Over the course of the last month I have found myself in a state of depression. Yes, Christians struggle with depression too.
It is; however, at this moment that I look up. That is the hope that we have, to look up and recognize where our strength comes from, our strength comes from the Lord – Isaiah 40:31.
After looking up, I pray “Father, what is wrong with me? Why am I so tired, weary, depressed?” The Lord answers, “You have spread yourself too thin my child. You are allowing yourself to be scattered to the winds by the things of this world, come back to Me, your first Love.”
I realize that my Father is right. My devotions and prayer life have been lacking. I haven’t spent very much quality time with those that I love and learn from. I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. If I had to count I spend at least 20% of my time accessing one of these accounts. Then there is television which accounts for at least an hour each night.
I want to stay in the know
I want to encourage
I want to escape from the stresses of the world
While I can honestly say that these are all true and not necessarily bad things, I can also see the excuses behind the veil, the excuses lead me to the realization that I have an idol in my midst. And the danger of an idol is that it will take you away from your first Love.
I have created an idol(s)
I didn’t make a purposeful decision and it didn’t happen overnight. It is only over time that I find myself immersed in the distractions of the media and social media. And the #tbh moment that I must have is that I am falling short on the purpose that I have been given. Everything in my life is affected by the idol that I have created and I am beginning to lose sight as the distractions build invisible barriers around me.
And what have I lost sight of? My First Love and the Mission He has called me to.
What is our mission?
Take up our Cross and follow Jesus. - Luke 9:23
Go and make disciples. - Matthew 28:19
Wait on the Lord. - Psalm 27:14
How do we do this?
Love the Lord our God and Love our neighbor as ourselves. - Luke 10:27
Be on our guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous;
be strong Do everything with Love. - 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.
Pray without ceasing – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Be still and wait patiently – Psalm 37:7
Do not be anxious – Philippians 4:6-7
Seek the Lord – 1 Chronicles 16:11
Seek wisdom – James 1:5
Trust in the Lord – Proverbs 3:5-6
Come near to God – James 4:7-8
Hope in the Lord – Isaiah 40:31
Rest in the Lord – Matthew 11:28-30
Guard our hearts – Proverbs 4:23
Be strong in the Lord, Put on the Armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-11
Do you see a common theme in this instruction? All of these teachings call us to love, seek, trust, guard, be strong, HOPE. NONE of these are self-centered and ALL of these are focused on ACTION.
EMPATHY vs APATHY
God doesn’t ask us to do anything that He hasn’t already done Himself. In the Gospels, Jesus modeled all of these for us. While His sacrifice opened up a relationship with the Father for all of us, I believe that His LIFE on earth did so much for us as well, His LIFE taught us how to LIVE! Jesus was on mission for every moment of every day. Even rest was part of His mission. Everything had purpose and I believe that in the mission that Jesus lived He taught us how to:
Give of our time and talents
NEVER GIVE UP
This is a short list of course, but notice that the life of Jesus emulated the very things that we are taught to do. To take up our cross and follow Jesus means that we too learn to live for the same purpose and to recognize that we too are ON MISSION. He has written us into His Story of redemption to bring HOPE to a dying world!
Does this mean that we can’t enjoy our life? No, Jesus participated in some pretty amazing parties.
Does this mean that we can’t relax? No, in fact we are instructed to Rest in Him.
Does this mean that we can’t be in the know of what is going on in life? No, He tells us to stay awake and to be on guard BUT to do everything with love.
Does this mean that we turn a blind eye to what is going on around us? No, He tells us to love our neighbor- this is ACTIVE not PASSIVE.
So I have to ask myself, is my action building relationships? Is my action serving others? Is my action contributing to the gift of my time and talent? Does my action include prayer? Does my action include trust in the Lord? Does my action include resting in Him? If the answer is no to either of these, if I am struggling with thoughts of giving up the fight or becoming apathetic in my reactions, then it is time to look up and ask The Lord to re-align me to the Mission He has called me to.
Let's not get stuck in discouragement over the things going on around us, even Jesus had moments when He was weary and needed encouragement to keep going. Luke shares with us His prayer, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” Can you hear the weariness in His heart? I can, and it gives me hope. Because the very next thing that Luke shares in the prayer of Jesus is, “An angel from Heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him.”
And Jesus will strengthen us too!
Friend, join me in not allowing the distractions of this world to take us away from our First Love. We only need to look up and allow Him to re-align us to the Mission He has called us to. What an exciting time in which we live! We were made for such a time as this!
Father, we are weary and need your strength. We admit to allowing distractions to take us away from the purpose You have for us in this day, we ask that You forgive us and heal the land of our heart. We ask that You build in us the strength that You gave David, the courage that You gave Gideon, the focus you gave Nehemiah and the Love that You gave Jesus. Perfect our Faith, Re-align us to the mission you have called us to and draw us back to You, our first Love.