“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you. Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering … fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.“ (Romans 12:1-2 MSG)
I recently went online to listen to the song, “Everything,” by Tim Hughes and found this YouTube version. This song has really spoken to me lately and I even wrote out the lyrics to put up by my bedroom door. However, what really jumped out at me in this video wasn’t the song lyrics but some verses that had been added in from Romans 12:1-2 (as found in The Message).
After looking this passage up online and comparing it to the NIV version, I realized it was actually very familiar to me and one I had done a blog post on awhile back. In that post, I had mostly focused on Romans 12:1 which talks about offering your life to God as a sacrifice of true worship. I shared about the realization that my writing can be an act of worship before God – a true “Ah-Ha” moment for me! Read more from that post here.
However, in the Message version it was Romans 12:2 that stood out to me the most. Specifically, the underlined sentence from the top of this post: “Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.” I began to understand I usually somewhat recognize what God wants me to do and often will begrudgingly or half-way respond. But for me, even all this still takes time which is not what that verse is talking about.
No, the verse uses the words, “readily,” and “quickly,” to tell how we are supposed to behave when confronted with revelation from God. And that really stopped me in my tracks, especially when realizing the long path I recently took while dealing with whole idea of “breaking busy” in my life.
This journey all started back at the beginning of February (if not quite awhile before) with my Lenten post about needing more white space in my calendar and in my life. It continued with another post towards the end of February about feeling spread too thin relationally and needing to re-prioritize that area of my life. Then, on the last day of February, I wrote my “Returning and Rest” post on the verse from Isaiah 30:15 about how I finally realized God was telling me to STOP all the busyness in my life.
All the while, my calendar kept filling up, I kept on over-extending myself in relationships with others and quietness and rest were certainly not hallmarks of my life.
So, in all this did I “readily recognize” what God wanted from me? Hardly, as it took almost a month to work through and grasp the significance of why God was telling me I needed to slow down. That breakthrough finally happened last week after reading the book, Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington, (in two days mind you!). In my bonus “Thoughtful Thursday” post I shared how the book’s last chapter about finding your worth in God and not in what you do spoke volumes to me in this season of my life.
Right now, however, I feel the challenge for me is whether or not I will “quickly respond” to this new revelation in my life. Will I truly add some margin back into my calendar so I have the time with God to process through the lies I have been believing in regards to where I find my worth? Will I actually be able to say “No” to some get-togethers or coffee dates with friends in order to more time with Jesus – the best friend I could ever hope for? Will I purposefully begin to return some much-needed silence and solitude into my life so that I can better hear the voice of the One who created me and deeply desires to have an intimate relationship with me?
I know the answers I want for those questions I just asked. But, as has often been the case, life can rear up and take over the best my intentions. So, what is the answer? I feel it is found in the first part of the Romans 12:1-2:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you. Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering … fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.”(Romans 12:1-2 MSG)
It is this phrase,“God helping you,” that I believe will be my lifeline over the next little while. Because in my own strength and under my own power, I probably will fail to “quickly respond” to what God has shown me. But tapping into God’s strength and relying on His power instead can make a world of difference!
God can keep on bring reminders into my life of what I really need to focus on (through verses, songs, sermons, quotes, conversation, etc). If I am truly looking for these things I will recognize them not for the coincidences they may look like but for the gifts from God they actually are. God can multiply the time I do make for Him so that we can have sweet times of communion and fellowship together. And God can put a check in my spirit if I start to commit to something that is not in His plan for me right now. Together, all of these can add up to a life being truly changed from the inside out!