By: Erin Gibson | Sometimes the challenges of life come in a heart-pounding, belly-aching, overwhelming wave. I recently shared the story of my son being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and that was one of those times for me. Life-altering moments such as these tell us a lot about ourselves and where our faith truly lies. Most of us can easily, even if painfully, recall these instances in our lives.
Recently I’ve also been wrestling with the smaller battles I face. I sometimes find the everyday, monotonous, seemingly insignificant struggles the most wearying. For me these are homeschooling, cleaning my home, disciplining my kids, feeding six hungry mouths every day, and training my children to be respectful & responsible. These are things for me that come with a big to-do list, yet are never actually complete – or if they seem done, they very soon become undone and I start all over again. Often I come to the end of the day wondering what I’ve actually accomplished or feeling discouraged by what didn’t get done. It is exhausting.
Much like the huge battles we face, these daily, grinding, monotonous ones also reveal a lot about ourselves and our faith. I serve a God that is capable of handling all my battles whether seemingly large or small. But I more frequently take my eyes off my Father when dealing with my everyday struggles than those rarer gut-wrenching ones. The tasks seem small enough that I try to handle them on my own. I prioritize the use of my time without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When left to my own devices, I often resort to checking off the visible, immediate needs like feeding my family instead of the deeper ones like tending to the hearts of my kids. Pridefully, I rely on my own strength.
When I was reflecting recently, I realized that my discouragement at the end of the day usually comes when I’m holding myself to my own standard of perfection. Perfection is not something God asks of me. I am slowly learning to throw that standard off. Yet when God asks us to throw something off, he always asks us to put something on as well. And I hear him asking me to put on faithfulness. Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit, perfection or checking off every to-do is not. Feeling productive provides instant gratification, faithfulness provides eternal rewards.
If I truly believe that God knows and wants what is best for me and my family, then I can rest in the knowledge that my faithfulness is enough. Faithfulness will mean that I am sensitive to the Spirit’s leading as I attend to my home. When squabbling from my children “interrupts” my productivity, I can cheerfully stop what I’m doing to join my children and focus on their hearts. When making my plans for the day, I will ask the Lord to direct me and help me to listen to his voice throughout the day. If at the end of the day I climb into bed exhausted while dirty dishes still sit in the sink, my heart can be at rest if I have been faithful. And when all too frequently I fail to be faithful, I will choose to repent and ask the Holy Spirit to make that fruit grow in my life.
I encourage you to join me on my quest for faithfulness. Your everyday struggles and list of things you’d like to accomplish may look completely different from mine. But no matter what it looks like, let’s throw off our own standard of perfection. Then we will be able to follow the Spirit’s leading each and every day. Our success will be measured by our faithfulness to attend to what He has put in front of us. It won’t always be easy, but what great freedom will be ours.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”
“Father, I commit myself to a life of faithfulness. But as you know, I can’t do it without your help. Please strengthen and empower me. Help me to follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of my life. And when I fail, help me to humbly repent and begin again. Amen..”
In what areas of your life do you need to put off perfection and put on faithfulness?
At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, ‘Do the next thing.’
Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.
Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Do the next thing
Meet Today’s Writer: Erin Gibson is a daughter of the King who is gradually & humbly learning to be more like Him. She married her college sweetheart, who is both a pastor and a police officer – which can make life interesting! Most of her days are filled with coffee, homeschooling, and answering endless questions from her four children. She and her husband are also foster parents and have a strong passion to serve and love vulnerable children.