Clean heart 2Okay…true confessions!!!  I AM STRUGGLING!!!  Wow, there is freedom in just typing that sentence. You should try it. Often times we work so hard at making sure we look like we have it all together that we actually believe that we do. Yuck! What a false lie.

In our new Facebook and Instagram world of posting our best pics and experiences for the world to see, we can loose sight of the real us. The real me is broken and in deep need, we all are. I can tell immediately when I am spiraling out of control. My insecurities flare up and I have a need to be affirmed often. This is a source of pride, and pride robs us of communing with our Father. I can still get up for my quiet time to spend with Him, but listening and understanding Him becomes distant and often times non-existent.  It’s so quick in how it happens. Even the most faithful and obedient follower can fall away from Him when pride sneaks in. So how do we keep this ugly sin called pride away?

photo (39)“We have to break away from the chaos and disassociate ourselves from the noise. We must pursue solitude, quiet, not-speaking, listening time with our Lord.” Jared Patrick, Discipleship Pastor at Currey Creek, stated as I wrote these notes from his sermon on Sunday. His message really hit home and made me take a hard look at my quiet time. Was it really a time of solitude or was it filled with noise? We can have the TV, radio, phone and computer off and our thoughts can still be filled with noise. All of our to do’s running through our head and other distractions can rob us of our time with Him. So how do we really get to a place where the noise is cleared and our thoughts are focused on Him alone?

For me, being in His word brings me back to Him and helps me understand who I am and who He is. This is critical for us to understand. In Mark 8:29, Jesus asked But what about you? Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” Peter’s statement is accurate and true, but he still did not understand. If you continue to read in Mark you will see that Jesus teaches His disciples that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected, killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly…meaning he didn’t mince words. Peter pulled Jesus aside and began to rebuke him (seriously, can you imagine this?). Then immediately, Jesus rebukes Peter and the disciples and says, “Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Mark 8:33-38

To follow Him means to DENY OURSELVES. We have to think of ourselves LESS and think of Him MORE! When I am spiraling out of control and needing to be affirmed, that is me thinking of myself FIRST and thinking of Him LESS. No wonder pride robs us of communing with Him. I want to get back to my place of true solitude where I am quiet, not-speaking and listening and understanding Him. I am a better ME when I experience Him, and I reflect Him more to others when there is less of me and MORE of HIM.

This is something that I have to constantly keep in check. It’s one of my struggles that I know about myself. I am grateful that I know what it looks like, and I have a Father that is faithful to show me and help me to get back into fellowship with Him. I am grateful for the message on Sunday. He spoke to me through Jared. I am grateful for my bible study time that I have with friends that can help hold me accountable to walking in humility. This week we started the study on the Beatitudes and we are breaking down the very first one, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:3Clean Heart

The footnote of my NIV Study Bible says “If you want to live for God you must be ready to say and do what seems strange to the world. You must be willing to give when others take, to love when others hate, to help when others abuse. By giving up your own rights in order to serve others, you will one day receive everything God has in store for you.

This is the life that I want to live. This life requires sacrifice and picking up our own cross and following Him. Are you willing to follow? This week our middle daughter is away at camp. I said a prayer for her before she left that she would experience Him and find solitude. Each day you can log on and look at the pictures of the campers and this is the one I found of our Lexi. So sweet of Him to hear and answer my prayer through this picture. When was the last time you found solitude? I encourage you to take time this summer to truly find it. You won’t be alone as I will also be seeking Him for a clean and humble heart, for the ability to listen and understand who He is and who I am. I am in need and He is faithful to provide. photo (32)