Apr 3, 2010

At His Feet: Easter Thoughts

And this is the poverty of my soul:  That when faced with a choice between time with Him or time with my e-mail, I most often choose my e-mail.

My ears are not so deaf that I do not hear Him calling -- a whisper in my heart asking me to draw near to Him; to let Him draw near to me. To let Him cleanse, wash, and purify me in His presence. But my response is, "Not Now!  I am so busy!"

I start each day not in peace and rest and closeness to my Strength and Sustenance, but in busy-ness with chaos swirling in my head… Tasks I need to complete. Words I need to write. People I need to see. Friends I need to invite. Jobs I need to do. Classes I need to teach. Laundry I need to wash. Guests I need to host. Children I need to hold. I often picture myself like the tasmanian devil in a whirlwind spin, moving so quickly that I do more harm than good… so quickly that I do nothing well.

{Do you notice that the one common word is I?  Do I spend my time at the alter of Me?}

Don't get me wrong, my time and life are filled with many "good things." But if I'm being honest, in the midst of the clutter and noise of life, in the deepest parts of my heart, I know that I am too easily distracted from the only One who matters. If I'm being honest, these "good things" have more than my time and energy… they have my heart. And compared to Him, anything that steals my heart is trivial and temporary.

"When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots." {Matthew 27:15}

It's an obscure sentence in the Easter narrative, but today as I read through the story on resurrection's eve, it caught my attention.  I live in a village where many people only own the clothes on their back.  If we take a bag of old clothes outside and set them by the trash, people gather around and divide the contents.  Though I've often read that line of scripture and imagined those people at the cross to be cruel and hardened, ignoring the moans of the dying, it's something I can imagine a bit more innocuously now...

So I picture them there, at His feet as He hung on the cross. Quibbling over who gets the sandals… at His feet. Trying on His cloak… at His feet. Arguing about who got the shirt from the last man who hung in this spot… at His feet. Casting lots when they can't agree... at His feet.

They didn't know or notice they were at the feet of the savior. They could only see the trivial and the temporary - an opportunity for much-needed clothes... shoes to protect feet from sharp stones on the path; a shirt to stop the burning sun; a cloak to block winter's cold wind.  The garments had value; they were not bad.

But they were at His feet!  They were there for a moment of divine importance, but because they were distracted by the trivial and the temporary, so they missed it!

They were at His feet, but they didn't even notice.  They might have been 'there' but they were not fully present.

Though I wish I could say otherwise, I'm not so different. I pick out new fabrics for the next batch of aprons… at His feet. I catch up on blogs and write my friends an e-mail… at His feet. I bake a cake and hang my laundry… at His feet. I make my 'To Do' list and, as if it's just another task to check off, mentally add 'Quiet Time' to it… at His feet.

It's not that these things that make me busy are bad; they all deserve some of my focus and attention. But they do not deserve my heart.  They message of Matthew 27:15 seems blatantly obvious and sad.  They weren't doing anything inherently wrong (recycling clothes from a man who would die in a matter of hours), it's just they were missing the only thing that mattered!


It's not always so obvious to me in my own life. But right now I see it. Right now I feel it... a dryness, tiredness, longing, and restlessness. I know how to end the drought; I need only draw near to Him and He promises to draw near to me. But yet I do not do it. There are some very deep reasons for why I do not, but then there is simply this: the temporary and the trivial do not always seem to be so in the present moment.

So on this Easter weekend, I remember not only the sacrifice He made on that cross, reconciling me to the Father, but I also remember His desire to be in a relationship with me.  This relationship isn't just some transaction I made once and for all when I walked to the alter in a small Baptist church, but it's an ongoing "draw near" kind of relationship. And I ask that you pray for me… that I would find Him and spend time with Him and come away refreshed and alive, pouring out to others out of an abundance of His love, not from the poverty of my own self-effort. And, I know I'm not the only one with a longing in her heart to spend more time at His feet, but who struggles with how to 'fit it into' her busy life. So if this is something that you also desire, will you leave a comment so I can also pray for you?

Instead of casting lots for clothes at His feet, can we truly be at His feet?  Drawing near and resting in peace, thankfulness and adoration?

12 comments:

Valerie and Jeff said...

Oh Carrie! You amaze me with your honesty and your insight ... not just into the Scripture and into your own life, but also into mine. So often (like constantly) I am distracted by the immediacy of NOW, and usually it's a battle of "me" time time for the kids. How often God waits for his child to come to him. He always has time for me and yet I'm off being "busy." Thank you for your honest reminder of what's important! And how far away I am in many ways ... even while I am right at the feet of Jesus.

Blessings this Easter!
Valerie
P.S. Brayden exclaimed this morning, only moments ago, that "the Easter Bunny is in China right now!" (It's 7am Sat. here in the states)--that made me chuckle and also a little bit sad as I know he struggles with the bunny Easter and the true Easter. But I just thought I'd give you a head up in case you are to see the bunny.

Chris and Jane said...

Carrie, that was a great post. I love what you got from reading about them casting lots for his clothes and being beneath his feet the whole time. Really insightful.

Love you guys. Happy Easter!

Jewels of My Heart said...

Carrie.... thank you for sharing this incite into me. I have been dying of thirst lately and Jesus offers His living water, that will quench my thirst, yet I continue to wander aimlessly through Death Valley....
The mundane, busy tasks of life are like Death Valley... there will always be more and there will always be too many!
Thank you for sharing... I need to make my Lord, my God my First Love yet again.... not giving Him the crumbs of my time, of me.... but giving Him all of me. Not "making" time for Him but begin each day with Him, and continue to walk with Him through the day and through the tasks in His strength and Spirit.
I will be praying for you and please pray for me as well.
See you at His feet where we shall be Mary's not Martha's.
I am off to sit at His feet as I read His word that I should have done before ever getting on the computer! But my God is oh, so gracious that He met me right here at your blog and held out His hand, for me to come and join Him....
God's Peace...
And a blessed Resurrection Sunday
Daleea

The Ferrill's said...

Wow, very timely, because this morning my time at His feet was spent on MY feet at my kitchen counter leaning over my Bible while child after child came in to tell me something or show me something.
In other words, Mom needs to get up earlier.
Time at His feet is precious to me, so precious. Unfortunately, so is my sleep.
Thank you for putting this into perspective, Carrie. God used you to remind me that He is worth the 5:00 hour. SO WORTH IT to me!
My heart overflows....

And, lest I forget to tell you...
HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY!!!!!!!!!!

Clay said...

It's 6:55 am Easter morning, I'm going there now. Thanks to you! Love, Pam

Sally said...

Thanks Carrie, for your honesty and for "challenging" me. Many good things have my heart too.

TanyaLea said...

Oh Carrie! Wow. I think there are many times (including now) that I could've written this post. I love your honesty about this at such a timely manner...and that you opened it for us to ask for your prayers in return. It's been the greatest conviction of my heart lately. The 'left-over' time I give to God when my energy and focus are low, really does not cut it. I should be at my best. I mean, when we really care about people and are nurturing our relationships with them, we try to give them some of our best moments...not just our left-overs. I need to PURPOSE more quality time with God. I truly can hear Him calling, too. And like you, I have all too often 'chosen' other things over God. I justify them in my own head...but I cannot really fool my heart!

I will pray for you, dear friend. And please, please...pray for me, too!

Praying you had a nice Easter and that you have a blessed week ahead! <><

Hugs,
Tanya

sfrice said...

Carrie, you put your struggles into words so well. Oddly enough, I have the same struggles half way around the world. How often my quiet time looks like the chores I have to do for the day - checked off, like the others. I will try to remember to pray for you as I pray for myself for a real meeting with the Lord in the morning that continues on through the day. I love you both, Sharon Rice

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post Carrie. I've been reading a book by a Chinese Christian "From Pagan to Christian" published in 1959--such an interesting journey he makes through Chinese and Western philosophy/religion. It is the first time I've read something which make me appreciate Chinese thought. One thing that has struck me is the emphasis on the holy in the ordinary. I guess what I mean to say is that along with special time alone with God, I want to take God with me through the day. Have him by my side as I email, paint, read to kids, cook dinner, and do laundry. Be meditating on Scripture, be praying, be thinking about how these activites are a part of his creation and purpose for the world. Pray for my everyday time with Jesus! Virginia

chrisandtif said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing...you can add my name to that list.

Jenna said...

Oh, wow. It's so true, and something I struggle with daily. Your words resonate so deeply with me- I have felt absolutely the struggle to balance it all, do SOMETHING even remotely well, and maintain my sanity. Selfishly, when I have a minute, I want it for myself- figuring THAT is what will refuel me!

When my house is quiet- kids in bed, husband out playing soccer one night a week, what do I do? Run to the computer. I've been better of late- better than I've ever been, but that better has only increased my realization of how much time I spend on other things and how little I spend WITH Him. I'm so intentional about the time I spend with my husband and my kids- because I want them to know they matter so greatly to me. But, oh, how easily I put Christ behind so many less important things. How often I take Him for granted.

This was such a wonderful post- I will be thinking about this for days- and passing it on to all my friends!!!! You have such a great way of putting your thoughts into words. When I try to do that, it all gets scrambled in the translation form my brain to the page!

Thanks, Carrie, for your honesty.

Kristi said...

These words could have come from my heart, but sadly I've been too busy "being busy" with my own life to stop and acknowledge how true they are...
I will be praying for you as you seek to draw near to His feet and would ask that you do the same for me, a sister in Christ.

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