Wednesday, October 8, 2008

So I Can Be Filled

"Empty me of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition and the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds to
Lord, empty me of me so I can be filled with you"

-"Empty Me," by Chris Sligh

I love it when this song comes up on the radio. I'll recognize it as I'm checking channels and then turn up the volume as I pray to the Lord through this song. It echoes my heart as I seek to weed out things that have selfishly occupied my time. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm going through a season of learning and stretching. I hope to simplify my life so that my purpose of living for God does not get overtaken by distractions and busyness. I am realizing I had heaped my plate full of activites that were fine in and of themselves, yet all together they stole my time and energy and focus.

There were the voice lessons, the barbershop quartet, the community theatre play, teaching CCD, Civil War reenacting, riding horses, being a youth leader...not to mention my dog, my family, my Grant, my outings with friends, my job as a nurse, and my relationship with the Lord. I had very little time for reflection and stillness. My relationship with the Lord was still there, but it lacked some of the depth it had previously had. My friends and family-- the living, breathing people in my life-- became secondary to my "vain ambitions." Although I sought these pursuits for personal enjoyment and to improve myself, I see now that my ideas of self-improvement were tinged with a worldly view and pride. I felt that my time was well-spent with this rich variety of activities. In a way, I began to define myself by what I did rather than who I was. The interesting thing is that most of this problem was within myself and not noticed by others (except my wise parents). Many people today are busy like I was and we all just shrug it off, not realizing we have a choice.

Praise the Lord for gently beckoning us from dangerous paths.

Somehow in the midst of my busyness, I began to crave quietness and heartfelt prayer. I believe God was calling me to draw closer to Him and my soul was aching for the peace that comes with it. He spoke through my conversations with my parents when I was stressed and they would encourage me to cut back on activities. It took me awhile to see it, but after I saw who I was becoming, I began to drop my actitivies, one by one. Sure, I miss a few of them, but giving more quality time to my original commitments and responsiblities-- being a daughter, a sister, a friend, a child of God-- brings a peace and joy that those activities could not. When I look at the precious relationships in my life, I am reminded that the sweetest, most beautiful times in the world are times spent with those we love. Being involved in less, I'm able to give more. Life is slower, richer, and more peaceful.

I'm still learning, though. I still have days where I feel too busy. I look forward to having my evenings back when the play I'm in is finished next month. Yet no matter what my schedule is, the main part of this change is in my heart, in my attitude. I know I'm on the right path now and that the Lord is leading me back to the truly important things in life. He is helping "empty me of me" so I can be filled with Him.

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