A quick question for you: What is taking over your thoughts throughout the day? Or, more personally for me, what is taking over my thoughts?
Are our thoughts monopolized by/stuck on finding a:
better job/a job?
better place to live?
girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, or wife?
Or are we looking for ways to:
Put food on the table?
Get more money in the bank?
Look better than our neighbors or our family and friends?
Are we concerned about what others think of us? Are we looking forward to that next vacation away from everything that we have amassed, or that job we brag about, so that we can recover from them?
Thinking through this list of questions (not all inclusive by the way), I cannot help but wonder if many of us are missing out on something more important—something that will drive our day toward the greater good. I cannot help but wonder if I have been silent about things that really matter?
Are my periodic prayers, my weekly men’s group, my attendance at church, my blog posts, and my email notes of encouragement enough? Where is God in all of this? What am I doing to live more Christ like? How am I really helping others? Am I even concerned with helping others?
Ugh… All this makes we wonder what are you and I living for? What can I say is the guiding force in your or my life that radiate out of us for all to see? That one thing that people who know us will say, “Yip, that is ___________ (name goes here).”
Will they say that you and I are driven by:
pride and arrogance
accumulating material things
If they did, how would that make you feel? Is that really you or me? Or are we living a bit of a double life—allowing others to perceive us differently than we really want to be? Can’t we have a “church life,” a “social life,” a “family life,” and a “work life”? What is wrong with that??
These are all really hard questions for me right now. But, after living the life I have lived, surviving cancer and two teenage daughters (yes, that is surviving!), and continuing to grow closer to God, I have come to realize that none of those compartmentalizations will bring about true happiness—all of our lives must operate as one. Church life cannot be separate from social life, from work life, etc. My relationship with Jesus must radiate out from me and shine on everything that I do.
I know that we cannot get into heaven merely by doing good things—but I want my faith to lead my actions, and I want the two to match up and be in sync.
One of my biggest fears in life (and I DO have a few) is when I approach that point when I have to account for the things that I did and did not do. That point when my faith and my actions should have been in sync. That is the moment when I pray I don’t hear God telling me that something was wrong. That my life has been somewhat incomplete. That there should have been more. That there MUST have been more.
STOP here… and ask yourself some honest questions about your faith and your actions. Are you living the life that God wants from you? The purpose you were created for?
Are they in sync?
If not, what are you doing about it?
One thing I try to do is to talk regularly with God—to find my purpose by asking him for guidance and direction. To ask for knowledge to use what I have been given, and the talents I have been blessed with, to help others. I continue to pray daily looking for his direction. I also pray for an open heart and an ear to listen to what he is sharing with me.
God has placed you here for a reason. You are here for more than the accumulation of material things and living an earthly life. Your life has a purpose. Don’t live it with regrets.
Take time to listen to what God is saying. Each of us hears him differently. I may hear him through the loving words of a family member or friend. I also feel his loving guidance during those “God tingle” moments. If you aren’t there yet in your relationship with God, ask for him to come into your life, and then ask that he teach you how to have this personal relationship. He will guide you.
Michael Johnson is on a spiritual journey and his faith walk is a constant work in progress. But, in a nutshell, he is a Christ-follower, husband, father, cancer survivor, songwriter wannabe, and a coffee enthusiast. He currently lives in the heartland–without a dog (insert sad face here), but with a wonderful wife and two amazing girls. Michael is the owner of an independent coffee shop. He has a deep desire to help people grow closer to Christ and by doing so grow closer himself. He loves to have honest dialog about faith, God, and religion in hopes that it will help sharpen all involved in the conversation (or even those not involved but sitting close by). In the end, he knows he is just a man, and it is God who sustains him. Follow him on Twitter at @mjohnson_kc.