Thursday, October 25, 2007

Balancing Act

by Rita Shimniok

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Mark 1:35

Life is a balancing act, yet Jesus juggled everything so wonderfully. Amidst the preaching, teaching, healing and being followed by scores of people - He found time for solitude and prayer with His Father. When I think about this, Jesus was more busy than anyone I can ever imagine. The events in the gospel of Mark make it clear who Jesus was and why God had been sent to earth. Things happened quickly - His ministry, was in fact, a whirlwind.

Isn't that how we feel sometimes, caught up in a whirlwind? I especially think of Marie and the winds that bring fire to our lives. Thankfully, for many of us, it is not a real and present danger. But the tide winds blow, and into our path comes an obstacle of darkness - whether it be disease, job loss, even death. We can focus on that which the wind has brought, or keep our eyes on the only One who can save us from being held back by that obstacle. It is important that through the whirlwind of life, we find time for solitude with our Maker, as Jesus did. For even He, God incarnate, needed relationship with His Father and needed to be renewed from His draining ministry.

These past 10 days have been a whirlwind of busy-ness. While I was laid up this past summer things got out of in piles of "stuff" that needed to be gone through and had manifested into a monumental task on the craft table in the basement. Our daughter just turned five yesterday, and I knew I wanted to have some friends over for a birthday party, which is taking place this afternoon.

I've been dreading the task, putting it off even. Finally, the clock was ticking and I needed to do this. The week before the birthday celebration, I began to purge, clean, and throw out "stuff". More than papers, toys that are no longer played with, bags of clothes returned after our loans no longer fit our friend's children. So much to go through, but I did it - and although my back is giving me grief, it looks great! My scrap table is even clean...I ended up cleaning more than 1/2 our basement out! Now if only cobwebs would go away on their own! (LOL)

The troubling part about this task was that another was also on my plate this past week - an appointment with God. It is application week for our bible study group, meaning we take what we have read from the first three chapters of Mark and listen to how God is calling us into action. A daily schedule was provided for us - do this on this day, that on another, etc. Schedules were suggestive only, and certainly did not work for me this past week. I worked on my cleaning project every free moment and often into the late night early morning. When I was done I dropped from exhaustion. How was I going to listen to God this past week?

The verse from Mark that really spoke to my heart was the forgiving of sins for the paralytic man. Jesus did not simply heal, but instead forgave. If you have read this blog before you may recall I have some issues with my lower body. This passage really made it clear how much more important is God's grace than healing. But how could I apply this to my life? There were still questions on the form I had to answer.

So I searched some more...and from the moment I had read Mark 1:35 I knew that I needed solitude with God. I have no problem reading the bible, almost daily, and in fact turn to it regularly to be inspired for my scrapbook pages and writing to you. When I thought about it - I am always IN the bible in search of something. I have a question or a topic in mind and am looking for God's response and direction. There is nothing wrong with that, but when I am reading God's word for a focused purpose I am not allowing Him to speak to my heart - for me alone. I have been on a quest for more than a year now to find my God-given purpose. I do feel that part of my quest has been answered when I was asked to use my gifts for Selah Scrappers, but I know there is more. Mark is telling me to find more balance in my life, to seize my Selah moment not only to read the Word, but to sit quietly and LISTEN. Leave the pen and paper out of reach.

The book of James has really been calling to me lately. Several times while reading Mark I have been directed there, and God is also putting verses from James right before me through other vessels. We had a wonderful moment at bible study last Monday, where we gathered in prayer around our friend and asked God to heal his ailment, as described in James 5:15-16. The presence of the Holy Spirit was a hot, electrical current coursing through my body as I felt it in the persons next to me and throughout my own. God was at work, it was so clear, and we know that a healing manifestation is taking place in our friend. There is so much more in James. So although I am "required" to read Mark for our weekly study, my course is set for the book of James. I have picked out my God space. I know that God gave me a window of time this year to spend with Him between work and having to pick my daughter up from school. I need to retrain my actions, and block distractions. (One of which is this computer.) I ask you to keep me in prayer for solitude and to be able to quiet my body and listen.

I pray for all of you as well. I ask that God guide you when the winds blow, and that you focus on Him on when obstacles are placed in your path. I pray that you will protected from raging fires, both real and symbolic, and that the armor of God enfold you when you are placed in dark situations. In the busy-ness of our lives may each of us find solitude and prayer with our heavenly Father as Jesus did, so that we may be renewed to carry on the ministry set before each of us as disciples of Christ. Amen.



Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL WRITING!!! Love the Layout to go with this too...Hugs, Tracie

Nancy said...

WOW! This is so beautifully written,Rita!! The layout is perfect!