couple of years, the small group I meet with has talked about the areas we tend to hold back from God. Not until today did I realize that my tightest grip remains around time. And it's in a death grip. Unfortunately, it's around my own neck.
Most of us have been advised that if we just got up 30 minutes earlier, we could have the time to workout or have our quiet time. 30 minutes. Half an hour.
Confession: My alarm is set for 2:40 AM. Why? Because I am a control freak. And more than that, I do not steward my time well, or trust God with it.
At 2:40 AM I get up, get my coffee, get all my stuff ready for my quiet time, and then read and journal until about 4:30 AM, at which time I get ready to workout. After my 'workout', I get my son up so he can get in the shower while I go out for my walk. After that, I get my daughter up so she can get ready. You'd think this is just doing the school week. Sadly, it's typically not. It's incredibly difficult for me to sleep until 4:00 AM, let alone any time after that.
I know your jaw is on the table and you are thinking what is wrong with this girl? The answer to that is simple: I don't trust God with my time.
I get up and do all of these things early because I don't believe I am disciplined enough to workout and read once the kids are in school. I don't believe I will get those things done, as well as any errands, cleaning, household chores, appointments, meetings, or anything else that might need to be attended to. Why? Because I know my weaknesses and do not believe that Christ's strength and grace are sufficient enough to be perfected in my weaknesses.
I've known this is a problem for some time. I haven't yet had the courage to do something about it. But the effects of not enough sleep are massive on your health (and your waistline) and the video I watched today, quite literally, put the fear of God in me. Essentially, when the Israelites REFUSED to listen to God's command and did not rest or rest the land as they were commanded every seven years, he put them in exile for 490 years so the land could get its 70 years of rest that had been neglected.
So here we are. On the brink of what I call my #NoAlarmSummer, that last year I couldn't sleep past 4:00 AM. And ready to go are a study on discipline, a study on rest, and a heart that is broken and contrite.
I said a little while ago that the greatest thing about a blog is accountability. Honestly, selfishly, that's why I'm sharing this. Because the truth is, without accountability to godly people that love us enough to speak the truth in love and challenge us to be better than we are, it makes the changes God is challenging us to make that much more difficult. It's why we should never give up meeting together.
So this summer I am going to take you along on my journey. I don't know where it's going to lead, how it's going to go, or at what point the tears will come, because if anything is going to break me wide open, this is going to be it. Especially if my very set ways are challenged and I feel like I am getting short changed. But something tells me that this obedience will instead bring a blessing, because that's who God is and that's what he does. And I need to learn to trust him more than I trust myself with the time he has assigned to me.
Lord, not long ago you showed me a verse that I dismissed because I didn't want to make the change. It was selfish, stubborn, and showed my complete lack of belief in you. I have to believe that you have set this up now, at the beginning of summer, because you are serious, and in your great grace, you are training me on how to do this when school is out, so that I can learn to do it when school is in. I pray, that even though I don't deserve it, you would perfect your strength in my weakness. I want to bring honor and glory to you by showing what you can do with a willing and submitted heart. I love you. Amen.