I always do this. I always have. I don’t mean for it to happen, yet slowly and predictably it progresses until it is completely out of control. “You can handle this,” I tell myself. If only you worked harder and more efficiently, you could carry this load. Don’t be weak. Do. Accomplish. Achieve.
The truth is I have a sickness and I think many of us do. Sometimes just taking a peek inside my Google calendar for the week is like a 7th sequel to the Blair Witch Project that nobody asked for –and that’s just the scheduled stuff.
This past summer was perhaps the happiest season of my life. My days were balanced and included good books and fresh lemonade. My nights were beautiful and relaxed on the deck listening to a choir of crickets with good company. I built in time with God, time to write and time away with the people I love like crazy.
Most importantly, I put my relationships first. I put the people that matter in front of the all the junk that doesn’t. Still, despite my greatest efforts this fall, I’ve lost that for the bajillionth time.
“What are you putting in front of your relationship with God,” the tall, funny youth pastory guy asked the sea of exhausted city kids at our fall retreat this weekend. “What might God be asking you to give up to build a better relationship with him?”
Ugh…. Dumb. Excuse me sir, I came here for the students and not for your good preaching and convicting stories. Then, as he gave us a few minutes in silence to listen and pray, there it was: an answer to a prayer I had written down months ago.
“Sam, what if your greatest ministry is simply to be available to the people you love?”
These are the moments I know God is real because I’m not smart enough to come up with something like that by myself. I would gladly run on the hamster wheel that is my life until the day I died.
Yet, God calls us to set ourselves apart from this culture of DO, this society that says you’re only as good as what you’ve achieved. Instead, He says STOP, SLOW DOWN. I have already achieved everything for you on the cross. I came and died for you so that you could find peace and joy. I came to show you what love and a life of serving others can look and feel like.
“Jesus says STOP, SLOW DOWN. I have already achieved everything for you on the cross.”
Lately I’ve seen this trend in Christian circles where everyone says we’re not RADICAL enough. If you’re not selling everything and moving to depths of the rainforest to tell people about Jesus, you’re not really in it. You’re just lukewarm. You’re not a true disciple.
Yes, we need those people, but Jesus calls us first and foremost to tell a story with our lives that is rooted in LOVE.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ -Matthew 22:36-37
The greatest thing you could ever do is to love God and the people He has put in your life. For me, moving far away to be with strangers would the easy choice. Staying here, loving people through the mess – being a good friend, a good teacher, a good brother, a good son, a good neighbor… letting people in – that’s radical for me.
So today this recovering achieve-aholic is encouraging you to freakin’ slow down. Living a life that is recklessly alive means making sure you are right with God first and from there, showing the people around you what unconditional love can truly feel like. That’s how we give people a taste of God in this broken world. And when you feel that peace and know you are loving people well, there’s more joy in that than any accomplishment you could ever imagine.
Slow down, love people and everything else will start falling into place.
Found in the Music Playlist, “Coffee With My Savior”.
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