So I went. And now that I'm home and had the chance to take a warm shower and eat something other than carbs, I can look back on the event with a clear mind. I am ashamed of my selfish attitude going into the weekend. It was beautiful to watch that many high school students come together and worship. On our way home, we asked the kids what they learned, and hearing what God taught them was worth the lack of sleep and any awkwardness I felt. Throughout the short time I was pushed closer to God through worship, the speakers, fellowship with other coaches, and time to spend in the word and reading more of Crazy Love. And here's what I've learned:
Lately I don't crave God like I should. I want to be crazy for Jesus like I was when I first was saved. I want to be madly in love with Him. I want to love Him more than I love my husband, more than I love my job, more than I love my students. I want the kind of craving for God written about in Psalm 63:
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night...
Then, being the pragmatic person I am, I asked myself--how can I have this desire for God? God heard my thoughts because I was reading in Crazy Love tonight and in it, Frances Chan references James 4:8. I flipped to James 4 in my Bible and found three stars (I always draw three stars next to pivotal passages) etched in pencil next to James 4:7-10:
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up in honor.
Tonight as my husband and I walked the streets of Ogallala and took time to catch up with each other, I was in tears as I lamented over how far I've drifted from God since I've become a teacher. Fortunately, God is gracious (Ephesians 2:4-5)....
I am anxious to "come close to God so that God will come close to [me]." I want to have an intimacy with the God who created us, the God who sent his son to die a bloody death "as an offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ" (2 Cor. 5:21). And to do this, my priorities have to shift and sacrifices need to be made. Here's what I'll be working on for an indefinite amount of time. Please hold me accountable; check in on me to see if I'm sticking to this:
- Spending more quality time in the Word--my goal is to saturate myself in the gospel for the rest of the semester.
- Cutting out alcohol from my life. I don't drink a lot; I'll have a beer or a glass of wine with my meal once a month because I like the taste. But, there are times when I've given into temptations to drink more than I should. And, it's not glorifying to God, so why do it?
- Cutting back hours spent on my job. I think this will be the toughest challenge for me. For the past four years I've invested my life into my career...it's been my focus and my center and has pulled me away from Christ. Cutting back may mean maximizing my time more at school. It may mean assigning less essays. I'm still trying to figure out how to implement this one...if you have any ideas, pass them my way :)