On Stepping Back + Listening

On Stepping Back + Listening | Lemon and the Sea: How to take time out of your busy schedule to check in with God and His plan and why you should.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And His righteousness;
And all these things shall be added unto you.
Alleu, alleuia!
— Karen Lafferty

I've had this song running through my head for a few weeks now. It's funny how so often when I get one of these earworms (yes, that's apparently what they're called) stuck in my head, I'm desperate to get them out. This is one case where I'm happy for the reminder each time I find myself singing or humming along.

The first verse of the hymn, composed by Karen Lafferty, is based on Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

How do we seek first?

I'm just going to admit something here: I struggle daily to seek God first, especially when it comes to my business. I wish I could tell you that I've figured out how to listen to God and follow His path each days, but most of the time, I'm falling pretty short.

I'm selfish, self-righteous, proud, and impatient. I try to do it all on my own. I get up each day with a to do list running through my head. I turn to busyness to make myself feel worthy. I worry. I fall short in every way and I don't deserve all the many, many blessings that God has given me.

There are  times when I want stay in my comfortable office and pretend that I'm in control. But there are also times when I'm desperate to hear from God - to know and be a part of His plan. Honestly, it brings me to tears when I really take the time to think about how gracious God has been with me and how He's blessed me so abundantly even though I turn away from His so often.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you how to seek God first because I haven't figured it out myself most days, but I do know that it takes faith and openness.

Be Still and know

I can fill up my days with things "I have to get done" and think about my worries on a loop that gets so loud that's its almost impossible to hear anything else. But in those times when I can truly be still, when I can let go of all of that, when I can release all things to God, then I can find Him.

In the quiet moments, when I'm broken by my sin and humbled by His grace, I know that He is God and that I want Him to lead me, in life and in business. His love for me is in the verses I read each day, in the hymns that I listen to, in the rays of sun through the window. These things remind me to be still, to come to God and turn over my burdens, to let go of trying to make myself worthy through my work.

Listen to the Quiet Voice

It is in stillness that I begin to hear from God. More than just the instructions of a Sunday School teacher or the words of a pastor, but from God Himself. He isn't loud. He won't scream to get my attention. He is easy to overlook when my brain is filled with lists and revolving thoughts. But He is there. He is always there.

God speaks not in the storm but in a quiet voice. He wants us to draw close, to leave the world behind, to simply come and listen. He wants to fill you with the peace of the Holy Spirit, hold you in His arms, take on your burdens, and give you rest.

It's so easy for me to let the world drown out God's voice with it's noise and the demands that I allow others to place on me, but those are the times I struggle most. Sometimes it seems that I don't have time to make space for God and the plans that He may have, but I must make time. I must seek Him daily, not for the rewards of the world, but because He is my reward.

He promises me so many blessings if only I would put Him first. And of course I want that - more than anything - but I so often turn aside, take back control. Yet He still blesses me and proves faithful time and time again.

This year I'm turning my business over to God. I'd like to say that I won't try to wrest control from Him, but I know that I will. In those times, and in all things, I'm learning to have FAITH. It's the word I've chosen for 2016. It's the thing I want to cultivate in my life. It's about trusting God and His plan even when I have no idea what's ahead. It's about waiting with eyes wide open in wonder at God will do. Because I want all the things He wants to give me, even if they aren't things I'm expecting.

Looking Forward

I'm looking forward to 2016 with hope and wonder at the ways God is at work in me. I pray that you too are looking forward to a year full of faith and seeking firs the kingdom of God.