I’m on the second week of my three-week break and I don’t have Internet at home. I cooked a sumptuous baked salmon dish, caught up on my laundry, room cleaning (oh the cobwebs!) and sleep on the first week. I’m a bit disappointed that I was not able to do a single day of exercise (when I intended to do it daily and lose all the flabs) or driving practice. But I’m so thankful that after 12 days with no work, I am beginning to see things more clearly.
I am re-organizing my priorities. And my heart is recuperating. I’m re-learning what life really is about.
First and foremost, I have found it of extreme importance to stay in love at all cost. I have been dragged to here and there, closer and farther from Jesus but one truth stands firm, I am most alive and free when I am in love with Him. It is utmost foolishness to allow our love to grow cold through the tiniest bits of compromise. Yet we still do it huh? But when we return to Him, we rediscover that there is nothing that ever comes close to the simplicity of being near Him.
Second, it is not about (first) loving the distant stranger. It is about loving those nearest to us, our family. One of the most painful consequences of busy-ness is losing time for our family. How can we expect our lives to be fulfilled if we could not express our love to the people closest to us? Every day must be embraced as an opportunity to give back to those who loved us first (next to God), who loved and still loves us unconditionally. It breaks my heart to see myself unable to give my best self to my family.
Thirdly, and perhaps this must be “secondly” (and so I’m thinking maybe I am still learning how to place this one second), it’s about also being faithful in loving oneself. “Self neglect” is not synonymous to “denying oneself and taking one’s cross.” It’s about loving oneself as God loves you, and not feeling guilty about it. It’s about accepting God’s love and accepting and embracing the wonderful truth that God wants us to be lavishly loved.
I realized that many times I have placed “work” first because I have partially based my identity on my ability to accomplish things. Out of a desire to be successful, I would switch priorities, thinking that perhaps this would help me get closer to my “goals.” There is nothing wrong with goals, but the moment our definition of success changes from that of one that is an overflow of a love relationship with God, into our one that s based on our human efforts to prove our love for God and humanity, we are beginning to walk away from a life of grace into a life that is bound by the law that kills, the very thing that Jesus set us free from.
The full life, I think, is the simple life, where God is first and serving God is less about striving for “big” accomplishments but more about allowing ones self to be swept away by the love of Christ. It is really less about giving but more about receiving in order to overflow. As one man of prayer often put it, “Lovers will always outdo Workers.”
During the past season, I unknowingly surrendered myself into the intoxicating world of workaholic striving only to realize that in trying to accomplish more, I have accomplished less. I look back on the days when I sang more love songs and just lingered in the presence of God. Those were the same days when I touched lives deeply and my prayers worked more powerfully. As the new year draws close, I am determined to learn once again, the art of waiting at the feet of Jesus. It may not come as easily as I hope it would, but I rest secure in the truth that through this season, despite how much I’ve changed, HIS LOVE never did.