Y’all I have a thing for books. For Christmas all I wanted was books even though I’m running out of room on my shelves for them all, because there’s so many out there that sound amazing and I want to read them!
Sooo my family and friends were super awesome and gave me a bunch of books for Christmas that were on my “Want To Read” list, and I’ve been reading at least one of them ever since.
The one I’m reading currently is Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan and I’m loving it so far because of the message and the different personalities and perspectives of each writer. One of the chapters made a good point (among many good points in this book, but this one was just jumping off the page at me a little bit ago). One of the ladies talks about God in the book of Hosea. How He loves his people, Israel, and how He pursues her and wants to restore her, even though she abandons him for something as simple as a raisin cake (Hosea 3:1).
The writer then says:
“It’s not always full-blown, massive affairs that take our hearts away from Him, is it? We love so many things more than we love our holy God…Some days I feel like the candles in my house get more praise and devotion and thankfulness than my God gets” (p. 72).
And I just had to stop reading right there and raise my little hand in the air like, “Ummm, guilty. Me too.” Words like “warm sweaters” or “apples and cinnamon” or “raspberry ice” or “whiskers on kittens” on pretty candle labels really make me super happy and make me want to curl up in a fluffy blanket and nap or make chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen with violin music playing.
But guess what. There’s a slight problem and it isn’t the candles. The problem is I could easily name an entire list of things (some mentioned above already) that get a lot of my praise and/or attention throughout each day. Books, that first sip of coffee in the morning, that beautiful sunset last night, hot showers on winter mornings, sandy seaside walks, maybe not raisin cakes but chocolate cakes um yes, the list goes on and on. My oh-so-human heart is easily distracted and very forgetful.
Many things throughout the day stop me in my tracks because they are so beautiful, so amazing, so funny, so inspiring, and so fun to be around. And then there’s also a lot of negative, unhealthy things that are after some space my heart and mind as well (worries, doubts, fears). The sad thing is, sometimes my Lord and Savior gets so little of that space in comparison. Sometimes it’s even an afterthought, a footnote to my busy day.
*cue the embarrassed blush*
Meanwhile every day, from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep, the Creator of the universe walks beside me and slips little “I love you” notes to me through each and every one of those blessings, little comforts, and “things that make Maddie smile” because He loves me THAT much. I wouldn’t say any of those things are wrong on their own. I’m convinced God created the coffee bean smiling, knowing full-well how much I would enjoy it. But how many times do I actually give Him the credit? Not NEARLY enough. How often do those things remind me of Him? If I compare that to how often I turn to spend time with those things instead of Him the embarrassed blush gets a lot brighter. *raises hand* Yep. A lot. Still guilty.
I’m challenged by that woman’s words. I don’t want to go through day after day and make God feel like He must compete for my attention. That’s not the way a loving relationship works. It’s wonderful to enjoy the gifts our Heavenly Father gives, but never to the extent that they begin to detract from the amount of space in my heart and mind for Him. And everything else? The worries, doubts, and fears that can steal away our hearts and minds? They aren’t worth our time, focus, or energy either.
If I could choose (oh wait…I CAN), I’d want the majority of my time to be spent telling Him how beautiful, how amazing, how funny, how inspiring and fun to be around He is, because in reality anything else can’t even compare!
His word tells us to think on things that are pure, lovely, and right. Those things I love so much? They’re only glimmers, shadows even, compared to the glory and greatness of the God I love so much more.
The God who sacrificed everything to pursue me, who I’m still head over heels in love with in return. And if I need to realign my attention, focus, devotion, and praise back to Him even more so that He knows it? Pass me a pen, I’ve got love letters to write.