You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV
I don’t know about where you live, but down here, Spring is coming. From the blasted pollen polyps to the birds chirping and the resurgence of the bug population, Spring is near. I know I don’t sound too enthused, but I really am. Even my body is evidencing the impending change, hands are peeling and I’m working out hahaha. Spring represents a renewal, a rebirth, and starting over. Is there something you need to start over at? Is there a part of your life that needs to be reborn? Do you need a rebirth? Are you in need of renewal?
I know I needed to start over at some things this year, primarily taking time for myself in light of all the responsibilities I have and also re-positioning my life so that God would be first. I was so weary and tired and overwhelmed with work and school…and I hadn’t had any ‘Marquita’ time in a very long time. Yeah, I’ve been working out and reading on occasion, but I had not just let loose. I had been suppressing my old self, things I had been taught to think were not appropriate or acceptable. I had even questioned why I was here in school, because everything about me was in disarray.
So I did not realize, until today, almost a week since I began this devotion originally, that I was in need of renewal. In every area of my life, I was tired. I was not feeling rested after sleeping, but then again I wasn’t getting enough sleep…I was burned out from pouring out so much at school and work and in everything. I have been praying for balance since the beginning of the year and it seemed to not come. More and more of my time school demanded, then incorporating regular workouts…writing…teaching…it has just been tough! So as my 2nd fast rolled around on last Thursday, so one of the things I prayed for was balance. So God decided to show me how to get that. I planned for Saturday to be my "Love Me" day, including a mani-pedi and shopping among other things. I had ‘planned’ to work out Saturday morning and wash and detangle my hair…but something else became pressed on my heart to do. For the last few years, I have given up something for Lent and engaged in reading daily Lenten readings. In my seeking to get everything done, those readings have been pretty much put on the back burner. So I was behind by almost a week and a half. So Saturday morning, at 8am when I woke up, I refused to get out of the bed until I had gotten myself caught up. Then, God began speaking through and about the devotions, and I texted my friend and sent some emails of what I was getting. You see, in the hustle and bustle of going, going, going, I had been drained mentally, physically, and spiritually. I was pouring out all I had, and had not allowed God to refill me.
It wasn’t until today after both church and the sermon tonight at Revival that I finally understood why things were off. God was not first, so therefore I was not going to Him first thing in the morning to unload and and last thing at night to unload like I should. God was someone I squeezed in here and there, although it was a lot and I talked to Him pretty regularly, but He was not first. I had relegated hearing from Him to bathroom visits, showers, and solo car rides with the occasional daily interlude. I had missed church several times, and just being too tired to get up and go was my primary excuse. Even today, after church, I took a nap and for the first time woke up totally refreshed. I realized I was missing the renewal, missing that communion with God, missing out on the rest He has provided me time and time again.
Like Spring, the necessities for rebirth, renewal, restoration, and refilling all remind us that we must take a step back and refocus on who is (and should be) most important in our lives, God then ourselves. Being reborn–our acceptance of Christ’s death–restores us and reconnects us to God. Christ’s death tore the veil and allows us to come boldly before the throne, to come humbly to the altar, and speak to Him for ourselves. Being renewed–the renewing of our minds–allows us to press the reset button on everything, like, washing a chalkboard clean for the next day’s use (I guess I am showing my age now lol). Being restored gives us back everything we have lost. I lost myself and was beginning to lose my mind behind school and being depressed about missing home and friends and family…but I had to recenter myself. There is a reason for my being here and I do not want to leave until that for which I was sent has been completed. Lastly being refilled gives us a fresh view to look at things from and replenishes the tank, much like eating gives us energy for our bodies to run.
I am refilled, for now, after having gone to two services lol, fasting and catching up on devotions, and much prayer…but the interesting fact about being refilled is that this, and all of these, are continual works. When we have been refilled, we are to go out and pour out on others; it’s like when we refill a car so that we can keep driving. Encourage your friends and family, minister to them by listening or sharing a Word that got you through a similar situation–use your gifts. Then go back to the Father daily and be refilled. Daily renew your mind(Romans 12:2)–because unlike our spirits that were saved instantly after accepting Christ, our minds and bodies have to undo all those years of thinking without God–of being conformed to the world–and this requires daily submission of all our needs to God. We are to be reborn daily–because we, like Paul (1 Corinthians 15:31), are to die daily to the desires of our hearts and flesh that are out of line with God’s will. It is after we are renewed and reborn that God can restore our souls to Himself–because we are no longer separated from Him by our thoughts and fleshly desires.
So if you are feeling like I was feeling…tired, weak, and drained, maybe you are due for a refill and a spiritual tune-up. Go to the altar, leave your burdens at God’s feet, renew your mind by feasting on the word, and allow God to restore you because it’s better than going to the doctor! Be blessed and yay let’s welcome in the Spring–AFTER the pollen that is.
Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator. Colossians 3:9-10 HCSB