~By: Lindsey Whitmore~
Being home these past couple of months has had me taking time for, what I am calling, a ‘Holy Spirit PET Scan,’ similar to the test doctors prescribe when looking for diseases in our bodies. In my case, the disease Holy Spirit has revealed is that of distraction, which has come from allowing other things to take precedence over the things God has set before me. God has set before me two ministries: that of my family and that of others God sends me.
In my last blog piece titled Listen and Act, I mentioned that God was speaking to me to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), and in other translations, ‘be still’ is written as ‘cease striving,’ which means ‘to let drop’ or ‘let go.’ I had written, “our only proper response after hearing a direction from the Lord is obedience to what He said.”
The struggle is real. There is a sacrifice that comes from having to choose one ministry over the other. Having the discernment to know which one is a wisdom that only comes from above. This wisdom is gained through seeking out God's will over our own and being ready to obey whatever we hear. Discipleship, if married, and/or with children, starts at home. When we choose marriage, we automatically enter into having two ministries; hence the title, ‘tension.’
Tension is defined as the state of being stretched tight.
One of my life verses comes from Ecclesiastes 7:18 (NIV): “It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.” The Message paraphrase Bible states it this way, “It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it.” This is one of my life verses because it keeps me vigilant to foster balance in both my ‘in home’ ministry and ‘outside’ ministry with great care. Without this tension I would not be able to stay balanced; just as a tightrope walker would not be able to stay on ropes that are too loose.
Please don’t read this wrong. We are not living on a tightrope. Instead, we are living in a space that will remain uncomfortable and require more attention due to our tendency to shift focus. A passage that I hope will help you understand this further comes from 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 (ESV): “I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”
In this passage, Paul was trying to help us understand that, while marriage and family are part of God's plan, it has its risks. We are more susceptible to ‘distractions’ or, in his words, ‘divided devotion.’ When one of these ministries is out of balance, there is loss, whether immediate or down the road. This is when potential for internal struggle is at its highest, because we know a sacrifice is on the other side of it.
Sometimes this sacrifice looks like giving up something we know is good for something the Holy Spirit tells us is more excellent. This is not an easy decision, especially when you know other people might be affected or disappointed. It is also not easy when you really prefer the other choice over that which is revealed to be the more obedient choice. This is when we must remind ourselves of Galatians 1:10 (AMP): “Am I now trying to win the favor and approval of men, or of God? Or am I seeking to please someone? If I were still trying to be popular with men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
I am praying we will be people who do not choose the easy path but the right path; His path.
I am praying we will be people who do not allow ourselves to become distracted, disoriented, or discouraged, but instead choose to stay devoted, determined, and disciplined in the things of Christ.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)