"Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up." (James 4:10)
There could not have been a more perfect verse for me this week. Or this past month really. When I saw that this was the chosen topic for this week's Reflections post, I knew that I needed this verse this week. James is probably my favorite book of the Bible and I've read it several times, but I think I've just skimmed over these particular words in the past. Thankfully because of this post, I had to sit and chew on it for awhile this week.
This verse comes at an appropriate time because we are approaching the one year anniversary of our move here. We did not have a Lexington address until August, but in June of 2011 we packed our car with suitcases and moved in with my sister and her family for awhile. It was official- we were embarking on our church planting adventure. And over the course of this past year we have done just that... planted. The phrase "church planting" makes it sound so simple. I mean, how hard is it to plant something? I guess that all depends on how successful and healthy you want it to be.
Take the parable of the sower for example, found in Matthew chapter 13. In this story, a farmer plants seeds and the ones that fall on the dirt path get eaten by birds. The ones that fall on rocky ground grow up quickly but dry out because their roots cannot find the soil. Any seeds that are planted too close to the weeds are eventually choked out. But thankfully some of the seeds fall on fertile soil and these are the plants that thrive and can be harvested.
In order for our church plant to thrive, we knew that we would have to have good soil. In the church planting world that means the right people, the right vision, the right drive, and a whole heck of a lot of work! It takes huge sacrifices, both on your time and resources, and we poured our hearts and souls into seeing this happen. And then launch day rolled around and we had 280 people show up! Amazing! But guess what? Our work wasn't done! Our plant was now just a tiny seedling and it still needed lots of love. It still needs love everyday, and more sacrifice, and more time and effort. If we are truly the church, then our work is not just limited to Sundays but to everyday! We can't stop! There are too many birds out there waiting to eat those seeds, too many weeds waiting to choke out the new life, and too much rocky ground trying to uproot us. It takes work every. single. day. to keep this plant healthy and thriving, and that work comes in so many forms. As a church planting family we wear every hat... my husband is the pastor, the CEO, the accountant, the janitor, the maintenance director, the vision caster, and tries to keep this in balance with being a husband and a father first. He's done everything from install air conditioning to setting up bank accounts, to running payroll, to designing a website, to making multimedia videos, to auditioning a worship team, to paying bills, to leading meetings, and still spends about 30 hours a week working on his message for the next Sunday. Meanwhile I am mostly at home working a full-time job, taking care of our two little ones, running the kids' ministry, starting a community moms' group, keeping our house clean, trying to put dinner on the table, and still trying to be a loving wife first. I'm not going to lie... it's exhausting. Worth it? Absolutely. But exhausting nonetheless.
So what's this got to do with humility? A LOT. We live in an "I can do it all myself" society. Asking for help is a sign of weakness in many people's opinions. But you know what? That idea is not from God! Nope! It's right there in black and white: HUMBLE yourself before the Lord and HE will lift you up. It doesn't say juggle a million balls in the air and you'll somehow reach superstar status. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that you have to do it all alone! Right there in print it blatantly tells us that we cannot do it alone. Nor should we. And over these past few months I have tried. I am juggling more balls than I can handle, and I felt that if I admitted that to myself or to anyone else, that would mean that I was failing. But the truth is, by asking for help I am being more responsible and taking better care of these balls that I am juggling! Surrounding myself with people who can help gives me more hands to keep them from falling... what a wonderful concept! I am thankful that I could read this and be reminded that God created me to be many things and to be capable of doing many things, but that He did not create me to do it all. As a woman, I am constantly comparing myself to others. Through Facebook, blogs, Pinterest, and other mediums we are bombarded with examples of other women who "have and do it all." The sad part is that we forget that it's all a facade and behind every one of them is a woman who feels like she's teetering on the edge of disappointing someone or letting someone down. If we all just slowed down for a moment and asked for help- from God and from each other- just imagine how much less pressure we would have on ourselves!
So this is me officially saying that enough is enough... I have taken on a little more than I can handle and I am in the process of getting help. If that makes me a failure in someone's eyes then so be it... because I've already been promised that HE will lift me up. I am perfect in His eyes and those are the only ones that matter.
I hope that this is a verse that you will commit to memory for those times that you feel like your world is spinning out of control. As my husband would say, "don't forget the Lord of the work when you're doing the work of the Lord." In other words, do things for a purpose and drop the things that are just weighing you down. And ask for help if you're overwhelmed, okay? I promise it will be okay.
If you shared your view on this topic, please link up with us. You can also check out the fabulous Brittany's thoughts over on her blog "Daughter... Wife... Mom... Sis" (found here).
To piggy-back on this week's topic for next week, we're going to talk about prayer. I think humility and prayer go hand-in-hand since it's through prayer that we often ask for help. I really don't have a specific verse or reading for the topic but instead I want you to spend this week reflecting on your prayer life. How is it? Do you even have one? Do you pray only when you need something or do you rejoice and sing praises to the Lord in the good times, too? What helps you remember to pray? Do you do it daily or just when you think about it? My hope is that through this process we can really evaluate and explore where we are at when it comes to prayer. And if we find that we need to learn more about it to really get to where we want to be, at least we'll have a starting point. And if you have any references that you can recommend on the topic, please feel free to share them in your post. Can't wait to hear how God speaks to you this week!
As always, thanks for sharing and for allowing me to share. I hope this verse blessed you as much as it has blessed me.