Written by Barb Shelton
I am SO grateful for the various Thin Within communities!!! Each one I have been a part of has been a sweet blessing, but a blessing that I have not “taken advantage of” nearly as often as I need to. L I too easily allow other things to crowd in and take the place of spending the time I need to with the Lord, and also with you ladies. So, rather than being “a part of” you, I have been more “apart from” you. L
So how much time is “enough” time ~ especially with the Lord?
I was watering the garden the other day, trying to figure out “how much is the right amount of water for my plants. And the right amount of time to water. I’m not exactly famous for having the most lush gardens or plants in my home. L I tend to either over-water or under-water, and neither result in happy plants.
I noticed there were places where the soil got completely moistened with the water I gave it. In other places it looked only barely moist. And there were still other places where it was completely dry, even though I had watered there not long ago.
I realized there were several things affecting this…
Of course, the amount of sun the area had beating down onto it played a big part in how dry it was, and how quickly it would become dry again.
In most analogies, I like to equate the sun with God and his warm grace, but not in this one. Here I liken the beating-down sun to the “hard stuff” in my life. Things that are just rotten, awful, hard, painful, not going away, and that I have no power to change. They just keep beating down on me – and drying me out – like the hot sun in a parched desert.
Then there’s also the matter of the type of pot – or lack thereof – that a plant is in. A non-porous pot does not allow nearly as much water to evaporate out through its walls as does a porous earthenware pot.
At this point in my life, I am like a very porous earthenware pot. This whole thing of needing to die to my flesh in the area of food and eating is draining, in every sense of the word. It involves allowing God to remove my yucky “graveclothes” and reveal the stuff in me that either is dead, dying, or needs to die – which, of course, is unto me being healed and made whole and new – but it has made me very “leaky” (including my eyes) and feeling very vulnerable: Shaky at times. And greatly in need of a lot of God’s softening, moistening, refreshing and healing water.
I also noticed that the proximity of a plant to other plants made a difference in how soon after watering it needed to be watered again. I don’t think I saw dry soil around any plants that were close to other plants. The water seemed to soak through the whole area, probably through the common root system. And maybe just the interactive ambiance between them! J
It doesn’t take too much imagination to translate this part of the analogy! As Deanna B recently shared, our need for accountability is great. And I have not been taking advantage of that! L So I am recommitting myself to doing this ~ to being in this kind of relationship ~ with you precious ladies here in the Thin Within community!
So, as I was standing there spraying my plants in “center” mode on the hose nozzle, what hit my center was that I do not need to focus on putting in a certain amount of time with the Lord, but that I need to give Him enough time to allow enough of His glorious healing and unlimited water to soak all the way down to my dry and needy roots; down to where my deepest need is.
“I pray…that out of his glorious, unlimited resources He will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love…” Ephesians 3:14-17 (TLB)
YES YES YES!!! This is what I desperately need! My roots need to “go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love”!
This rest of this passage in Ephesians 3:14-19 (TLB) has even more life-giving water as it elaborates on what this “marvelous love” is like: “…and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.”
Getting filled up by the Lord isn’t so that I can say “I spent such-and-such an amount of time with the Lord today,” (which my “to-do-ish” nature gravitates to!), but so that my roots can have – so that the very core of me has – all the fresh Living Water I need to be nourished, refreshed, and healed. Transformed ~ from the INSIDE OUT!
Psalm 1 says: “Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.”
I have *much* on my plate in this season of my life, and am way too easily distracted to get to those things, and I have simply – and sadly – not been giving my roots “enough” water; my heart enough Jesus. And I am feeling it. There’s too little grace, too much negativity, too easy to feel hopeless.
So I am re-stating my desire, my intent, and my commitment to allow the Lord more time to go more deeply into me, down into the dry, crusty, dark places that are in need of His touch and His redeeming work.
And I’m also restating my commitment to come here more often and to not only share nuggets of my journey with you precious ladies, but also to be showered with the refreshing “Living Water” that you so lavishly share here out of your own walks with the Living God!!! I am so thankful for your openness to so vulnerably share your journeys! And to *you,* Deanna, for laying down your life to continue making this possible through the summer!
“And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” (Isaiah 58:11)… Yes, Lord!!! Bring on the water!
And how will He do that? One last verse that comes to mind: “My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me, oh my people'” ~ which I take to mean that He’s actually serious about; He wants me to come and talk with Him even, if not especially, when I’m in a bad mood or a dark place, ashamed of my repeated failings, my sin, my battle with food addiction, my frustrations with myself, and the feelings of hopelessness that grip my and try to drag me down into the pit of despair. I don’t need to clean myself up to come to Him; He wants to do that!
So, even when I’d rather hide, “by the mighty power of the Spirit of the Lord at work within me, I will instead say: “…and my heart responds ‘LORD, (and you sisters here in the Thin Within community!), I AM COMING!'”
Barb Shelton has been writing for homeschoolers since shortly after starting her homeschooling journey in 1982, culminating in graduating their three children. Since almost no homeschooling books were written back in the “olden days,” Barb ended up being a inadvertent (and unlikely and unwilling, actually) pioneer in that movement, writing 8 books and speaking at many homeschool conventions around the country. Barb is sure she learned more than her kids did in that 24-year experience, especially about depending on the Lord and allowing Him to redeem many areas of her life ~ the “final frontier” of which is getting victory in the area of eating. The Lord is bringing her into the “general public” realm now, and her first blog ~ “Honeycomb Oasis” ~ is almost ready to launch! There she’ll be sharing many of her “life learnings,” so check there toward the end of May!