I was on the run and plopped down quickly to excitedly share “my” plans for the day with the Lord. Deep down I knew I wasn’t doing what I really ought to be doing that particular day, but I thought as long as I checked in and shared my plans with Jesus everything would be okay.
“So it’s okay, right Lord? I just want to make sure before I go.”
Sure beloved. It’s okay.
“Great! I’ll be back later to spend more time with you!”
And off I went. But the day did not go according to plan. I wasn’t “back later” to spend more time with Jesus because the day fell apart in just about every way possible. Much later in the afternoon, as I was frantically heading off to take care of yet another interruption to my great plan, I snapped and started to break down. In my stressed-out state, I actually had the nerve to blame God for my messed up day.
“Lord, I thought you said it was okay!” I tearfully accused.
It is okay, beloved. I’m here. I’ll help you …
But then there was this pregnant pause. I just knew something more was coming. When he continued, his words pierced into the very core of my heart.
But tell me … do you really want to settle for just okay?
Of course, he already knew the answer. I didn’t want to settle for “just okay” then and I still don’t want to today. But we all face an ongoing battle to resist the urge to settle. My “just okay” day took place many years ago, but there are plenty of temptations to distraction and lures to complacency in each and every season. The Lord has been graciously revealing some of the temptations I’ve personally faced in this particular season of life. I wish I could say I’ve been smart enough to avoid them all, but I haven’t. Not by a long shot. (Can you say Facebook and smartphone anyone? Apparently my phone is smart enough to make quite a dummy out of me!)
There are always so many things competing for our attention and affections. It’s no wonder so few really seek the heart of God with passion and fervency over the long haul. It’s easy to maintain focus for a short season—for weeks or months or even for a few years—and so very difficult to maintain the same passion and focus for decades. It’s not about maintaining a zeal for a particular ministry or issue or even for specific spiritual disciplines—the amount of focus on those things may legitimately vary from season to season—it’s about maintaining passion and zeal for Jesus himself.
The scary thing for me is that I’ve been hanging out with the Lord long enough that I really don’t need to spend time with him to hear his voice—I can access his presence anytime, anywhere. And I really don’t need to read the Bible to know his Word—it’s already hidden in my heart. Those aren’t bad things—they’re great things. But I don’t want to live on what’s already in the bank; I want to add to the balance daily. I don’t want to live on yesterday’s encounter or yesterday’s manna; I want a present-tense reality with him. I want to be fully present, and fully his … today.
I may not be smart enough to always know when to put my phone down, but I am smart enough to know my weak, fickle heart is prone to wander. I’m smart enough to know I’m easily distracted. But I’m also smart enough to know that nothing will ever satisfy me but him.
So I am purposing to “guard my heart with diligence.” I’m purposing to fix my gaze on him. I’m purposing to continually take inventory and remove the distractions that keep me from wholeheartedness. This isn’t about being rigid, religious, or legalistic …
It’s about being in love.
And because I’m in love … I want way more than what’s just okay.
I want everything he wants for me.