We know what we do…

Father forgive us, we know what we do. We are aware of our sins, but we dismiss them. They seem minor, these sins of self indulgence, complacency, excess, idol worship, selfishness and busyness.

Isn’t it good that we love our children and want the best for them? We think about them when we get up and when we go to sleep. We work extra to pay for their fun activities. The world teaches us they will not be well rounded and will lack social skills and exercise if we don’t let them play the sports or join the clubs. Our families run from activity to activity even when we try to only do one activity per child.

We can’t remember the last time our family sat around the table and shared the days highs and the days lows. We work late because there is never enough time. One night of the week is ladies night out and another night is the men’s accountability group. We need time to get away from the demands of life.

Churches still offer Wednesday night activities. We try to take our kids when we can, if they do not have practices or games that conflict the time. We can sign up for a class to attend, but we don’t because we are tired. Also, we get frustrated because half the class never has time to prepare their lesson and comes unprepared. Often we are in that unprepared portion.

The weekends come and it’s been a long week, we are all exhausted and we want to do something fun. So, we travel, follow sporting teams, go to the movies and indulge in our favorite comfort foods. Sometimes we sleep through church. We are too exhausted. We’ve gotten up early and stayed up late every day. Our bodies can’t go on anymore. Jesus understands.

Rest has become a foreign concept. Silence becomes an enemy. We don’t know what to do with still. Often when we slow down, we fall asleep. We miss reading, our time with Jesus is sporadic, we hardly hear His voice.

We say we need a small group, a Sunday school, a Bible study. Maybe somehow a group of Christians will help us stick to Jesus. We join, but our attendance is mediocre. When we come, we get fat on what others have learned, but have little to contribute because of our inconsistent times with Jesus. We learn intellectually the life we can live, but our lives don’t operate from that power as we have no time to implement the truths of God’s Word. We make no time.

We find ourselves running errands, absorbed in details, distracted with social media, watching television, distracted by work, eating junk food, and forgetting what’s important. When we stop for a few minutes, we have an aching heart as we wonder if we are wasting our lives.

A family member gets sick, our business struggles, our best friend’s marriage self-implodes and for days, weeks or even months, we wake up and we want more. We see what really matters. We quit caring if the bathroom is clean, if we miss a day at the gym, if the kids get dirty. Our attentions are no longer absorbed in the kind of car we drive or the decorations we’ve been obsessing over for our living room. We quit feeling guilty when we slow down and we long to sit quietly with Jesus.

All we need is Jesus. When our worlds turn upside down, perspectives change.  We want Jesus to comfort us. We want our family and friends to come running. We want the whole world to stop their chaos and love us. We want a meal schedule and our names on the prayer list.  We want truth. We want worship. We remember the value of relationships, our personal friendships with Jesus and our need for authenticity with others.

Sometimes friends don’t come running. Their schedules are full. They don’t have time to come pray or two hours to listen. They show up for small group, but they have no substance to give because they haven’t heard from Jesus in weeks or months. So, they sit silently or give their earthly wisdom that nobody needs.

Only in the crisis, do we see the mess we’ve become. We wonder how many friends we have ignored or hurt. We remember the times we told someone to pray and didn’t. We wonder now if that’s what is happening to us. We recall the times we told people to come to dinner sometime and we never followed through. What if they needed that dinner? We think about the hours we talked about how busy we were and how tired we were and we wonder when we should have been quiet and really listened. When have we asked someone how they were and really wanted to know?

Yet, when our worlds settle and the calm comes, we forget and return to the hamster wheel, to the pursuit of stuff, to chosen chaos. We forget the God we love in the midst of good things, the very things He gave us.

Should we be praying for our worlds to stay upside down?  Is the upside down really the calm?

The other day I was reading Amos 6. It sounds eerily familiar. Scary similar. Forgetting the world around me, I stretch myself out on couches, eat the best and sing idle songs that I don’t mean. My heart fails to be grieved for the ruin around me as I drink wine and sit at ease in my feelings of security. My life goes on oblivious of the world around me. My pride and my selfishness are strongholds. The fruit of my righteousness are nothing. I am a wasteland operating from my own strength. Woe is me. Woe are my people. Forgive us.

We know what we do.

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