When I worked as a camp counselor one summer, I had a girl in my cabin who was horrifically slow at everything. She was a precious fifth grade girl who just took her time getting things done. We were supposed to be at the flag pole at 7:30 in the morning, but you cannot wake your girls up before 7:00 am. I had half an hour to get seven girls ready, the cabin cleaned and walk to the flag pole. Well, with “Miss Take Her Time,” we were a few minutes late in the morning. The punishment for being late is that you actually have to be 10 minutes early the next day, but you still cannot get up until 7:00 am. Now, I only had 20 minutes with the same struggle.
The next morning we got to flag 9 minutes early, instead of 10. As a consequence for me, the senior counselor told me that I had to clean the bathhouse by myself. This was the night before going home after an entire summer at camp. I was worn out, tired, and felt like my penalty was ridiculous! It was 9 pm, my girls were all tucked into their beds, and the senior counselor came in to watch my girls. She climbed into MY BUNK and told me to go clean. I was livid. I walked into the bathhouse, looked at the four sinks, three showers, three toilets, mop, and thought to myself, “I am just going to clean this place as quickly as possible and be done.”
Then, I stopped, closed my eyes, and breathed. I recalled one of the verses that we had memorized that summer at camp: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…” (Col 3:23).
“Oh, you have got to be kidding me!” I thought to myself. You see, I am a very spiritually mature person; whenever God speaks to me, I always argue with Him. I say things like, “Do You know how tired I am? Do You know how hard I have worked? Do You know that counselor is mean, ridiculous, and out to get me? This punishment is absurd!” But then I just heard in my heart: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for Me, not for men…” Now, I knew that my only option of obedience was to clean that bathhouse to the best of my abilities, not for that counselor but unto the Lord. God was using this process to change my attitude and use me.
Ladies, if God recalls Scripture to you, do not harden your heart and argue. Thank Him for communicating so clearly with you. You are a blessed woman! Anytime you feel overwhelmed, it’s time to breathe, spiritually. You breathe in the Word of God, taking in Truth and a new perspective of hope and peace. You slow down and inhale life, letting it fill your lungs full. It is constant, this refreshing, life-giving air of the Spirit through His Word.
I do not know about you, but growing up “in church,” I have been to a lot of Bible studies. I know the truth of God’s Word, yet many times I fail to apply it. I can finish many popular verses, if you start them. I can tell you a lot of studies I have attended, and I can definitely cite verses to support why the girl next to me is in the wrong. I’ve been running on the treadmill of Christianity. I have not been taking a leisurely stroll with God, and breathing in the air of Truth. It’s suffocating.
Instead of inhaling the power of His Word and being filled with love and self-discipline, I was hacking at others with a vengeance. As you may know, the Word of God, the Bible, is also depicted as “the Sword of the Spirit” (Eph 6:17). Yet, our first job should be to point that sword at ourselves. It must pierce my own heart (or “our own hearts”) before it should fight off the enemy. I must “take the plank out of my own eye” before I can possibly take the “sawdust from my brother’s eye” (Mt 7:3). When I first focus on making sure I’m right before God, then I’m in a better state of health to enjoy my own life and breathe in God’s strength more fully, before ever considering others.
The Psalmist says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:11). It’s not that we will be perfect, but we’ve got something to fight with. Our enemy is the father of lies, so we battle with Truth. We need the sword and the strength of His presence to respond to the battles of life well. That’s what wielding femininity is all about. It’s about taking the powerful Truth of God’s Word and putting it into action. It is not knowledge for the sake of looking smart or another study to do for some spiritual medal. The devil himself knows Scripture; we need to not only seek Truth, but we must apply it. Whatever sin you may be struggling with, your first line of defense is to find answers in the Word of God and memorize the Truth.
I have gone through a dry spell before when I felt like I was not hearing from the Lord at all. Lately, I feel Him prompting me to give a lot more and love a lot more, and I am like, “Really? I’m exhausted! This is too much of me; how about I just do a little?” But then I think of how I begged God to speak to my heart.
“Oh Father, thank You for challenging me, using me, teaching me, and molding me into the image of Your Son!” With a grateful heart, I desire to be completely obedient so I will continue to hear Him clearly. I need an arsenal of Scripture so there is more precious Truth for Him to recall to my mind, more life-giving air to suck into my lungs.
Father God, I feel like I’m on a treadmill at times, racing through life, even during my time with You. I hardly have time to catch my breath. Help me to slow down and breathe. Help me to take in Your Truth, meditate on it and apply it. Forgive me for making my walk with You so hard and complicated that many times I neglect spending time reading the Bible. You are my life. You are my joy. You are my peace. I need You. Keep me coming back to You. Help me to stop and breathe, in Jesus’ name.
By Angel Angell with Shabby Chic Ministries
For more from Angel, check back next week for “Exhale.”