Archives for posts with tag: intentions

fullMy life is full of relationships and demands. My calendar is full of appointments and deadlines. My house is full of stuff. I have filled my life, my time, and my heart with all sorts of things that take up space and time. Some are very important; some just take my energy with minimal return. I can have my “hands full”, a full day, or a heart filled with whatever I am consumed by that day.

How can I be so busy, have so many demands, and still feel so empty sometimes? Why is it when I ask God to fill me with his Spirit, sometimes it feels like He’s ignoring me? I’m doing everything I know to do to obey Him and honor my obligations and responsibilities, and I don’t always feel fulfilled.

I suspect that I’m the problem. I am a task oriented person. I can fill every empty space on my calendar and in my heart in dozens of different ways. And then I wonder, why don’t I feel fulfilled? I’m not lazy. I’m doing all the stuff I think is right; why doesn’t it seem to work? I ask God to fill me with peace, but I refuse to let go of the busyness. I ask God to fill me with compassion, but I’m still clinging to pride and nurturing judgmentalism. I ask God to fill me with joy, but I’m still focused on the things that irritate me. Perhaps God can’t fill me with what I need because I’m so full of myself.

The difference between having what the world describes as a “full” life and being fulfilled is the source of the filling. In Luke 14 Jesus told a parable of a man who gave a feast, but those he invited had lives that were too full to attend. They were busy; they had responsibilities and relationships that were more important than attending the feast. So the man sent his servant to invite people who were willing to make space for that feast, who were willing to come and fill themselves at his table. If God is the man giving the feast and Jesus is the servant issuing the invitation, that makes us the ones receiving the invitation. We can choose to fill our time with our stuff and our activity, or we can feast on what God prepares for us.

Filling can be an active verb. I can fill my life, my calendar, and my heart with countless things. I can choose to be filled with joy or hope or pride or anger. But then when I seek God, I’ve left him no room to fill me with anything else. God has a history of filling his people. He filled oil jars and stomachs; He filled mouths with songs and His word; He filled the Tabernacle and the Temple with the manifestation of his presence; He filled his disciples with His Spirit.

But filling can also be a passive verb. An empty glass can be filled by someone thirsty in the same way an empty heart can be filled by God. Attempting to fill an empty heart with material possessions or busyness or relationships will always create only temporary relief. But things, activity, and people will always, ultimately disappoint us. We cannot expect them to fill the spaces that are meant to be filled by a relationship with God.

Being filled is nearly always a matter of choice. I can fill my glass with water or Dr. Pepper or fruit juice. I can fill my life with my best efforts and intentions. Or, I can make space for God to fill me with what will ultimately fulfill me.

Perhaps what stands between your full life and fulfillment for your soul is your decision to give God an empty place in your heart, on your calendar. What would happen if you emptied yourself of expectations and control and allowed God to do a new thing? If your self-satisfaction was rooted in understanding how much God loves you, rather than in measuring your own accomplishment? If you joy came from within, rather than being contingent on the attitudes of others?

Fulfilled does not equal busy; having demands on your time and attention will not fill your soul. You were created for relationship with God. Make space for Him. You will find that being filled with His Spirit is much more fulfilling than anything you can accomplish on your own.

success 2Life is messy. We define “success” up front and then don’t know what to call it when the end result doesn’t match our plans. Our best intentions are sometimes sidetracked by pitfalls and interruptions that we don’t see coming and can’t control. The pristine “happily ever after” we envisioned seldom works out as neatly as we planned. But what if your current circumstances are the God ordained preparation for what is to come? What if your plans lead only to more of the same or worse, and God’s plans lead to victory and adventure? What if your ultimate success is based on your response to your current circumstances?

Successful people don’t waste time bemoaning what isn’t or complaining about what should have happened; they make the most of whatever circumstances they find themselves in. Mark Batterson has a book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day (which I HIGHY recommend). In it he shares his life philosophy which is also his admonition to his church.

Do the best you can You were never intended to be the best at everything. You may not like what you are doing; you may not be as qualified as someone else for what you are doing; you may feel like you are wasting your time. But for now, your circumstances are yours. Going through the motions may get you to the end, but it will never feed your soul. Half-hearted efforts usually deliver lackluster results. What if God is waiting for you to invest your best so that He can multiply it into something great or something different?

With what you have Life would be so much easier if we had more money, more talent, more time, more opportunity. I suspect that what we “don’t have” may be intended to help us be dependent on Him. God doesn’t call you to be someone else. He created you on purpose, just as you are. If we trust God with what we have, he can make it enough, even when it doesn’t look like much. Moses gave God his staff, and God defeated Pharaoh and the Egyptian army; David offered God his slingshot, and God gave victory to the army of Israel; a boy offered Jesus his 5 loaves and 2 fish, and Jesus fed the hearts and minds of 5000. What if God wants you to trust Him with what you have so that you can see his power at work in your circumstances?

Where you are Sometimes we waste our lives aiming for what we want and miss the blessing of where we actually are. You could have been born into a different set of circumstances in a different place…but you weren’t. There are people and opportunities where you are that are God ordained. What does God want you to learn from them? What do you have that God wants to use to impact those around you right now?

 Do the best YOU can with what YOU have where YOU are. We don’t get to be someone else. We don’t get to live someone else’s story. For right now, we are who we are, where we are. Perhaps doing the best we can will change us. It might even change our circumstances. God intends that we use what we have wherever we are to the best of our ability to bring our good and His glory. What do you have? Where are you? How big is the gap between what you are doing and your best?