it’s not about me … (part 2)

The Christian principle that needs to be at work is Spirit-generated selflessness – not thinking less of yourself or more of yourself but thinking of yourself less. (The Meaning of Marriage p.66)

I’ve been thinking about these words a lot in the last few weeks. How do I think of myself less?

In a recent sermon at church, I was challenged by the passionate words of David in the first verse of Psalm 18. David declares, “I love you LORD.” It is something I have wrestled with for many years – in my mind I think, well of course I love God! But when I examine my heart and I look at the rest of my thoughts, actions and the way I spend my time, I wonder…do I really love God? Heart, soul, mind, all?

Every day I let the small things weasel their way in. Through the Spirit, there needs to be a “find and replace” edit of my thoughts and attitudes. From the concerns and obsessions fueled by fears and wounds from the past (Keller says it’s primarily our wounds which make us self-centred), to the foot of the cross. To Christ. To the fear of the Lord. To loving God.

Five years ago as I went to Uganda on short-term mission, my prayer and heart’s desire was that my love for God would grow. In the space of a few weeks I witnessed God powerfully at work in the lives of my African brothers and sisters, despite the poverty and hardship they faced. They taught us a simple African chorus called “My God is Able,” and we sang this many times over. Oh how my passion for God grew. He is so big and yet he loves, knows, cares forgives me! My prayer was answered.

gorgeous girls at church in Uganda

My mission trip to Africa was wonderfully life-changing but I can’t take a trip to Africa every few years to get a boost of excitement for God. I struggle day to day to feel excited about God, but I want to have an enduring, passionate love for my creator, Lord, redeemer, saviour, friend, Father, comforter, refuge.

But how?

Two small steps for now…

1 – God above all

I’m convinced that the only way to truly fill my heart with God above all, is to spend more quality time with him – whether the desire is there or not. Last year I borrowed Shopping for time, by Carolyn Mahaney et al., from a friend. It’s a little book with big challenges and comes highly recommended! Through it I was challenged to prioritise spending time with God by doing it first each day – no matter how early that meant getting up. (I know, yikes, right?!) It was great when I did it, but unfortunately it didn’t last. I’ve decided to order my own copy, with the hope of getting (back) into the habit of regular quiet times.

2 – Devoting less brain space to consumer decisions…

Another friend’s decision to spend less money on herself, by not buying anything except essential items (so no clothes, shoes, homewares, jewellery etc) has inspired me to do the same thing for two months, til my birthday. So I am trying to think about myself less by pre-making the potentially daily consumer decisions I am blasted with every day as I work in the CBD. It’s been 12 days so far!

As I close, it would be crazy of me to think that in the doing or not doing of things that I would be come instantly less self-centred. But I pray that these little steps and challenges help my heart to change in a lasting way and that my love for God deepens, as I look away from me and look up.

a brave step

My husband is pursuing his dreams.

He has taken time off work and uplifted almost his entire home studio setup and driven up to a little house in Katoomba to record for a few days. In the last few months he has written and recorded demos of 10 songs, with the plan to record an EP of 6 songs. The recording starts now…

And I could not be prouder!

The fact that he is simply there; ready to record is a success in itself. He may spend a large chunk of his time trying to help people use water more efficiently as an Environmental Engineer but I think most of his brain space is devoted to his music. And to that he is deeply devoted – from gear to software to singing techniques – he reads about it, thinks about it, talks about it, loses sleep over it, and would love to be making it as much as he could. It is truly his passion.

Adam loves his gear

 

If only there was some way it could actually make money for us to survive on. His is our main source of income now since I took my job with the mission organisation.  We hope and pray that someday, somehow he can be spending most of his time on his passion. That’s in God’s hands and even though it seems impossible now we are trying to keep trusting that he’ll work things out for good!

One of his big dreams is for us to live in a house with a studio by the beach – recording all day, afternoon surfs. So a borrowed house in the Blue Mountains with road cases as tables is not quite the same but all things considered, I think it’s a brave step in the direction of his heart’s desire. And as his wife that is a source of great joy to me.

By the way (and i’m not biased at all) his songs are powerful and honest. The man is talented… http://www.birdsinbranches.com …is where you can find out more and read his blog!