From the moment we take our first breath, we are grasping and desperate for attention, ever yearning after the focal point. As we grow old, we learn what it means to be patriotic, celebrate the fourth of July and be united. Some may stay where they are planted and never leave the town they grew up in while others may venture off into all the nooks and crannies of the world.
Throughout the last few years of my life, I’ve noticed just how small my worldview is. I have this tendency to focus on the day-to-day rather than the big picture. I like to look at things microscopically. I’m not sure if this is something common to Americans (though I think it is) but it’s been eating away at me. My perspective on life is mostly focused on myself…how I can best use my day, how I need my coffee in the morning, how I don’t get what I want. I’m not just saying that my perspective is small because I’m not aware of other cultures or customs, but because I’m not caring and focused on others and what is going on outside of my life. The suffering and rejoicing of others isn’t a big enough part of my life.
I want to be in constant pursuit of the Father’s heart; where He’s leading, how He is yearning for the salvation of many, how He longs for the peple of Israel. As I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone more and more I’m realizing more than ever that this life is not about me. As soon as Jesus rescued me from my sin I was brought to life and came to know that the climax of my life isn’t the hurting but it’s the healing and the glorification of Christ. Am I focused on His healing or on my hurting?
As I’ve been in Israel I’ve experienced a lot of clarity on where the Lord is calling me long term. With that comes a lot of attack in vulnerable areas. I’ve stepped back and noticed that the change in culture doesn’t effect me much but the lack of my things is what irks me. I’ve never pegged myself as an extremely materialistic person but as I’ve been out of America I’ve noticed how this is so much a part of our culture. Packing four months into less than fifty pounds was a struggle. It got to the point where I was weighing contact solution and other essentials by the ounce to cut things down. The essentials became negotiables. The struggle was packing for four months: two and a half consists of mostly spring/summer weather and the rest consists of winter. Not an easy task.
For these months, I’ve limited myself to about five shirts, four pairs of pants, one maxi skirt, two dresses and a couple pairs of leggings. Let’s just say you can only wear those things so many different ways and so many times. As the temperatures have gone up, I got frustrated with myself that I didn’t bring certain things and not enough clothes for the warm weather. It almost started eating away at me. Doing laundry in the sink every week started getting old. Then I was reminded by the Lord: this life is not about you. Where is your focus? Is your treasure in heaven? Ahh that was hard. As something so silly became so big I was reminded of these words:
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
I was reading this afternoon in Matthew 6 where Jesus is teaching about our treasure being found in heaven. I began to ask God what this looked like in action. How am I to live here on earth, this place that is not my home and live as if I am a citizen of heaven? I cannot serve God and money or God and comfort or God and clothing or God and beauty. I must recognize that when I serve God all things are fulfilled and satisfied. If He is my master, then all of me can be satisfied in Him.
There have been countless ways that God is reminding me of this truth. I don’t want to live a comfortable life and find comfort in the things of this world. I’m learning what it means to find my strength and hope in the Lord through the little and big things. And I’m learning more than ever that this life is not about me. May He make me more and more like Himself.