In the early hours of the morning, I lay there awake listening to the radio playing softly behind me. I haven’t done this in months. After my husband died, I would awaken often during the night. Over the course of time I have been able to sleep better but not last night. At two in the morning, I was awake and wondering why. What over thinking had drawn me from sleep? Which of the concerns of the moment were bothering me enough to cause this lack of rest? As my mind pondered those questions I came to a conclusion. An answer whispered to my heart. My priorities have been all mixed up.
I have seen and heard the comment often, that if you find yourself awake in the quiet of the middle of the night, God has something he needs to get your attention over. I believe that to be true. During the daylight hours we are often so busy, we are too distracted to hear the message meant for us. During the night, or the hours we would be sleeping, we are not so distracted to not hear the Spirit speaking.
After my husband died, in the moments during the night when I found myself awake, I would remain still and quiet. Often I would pray over my fears and concerns. I would place all that bothered me at the feet of my Lord and leave the day’s concerns there. I was facing a lot of changes, struggles and worries so it was an every night event. As one journeying through this life, there are going to be many struggles and lessons learned. Each one meant to bring me closer to God. Each one meant to build up a strength and maturity in my faith.
Last night, as I lie awake in the dark, a realization was given to me. I have not been the Christian I am meant to be, not living the life as Christ that I should.
Recently I have allowed my focus to move from the journey, to the sights along the side of the narrow road. My main intent to be like Christ, to live a life as He would have me, focused on Him and being like Him, has not been as it should. I have put too much importance on earthly things. Now, to be clear, not all earthly things are wrong, it is the importance or over importance that we place on them where the problem arises.
Over the past weekend, I attended a two day Jeep show. I had spent a good bit of time creating halloween decorations to adorn my Jeep. Nothing too horrific, a few dollar store skeletons, a bone ladder and stars made from poster board, but my time and attention was diverted. I spent time washing and cleaning up my Jeep, making it presentable. A Jeep I have given a name and decorated to fit the name. Now, owning a vehicle is fine, being overly obsessed with this vehicle and wanting said vehicle to be noticed and win trophies badly enough to exclude the actually important things, is a problem.
I have allowed the concerns over earthly things, such as the problem with the Jeep lights and issues with the house to distract me. I have not stopped praying, asking forgiveness and offering gratitude, but my life has not been lived as it should. I have acted as a child, immature in mindful thoughts and actions. Do I think I was abandoned due to this? No. Even if our faith or actions as we journey are not as they should be, we are not abandoned and left on our own. I believe that it was God through those simple messages telling me to stop being afraid and be excited. I believe the strength to attend the event came through Him. Otherwise I would have been sitting at home in my fear wishing I were there. I believe that He is giving me the courage, to step out, to be braver, to be more assured of myself and others around me. I know, it is only through Him, that I have the ability in any manner, to care for my parents as needed. He gave me a great gift yesterday when I found that there was concern for me and my safety at the event Sunday. Reminding me that someone had shown that same concern the weekend before. He has placed me where I need to be. He has never forsaken me, even and especially in the life I lead before this one. When at that time I had completely stepped off the path and into a darker life. He brought me back to the fold, I was the one for which the ninety-nine were left. It is important that I always remember that fact.
Last night, as my clock read two a.m. I was gently reminded. As I felt the gentle chastisement, as I understood the moment and realized my mistakes and asked forgiveness, I was able to slip away back into sleep. As I sit here now, writing these words, I know I have to bring my focus back to what is really important. It is not a Jeep named Star. It is not a house in need of repair, or any of the myriad other things that are a distraction. It is the mercy, grace and love of a Lord and Savior. It is knowing that I was loved enough to die for. A price paid, a redemption purchased that I may have eternal life with Him. It is knowing He is always with me, will always love me,will always guide me. As long as I keep my focus on Him and live my life always striving to be like Him.
To live like Jesus the Christ, is to live a life of love and compassion. To live a life caring for those around us. To show peace and gentleness to all we meet along the journey. To live a life uplifting and encouraging others. To love our neighbor, and our neighbor being all whom we meet along the way.