Somewhere in the wee hours of New Year’s Day, I awoke with a single word on my mind: diligence. I choose to believe it was God’s challenge to me for the year. There are several projects I need to finish that I have lagged in my enthusiasm to complete. I have been asking God to do some things in my life, and I sense Him saying He won’t answer those prayers until I complete what He has already told me to do.
I had a word another year that I forgot before the year was over. I did not want that to happen this time, so I had a friend make some reminders to display in key places at my house and job.
An interesting thing started happening in my endeavor to be diligent. While I felt God’s favor in the efforts He had spoken regarding the things I must complete first before He gave further direction, I sensed Him shaking His head, “No,” at other things I thought He wanted. In a way only He can, He showed me I had made inaccurate assumptions about what He deemed worthy of my diligence. I thought working toward a spotless home was surely part of His call to diligence, but I felt Him gently say, “That's not something I want you pouring excessive energy into. Instead, exert more energy into intentionally praying for the lost people in your life. Open your eyes to the needs of people in your circle of influence and devote energy to meeting them according to My promptings.” Now, you know God is not saying to keep a dirty house. He values cleanliness, but He knows that any effort can be done to excess to the neglect of more important pursuits.
What about you? Where is God calling you to de-emphasize? Could it be in the area of keeping up outer appearances at the expense of spiritual calisthenics? Perhaps rushing through everything is your weakness. When we rush, we miss platinum opportunities to change someone’s day or even their life. Maybe it’s a call to cease the draining exercise of trying to please everybody or of pretending to feel or to be something that is not real or true.
For years now, Jesus has been opening my eyes to the fact that what a successful life looks like can be much less draining than the one I thought He wanted of me. I am increasingly aware that the enemy is a hard slave driver. He keeps adding to the list while brow-beating me “in the name of Jesus” for not being good enough in what I am already doing. That is nothing like the way of my Meek-and- Lowly-in-Heart Jesus Who said His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Diligence has become my friend and in just these few days of this new year, I am discovering a different pitch and tone of love in God’s voice I never knew was there.