Will I dress today? How about make-up? Should I bother to fuss about my hair? Is there a reason for real plates? How many movies should my kids watch in a row? And how negotiable is bedtime? Is there a weekly Bible verse to learn when there isn’t a teacher to hear it? Do pancakes count for dinner? Should I care if my lawn is growing way too long? No company is coming. No peers to evaluate my dress code. No one to question my devotion to church.
When my normal obligations have been cleared, and the usual voices that command my action have been silenced, and the very reasons for doing what I do everyday have simply disappeared into thin air…who am I really?
Locked in our homes, we are all kids again. We can float through our days in a more carefree way, exploring what we want to, neglecting the rest. And maybe that’s the clincher: do we even have the “want to”?! So, as I stare at myself in the mirror and wonder if my hair is worth any more effort—yes, it’s come down to this! Lol —maybe I’m really asking: what is the reason for ANYTHING?
Purpose. Where does it come from?
Some purpose is driven by need. We need to eat, therefore I must prepare food. Whether or not it’s healthy food depends if I’m willing to invest in something less easily seen, like good health. Since this is not immediately realized, it WILL take discipline. And discipline makes ME the taskmaster of myself. What I value, I will exert effort on.
This little proverb creates a vivid picture in my mind and helps me set my mind and my efforts when things require discipline: “I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense. I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down” Proverbs 24:30-31 NLT.
Purpose from the wrong sources.
Many of the things I do come about because of the expectations and judgements of others. My parents want me to look a certain way. What will I look like when I leave their home? What is my “want to”? My peers expect me to do or say certain things. What will my habits and actions be like when I’m away from their influence? If I’m only living my life to please people, what a messed-up existence I must have! And what about when my friends don’t want to help me with the areas of service I feel ARE important? Will I stop doing it then? Can I say: “Though none go with me, still I will follow (Him)?”
My purpose needs to come from a higher source. As a child of God, what is my purpose? Will I bravely let His purposes infiltrate every aspect and choice of my life? Do His purposes focus my “want to”?
Now here’s a riddle: Do the things I do make me who I am? Or does who I am dictate what things I do? In other words, do all those good deeds and wonderful things I spend my life trying to do, tell people who I am? Not really. No one knows my true motivation except God. On the other hand, just as a dog barks BECAUSE it is a dog, so too, who I am WILL greatly influence the things I choose to do or not do.
My true identity and purpose must be rooted in what God thinks of me and not what others think, or even in how I feel about myself. On any random day I can swing wildly between an inflated or deflated view of myself! These days of isolation might be causing me to over-think, but this is also a good chance for me to re-evaluate some of my habits and routines and decide if they are a good match with who I am in Christ. I admit, sometimes I can become utterly overwhelmed with too much on my plate. It’s very likely some things need to go. I need to declutter.
Today I read a chapter in the Bible about a new King who was determined to get his kingdom off to a good start. Hezekiah sent his helpers to the temple of God to carry out everything that defiled it. Room by room, day after day – they were decluttering. Then they went further. They recovered things that had been lost, cleaned them, and prepared them for use again. God spoke to my heart through this story. Just as I need to declutter and get rid of unhealthy habits that drag me down physically or spiritually, so too I need to look for things that have gone by the wayside. What have I let slide? Maybe the enemy of my soul has helped me to focus on other “good things” – just not the BEST things.
I hope, as restrictions let up and we find ourselves back in the full force of life, that I will not just cram it all back in the way it was. It is my prayer that God will loosen my grip on some things and help me to re-establish the preeminent things for His glory. As for doing my hair? I’m still deciding.