Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Am I the Thorny Soil?

I am at a point in my spiritual life where it's time to leave adolescence and begin adult hood.  Now,  I believe that an person's age has absolutely nothing to do with their spiritual maturity - it's all about the pace at which God has planned for that particular person's life.  I'm of the slow to mature variety.  I've been a Christian 18 years and I've felt God calling me to a different place in my walk recently.  For so long I have taken from God - going to church/prayer/Bible study to feel fellowship, to feel better, to learn, to get to Heaven - but it's time to not only continue to do those things but begin allowing God to work through me.  Not coming from a Christian home, I have no idea what that looks like, but I feel ready to begin that journey. 

So that is why a particular morning devotion hit me so hard recently.  I am going through Making the Most of Your Resources, a Women of Faith study.

It's a great, easy little devotion with a ton of God's wisdom.  So anyway,  I was reading last night and it brought me to Matthew 13: 1-23, The Parable of the Sower:

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

I realized I am the seed among the thorns.  I have struggled for so long to leave my childish, adolescent understanding of my faith behind, but something always holds me back.  I now realize, it's been my fears, my worries - I've allowed the deceitfulness of wealth choke the Word.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that having wealth (whatever that means to you) is wrong and makes you less of a Christian.  But, I am saying that by putting my faith in that wealth is wrong and I've let it deceive me for far too long.  For many reasons I've put my faith in wealth - I mean who wouldn't, it's tangible and attainable and by the world's view it brings security.   

Well, as I discovered this through my devotion, God brought to mind another devotion I'd read a few weeks earlier.  In it the author discusses fears and how they hold us back (see a recurring theme, do you think God is trying to tell me something?).  In it the author had an excellent idea, write down all your fears.  All the things that take your thoughts away from God and focus everything on you.  Give those fears to God and then when he addresses those fears write that down as well.  That way you can begin move your focus to God and to see that God is just as real, more real, than any wealth.  He loves you, wants to know your fears, and address them for you.

So, to hold myself accountable, here are my current fears:

1)    I'm scared we will never have enough money to pay our bills
2)    I'm scared of some unforeseen disaster that will take away all our security (house, cars, jobs)
3)    I'm scared I'll never be the wife God wants me to be for D
4)    I'm scared we will never have a baby
5)    I'm scared we will never have enough money to have a baby
6)    I'm scared we will have a baby.
7)    I'm scared I won't be a good mother because I have to work
8)    I'm scared I'll work so much I'll miss the life God has for me
9)    I'm scared I'll worry myself into oblivion
10)  I'm scared of others opinions of me
11)  I'm scared my motivations in serving God are not pure
12)  I'm scared my lost loved ones will never come to know Christ and it will be my fault because I never    
       opened my mouth
13)  I'm scared I'll never get control of my temper
14)  I'm scared I'll never be the person God wants me to be (at work, at home)
15)  I'm scared I'm not outgoing enough and I'll lose out on real relationships with other women
16)  I'm scared to tell God my fears because He will make me face them.

I think that's enough for now.  I'm being so open with this because I know I am not the only woman who struggles with these things.  We are not alone.  God wants us to give our all to him, that includes our fears.  Don't be like me.  Don't be the thorny soil and let your fears choke out the power of God's word in your life for years.

I'm excited and scared all at the same time about this new phase of my life.  But I know He is with me through this all and I remember:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God bless you sisters in our journey.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

I know I am behind in reading this....but I loved your list of fears....I have many of those too!
Love you!