I was at my breaking point and, as always, God had teed it up perfectly! My husband would be traveling soon for an entire week, which would provide more time for reflection about this dry place I found myself in. God began the process when He led me to Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
I was only 10 verses into the first chapter when He stopped me and began ministering to my heart about wanting the approval of man. You can read about my reflections on approval here. This is what Paul says in Galatians 1:10:
“Do you think I care about the approval of men or about the approval of God? Do you think I am on a mission to please people? If I am still spinning my wheels trying to please men, then there is no way I can be a servant of the Anointed One, the Liberating King.”
Those words hit my heart that day and revived me in a place that I didn’t realize was wounded and hiding. I had unknowingly longed for the approval of man. If you are honest, you have also longed for the approval of man. The only One we need approval from is the God of this universe! My head knew something my heart had not yet experienced. That changed as I sat still in His Word, allowing Him to massage my heart with His words (from Galatians 1:10) spoken directly to my spirit. I meditated on this Truth for an entire week.
The time came for Darin’s trip and God had been good to prepare my heart. As I continued in the book of Galatians, He stopped me at chapter 5, verses 7-9. It reads:
“Who has impeded your progress and kept you from obeying the truth? You were off to such a good start. I know for certain the pressure isn’t coming from God. He keeps calling you to the truth. You know what they say, ‘Just a little yeast causes all the dough to rise,’ so even the slightest detour from the truth will take you to a destination you do not desire.”
In that moment I knew why I had become increasingly miserable! I had put pressure on myself (rooted in the approval of man!) to do enough and be good enough. God had not put this pressure on me- I had put it on myself! I had detoured from the Truth of what He had asked of me and instead moved into what I thought I should be doing! I had taken a slight detour which, indeed, took me to a place I had not desired: exhaustion and emptiness.
When we do what the Lord calls us to in our own strength and with our own abilities, it is tiring, exhausting, and produces burn out. When we do the same work under His easy yoke (as described in Matthew 11:28-30), it is life-giving, brings energy, and deep joy! I do not have to look around me and do things the same way everyone else does them. I get to join with The Lord and simply do them when and how He leads me. Wow! What Freedom! Praise God! I returned to this verse for 2 days, reveling in its truth and meditating on its goodness.
As I journaled, I asked, “But Lord, how do I do this? How do I find the balance of loving my family well AND fulfilling the other things You have called me to? I want to live life in your easy yoke, but I can’t seem to find the balance and rhythm in it.” He answered a few verses later in 5:16-17.
“Here’s My instruction: walk in the Spirit, and let the Spirit bring order to your life. If you do, you will never give in to your selfish and sinful cravings. For everything the flesh desires goes against the Spirit, and everything the Spirit desires goes against the flesh. There is a constant battle raging between them that prevents you from doing the good you want to do.”
I mean, really, could He have been anymore clear? It comes down to walking in the Spirit, moment by moment. Looking back, I see now when I was and when I wasn’t walking in step with the Spirit. I am beginning to understand the great amount of intentionality and discipline it takes to walk with Him minute by minute. We fall into the trap that if we aren’t “living in sin” it equates to “walking in the Spirit.” I believe it is one of Satan’s tactics in the church: getting church folk to “behave and do his work” and label it “walking in the Spirit.”
Walking in the Spirit carries a much greater weight than good behavior or works. That is why the unsaved also have the ability to “behave and do nice things.” Walking in the Spirit requires constant abiding with Him. Communing. “Doing life” with Him. It is not the same as doing work for Him. He first wants to commune with me before He wants to do work with me! I discovered that day that I will only find the balance I so crave if I am walking in the Spirit. Moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. Let us not forget!
As the week progressed, I moved forward in Galatians and once again God stopped me. This time it was 5:25-26 and 6:8.
“Now since we have chosen to walk with the Spirit, let’s keep each step in perfect sync with God’s Spirit. This will happen when we set aside our self-interests and work together to create true community instead of a culture consumed by provocation, pride, and envy.”
“Those who sow seeds into their flesh will only harvest destruction from their sinful nature. But those who sow seeds into the Spirit shall harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.”
I must choose to walk with the Spirit! It is simple as that. I get to choose Him every day. And the result is everlasting life! Everlasting life is not just for the future, it is for the here and now. I want true life today and every day. I do not want to “just get through it,” I want to fully thrive in it. As I make an intentional choice, moment by moment, to abide with my Jesus, I WILL have everlasting life! As I seek His direction in the everyday small things and I follow Him, true LIFE will take place! Not the tiring, exhausting busyness we all so often experience. Instead, our life will be characterized by living in His easy yoke. Won’t you join me?
God is so Good to me. He is so kind and gentle and He brings life! His Voice is the most treasured voice there is. Without His Voice, my heart wouldn’t have learned these Truths. Do you know His Voice? Do you take the time to listen for His Voice? There isn’t another like it and it transforms from the inside out. My prayer is that you, reader, would understand and know The One who gives LIFE and who loves you deeply. May God’s Blessing be on you.