After a late night a couple of Thursdays ago (due to unexpected events), I woke up Friday morning on the tired side and with a full day ahead, I knew that I needed to lie down for a bit. So after our morning routine, I popped my head in to let my mum (who was staying over) know that I was going to lie down and that I would take care of putting the dishes away when I got up. While I was lying down, I could hear the clanging of dishes. I got up and popped my head into the kitchen (which shares a wall with our room) and told my mum that while I appreciated that she was trying to help, I had a headache and needed quiet.
I went back into our room, and no sooner did I hear the clanging of the dishes (I could tell that she was trying to put them away quietly even though I had asked her twice to just leave them for me). Almost instantaneously I began saying the “Our Father” because in that moment, I desparately needed to take my eyes off my circumstances (the feeling of annoyance was starting to creep in rather rapidly). As I was saying “…and forgive us of our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us….” I felt a voice say, “Joann, how often do I ask my children to do something or not to do something but instead of doing as I’ve asked, you do a version of it?” Ouch. I know I’m guilty of this on more than one occasion. Before I could even enter my amazing pity party and sit on the throne of self-righteousness, God was calling me out on my own imperfections.
“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”-Matthew 7:5
As I reflected upon the incident with my mum, I am extremely aware that she was trying to help. But her longing to help came at the expense of what I had asked. How many of us have done things as a way of “helping” God? Because as you and I both know, God needs our help, our suggestions, our great plans, and know-how. We don’t need God’s advice, He needs ours. Wait. Who is God here?
In her book “Living Courageously,” Joyce Meyer speaks candidly about her journey of quitting her full-time job to dedicate to full-time ministry and prepare for what she felt God was calling her to do. She shares how her bills were more than her husband’s paycheque. So to help diminish her fears, she sought out a part-time job but within a short time was fired. God wanted Joyce to learn to be completely dependent on Him but because she couldn’t understand it logically, she decided to take matters into her own hands. How many of us can relate? I sure can.
“I was giving God a sacrifice verses being obedient.”-Joyce Meyer
Can you think of a time in your life in which God or someone asked you to do something and instead of doing what they had asked, you acted upon your own feelings and ways?
This situation reminded me that there will be times in our lives in which what we are being asked to do may go against our natural inclinations or wants and ways. But when it comes down to it, “it’s not about you and it’s all about you.”
Before we jump on the judgemental bandwagon, may we remember that we too, are imperfect. And if you are in the perfect category, then this Big Picture Fine Focus is probably not for you. This is for those of us who know that we have faults and flaws and can be found in the imperfect section on more days than not. This is for those of us who battle with pride, self-righteous attitudes, the impulse to judge and who have let the sly workings of annoyance get the better of us (more often than we’d like to admit). This is for those of us who need grace…daily.
When it comes down to listening to God and acting upon His guidance and instructions, may our eyes and heart anchor to His wisdom.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”-Isaiah 55:9
Sacrifice or obedience, which one are you giving?