For example; you know eating a large quantity of potato chips is not good for you, but you do it anyway. You know getting regular exercise would be best but you don't make yourself do it. Maybe you're aware that you drink far too much caffeine and that it is not good for your health but you don't make a change. (Yes... these examples are totally random and do not apply to me.
About three years ago Troy and I went to a Family Life marriage conference. At that event we committed to pray together daily and as a family a few times a week. It was a hard habit to create with five kids and busy schedules, but we did well with it and felt incredibly bonded and solid. I believe we called it "rock solid." Our counselor asked us if we were "rock-solid" when we came to her to discuss adopting from Haiti and get our letter from a Psychologist for the dossier. We were rock-solid at the time. And we know exactly why we were.
When we moved here we got the kids to the prayer rock or gathered in the living room at least a few times a week for devotions and prayer. Sometimes it was an amazing, spirit-filled time. Other times it was 30 minutes of shushing Jack and trying to keep the boys from beating on each other long enough to finish a short prayer without losing our patience with them. Something about telling your kid to shut-up in the middle of praying sort of brings it down. But even then, it always drew us nearer to the Lord and to each-other; even when it was brief or less in-depth.
Something has happened (or not happened) since about December. We're messing it all up. It occurred to us that not only are we not praying regularly as a couple, but we are rarely making time to pray together as a family. We're rarely getting into His word.
We are feeling the hurt as a result of our messed up priorities. Rock-solid would not be an accurate description for today.
Last week we asked friends from Michigan if they would help keep us accountable in this area. We are struggling and suffering because of some of the circumstances beyond our control, but MORE SO because of our choice to get busy and not put God first.
How can we expect to cope well with the pressure of this place without daily seeking Him? That is as silly as expecting to lose weight while you sit on your couch watching Oprah and downing a super-size bag of Lays Chips. Duh.
The time in the Word and in prayer together is important and we need to treat it as such. We've been failing miserably in this area. And even KNOWING that is part of the problem we've just kept plugging along putting the mission first, employing a plan that does not work, is not working, will never work.
Change happens when people decide to change. We've got to change this.
I got an email recently that said, "You guys bring missionaries down to a normal level. I always thought of missionaries as perfectly Holy people. You make it seem possible that my family could go serve God somewhere."
We chuckle at this because ... well, because basically it is dreadfully apparent to all of you that we are not perfectly Holy people ... we struggle and we mess-up and we do idiotic things. Some missionaries raise the bar, others ... lower it.
Our claim to fame. (deep sigh)
In case you had any last notion of our spiritual status being something to behold, we are posting this blog entry to put an end to that too. We're just ("missionary") sinners saved by grace trying to get it right. We need to get the first part right before we even try to get the rest of it figured out.
We start over again today.
Sara Groves - How Is It Between Us
Woke up on the wrong side of the bed ~ The wrong side of the room~ The wrong side of the world ~Can't put my finger on the mood~It's not melancholy, anger or the blues ~I love my husband, my house, my job~Couldn't be any better~And really what else is there?~Then I realize I'm forgetting God ~And that's the root of all my misery ~Lord, first of all, how is it between you and me?
How is it between us?How is it between us? When did I talk to you last ~And what has happened since? How is it between us? how is it between us? When did I talk to you last, and what has happened?
When I wake up I am on my way~ Reinventing the wheel and saving the day~ I have learned this lesson a thousand times ~I am the branch, and you are the vine ~Apart from you we are mice and men ~With our fancy dreams of grandeur and no way to get there ~Oh I can think about you now and then ~ Or I can make a mark on eternity ~ Lord first of all, how is it, between you and me?
So let the wicked prosper, let the oceans roar ~ Let the mountains crumble, and fall into the sea ~ There's something more important weighing on my mind ~ Lord first of all, how is it between you and me?
"We hear it said that a man will suffer in his life is he does not pray; I question it. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God within him, which is nourished not by food but by prayer...Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished."