Psalm 84: 1-2, 5-7, 10: “How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. 6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring; the rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.”
I find myself grappling on a consistent basis with the concept of selfishness and rest–how the two seem to war within the heart of most men and women, and most definitely within the heart of this momma. The theme of God’s shaping of my last few years has involved Sabbath, rest, time in His presence. I’ve prayed about it; I’ve thought about it; I’ve read about it; I’ve blogged about it; I’ve taught about it. The topics of rest and spending time in His presence comes up in most conversations I have, whether formally or casually, primarily because most people in our culture don’t ever get enough of either.
I’ll be honest, I’m still a work-in-progress in these areas myself.
This past December, we, like many families, had multiple weeks where at least one person had a runny nose, was running a fever, wrestled with infection, or a combination of all the above. Just when it seemed we were all well, finally giving illness the boot, another kid would begin to sneeze. As the COO (chief of operations) of our humble abode, I was flat worn out! Little kids with runny noses and heightened needs and levels of whining were taking their toll on me. And, shocking as it may seem, I began to grumble. At one point I turned to my husband and said, “I simply am not fit to be a good mother. I’m far too selfish for this. I do not want to wipe one more runny nose. I am in desperate need of a full night’s sleep. And I, quite frankly, need to be anywhere but here.”
All I could think about at that point was what I wanted for myself. I had been consumed with thinking of everyone else’s needs and wants to such an extent that I was beyond help myself! Like most moments of utter desperation, I ran to the safest place in my home: the master bedroom’s closet. Falling on my face before the Lord with a panic-filled cry, I threw a grown-up girl’s temper tantrum in His presence. “I’m too selfish to be a good mother, Lord! I just can’t do anymore…”
I’m not sure how the Lord speaks to you but generally I hear Him say things to me with such candor, it’s like a best friend is sitting beside me, speaking to me with ease. “Well, if you’re going to be selfish, be selfish with My presence.” (Do you believe God has the capacity to be sarcastic? I do believe He has a sense of humor when we come to Him, acting as children…) “Be selfish in your time with Me, My lavishing on you, My doting on you. You’re less likely to come to this desperate state again if you’ll be selfish with My presence.”
It feels selfish to steal away with Him when there’s so much to be done, right? But let us follow the psalmists here who said with total abandon, “My soul longs…no, it FAINTS, for the courts of the Lord for there I will go from strength to strength, not ‘fumes to fumes’!” Truly one hour in His presence can change the course of your life!
Feeling selfish today? Take that selfishness to a place where it can actually add value and strength to your life. Find yourself with your Heavenly Father’s undivided attention. Strength is waiting for you.
Seeking from a selfish heart,