“And what does the Lord require of you…?”

It seems that suddenly, Josh and I have found ourselves in a season of busyness. When we first moved to the Raleigh area last October, we were not fully involved in anything yet aside from going to church once a week and hanging out with friends here and there. These days, though, it seems like there are so many things on the table that we either: a) are already involved in, or b) could be involved in. The kicker for me is that they are all good things! There don’t seem to be many easy “no’s.”

2
Fresh eggs from one of Josh’s patients 🙂

One day as I was driving home from work, I was talking to God about this and basically asking Him, “What do You want from me, Lord?!” I felt like the Holy Spirit prompted me to think of Micah 6:8. When I got home, I went to read the verse in its context.

       “With what shall I come before the Lordand bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
       He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? -Micah 6:6-8

First of all, I love verse 7 because it points to the Gospel! God sacrificed His firstborn son for our transgressions, and Jesus gave His body for the sins of our souls. I’m pretty sure that atonement is the only reason we can live out verse 8.

On my own, I can’t live out those things very well because my sin causes me to be constantly bent towards myself, seeking my own glory and honor rather than God’s. But since we are new creations with new spirits inside of us, we can submit to the Spirit and walk humbly with God.

I feel like God used these verses set me free in a way, because they reminded me that He isn’t sitting there with a mile-long checklist for us to complete. All of those events and ministry opportunities that Josh and I are contemplating are good things, but God never tells us to pack our schedules so full that we don’t even have time to rest in His presence and cultivate the character that He desires for us. How can I walk humbly with God when my pride is in the way?

1
Flowers at the Durham farmers market

I so desperately do not want to be one of those people who is involved in 8 million things and doing zero of them well. Because I have a hard time “doing nothing” (aka resting, which is totally necessary and good) and because I truly do enjoy being involved in a variety of activities, it’s so difficult for me to say no to opportunities that come my way. I love that when I asked God for wisdom about this, the answer He gave me was so simple. It wasn’t a to-do list so long that I got anxiety just looking at it, but instead it was three simple items that reflect a heart surrendered to Him.

I’m convinced that God cares more about our hearts than He does about our schedules. Of course God delights in the details of our lives, and I guess in some ways, our schedules reflect what is in our hearts. At the same time, I don’t think He’s looking for a bunch of robots to do “busy work” for Him (flashback to sitting in 6th grade doing worksheets while the teacher was planning their spring break vacation or something). God will accomplish His will on earth whether His followers are involved in two things or 20. What He wants is genuine believers with hearts of love and mercy, who are walking humbly with Him not just in church but in the grocery store, at work, in the kitchen…

I can’t say that I am now crystal clear on the specific things that Josh and I should or shouldn’t commit to. What I do feel clear on, however, is what God wants of me no matter what I’m doing- to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him.

Advertisements

Unhurried

Does anyone else feel like God is patiently teaching them the same lesson over and over and over again? I’m thankful He is so gracious with my stubborn little heart. For me lately, the theme has been slowing down, which I have written about before here.

I am rereading a book by Alan Fadling called “An Unhurried Life,” and it is dramatically shifting my whole mindset. I think that somewhere along the way (I’m guessing sometime between college and entering the workforce), my default mode became HURRY HURRY HURRY. I once read a quote that said, “Life is not an emergency,” and I literally had to think about it for awhile to let it sink in. It’s not??

durham
Downtown Durham

In “An Unhurried Life,” Fadling talks about how Jesus was relaxed, yet fruitful. I think a big problem for me is that I equate being relaxed with being lazy, and that is just not true.

The book cites the classic Bible story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) as evidence that we are called to be willing to abandon our own agendas and slow down in the name of loving others. If you remember from the story, there was a man laying on the side of the road bleeding and in need of help. Two different people, a priest and a Levite, saw the man but passed him by without so much as a word. The third man, the Samaritan, not only stopped and “bandaged his wounds” but paid for him to stay the night at an inn and then came back the next day to check on him. Wow. After reading that, I had to ask myself some hard questions- would I have stopped and cared for the man in that way? Or am I too busy following my own schedule and trying to be “productive” and “efficient” that I pass by people in need?

bouquet
This little bouquet sitting on our table has been making me so happy 🙂

One reason I love my job is because it gives me so many opportunities to directly care for others. As I’ve been reading this book, however, I’ve been realizing how often I do a poor job of that because my mind is so focused on being efficient- getting our tasks completed, achieving goals, finishing documentation, and wrapping up the day in a neat and tidy bow. I will be the first to admit that I have so much to learn when it comes to being present and loving others. I know it is possible to go through the day in a relaxed and unhurried way while still getting everything done that I need to, and I have been asking God to show me how to do that.

Fadling prompts us to ask ourselves, “Is the pace of my life Christlike?” He goes on to say, “What if I learned to work from a place of unhurried abiding? Isn’t that what Jesus did? We find no evidence that Jesus was ever in a rush. In fact, there is more evidence that at times Jesus frustrated His followers because of His lack of hurry. Jesus lived an unhurried and fruitful life. This fact can sound like an oxymoron to us.”

meddeli
Slow meals eaten outside with good conversation and wine = the best.

I want to live an unhurried yet fruitful life; to create margin so that I have time to slow down and meet the needs of others. Listening, loving, and caring for others cannot be rushed, as much as I often try to make it that way. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13- love is patient. Am I patient? These are the things I’ve been thinking about and asking myself these days. I don’t want to get to the end of my life, or even to the end of the day, and feel like I just sprinted through the finish line of a marathon but didn’t notice any of my surroundings or talk to any of the people that were running alongside me. I want to reach the end of each day knowing that I walked in step with Jesus, that I loved others in His name, and that I completed the good works He prepared in advance for me to do. I am becoming increasingly convinced that those things can only happen as I seek to eliminate anxious striving and instead live an unhurried life.

Dinnering

Soo before I was married, I could make a crockpot meal on Sunday and have it last nearly all week for dinners. Now… not so much! Sometimes I love cooking in the evenings and other nights I just want to pour a bowl of cereal and call it a day. Anyone else? I thought it would be fun to write a post on some of the easy (my #1 criteria for recipes) and delicious dinners we’ve been making lately! I apologize in advance for all of the shameless Trader Joe’s plugs I’ll be making.

This weekend was so warm and sunny that I was really craving a salad, which almost never happens. I picked up the salad kit pictured below from Trader Joe’s, then added roasted butternut squash, chicken, avocado, and some extra sunflower seeds.

salad1
salad2
salad3
This is what my salad dreams are made of!!! Josh boldly claimed that it was the best salad he’d ever had, and I might have to humbly agree. 😉

I’ve also been craving pesto! I need to make some of my own this summer, but for now, I think the grocery store is doing a great job. For this meal I cooked pasta and then when it was done I mixed in about half a jar of pesto, sundried tomatoes, some spinach, and chicken.

pasta
Easy peasy. This felt so “summery” to me! Will definitely be making it again.

Since we had leftover pesto, I decided to mix it up with some potatoes and salmon for another dinner. The salmon is from Costco and it is the bomb dot com.

salmon

If you haven’t tried pesto roasted potatoes yet, you must!

Another easy weeknight meal is crockpot BBQ chicken. Throw in frozen chicken thighs along with Carolina Gold BBQ sauce (from Trader Joe’s, where else?), chopped onion, apple cider vinegar, and then cook on low for 6 hours.

bbq

For sides I microwaved sweet potatoes and then made the easiest coleslaw ever using a bag of broccoli slaw + mayo + a little vinegar and sugar. Side note: we love eating outside but don’t have any patio furniture, hence why this meal was eaten on the ground!

If all else fails, we whip up breakfast for dinner. I actually loooove this meal and would probably be happy eating it every night of the week.

brek

Just so you don’t think I’m some domestic diva who spends hours in the kitchen, rest assured that there are plenty of nights where we eat leftovers or go to Bar Louie for their burger special. Also, I neglected to mention this in the post, but Josh is quite the chef as well and I love it when he cooks for us. 🙂

Hope this gave you some meal inspiration and if you have any easy dinner recipes up your sleeve, send them my way!