I’ve confessed before that my attentiveness to blogging can get ‘bogged’ down at times. I have intentions of writing this post or that on some subject with which the Lord stirs my heart. And my excuse for not writing it is usually along the lines of ‘I’m busy doing ministry. I don’t have time to write about it, too!’
Of course, it is an excuse. It’s just not a very good reason. So it’s been a while since I’ve been here. My last post on October 5 was about the cultural response to the death of Steve Jobs and why it was a great opportunity for us, as believers, to share our faith. Interestingly, the next time I had a burning urge to write was at the news of the death of Whitney Houston. I seriously started a blog post and then realized that my last post was of a similar nature.
That seemed morbid to me…so I decided not to write.
Lest you think I truly neglected my writing in between those two events, I should point out that I wrote some Bible study materials during that time. You can find Snapshots in Acts and More Snapshots in Acts under the Just for You tab above. But mostly I’ve been devoting my time to leading Precept studies and overseeing our Tuesday Morning Women’s Life program.
And losing weight…a spiritual battle that has been raging in me for some time.
And meeting with some amazing women…some who are faithful friends and encouragers in my life. Others that I have the privilege of encouraging as well.
And traveling…to be with my grandson and his mommy (my daughter) and daddy.
It has been a season of great joy and also a season of some of my deepest struggles and pain. And I probably will write more about these experiences at some point. For now, I am processing the propensity I have toward guilt over not keeping up on this particular piece of my life and ministry.
These feelings aren’t unique to me. I talk with women more often than not about the feeling that we are not keeping up with the things we ‘ought’ to be doing. The conversation usually begins “I’m sorry I haven’t been to Bible study…” or “I’m feeling like I need some time off from…” Sometimes those statements are followed by tears. Then by more discourse on how to set priorities or discern God’s leading. These conversations never cease to cause me to evaluate my own activities and they have often helped shape me both personally and as a ministry leader.
There are two passages of Scripture that generally come to mind during these times. I’m sure you can guess the first:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)
Sometimes we just need to do one thing over the other. Maybe both are ‘good’ things but one seems to be the best at that moment. We should always feel free to do the best thing despite what others around us may think or do for themselves. The tricky part is discerning which of the things is ‘best.’ In these cases we should continue to implore God through prayer and the Word and confirmation by His Spirit and through His people until we have a sense of the rightness of our decision.
Which brings up that second verse:
Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17 (NASB)
God forbid I should ever tell a woman “I think God wants you to do this” when in reality He wants her to do “that.” That doesn’t mean I won’t participate in her discernment process, but it is so important for those of us in ministry to recognize that we are not all meant to do the same thing that others around us are doing. I hope that I’m the kind of leader that asks the right questions to help and not harm that process.
I’ve been thinking a lot about these things as I have personally been faced with evaluating the method of weight loss I’ve been using (a medical weight loss trial that requires more time and energy than I feel I have.) I’m also faced, as a leader, with the resignation of a key team member in the middle of a vital Bible study.
In my situation, a good friend called me on my attitude of rebellion in the matter and I’m happy to say I am back on course, doing what I know to be good and right. In the case of my team member I am having to wait and see what the Lord will reveal to us about the situation. There is more truth that needs to be ferreted out before I can say I know what to do.
Frankly, it’s been that kind of season…one where decisions about priorities have been plenty and sometimes needed to be confessed when all was said and done. The context of the verse from James helps us keep these things in perspective:
‘Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”…So it is a sin for the person who knows to do what is good and doesn’t do it.’ James 4:13-17
We don’t know what tomorrow holds. We do know that time is of the essence. We should feel free to do that to which the Lord call us. And we should do it well. (see Colossians 3:17, 23)
What’s happening in your season right now? Where do you turn when you need encouragement?