Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tick Tock















So many times we say, "Man, I wish I had more time!"  Well, the past two days, we had just that thanks to Leon, the winter storm.  If I could go back a few days, I would have prepared better in terms of meals and snacks (we are now officially out of bread, milk, eggs, fruit, and lettuce.)  But, other than having to scrounge up creative meals and snacks, we have not suffered.  (We are also fortunate to have good neighbors to share meals with, making the circumstances much more fun.)  All this "extra time" has caused me to really think about the ways I use my time, since as Seth pointed out Sunday to me, "We only have about 10 more Sunday's here in the states." Ten.  That is not very many, folks!

With time slipping away from us, there are things we want to do before we leave.  Seth and I both need more time with our families.  The kids are letting us know what restaurant they want to visit before the move, and Seth and I are narrowing down our choices. I have to figure out what to do with the stuff we have...to sell, to donate, or to store?  I also wanted to lose a few pounds (...or twenty) before the move, but with all the good American delicacies I need to enjoy before the move, who has time for that?! 

In the midst of all of this, the Lord keeps asking me, am I dying to self?  Is my time about honoring Him or myself? What is really my desire?  Not one of those things are bad, but my heart needs to be set on Him. I have been very focused on spending my last few weeks enjoying the comforts of America, when I really need to focus on the comfort I can have in Christ, whether here, in Bolivia, or wherever else I may one day be.  I need to be intentional in my time with others and with God, both now in these last 2 months and always.  I have written more letters in the past few months than I ever have in my life!  But, I made that a priority to write friends and family to share with them my heart and what is ahead for us. I'm trying to invest in those around me with the encouragement of this testimony of God's direction in our lives, instead of investing in cultural gluttony these last 10 weeks - trying to manage my time for his glory rather than relishing in the desires of my flesh. 

Romans 1:16 says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also the Greek."  This world, especially in America, has a LOT to offer us, but none of it compares to the "immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe." (Eph. 1:19)  And that power is in the gospel.  So, why do we not study God's word more in our "down time" and seek to know Him more when we feel time is pressing for other things?  Why don't we share his word and our satisfaction in him with those around us more often? We have to be careful that we are dependent on the gospel - not our culture - for our joy and peace and fulfillment. 

Romans 12:2, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. " A lot of testing, as I'm seeing now, comes in how I manage my time for the Lord. Am I conformed to this world in my weekly schedule, watching House Hunters International, playing Candy Crush, and daydreaming of chicken parmesan from Olive Garden, while designating no time to honor him with reading the word, praying, and learning to trust in the leading of the Holy Spirit? In these last few weeks in the states and for ever in my life, my prayer is that I would die to self when it comes to my time, and seek first HIS kingdom, not My cultural comforts. Let's encourage each other to glorify God with our time and to use this tiny portion of eternity that we live in to spur one another on towards a deeper relationship with our creator and sustainer, our wonderfully good, heavenly Father - who deserves all of us, including our time.

In Christ,
Ashley