Living Your Priorities

I hinted in my last post that I have had some surrendering to do lately.

But, first let me tell you a story about a king named Saul and a time when he did what he thought was good, rather than what God had asked him to do. {That is not a recipe for success, my friends!}

In I Samuel 15, God commands King Saul to punish the Amalekites for what they had done to God’s people.  His instructions were specific.  Spare no life, including livestock.

Saul rounded up his army and attacked the Amalekites just as God had commanded him to do.  In the middle of the bloodshed, Saul and his army were impressed by the quality of some of the sheep and cattle that belonged to the Amalekites.  The Bible says “these they were unwilling to destroy completely” I Samuel 15:9

In verse 11, God tells Samuel “I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions”.

How easy is it for me to read those verses and condemn Saul for grieving the heart of God?  Far too easy, until I realize I have been doing the same thing for over a year.

The call to surrender my full-time volunteer position with the teen mom ministry that I LOVE has been audible for over a year.  But, I rationalized and justified my way to taking on more, rather than relinquishing anything.

And, my family paid the price.

Over the last few months, my husband asked me to step back.  And, I resisted.  I resisted and resented that he would even ask.

Yet I knew, deep down, that he was right.

I have taught seminars on priorities. For crying out loud, why is it so hard to take our own advice?  To put into practice what we know is right?

I was dedicating my life to discipling teen moms in their walk with Christ.  How can I disciple them if I am not living out the priorities I purport to believe in?

Making disciples is about replication.  I had become a cranky, over-extended, stressed-out shell of myself that I wouldn’t want anyone to replicate.

Ministry had replaced time alone with God.  Ministry came before the needs of my husband and children more times than I care to admit.

And, Jesus didn’t call me to ministry.  He called me to minister. To live my life in such a way that people see Him through me.

Others might have been able to catch a glimpse of Him through me, but my family sure couldn’t.

Throwing the scraps and leftovers to my children and husband isn’t okay.

In my quest to be superwoman, all I accomplished was getting wrapped up in my cape.

Last week, I made a difficult announcement to the precious girls I work with and volunteers I cherish that I am resigning from full-time teen mom ministry.

I am choosing God first, my family second and trusting that everything else will fall into place.

Remarkably, I have peace.  Peace that came only after I surrendered to God and begged Him to provide me with peace if this was His will.

That peace covered me like a warm blanket and hasn’t left me since.

Even in the moments when the enemy whispers in my ear “How can you abandon the girls God called you to work with?”

“If you don’t do it, who will?”  “A good Christian could get the strength from God to do ministry and family well”  and many other ugly lies, that peace has not gone away.  That is how I know I am walking the path God has for me, even though it doesn’t make complete sense to my mind and it hurts my heart.

Here is the truth that combats the lies of the enemy:

Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is like the sin of divination and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. I Samuel 15:22-23a

So, as I redefine my role in the ministry, rebuild family routines and relationships, repair the holes in my spiritual foundation and rest, I covet your prayers.

As I seek to discover what God has waiting around the bend, I pray that I don’t manufacture anything.  That I allow Him to reveal His will to me and wait on Him.

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.  Isaiah 64:4

God didn’t care if I gave up sweet tea this year.  He had something far more important in mind.  He wanted me to obey, no matter the cost.  To recognize that YoungLives is His ministry {and His hand is at work in mighty ways through the work done there} and He doesn’t need me to accomplish anything.

He desires my heart, all of it.

God does not desire the fattened calves of my good works to show what a good job I’ve done for Him.

He wants me to live according to His commands.

God first.

Always.

That is my priority. My purpose.

My prayer.

and the counting of gifts continues {up to 560 now, excerpted from my Joy Dare/gratitude journal}

~ packing to go pick up Jason from basic training

~ friends that support my decisions, even when they make their life more difficult

~ date night with besties, throwing peanut shells on the floor as we chat and plan and dream

~ a son who passed his permit test

~ beautiful weather, March has come in like quite the lamb

~ a Sunday afternoon at the park

~ serving a God who is in the details

~ walking arm in arm with my 14 year old, who is not too cool to love on his mama

~ sparkling clean kitchen counters

~ a spring flower for my hair

What are you thankful for?  What do you need to surrender to God?

Linking up with these precious ladies today:

 

 

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22 Responses to Living Your Priorities

  1. Amy Sullivan says:

    Melissa,
    My favorite line is about giving scraps to your husband and kids. Really good and really convicting.

    Just retweeted this one.

  2. Melody Adkins says:

    I LOVE YOU! :)

  3. I am so proud of you, Melissa, for readjusting as God prompts and being vulnerable to share it publicly.  God is glorified in our testimonies… as long as we don’t remain silent.  Thank you for your obedience and love for God and others.

  4. love love love love –~ walking arm in arm with my 14 year old, who is not too cool to love on his mama

    blessings and i love your sweet gifts.

  5. Joan says:

    “That peace covered me like a warm blanket and hasn’t left me since.”

    Love this! You know that you have been obedient when you can feel that type of peace.

    And as one who needs to consider stepping back from a few things, I appreciate this post.

    Blessings,
    Joan

  6. Glenda Childers says:

    Your post reminded me of a season of two years in my life, where God lead me to do no ministry and focus on my family. I was really happy when I felt God was releasing me to ministry again. And the time I invested in my family … wow, was needed and for eternity.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

  7. Ro elliott says:

    Great post here…oh so good…hearing God’s heart for you and obeying…let the cry of your heart continue to be …here first…let me live it here under this roof…when we do that …our live has an authenticity…and what we do outside the home becomes more pure…I pray you feel His continued leading…letting Him define who your are in Him and Him alone…blessings on this new wonderful journey…

  8. Anonymous says:

    oh, how painful these transitions can be…even if needed and known.  May you know again in the future the kind of joy that this readjustment is sure to bring…and that list, it’s a good one!

  9. Jen Ferguson says:

    And, Jesus didn’t call me to ministry.  He called me to minister. — I can so relate to this line right here.  It really helps me keep my priorities straight.  I know that I have to be filled with Him in order to minister.  

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