Back to Basics
The alarm clock chimed with a loud echo, causing an avalanche in my dream. It was another morning, and I needed to thaw my mind for a busy day. Checking the Facebook feed on my phone, I wondered about the various people I impacted through my job. It had been a few months now, and I finally felt a battle rhythm. I trudged through the house in my slippers, making my way to the kitchen, hoping to find a helpful little cup of coffee that would perk me up. I asked sheepishly how my husband felt as I put on the coffee maker. “Same old same old,” he would shrug and say; it had been a hectic couple of months for the both of us. My husband and I caught covid together this time, and between the front-facing jobs and moving around so many people, our chance of getting it increased. I thought it would be less intimidating after succumbing to this plague for a second time, but it’s different when someone you love has it. No platitude can brace you for the impact of feeling useless and sick. After we got through the illness, so many thoughts rushed through my mind. The most pervasive idea was unexpected, but it grew louder with each passing day.
Did I do everything I could? Did I do my best as a wife, daughter, employee, believer, and author in the whirlwind of the passing months? Nothing gives you a reality check like facing a pandemic in your house. I could say yes to most of these questions except two, which were inextricably connected. First, I regretted letting loose of the reigns in my blogging online. I had taken noble advice to focus my intentions on my newfound career and try not to endanger it with split attention. There was nothing wrong with writing books or evening posting, but my aspirations to make a podcast, etc., on top of what I was already doing, were too far-fetched dreams for a fledgling career. However, after hearing about accidental postings leading to a firing, my blogging hands completely froze. I had worked too hard to mess up now. God knows I prayed for it …which leads me to my second and most crucial point.
As I felt the guilt from taking a tactical pause from vigorous author posting, I didn’t know how to get back into the rhythm of my relationship with Jesus. What had worked in a previous phase of my life wasn’t anymore, and I desperately needed a new outlook on what it meant to be in alignment with God. Life wouldn’t get easier to balance, and I needed to learn from these challenges to serve and be faithful regardless of my position. Then the Holy Spirit brought something to my mind. ” How did this all begin? When you started this journey, what did it look like?”. Whenever we feel like we are drifting in our relationship with Jesus, it is always best to recall what it felt like to love Him in the beginning. What actions do you remember went well in your walk with Jesus? What excited you about the journey? More often than not, your desire to be with the Lord is right where you left it last. I recalled when I would join my mother, going to the Christian bookstore, excited to find a devotional to guide me through. I loved reading them, and every time I would turn a page, it felt as though God was breathing fresh wind into my life. I also remembered opening my Bible, excited to read the word. My Bible was filled with sticky notes, and I couldn’t wait to know more about Jesus. Every time I would learn something new, I would post on Blogger, then Tumblr, until eventually, my journey led me here. Finally, it occurred to me that I needed to get back to basics.
I have to admit; it felt great to buy new devotionals!
So, I sat at my tea table with my Bible and one of my Billy Graham devotionals. I don’t know how to explain it, but the simple act of coming to the table made me feel renewed in my spirit. Then, finally, the room was still, and I had quiet time to dive deeper. I could pretend I had everything together, but those of you who read this should know that sometimes it is normal to feel a lag. You can feel too weary from your day, overwhelmed by the drama of the world, or just busy with your responsibilities, but the goal is to always come back to Jesus. Jesus said, “‘ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus acknowledged that we, as simple human beings, become tired from our everyday life.
The difference between a believer’s life and someone who doesn’t know God for themselves is that our faith in Jesus gives us rest. When we carry the burden of our life on our own, we tend to stress over things that are not in our control. As we come to the table with Jesus, we commit ourselves to a different sort of responsibility. What would once be the burden to be the best turns into the trust that we will do our best. What once was our ever-persistent worry about the future turns into the joy of the present adventure.
Jesus gave us another nugget of wisdom to live by when He said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”( Matthew 6:33-34). God asks us to do our best for today, not to wear ourselves down with every possibility in the future; He already has that covered. After taking the time to build a routine around Jesus, I began to realize that God was never upset with me for not being the ultimate blogger or author. He was much more concerned with staying my friend and being my God. It didn’t matter if I had followers from around the world or if I had written fifty books in my lifetime. It was far more valuable to Him that I tried to do His will and had a heart for His people.
A successful life is a life with Jesus at the center.
I wish I could say that getting back on the writing journey was easy after reprioritizing my relationship with Jesus, but it felt like learning to walk again. First, a hesitant sentence here, a frantic look back at my family for confirmation, then the balancing act between my love for writing and my passion for my career that ultimately had me in a daze. This time, new questions swirled in my head as I allowed myself to feel the present moment. Was this my life? How on earth could I be this happy? Is God giving me all of the desires of my heart? The answer to all of these questions was a resounding yes! God had given me more than one thing to steward over. Sure, that meant responsibilities and a color-coded schedule, but that is the beauty of living for the Kingdom of God first. So, doing everything to the glory of God, I diligently do the best I can today with what I have. If my family has Covid-19, it is more than okay to pause writing to be there for them. If my job requires more time from me, it is okay to work with excellence and not have to cook dinner every night. We can only expect what we can do from ourselves, and we should never be ashamed to run to God with the rest. The basics that we master today can lead to a more fulfilling tomorrow, but we should always enjoy the present with Jesus.