Jesus Calling Devotion:
I continually call you to closeness with Me. I know the depth and breadth of your need for Me. I can read the emptiness of your thoughts when they wander away from Me. I offer rest for your soul, as well as refreshment for your mind and body. As you increasingly find fulfillment in Me, other pleasures become less important. Knowing Me intimately is like having a private wellspring of Joy within you. This spring flows freely from My throne of grace, so your Joy is independent of circumstances.
Waiting in My Presence keeps you connected to Me, aware of all I offer you. If you feel a deficiency, you need to refocus your attention on Me. This is how you trust Me in the moments of your life.
Today’s Jesus Calling is once again a perfect love letter from God (and I have to thank my dear friend Karen for teaching me that phrase). I love how Jesus says “as you find fulfillment in Me other pleasures become less important.” I find that to be very true and I look forward each morning to my quiet time with the LORD. I am learning how to stay in His Presence all through the day and what it means to truly find strength through Him. A couple of days ago I began reading a book my church handed out: Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly. What a great book! I have underlined almost all of the book. So appropriate for the time we are going through as a nation. But what I have really enjoyed about the book is the practical ways he talks about becoming the best-version-of-you.
One thing that I really liked and started doing was going through my day in prayer all day long. It is so easy and gives a new meaning to my day. I attempted it yesterday and I found God’s strength carrying me through the day. It was amazing.
He suggests that each hour of your day: working, playing, free time, etc. that you dedicate that hour in prayer. It brings a whole new level of awareness, dedication and closeness to God to your hour. For example yesterday I did this for the first time and I was amazed how much work I accomplished at work and I was in the office all by myself – no one would have known if I was working or not but I dedicated each hour of work for a prayer request. It kept me from slacking off – kept my mind where it needed to be – on Jesus. After work I really wanted to come home and crawl into bed as I still wasn’t feeling well but I dedicated that hour to prayer for a little boy facing some serious surgery next week. So in that hour I knew I had responsibilities to attend to so off to the grocery store I went (and I HATE grocery shopping) but I went and it was surprisingly painless. Now I did have some issues with my son continually calling me and hanging up when I told him I would not be buying the junk food he was wanting. I could feel my response bubbling up (and it wasn’t a good response) but I also remembered I was in prayer so I decided that if he can’t be respectful on the phone I would not answer one more of his phone calls and for the 4 other times he called I did not answer them. When I got home I needed to put groceries away, clean kitchen, and cook dinner. I offered that hour up in prayer. Do you know that this was the first time I wasn’t exhausted and I actually forgot I was sick. I even felt my attitude change towards my son. I respected what he is going through – he is hurting, his feelings are valid even if I don’t yet understand them. I didn’t push him, I didn’t give in to his sadness – I don’t want to encourage him to stay in that place. I asked if he wanted dinner when he responded “No” I respected that and left it alone (although he did end up eating a little – thank You LORD). When he vented that there was no point in eating or getting off the couch, I let him vent instead of trying to get him to see there is another way to look at things. All this was because Jesus was living and working through me. If it had been me I would have been complaining, making sarcastic remarks, fighting with my son, complaining about the house being a disaster (and of course me being the only one who EVER cleans it) but instead I focused myself where Jesus wanted me. I did what I could and saved the rest for another day.
Because I was continually in prayer it changed how I acted and responded. I experienced Jesus living through me – giving me what I needed, when I needed and growing increasingly closer to Him and I never want to go back to living for myself or any part of my day without Him working through me. For the first time I didn’t do things for my own satisfaction, to gain someone else’s approval or to look good to others. I carried out my responsibilities because I was in prayer and in union with Jesus. He changed the way I was thinking and my thought process.
This book has also opened up things to me that have almost hit me over the head. things I knew about myself but really didn’t want to face or things I just wanted to ignore but now see in a new way how those things are affecting my life and keeping me from being the-best-version-of-me God created me to be. Matthew Kelly talks about 3 philosophies that lead to destruction: Individualism, Hedonism and Minimalism. Sadly I confess to taking on one of these or even parts of all 3 of them at some point in my life:
- Individualism – “what’s in it for me” attitude
- Hedonism – “if it feels good, do it” attitude
- Minimalism – “what’s the least I can do and get by” attitude
Another thing that caught me and made me take notice (although I had thought about this before but seeing it in context with everything else seemed to really hit me on the head.) Matthew Kelly writes: “my experience of people and life continually teaches me that those who have not central purpose in their lives fall easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles and self pity.” So very true I saw this in me when I had too much time on my hands and I see this in my son right now.
Discipline is the path that leads to “fulness of life.” When are we most fully alive? When we embrace a life of discipline. The human person thrives on discipline. (pg 44)
Are you thriving? or just surviving?
Christ proposes a life of discipline not for its own sake, and certainly not to stifle or control us; rather, He proposes discipline as the key to freedom. Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want. Freedom is the strength of character and the self-possession to do what is good, true, noble and right. Therefore freedom without discipline is impossible. (pg44) so once again……
Are you thriving? Or just surviving?
Our yearning for happiness is a yearning for union with our Creator. Augustine’s words echo a new in every place, in every time, and in every heart. “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You, LORD” Whenever men and women yearn for happiness Christ will be relevent. He alone is the fulfillment and satisfaction of this yearning, and so for every person in every place and time He remains “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (pg 48)
Today I will live thriving through Him – will you join me?