hymn

Live in the Space Between

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I have a confession to make. Sometimes I find it difficult to sit in silence and be still. Sometimes I'll be sitting and working on something and the quietness is overwhelming. It's crazy! I almost always end up turning on the TV or some music just to have some background noise. We are so constantly consumed with noise everywhere we go that the quiet becomes uncomfortable. We feel like something's missing and that we need to add noise. Isn't it crazy to think that noise and constant busyness have become so normal, that to some, the thought of being in silence for any extended amount of time makes them cringe? The other morning I read a devotional inspired by the hymn Be Still My Soul and it struck such a powerful chord with me that it brought me to tears. I'll admit it doesn't take too much to bring me to tears, but the power of the words “be still” resonated so deeply within my heart and soul that I began to cry. You see, I live my life in constant go mode. I may not be constantly doing something, but my mind is constantly spinning, thinking of so many different things within a matter of minutes. So I wanted to share some words from the devotional that hit me. She wrote:

Life is noisy. A hymn like “Be Still My Soul” gives me assurance that in the noise of life, my soul is held secure in the silence—silence that goes before and behind me. In the noise of my emotions or in daily work rhythms, the silence between the happenings is a constant. The silence helps me find my place in the world, to see who I am, and it makes space for my soul to listen to God. Even in the most joyful tones of life, as in music, the space between the notes is just as important as the notes themselves. (Shereadstruth.com)

“The space between notes is just as important as the notes themselves.” The funny thing is, as I was sitting there pondering this thought in my mind, I thought, "Ooh, I should go write a blog about this." But then that would defeat the whole purpose of just being still before the Lord, so instead I let the quiet of the moment wash over me.

I sat and looked out the window and watched the tree branches in my backyard blow in the wind. I could hear the tick tock of the clock hanging on the wall and just barely the sound of the wind outside. My mind is so cluttered with thoughts and to-dos that it is almost impossible to sit and let the noise inside fade away, but then I’m reminded of the psalm that says, “Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:7

In the midst of all the things going on inside and outside our minds, we are still called to wait upon the Lord, to allow him to move and guide us, to allow HIM to move in our moments of stillness. I know I tend to get ahead of myself a lot of the time. One thing happens and I jump ahead to miles down the road of where I’m at, and then I start to worry. How will this turn out? What am I going to do? What is God going to have me doing a year or years from now? But what if this happens? What will I do if that happens? I even start to think about the "could've beens". Like, if such and such would've happened that could've been great, and so I let my mind wander in a thought that isn't reality. It all starts with one thought, but then leads down this rabbit trail of sometimes wonderful life scenarios if things played out differently and then horrifying scenarios of what ifs. But then this morning I was reminded by God's assurance, “Be still my child. I am with you and for you. I have everything under control.” God is outside of time. He is in control and He is not at all worried or surprised by the things that happen in our lives. We have to choose to walk in peace and not dwell on thoughts that lead to anxiousness and worry.

We can’t be afraid of the silence, of the space between notes. God is composing a symphony with your life. We have to allow him to move us in and out of the moments of high energy where every instrument is playing together a beautiful melody and to the low moments where we must strain to hear a line being played by a single violin, and then into those measures of rest, while we wait for the music to begin again.

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Ever, only, all for Thee

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“Take myself and I will be, Ever, only, all for Thee.”

I remember the spring I was preparing for my mission trip to Ireland and applying to be a leader on the team, I was asked the question that was something like, “What is God’s purpose for the Christian life?” Obviously there’s not a magic answer to this question. They were just looking at what we felt in our hearts God was telling us. I took some time to pray and study my Bible, and I clearly remember thinking it’s all about God. Everything in the Bible points to Him. My life should be all for Him and His glory If I’m not doing that, then it’s pointless. My purpose is to glorify God in everything I do.

Obviously that is easier said than done, right? It is in our human nature to want to make everything about us, to make sure the credit goes to us, to make sure we get what we want, to make sure that our own cause is being promoted. This leads us to a divided heart, and God makes it clear that we cannot serve two masters. It’s either all for us or all for Him, not half and half. We live in a me, me, me focused society, and I believe now more so than ever. With social media it has become the norm to promote our ‘best’ selves to the world and taking selfies has become just a usual thing that we do. And I’m not saying I’m not guilty of this kind of thinking in any way. This mindset has become ingrained in many of us in my generation because we grew up in it, although that is no excuse for our actions.

It’s either all for us or all for Him, not half and half.

I want to challenge you to be different than the norm. After all that’s what we’re called to do right? There’s a hymn that goes, “Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee.” It goes through stanza after stanza proclaiming the message, God take everything I do and let it sing your praise, let it bring you fame!

There’s a verse that says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” In this passage people were concerned about whether it was right or wrong to eat certain foods, and so Paul addresses them by saying, “you are asking the wrong question. Examine your heart and see if what you are doing glorifies God.” It was more of a heart thing than anything else.

When our hearts remain in a place of awe and wonder of who God is, we can’t help but live our lives every second for his glory.

So examine your heart, and keep on examining it daily. Ask God to show you parts of your life and actions that are divided. Ask him to show you things you are putting above him and seeking the glory for instead of giving it to him. It may be hard to hear, but allow God to speak and transform your heart. He deserves all the glory. Remember all the things he has done for you. Ask him to show you how great his love is for you. Ask him to help you understand more and more how great and powerful and big he is. When our hearts remain in a place of awe and wonder of who God is, we can’t help but live our lives every second for his glory. Ask God to help you live your life for Him and Him alone.

Take My Life and Let It Be Frances R. Havergal, 1874

Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move At the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing, Always, only for my King. Take my lips and let them be Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect and use Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it Thine, It shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is Thine own, It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure store. Take myself and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.

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