Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Walking Like Jesus

by Donna L. Watkins

Photo: Morven Estate, Central Virginia

Many years back when my body was walking around with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue (at that point in my life, it was laying around more than walking, I began to think about my walk with Jesus. I was overcome with guilt and condemnation from my own mind that I had nothing to offer Jesus. My body would no longer perform 18-hour "get it all done now days" and I felt of little use to my family or God.

By the way, the book that helped me deal with fibromyalgia was "A More Excellent Way." The principles about which emotions are linked to which diseases helps me to see where I need to focus the renewing of my mind.

I wasn't raised being pushed to succeed and excel so where did this self-imposed "driven" lifestyle come from? My grandparents raised me in Pennsylvania Dutch country so I grew up with a slower pace than many. My grandmother was a housewife and my grandfather worked at the steel foundry. He worked hard, but knew how to play. We played board games and cards often and he taught me how to ride a bike and how to drive a car. We had playground time where he'd push me high on the swings, long country drives on Sundays, and plenty of time just sitting outside talking to whoever walked by.

Just sitting....isn't that a lost art? Sitting with our own thoughts to process the day, conversation, fresh air, and the wonder of a night sky that still had stars you could see. Sitting is now done in front of the television receiving so many things into your mind that you would never allow in your home ... or with music and words you wouldn't allow in a conversation ... or we sit to read the bad news of the world in the paper and then walk around with fear of what might happen.

Isaiah 33:15-16 says, "He that ... stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." Does our fear come from the evil we watch and listen to? How much money do we spend on things bought out of fear? We buy for fear of rejection: clothes, cosmetics, nails, more shoes than we'll wear out in a lifetime, colognes, and plastic surgery for some.

Remember when colors didn't have to match in every room? People were invited into your home at a moment's notice, even if you didn't have your makeup on, even if there were dirty dishes in the sink and dirt on the floor - nobody seemed to notice until the Mr. Clean commercials hit the television. 

The reality is you live in your house. There will be dirty dishes and floors. Why do we try to portray the featured house in a decorating magazine? Nobody keeps a perfectly clean house unless they're giving up a good part of their life for it and the cost is too great to sacrifice our lives and children in the process.

What a contrast to the lifestyle that I came from, to the time I left home and moved to Atlanta. I had a full-time and one or two part-time jobs.

Seems the more money you make the more obligated you feel to spend more, so credit card debt became part of my life along with a car payment. I slid right into the World of MORE. 

A few years later I became a Christian and wanted to follow Jesus' steps. The church had a long list of what God expected out of me and that fit right into my mentality of doing more. I enjoyed it! I liked the feeling of having been Super Woman for the day - the month - the year! Until the year of 1986 when both of my grandparents that raised me had died in less than six months, I had begun home schooling my ADHD child, had started a home business and ran a natural food co-op besides my involvement with all the church activities. 

That was the year my body said, ENOUGH!

So, there I lay on the couch pondering Jesus' steps as I pictured Him walking away from me while I laid still barely able to lift my own arm, much less follow Him. I read "Footprints in the Sand" many times picturing Jesus carrying me through this period of my life, but I still couldn't see life outside of accomplishment - outside of doing. I had no comprehension of BEING.

That's when God began to show me that He created us to BE, not to DO. I wrote an article for a newsletter I was doing: Life is in the Being, Not in the Doing

I've done a lot of thinking about the pace of Jesus. How big a mission He had and yet He never rushed. Who has had more important words to say than He, and yet there is not a word to indicate that He was ever in a hurry. There are many words to show us otherwise. Patience, compassion, all the time in the world.

Do we show Jesus to anybody while we rush around? Is our Christian lifestyle appealing to the unsaved around us? What's different? Where is our Peace? Where is the Joy on our tired faces?

I asked myself many questions while I laid my way through that season of my life, but most of them were why and how. Why I couldn't do what I wanted and how I was going to get things done. Since that time I have learned to slow life down - it was required of me - thank GOD! It allowed me to STOP and take an assessment of what life really is about.

Are we serving the Lord with our ministries if we aren't spending time with our family? Jesus made some pretty strong statements about the importance of children and family.
When I grew up churches didn't have all the programs. Maybe "the church" has fallen into the same mentality of doing instead of being. Back in the 50's we gathered at church on Sunday to celebrate the Lord and to see church family and then we lived our lives during the week hopefully as Christ would want us to.

All sorts of ministry was done led by the Spirit, not a program. Food and visits to the sick - money to a family who had a fire or was without a job. Compassion, patience, and love shared. Nobody told anybody to do anything. Nobody condemned you if you couldn't. It just happened and people were taken care of without a program. You just did what was right from your heart and as the Spirit led and you had the joy of knowing you were Jesus to somebody that day. Too many people are now being pressured by churches and programs and I'm not too sure how much of God is in that.

I wonder how much of what we do as Christians is heart and Spirit led. Will we be rewarded? I think of the Scripture that says if we don't give with a cheerful heart, it is worthless. Are we cheerful in our activities or do we perform them much like our household tasks and our income-producing jobs?  

Are we showing the Jesus we see in the Bible? It says if we have not love it's all worthless. Are we showing love? Are we making a difference in our own families before we seek the approval of others by our doing in public?

Men, ponder Ephesians 5:28-29, "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church." Verse 25-27 talks about Jesus loving the church and giving Himself up for it that He might sanctify it and present it without spot or wrinkle and then goes on to tell men how they are to love their wives in the same manner.

It's a hard job! Men are commanded to "know" their wives. Do you know how she feels about things? Do you talk to her and listen to her without having to "fix it?" Guys are geared to fix things and if they don't have a way to fix it, they tend to avoid it. Women usually just want a shoulder to cry on.

Women! Do you reverence your husband? Do you look up to him or down at him? If God made man to lead and you're doing the job, is it because you don't believe God can finish the process of making your husband the head of your household? I had to consider that I was in the way of Him doing it and it was hard to move aside and "let everything fall through the cracks" but we are to be a helper. It's a major overhaul, but easier than trying to juggle it all when I wasn't designed for the job.

Does your husband work long hours because there are so many bills to pay? Do you work long hours? Do your children long to spend more time with you? Living a more frugal lifestyle and deciding to get out of debt will make it easier on your husband and on you.  It's easier to keep house without the mass of stuff commonly purchased these days.

If you want life to be different, only you can make it different. It's wonderful if you have your spouse committed to making it different also, but even one person has the power of God on his side and The Word is still Truth and God is still the Potter. 

When we change, the world around us changes. It may get turbulent for awhile, but when you're over that rapid you look back with sheer joy at the accomplishment of the ride.

Read about Jesus - think about His lifestyle. Think about the Faith that God offers us and consider the mighty mustard plant that grows from a tiny seed. You can plant a beautiful garden of life that produces what you want out of it, but you have to dig to do it.

May God Give You Wisdom and Strength of Purpose!

Copyright and Reprint Information
All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins and may not be republished without written permission. You may forward or use this copyrighted article on a website if you include the following credit and an active link back to this site:

© 2000-2007 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author's website, TheNatureInUs.com, for more articles and free email subscription. Link URL: http://www.thenatureinus.com

No comments:

Share This Post