Before Wednesday night rolls around, John has usually shared his thoughts for the lesson he's going to give to the Youth. I listen, we discuss, and he finalizes his plans. That's what happened this week around Tuesday evening.
John was telling me about his plans to talk about the verses in Matthew 16:24 -25 " If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life must will it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." The plan was to compare this verse with the one in chapter 11 that says "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my burden is easy and my yoke is light." The plan was to talk about how we all have a cross to bear, but that by taking Christ's yoke, it is an easy burden. I was really into it as John was telling me his thoughts and was excited to get into it with the Youth Group.
Then Wednesday night came and John started the lesson. Before I knew what was happening, God was knocking me upside the head with a different lesson ... one that was all for me. I would say I hate it when that happens - but I don't! After I get over feeling like a kid in school who just got busted, I LOVE IT!! It shows me how much God loves me and cares about my spiritual well being! If He didn't love me then He wouldn't worry about teaching and growing me. You're probably wondering what God had to teach me on Wednesday...
"If anyone would come after me he must deny himself..." I had been doing anything but that for the last few weeks. Sure, on the outside it might have looked like I was doing a fantastic job living the Christian life of sacrifice... but on the inside it was a different story. I was throwing myself a gigantic pity party. I was allowing myself to focus on all the changes we've been going through and the huge transition we're still trying to make. Poor Lauren. Moved from her home, got a full time job, husband starts school, husband also starts new job (in ministry no less), new house, no time to unpack, boohoohoohoohoo. Are you sick of me yet? I am! I can only imagine what God must have felt like as I was having my whine fest.
But here's the kicker... here's what I actually said out loud the other week to my husband. "I have to take care of me right now. You are so busy with school and work, which is fine, but I've got to look out for me and make sure I'm getting the rest I need and the me - time I need." I am ashamed to write that. I thought about not telling you ... but that was just my pride talking.
As I sat with the Youth Group the other night and listened to the conversation take an unexpected turn as the kids wanted to talk about what it meant to deny yourself I felt the weight of conviction on my heart. I am not here on this earth to "take care of me!" I am here to serve Jesus - whatever that means! No matter how tired I get, or how much "me - time" I end up sacrificing, my job is to serve others. I must serve Jesus by taking care of my husband and his needs, and helping minister to the Youth, and serving the people at work to the best of my ability. Because who's gaining when I look out for #1? Me. And "whoever wants to save his life will lose it."
That was my lesson - my stern warning from the Lord - my wake up call to my selfishness and pride. I'll probably have to learn it all over again someday... but I am thankful that Christ have me a heart that is receptive to His discipline and I pray that I will always listen to His corrective words.
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