Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Burdened Under Satan's Yoke

It's a topic that has been popping up in my life - repeatedly - for the past few days. A song at church on Sunday, the pastor's reminder that sleep is a gift, a friend's Facebook status and my immediate reply, one glance at my calendar and, finally, a sentence in a new bible study book. OK, OK, ....I'll listen! OK, OK.....I'll write!

Busy. B.U.S.Y. Burdened Under Satan's Yoke. Yes, I get it. I can relate to having "too many irons in the fire". I get the overfilled schedule. I know the carpool and mom's taxi. I've attempted (with some success) decluttering the schedule in the past. Yet, life is what it is. It has it's seasons, some of which are more filled than others. But "stuff" likes to find it's way back in.

There is no doubt in my mind that "God is always at work". There is no doubt in my mind that his words in the Psalms which remind us to "Be still and know that I am God" are there for a reason. The world will try to distract us from our focus, our purpose. But, we are not of this world.... just living in it. But how can we hear and act if we are not watching and waiting for direction?

As I was interpreting during band rehearsal, I was playing with the verse a little. The word "know", means what exactly....? I looked it up, and there are several definitions that match the signs that came forth. My favorite being: "Have firsthand knowledge of states, situations, emotions or sensations" - or, my sign: "experience". I have witnessed God moving powerfully in my life... most clearly, when I was broken enough that all I could do was "be still".

In looking up the "official" definition, I am reminded of a few other meanings that I hadn't thought of that morning. Reading them together, I am reminded of the story of the Shepherd who calls to His sheep, and they know his voice. He is familiar, known to us. We know His character and can differentiate between His voice and others who would lead astray.

And - we KNOW, and believe without a doubt that He is God. It's so much more than having knowledge of a mere fact.

But, how do I get there? How do I KNOW Him? Hear and recognize his voice above all others? Stillness. Taking time to nurture that relationship. He and I. Him and me. "Be still and know...."

Honestly, I wish sometimes it said "do these 14 things before lunch and another dozen after..." It would be easier living in this world to do so... But no, it doesn't. It says "Be still...."

Honestly, sometimes, I multi-task it. I talk with God as a I walk the dog. I listen to worship music as I drive. I try to include gratitude and service into every day.

As I completed the first day of my new Bible study, I was reminded that "the very busyness of life" is not unique to these days. The author refers us to Acts 6:1-4, and asks what the disciples did when they became overwhelmed with the tasks of daily life and the pressures of ministry.

"Stop and reflect on what was important". They also had the gift of delegation! Not only was it OK for them to say "no" to the task being asked of them, it was important that they didn't. They needed to focus on preaching and praying. They did empower others to do the daily work, which if you ask me, was a gift to them..... service always comes with unexpected rewards!

I've gotten better at not accepting every invitation that comes my way. Yet, I intend to look again at the events of the day, and where my time and energies are focused.

I have two main purposes every day: raising my kids and walking where He leads. To do both of those effectively, I need to remember Psalm 46:10. I need to make time - dedicated time - to be still. So I can know, feel, hear, experience and be in the undistracted, undeniable presence of God.

I want the yoke that is light.... not the one that keeps me burdened.

(that and another hour of sleep... SWEET!)

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