if i don't put jesus on my calendar, it ain't happenin'.
FIX THESE WORDS OF MINE IN YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS... -DEUTERONOMY 11:18A
Last year, I forgot to pick up one of my kids from school.
It was during hybrid learning, and I can’t exactly remember why, but on that particular day, only one of my kids was physically at school. And, I could make a lot of excuses... but the reality is, I forgot my sweet, sensitive fourth-grader, Ezra, at school. It was way past pick-up time when I got this sinking feeling that I was definitely missing something. When I realized the “something” was a PERSON, I rushed to his school. He was really upset, and I felt just terrible. I still do. In fact, I’m pretty sure in 20 years, I’ll still be hearing, “Oh sure, mom, it’s not like I forgot YOU at school!” Sheeeeesh!
The truth is, I forget lots of things.
I forget where my keys are, my phone, my glasses. I don’t remember where I parked or my old address. It’s a wonder I remember my current one! I have to do math to remind myself how old I am and how long I’ve been married. I could go on, but suffice it to say, I’ve had to come up with some strategies to make life work. So, I make lots of lists, and I put EVERYTHING on my calendar AND set alerts in my phone. Because the sad truth is, if it ain’t in there, it ain’t happenin’.
There’s a spiritual parallel here, at least for me.
If I don’t schedule time in God’s Word, it just ain’t happenin’ either. If I don’t make it a priority, often I simply forget, or put Jesus on the back burner. Yikes! That sounds terrible In black and white, but it’s true. I actually start to forget everything that matters, and I drift away. I forget that I’m seen and known and loved by Jesus. I forget that he’s my true joy. I forget his sweet goodness and promises. I forget to live by his grace. I forget it all, piece by piece, and I start drifting into the expanding fog. I live like I’m unseen and unloved. I live by rigid law-following or secret law-breaking. I am blind to the presence of Jesus, even avoiding him, because I’m ashamed for putting him off for so long. Instead, I seek out his good gifts to try and fill me up. I live my own way, in my own wisdom, by my own prerogative. And it’s not good. Or restful. Or right. And the distance grows as each day wanes and I have not listened or looked for my Lord. Have you ever been adrift like this? Even just for a few days? I confess, it happens to me waaaaay more often than I’d like to admit.
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This week Mark Farr, Chief Field Officer of the Seed Company, is helping us define the term "Gospel Poverty". We are thankful for the work happening at the Seed Company, and we're grateful to get to partner with them!
(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
What is there to do?
For me, I make regular “appointments” with Jesus. I need that daily practice to keep me on track. And I know it may sound nuts, but I have a list of things I sort of rotate through that helps me keep things fresh. It’s kind of like my “list of foods I can make” (yes, it is a real list). Because I get stuck in a rut with making dinner. And just like I’m always wondering, “what am I going to make for dinner?” I often come to my times with Jesus without a clue where to start, or tired of the same old routine. I’m putting it down here, in case it might help you too.
-Talk to God in prayer. Thank him, ask him for help, ask him for forgiveness, give him my worries, and tell him how great he is. I often use a little prayer book called, Handbook to Prayer, by Kenneth Boa.
-Read God’s words. Just one small section or a verse is a great place to start. Often I listen to the Bible while working out.
-Work on a Bible study. Find one that fits your availability and life stage. Nothing is more discouraging than an unfinished massive study.
-Write down a verse or two and journal about them.
-Put a verse on a notecard and memorize it. (An easy way is using the Dwell method).
-When I’m driving or working I often listen to worship music or podcasts about the Bible (like The Bible Recap or She Reads Truth).
-Spend time in nature, allow it to lead your heart to worship the Creator.
Now, some of you may have alarms going off right now.
This sounds an awful lot like religious rule-following, and not like grace at all. Sure, I get you. We don’t want to become routine robots, only meeting Jesus out of habit and duty. I’d hate for you to check Jesus off your to-do list every day, but never really make a heart connection with him. No one wants that! But there is something to having regular spiritual habits. I FOR SURE don’t have a heart connection to Jesus when I’m not meeting with him at all. As for spontaneity, I’m all for it! And I truly would love to be more spiritually spontaneous. I do really savor those spur-of-the-moment encounters with Jesus. Sadly though, if I rely on unprompted spiritual excitement, he often gets pushed off for later, and I rarely get around to “later”. I, for one, need reminders and a strategy to fight my persistent spiritual forgetfulness. I need Jesus on my calendar. Period. Maybe that’s not you, and kudos to you for that! I’m just a hard-wired forgetter, and I need real help with priorities.
Some of you might find this all quite overwhelming...
First off, I never do all of the things on that list at once, just like I never make all the dinners on my list at once! Sometimes, when I’m busy or burdened my daily spiritual practice looks like reading one verse or whispering a tiny prayer. There is grace for me in those times, and there is grace for you too! I know for some of you, just making time for Jesus on the regular feels impossible. Hear this: there’s grace for you. Some of you haven’t slept in months or have really full schedules or really stressful jobs. There’s grace for you. Some of you have felt abandoned by God or hurt by his people. There’s grace for you. Some of you just can’t seem to get your heart to a place where any of this sounds good at all. There’s grace for you. Some of you feel like your sins are too big, too heinous, too brash. There’s forgiveness and grace for you too. Wherever you find yourself right now, whatever is holding you back or keeping you captive, Jesus gives grace upon grace (Jn. 1:16). His grace is big enough to cover your sin, to meet you in your weariness, your apathy, or your hurt. He isn’t a distant tyrant looking for dutiful servants. He’s a loving Father, a Brother, a Lover.
Does that sound scandalous!?!? It should, because it is!
He uses all this intimate imagery to help us really understand that even though we fall way short of deserving or earning his love, he loves us with an unbounded love. And you, just as you are... right now, are his treasured possession (Lk. 15:8-10), his beloved, his sweet child. And he hasn’t forgotten you. No, he sees you and he longs for you. In fact, he’s relentlessly watching and waiting for you to come and meet him. And when you make even the tiniest step towards him, I guarantee he will run down the road to meet you (Luke 15:11-32). I kid you not, you are his absolute delight! Let him be yours as well. Take that small step today.
What is holding you back from making time for Jesus?
How might having his words in your heart and mind be just exactly what you need?
Thanks for reading,
Meet Natalie,Dwell co-founder
Hi there, I'm Natalie. I'm so glad you're here. I'd love to connect with you and hear more about what God is doing in your life!
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