Monday, November 4, 2019

What are you chasing?

"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
"Chase your dreams."
"Go after what you want!"

We hear it all the time, encouragement to chase after our dreams and keep pushing until we get what we're running after. It's the American Dream that everyone wants, right? Work hard enough, for long enough, and don't ever stop setting goals that are bigger and better and you'll get everything.

Yet time and time again, the news is filled with stories of people who seemed to have everything...but no matter how much they chased after all the things and met all the goals and found reward on a large scale, their lives felt so empty and meaningless that they thought the only fix was to end it.

I have to admit, I fall into the trap of thinking that if I can just make it to that next goal, just earn that next thing on the list, things will get easier and happiness will be a given. I stress and strive and work to make sure that "I can do it myself," because that has been my mantra since I was little. I run after the things that are supposed to be important, and I work hard to accomplish all the things...because that's what we're supposed to do, right?

Only, here's the one little problem with me frantically running after all the things that I think are important:

"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and then all these things will be given to you too."
Matthew 6:33

Seek God first? But won't that get in the way of my plans to do everything? Won't that mess up all my plans? How can I fit in all the things I need to get done if I'm seeking God's kingdom first?

Because you see, God's kingdom doesn't necessarily look like we want it to. Sometimes, it looks like getting out in the pouring rain to help somebody on the side of the road. Or getting covered in mud helping pull a calf. Or stepping into the middle of a confrontation to speak peace. Or holding your tongue when you really want to spit out something hateful in response to the hurtful words of someone else (that's a hard one for me...). Or turning something over to God instead of worrying about it. Or being still and resting in Him instead of hurrying to do the next thing on the list. Or stepping our of your comfort zone to have a conversation about God with someone who may not be receptive to it.

When I'm seeking God's kingdom and His righteousness, that means I'm focusing on the eternal instead of the temporary. It's really easy to get tied up in the here and now. Bills have to be paid; there are demands at work; the washing machine gives out, there's a leak in the roof. It's easy to start looking at the circumstances around me as what's important and forgetting that they are all temporary. I get tied up in making sure I'm doing all the things I'm supposed to be doing--and I forget about the one thing that matters.

What matters is that I seek God. I should be pursuing Him, running after Him with my whole heart. I should be searching His word and praying in all things. I should be sharing the good news with others instead of sitting quietly on the sidelines, afraid to speak. I should trust in His provision...and His timing (that whole "timing" thing is a hard one for me).

God knows what I need a lot better than I do. He takes care of His creation, and He will take care of giving me what I need (even though that probably won't always match up with what I think I need...). My focus should be on Him, not on all the stuff that distracts me.

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