“She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” (Proverbs 31:15).
Do you get up while it is still dark? I don’t, at least not intentionally. There are some days, though, when I come fairly close.
Like today, when my alarm clock came early. It didn’t “beep” me awake. It “pounded” me to my senses. The culprit behind the pounding? Little feet heralding their arrival to a new day as they made their way down the stairs with all the bright and bushy of an ardent squirrel.
They were “set” on go. I was “set” otherwise … on going nowhere. Nevertheless, I swung my legs over the left side of the bed (not an easy feat for a woman growing ever closer to 43), and quietly whispered the penchant of my weary flesh…
“Jesus, help me.”
Nothing more, nothing less, but, undoubtedly, the best greeting I could give to my day. When my children awoke this morning, they awoke to very little as it pertained to their mother’s early morning preparations. No bacon and eggs frying in a pan. No freshly folded attire laid out for a day’s wearing. No previously packed lunches.
No, when my kids greeted this new day, they did so with a blank slate waiting to be filled and with a momma who wasn’t quite feeling up to the task of participation.
I’m not an early riser. I’m a night owl. I go to bed while it is still dark, but rarely do I intentionally rise before the sun finds her place. Nights are the times of solitude in my home. After beds have been turned and teenagers have found their quiet, I am finally able to drink in some moments of devotional pause with my Father. I go to sleep with Jesus on the brain. He is the last one I think about … the last one I talk with … and the last breath I breathe before I say good-night to my world.
Accordingly, He is almost always the first One I think about when the abrupt of a new day announces its arrival. After the kids have been cared for and shuffled off to school, I often return to the confines of my comfort, grab my Bible and a good devotional read that sits beside. Those moments afford me the luxury of re-aligning my thoughts with God’s thoughts for the day. And while my routine probably wouldn’t make the best seller list for how to “do life” with Jesus, it works for me.
And lest we get “stuck” in our own ideas of how to best orchestrate a devotional life—that somehow we hold the market on the perfect approach to discipleship—we need to be willing to see our lives with Jesus beyond the compartmentalization that so often accompanies our well-structured faith.
Doing life with Jesus is not about when we wake up in the morning. It is not even about what we wake up to do with our day. Being a mighty woman—a woman of noble character and worthy of a ruby’s crown—has nothing to do with our doing. Rather, it has everything to do with our being—what we wake up to be everyday. And what we wake up to be must precede what we wake up to do if our doing is to have any lasting merit.
Cooking breakfast and folding laundry and the accompanying “to dos” that so quickly crowd our 24/7 isn’t the stuff of everlasting significance. Indeed, they are our necessary, but they don’t grow us in our faith. What grows us is our decision to be someone beyond our perfunctory checklists. Prior to our ever doing anything, we must settle on our being but one thing.
And once that’s settled, once we’ve arrived at the conclusion that our life’s work revolves around the heart of servant discipleship, then we are more readily able to approach a day’s agenda worth of doing. It matters not the task that falls to us; what matters is the heart behind the task. It is a heart that is prepared to be many things to many people because it has been shaped by the hands of a God whose sole intention is on being all things to all people.
We simply stand in the flesh to be the witness of what He bowed in the flesh to become.
A servant. A foot-washer. A heart-cleanser. A least of these among the least of these in order that the Greatest of these could be seen, could be felt, and could be tasted at the deepest level of a needful grace. What Jesus came into this world to be was decided for Him long before He came into this world to do. And that doing?
Well, it’s everything to us as believers in the sacrificial work of the cross. Without the “doing” of the cross, we are left as is … without the hope and promise of God’s better. But Jesus’ decision to be that sacrifice … to wake up every morning in a posture of submission to the will of His Father … well, without that decision, there would be no cross. No week of remembrance. No rolled away stone, and no Easter celebration.
Doing a day’s work and doing a life’s mission is rooted in a decision to first being God’s servant. And if we’re going to “do” anything of worth for the kingdom, then we must do so from a heart that is convinced about being completely His. Otherwise, our deeds sow temporal and in selfish isolation.
Being God’s is a decision that I make prior to a morning’s arrival, while it is yet dark. It is a choice that goes to sleep with me and that wakes me up with the same. The Truth that slumbers within me is the Truth that walks next to me as I go in and out of my next twenty-four hours of agenda. I don’t want to have to wake up and set that in concrete. I want it cemented in my heart prior to my eye’s awakening.
From the rising of the sun, to the setting down of the same, I want to be God’s girl. Then and only then, am I better equipped to do God’s work.
Being over doing. It is the way of a sacred heart. It is the preceding choice that mandates all others. At least it should. Thus, may our being God’s this day serve as the guiding light that sets our agenda for our doing and that keeps us in a reverent posture as we go.
It’s both the least and the best that we can be for Jesus. As always,
Copyright © April 2009 – Elaine Olsen