As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been thinking about John, his life and his character. One thing that strikes me about the disciples is their willingness to drop what they were doing and follow Jesus. There are so many things that can hold us back from walking with Him.
Perhaps, more unsettling is that some of those things seem like good things. Family, school, work, and current ministry opportunities can be wonderful things. Then, there are a whole host of decisions that we can make as we grow to understand His Word and seek to obey what the Spirit guides us to do.
Sometimes not wholeheartedly following Him is not hindered by something or someone else in our lives, but rather that there is a heart and mind hang up.
Even when we are going strong, I believe it is important to do an inventory periodically, allowing the Lord to search us out and see if we are living in step with Him, or if there is something holding us back or creating a distraction.
It’s essential that we stop, listen, reflect, repent, and then obey.
The ability to multi-task to the max is not always a good thing in my opinion because it nurtures what I would call ‘popcorn thoughts.’ Instead of focusing in on an issue or a project for a duration, we find ourselves working on two or three things at once and thinking about five or six things, devoting a small portion of our actual focus to any one individual item.
I was listening to a friend recently describing the benefits of mentally preparing for giving birth. She described how she spent time each day working on breathing and relaxation techniques and picturing encouraging scenes of a healthy delivery as well as happy events in her life. When the time comes, her mind will be disciplined to be in tune with her body and she’ll be ready to close out all of the anxiety and distractions that sometimes derail a woman in labor.
Without effort, this friend might be subject to the ‘popcorn thoughts’ of ‘what are these people in the room thinking about me?,’ ‘what if something goes wrong?,’ where is the nurse?,’ ‘how soon will this be over?,’ ‘i don’t like to let people see me this way…’ etc.
So, part of being prepared to follow Him is seeking to keep our lives and relationships under His authority, but another aspect is cultivating quiet, calm minds that can be fixed on Him and on the specific things He’s entrusted to us and that takes discipline through practice.