After a long, tiring day, most folks enjoy the calm feeling that takes over them as they come home from school or work. They go through their familiar evening routines until that blissful moment when their head finally hits their pillow – the long-awaited and undisturbed part of life called sleep. Unfortunately, the end of my day is NEVER as serene or peaceful. In fact, most of the time I fall asleep thinking about the least amount of sleep I need that night in order to wake up as early as possible the next day and start taking care of the endless items that I wasn’t able to cross off of my to-do list from the day before.
Oh yes. I’m one of those people.
Needless to say, I LOVE to stay busy. There is always something to do, somewhere to be and people to see in my life. On top of school and work, I kept myself occupied with church responsibilities, praise & worship practice, our on-campus Bible study, Friday night outreach, children’s ministries, youth meeting, youth retreat planning—Basically anything and everything you could think of! I was your perfect token example of the “happy-all-the-time, super-involved-in-church, productive, and gets-along-with-everybody” Christian girl. I had it all together…or so it seemed.
Because the truth was, I never felt so alone in my life.
I could be in a room full of people who really cared about me, and I’d still feel so disconnected. I wasn’t happy inside, regardless of whether I put a smile on my face or not. And no matter what church event I tried to busy myself with, it never resulted in the fulfillment I was looking for.
Does that seem as weird to you as it did to me when I first realized this was happening? How could I possibly not be content when I was SO busy doing things for God? That’s one step in the right direction at least, right? Wrong.
Although doing things for the Lord can be a wonderful thing, it means absolutely nothing when your heart isn’t in the right place.
“Samuel said, Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” – 1 Samuel 15:22
Just a little background information: this is what Samuel said to Saul after he and the Israelite army had defeated the Amalekites, a group of people God had chosen to destroy because of their wrong treatment of God’s chosen nation, Israel. You see, Saul was SUPPOSED to utterly destroy everything that belonged to the Amalekites. What he and his men did instead was that they brought back “the best of the sheep, the oxen, fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good” (1 Sam 15:9). When confronted about his mistake, Saul responded to Samuel insisting that what he did was with good intentions – the reason why they took all of that stuff was so that they could sacrifice it (as a form of worship in that day) to God! And yet Samuel reminds Saul through this verse that God would much rather have had him follow His instructions rather than being offered Saul’s version of a good sacrifice.
Just like Saul, I thought that by doing the best possible work for the Lord, by busying myself constantly with church activities and small groups and being on the praise & worship team, I was obeying God. But I wasn’t. Because I had forgotten the reason WHY I was doing all of these things to begin with.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13
The problem: I was so busy doing things FOR the Lord, that I wasn’t spending time WITH the Lord. And boy, did it have an effect on me! That was the reason why I had absolutely ZERO contentment in my heart. What is the point in being involved in all those things if I don’t even know who I’m doing it for? It’s like committing your entire life to fundraising for a charity without even knowing what the charity is. Pointless.
But ever since God revealed this area where I needed growth, I’ve been constantly striving to get to know Him better. It hasn’t been easy, and it isn’t going to be quick, but I am so excited about having a more personal and intimate relationship with the God who has been nothing but wonderful to me! I still struggle with calming my restless-self down sometimes, but I’m confident that God will help me be more wise, more eternally-minded about the way that I take care of my priorities here on earth.
Let’s face it. The time we’re given isn’t ours to begin with, it’s GOD’s.
And the more we busy ourselves by trying to do a bunch of “stuff” for Him instead of getting to KNOW Him, the more we miss out on the best relationship we’ll EVER be in. And you know what the really cool part is? He wants to get to know you too.