The Lent Series: Stay.

This is the third installment in the Lent Series. You can read Part I here and Part II here.

 

"The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God!' The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, 'What are you seeking?' And they said to him, 'Rabbi... where are you staying?' He said to them, 'Come and you will see.' So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day…" John 1:35-39

What are you seeking?

That’s been the question whispered in my heart for a while now.

I can tell you a lot of things I’m seeking. In this season, when I’m supposed to be cleaning out my life and focusing more on Him, I find myself in the biggest battle against discontent. 

I’m seeking purpose. I’m seeking financial freedom. I’m seeking creative businesses and independence and new relationships and different spaces. I’m seeking anything that gives me that sense of fulfillment I can’t seem to find.

I have this master plan, a deadline set, hustle to make. And so I’ve scheduled out every last minute. All of my days are measured by a list of tasks to accomplish.

Deep down, I want to make a difference. I want to have influence. I want to do things that matter. But somehow I’ve correlated this life of meaning with a life of hustle.

And I feel disassembled. Like there’s a piece of me working on this dream and another dedicated to that idea. There are bits of me set aside for this task and others marked for that goal. There's a portion to work on right now and a chunk reserved for the future.

Disjointed. Fragmented. Like a Picasso painting.

I’m trying to gather whatever energy I have left to thread all of those pieces back together into the woman I see in my head, the future me, the one who has found her stride. Solid. Steadfast.

But lately I feel like I have nothing to show. No pretty images to share on the Internet. No polished product for all of the hours I feel I’m working. No progress toward the goal. No sense of peace despite my attempts at time in the Word. I feel like I timidly approach God and hold my arms out, empty-handed. This is what I didn’t do today.

And I keep hearing… What are you seeking?

What job would you have if money didn't matter? What would you be creating even if no one noticed? What would you be doing if the internet never saw it?

What are you seeking?

Does your fulfillment come from worldly success and acceptance or the pure joy of pouring out all that’s in you?

What if your contentment was found in Him and living in the way He specifically created you to worship?

I keep thinking that I need to have done something amazing or have created the next best thing. I keep thinking that I have to take these gifts and make them into more, into masterpieces, so I can be considered a good steward. I keep thinking I’ll waste what He’s given me if I don’t build an empire around it.

But maybe God doesn’t want us gathering up our pretty images and our castles and our accomplishments to bring to his feet. Maybe He just wants us. When we come to Him, our hands should be full of the gifts He’s already given. Ready to give back to Him. Ready for HIM to multiply. And when He asks us what we seek, our answer should be to follow wherever He is going, to stay wherever He is staying.

The gospel of Mark recounts a story of Jesus teaching a crowd of five thousand until late in the day. His disciples took note of it and said to Him, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” (Mark 6:35-36)

The desolate place. That wilderness where everything seems far away. When it feels like too much time has passed and it’s just too late.

All Jesus did was ask for what they had. They hadn't over five loaves of bread and two fish.

What are you seeking?

If you would just come into my house and stay the day. If you would just sit in the grass and give me whatever you have.

Maybe the reason you feel out of joint is because you’ve been seeking places you don’t really belong. Instead of coming in to stay with me, you have turned around and run, to try to build something, to try to mold the gifts I've given and grow them into a success story. 

But I AM the one who multiplied bread for five thousand.

You think it’s too late. You’re hurrying back to what you think is comfort, to safety, to find provision. You're trying to make a way for yourself.

Stay with me. If you want to be multiplied, stay with me. 

Yes, you will have to be broken, but I provide for those who stay.

What do you have?

Give me all of those disjointed pieces. Surrender the fragments of your heart. 

You're trying to tie them all back together, because you think it will make you whole. But they will have to be broken.

And what feels like breaking is just the beginning of more. I’m multiplying you. I’m preparing you. I’m blessing you and sending you out.

Stay. This is a desolate place, but come and you will see. You will be sustained. You will be satisfied. You will be broken. But you will be used.

Stay.