Today at A Holy Experience, Ann is hosting her usual "Walk with Him Wednesday," this week revolving around the theme of living a life that is "Christ-centric."
It's funny because I have been weighing and kneading this post in my heart for the past week like a ball of dough. What has been on my heart aligns perfectly with Ann's theme. For me right now, the lesson the Lord is impressing upon my heart is that to live a Christ-centered life means to be available.
This past week, my husband and I have been helping a family, dear friends of ours, going through a hard season. And it has meant time talking, praying, thinking, texting, and emailing. I haven't wished away one second of it. It has been such pure joy to be used and to be helpful, to feel equipped, when someone else needs the help (Lord knows that I've had seasons of feeling helpless, so to be the one serving instead of the one needing to be served for a change feels good). The time and energy I've had to give has been amply, graciously provided by the Lord, and I know He's wanted me right where I was. I am certain of that. But from the outside looking in, I've been reminded: Love takes time.
Think about your most precious commodities. Surely they are money, time and energy. Right? Many times, I feel like I don't have ANY of these three to give. But I think, if I'm honest with myself, I'm the most possessive, most selfish with my time.
I don't mean to be. I'm sort of passively selfish, meaning I am in the habit of hoarding time for my own agenda. I feel entitled to my time, in some way. The evidence is on my calendar. It is filled with my ideas of how I think my family and I should spend time. And I am a planner, friends. I'm thinking you know that already. But in case you don't, I am someone who feels secure and happy when I know what to expect.
Where is all that getting me? It's still sinking in....oh my. Jesus has a lot of work to do in me yet. I feel the result, and breathe it out of my own self-induced exhaustion. When will I learn that His burden for me is light, and my own is unbearable? Still, I insist on creating and carrying my own burdens. I fill up the calendar. I hurry my children. I don't remember how critical it is to be available for God's agenda, God's assignments.
The only solution, I'm thinking, is to plan to be available, which means intentionally leaving time where there is no plan. Being available to love and serve another means you can't plan the when or how. I am not talking about simply being willing to be interrupted in the midst of my plans; I'm talking about having ample amounts of time where I have no plans but to possibly be used.
I'm also not talking about being available to our children or husbands, in this particular post. I know that is a huge part of living a Christ-centered life, of course. They are our priorities. But this past week, I've been focused more on the friends, the neighbors, the extended family members, the widows, the less fortunate in our society. Do you realize how much responsibility we as followers of Jesus have to the hurting ones in our lives? The way I live my life is the only Bible some of the people in my life will ever read.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Of course the Lord does not desire to overwhelm us, but He surely desires to use us. He hasn't placed those people around us for no reason. And I am sure of this: if we offer up some unplanned time to be used by the Lord, He will fill it with holy calling. Someone you know will need an encouraging phone call. Someone may need a handwritten note. Someone may need childcare, a meal, or a knock at the door followed by a hug.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
Living a Christ-centered life means being in the business of relationships. If I were to ask others if help is needed, most people would say, "No, it's okay. We're fine. But thank you anyway!" Most people don't want to be needy. And many, many people are. So I want to show up. Give. Love. Isn't this how Jesus lived? He didn't stand on the street corner and say, "Hey, if anyone needs anything, just let me know. Seriously guys. I wanna be there for you." He acted. He touched the untouchable, loved the unlovable, and whether it was food or forgiveness, always took the time to look someone in the eye and meet a need.
I have to keep asking myself, How can I respond to God's call to love His people if my most precious resource - my time - is all used up?
But I trust in you, LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands..."