Bethany Dillon

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Square One May 7, 2010

Filed under: Life — bethanydillon @ 3:15 pm
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That’s where I feel like I am… back at square one today. Which, really, isn’t a bad thing. I think I can get myself too used to only the “complex” things and thoughts about walking with Jesus in the every-dayness of my life.

I don’t think it’s too rare of a thing  to struggle with consistency as a believer… a few weeks ago, while Shane was out of town for the weekend playing some shows, I had a group of college girls over (from the Oaks School of Leadership that our church started — if you follow Shane & Shane on Twitter or read their blog, you’ve heard of it. It’s an awesome, awesome program!) in the thick of finals week. We ate lasagna, talked, and then sat around my living room and shared what our plans were for the summer and how we could be prayed for. That morning I had read the passage from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest” (see: The Rare Moments blog below) and really felt the need to share it, not only on this blog, but to actually READ it with them… if you scroll down and read those short paragraphs, maybe it will resonate with you, too. Chambers had such a strong word for those of us (I think I’m the president of this particular club) who rely solely on the “inspiring” moments in our lives in God. If something isn’t inspiring, motivating, emotional … we don’t waste too much time on it.

Yeah… guilty. So, so guilty of that.

Anyway, in my unrealistic expectation to somehow skip multiple steps from –> only sticking around for the rare, inspiring times in my faith to –> having a deep, intimate, genuine walk with Jesus … it probably isn’t shocking that instead of moving forward, I often find myself in familiar places.

And, to be honest, I probably always will struggle with wanting the emotional times over the times of true, tested devotion. Example: in case you didn’t know, I’m American. About five minutes after I poured my tea this morning, I wanted it just a few degrees hotter, put it in the microwave, and thirty seconds later had a perfect cup of tea again. You get what I’m saying? Being used to that in so many areas of my life has handicapped me as a believer in a lot of ways… I’m not deeply moved toward Him and broken when I read His consistent command of me in the Word, “Wait.” Instead, I usually go, “Ok… I’ll wait… how long again? Five minutes? Ten? Uhh.. I kind of have to go and get some things done today… ooooookay… nevermind!”

How much have I missed out on with that attitude in my heart?

I’m sharing all of this, honestly, with a LOT of joy this morning, which may sound weird… but I truly feel His leading me into a season of repentance and new beginnings. I mean, HELLO … in eight weeks, sweet little Lucy is coming into the world! So much newness and excitement and the unknown surrounds that brand new season of baby, marriage, loving Jesus. In the anticipation of that, I can feel the Lord leading and teaching me in preparation for it, and I’m SO thankful. Thankful beyond words. His faithful heart and steadfast love continue to draw and inspire me, even in the uninspiring days…

So. He really spoke to me this morning about prayer. I can’t blame it all on pregnancy that I’ve been distracted in that area as of late. I’m going to especially need that discipline in a couple of months, but I’m also in desperate need of it today. So, as uninspiring and practical as it sounds (which is hard for emotional/artsy people, but usually very healthy and needed!) I wrote out in my journal for about ten minutes all the names that I feel burdened to pray for. I counted them. I put them in seven groups, or, Sunday-Saturday. I really sensed His leading in it, and then when I was done I said out loud, “Lord… this looks way too organized and practical for me.” But, you know what? I probably need that. To have some sort of a grid to work off of- something uninspiring that will begin a habit and consistency in me. I’ll weekly bring family, friends, our community, before Him … instead of remembering to pray for our church after weeks of not, for example. I know that’s not for everybody, but I think it’s for me right now.

Prayer. Consistently reading the Word. Reading books that make me love Him more (right now: “The Pleasures of God” by John Piper is rocking my world). Talking to people about Jesus.

Sounds like square one, huh? And I’m excited about it. Expectant in it. He has been faithful in growing me up until now, and He will continue to be, by no striving or effort of my own – purely by His Spirit at work in my life. Through what? The practical. The every-day. The uninspiring. And, maybe, as glimpses here and there along the way… a moment of clarity, passion, inspiration, emotions getting behind what I’ve committed to.

Until then, I’ll wait… with lots of joy and hope in my ever-growing heart. Kind of like my belly is stretching out, I feel my heart doing the same.

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30 Responses to “Square One”

  1. This is resonating with my heart right now. I get too caught up in the *highs* or *inspirational* moments and sometimes, honestly, just get…bored…when those aren’t there. That sentence makes me feel physically ill. How can I get bored with my Savior? How can I be bored with a God who constantly is forgiving me for every rotten thing I do? I have felt God calling me to Him, to be more consistent in my walk with Him, and to fall more deeply in love with Him. Thanks for being honest. It allows me to be honest with myself.

  2. Becky Says:

    I totally understand where you are coming from with your recent blog Beth & even the comment above from MacKenzie. I have felt this gnawing at my heart lately for the lack of strength in the foundations of my basic of my walk with Christ. How is it that I seem to have time for everything else in my world except for that one good thing.. to kneel at his feet and spend time soaking in his love. Praying for others and encouraging those around me. Very challenging Beth. As always thanks for sharing your heart as we all press in to HIM!

  3. I understand where you’re coming from. I’m inspired by your willingness to put this out there for everyone.

  4. Gina Says:

    Loved this…totally confirmed what was on my heart this morning…how the dailyness/everydayness becomes, dare I say, boring. How ungrateful that is! Shame on me…but i love that He calls us back and embraces despite the spitefullness of that attitude. Thanks for the honesty girl. You’re letting Him use you!

  5. jenjen Says:

    Can I just say that I love how you have us laughing one minute and then super deep and inspired the next! You are a great writer, girlie. Just keep that light shining and pressing into Jesus.
    Though things may seem ordinary now, later you will be able to look back and see how He was moving in extraordinary ways. 🙂

  6. Babs Says:

    Bethany,

    I love reading “real” people with “real” struggles with “real” moments and “real” experiences. You and your sister, Kate, have no pretense about you and are completely unpretenseless (my made up word) about life and your walks with God…which is why I love reading your blogs.

    I know we – as Bethany music lovers – can get a bit preoccupied with the whole “she’s famous” because she’s on the radio and my iPod is filled with her music. But in reality, I love the fact that you never pretend to have it all figured out (who does, really?) and that even though you could “be a celebrity” but you don’t. You’re a real person with a God-given talent to sing and write music and you share that gift with us. But you’re more than that. You are a wife, a soon to be Momma, a daughter, a sister, and…someone who cares about the people who love your gift to share your life with us in such a transparent way. You make us feel like your friends, Beth, and it’s such a lovely quality about you.

    Being a Dallas girl myself, one day I would love to just have coffee with you at the White Rhino, just because…

  7. msmallin Says:

    love it…thank you for sharing Bethany. I feel like I am in a very similar place, so it was nice reading your thoughts.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. Jessica Says:

    Bethany,

    Thank you for being willing to share your heart. and yes lately I have been feeling kind of dry my self. There have been a lot of things going on. I have felt like I need to rely on God more. but I havent been on a “Jesus high” as I call them. Where I get really excited what God has been doing in my life. anways, thank you for your encouragement!

    Jessica

  9. Kelli Says:

    I live on square one lane as well. 😦 Very excited about getting back to the basics

  10. Haley Says:

    The only thing stretching my belly out is all of the food I just ate. Lame/Awesome.

    But my heart? It’s been in the strange place between feeling light and heavy, swollen and still. I’m getting the sense that God is yearning for me to search His heart… to ask Him questions, to petition Him, to worship Him by BEING with Him.

    I’m realizing how my guilt over the fact that I could ever wind up in a place that doesn’t FEEL like His presence, has made it easier for me to justify keeping my distance.

    Thank you for this post. Loved being reminded of the goodness of getting back to “square one”. I think Step 1 for me is: Take Him at His word.

    And then, ya know… pray. 🙂

  11. Tabita Says:

    I can totally relate, like everyone else here. Days go by and we forget that Jesus is our First Love, but it’s so wonderful when the Lord brings us back that place. That sweet moment when all I could think about is how sweet the Lord is.

    Recently the Lord has been touching me about just enjoying Him. He is our supply and refreshment.

    Thank you for blogging. It’s so wonderful to read about what’s in your heart and share these moments with you.

    Love you, my dear sister in Christ!

  12. Anke Cloete Says:

    Hi Bethany

    I spoke to the Lord this morning telling Him how sweet I think He is and how sweet I think im not always and we want to be that way at all times we know we fall short and we know that we dont know all that we should but still the desire is there to go deeper

    That’s the Holy Spirit, constantly pulling at us. As the Word says He intercedes for us with unspeakable groaning. Because the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

    The thing is, we should first and foremost always remember how much God loves us. Its not that Bethany first loved God but that He first loved you. You are a part of Him, engraved in Him, He feels what you feel.

    And Bethany can have victory in every area of her life without spot or wrinkle without condemnation or blame because He took all the weaknesses of your mortal body in His mortal body so that Bethany can be part of His ressurected, glorious Body.

    The body of Jesus has no lack because His love covers a multitude of sins. His got you covered, Bethany.

    Forget not all His benefits…He who heals your disease and forgives your iniquities.

    I know this is a long message but with the Words of God streaming from your belly its hard to stop 🙂

    Love
    Anke

  13. Lindsey Says:

    Exactly what I needed to hear right now. I’m at a place where I’m learning to pray like I really believe God is going to answer in whatever way that may be…but still, maintaining a consistent prayer life is really a struggle for me. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

  14. Kristen Says:

    I just wanted you to know I am right there with ya sista!!! 🙂

  15. ASH Says:

    So often I get caught up in this “I want to do something amazing for Jesus” craze. I read stories of people who did/are doing incredible things for the kingdom, and suddenly my life of washing dishes and studying seems so irrelevant. Then my sister says to me, “I feel like the whole idea of living out a radical faith in Jesus is wrapped up in daily faithfulness in the little things.” Suddenly, it clicked for me. I could sell everything I have and move to Africa…but what’s to say I won’t sit on my butt all day over there? I could adopt a child, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am automatically going to raise him or her with love and devotion every day. Doing something “big” without daily faithfulness and obedience is really just radical stupidity. So I am learning to rely on Jesus for step-by-step obedience…and I totally need the structure you were talking about, or else time in the Word and in prayer will never happen! Thanks for sharing this…totally resonated with what God is teaching me!

  16. Abby Says:

    Wow. I feel exactly the same way, and I really needed to hear that today! It is so reassuring to know that there are other people who are passionate about Jesus who struggle with consistency, too. I adore our God for His faithfulness to us- even when we struggle to always be consistently faithful to Him.

  17. Shana Says:

    bethany,

    being faithful in the mundane. God has been pulling me through this lesson for the last few years. it’s hard. i’ve resisted. you’re right about things getting even tougher with motherhood. a daily choice to put him first even though MANY other things are calling your name.

    i wanted to share a video of a song i wrote about my mother. since lucy is in your belly, you’re certainly are a mama. hope you enjoy and happy mother’s day!

    p.s.-i’ve opened for both you and the shanes and seriously, you guys are just extremely kind and genuine. i’m so happy you’re a family!

  18. Meryl Says:

    amen! back to the basics 🙂

    sometimes I get so caught up in the simplicity of the foundations of my faith… that I forget that they are also full of complexities and that I still have so much to learn.

    thanks for the reminder!

  19. tracielbyrd Says:

    So incredibly what I needed to be reminded of. God is pushing me very quickly toward square one. Thank you.

  20. Belinda Says:

    That is so true Beth, I can identify with you on every level of that blog, except the pregnant part, lol.

    I need to start over too, actually spend time with the Lord instead of a 5 or ten minute prayer during my day.

    I love how real, honest and passionate you are. Your blogs are a real blessing to me, thank you.

    I would love to meet you one day, also get a chance to have some lasagne and chat about Jesus:)

    Have a lovely day my sis in Christ.

    Belinda xx

  21. mwa Says:

    @ Ash, Why Africa? Isn’t America just as needy…, with all the immorality…etc…, me thinks the missionaries should reach the lost right here in America….going to Africa like you said…, is radical stupidity when your communities are in need of the Saviour.

    • ASH Says:

      Well, yes and no. If God calls you to go to Africa, it’s not radical stupidity. But I do agree that so often people think you have to go somewhere to reach the lost, when a lot of the time I think we are just being lazy with all of the needy and lost around us. It is important to realize, though, that there are many, many more people in third world/developing countries UNREACHED with the Gospel than there are in America…meaning, people that have never even heard of Jesus. I think the crucial thing in this is that we keep a “wartime” faith…as Paul says, being prepared at every opportunity…not waiting on the lost to come to us, but GOING, as Jesus commands us to, whether that means in our own communities or around the world.

  22. You are hilarious. And love your interpretations.
    Where did you get the book that you mentioned at the end?

    Would love to start reading that one.

  23. Nehemiah Says:

    Bethany,

    What a huge revelation! While very basic in its essence,you presented it in a way a fellow artsy/creative person can understand. I love that this thought of new beginnings brings us to this place of thankfulness and joy! 🙂

    I believe that in life God gives us new beginnings as opportunities to start good habits and set new goals at the same time. What a joy!

    Something that He’s put on my heart about the big ‘inspiring’ moments in my faith journey – He spoke to me that way at that time for a specific reason. He won’t always speak to me the same way, but expects me to grow up and mature in my faith so I can hear His voice more often in the whispers than when He’s obviously trying to get my attention. Lol.

    I can totally relate to where you’re at and it’s inspiring me to dig deeper! Thanks for sharing!

    Nehemiah

  24. Hey thanks for sharing Bethany. I am a missionary to Korea and really identify with relying on the inspiring moments. thanks for your encouragement. ~Amber

  25. India Laack Says:

    Hey,

    Just wanted to say hi to you from Brisbane, Australia! and say thanks for your music, and for sharing your insight. God really blesses me and speaks through your music! I really relate being of a similar age and married similar time to you.

    Your relationship with God comes out SO much in your music and blog, it inspires me to continue to dig deeper.

    I travelled over to America last december and my friends and I went to see you on the Christmas tour in Syracuse. It was a highlight 🙂

    We love your music and if you ever feel God calling you to visit Australia, (!) we have a small church, and do girls camps/womens ministry – we would so love to have you come play! (I read eariler you like playing at those things 🙂

    All the best with Lucy!
    Blessings, India 🙂

  26. Tom Rorem Says:

    Read “surprised by hope” by N.T. Wright…. it’ll rock your face…

  27. Abbie Says:

    Bethany? May I use this on my blog?

  28. Toni Says:

    Hi Bethany,

    I thank God for you writing this blog! I recently have got married less than a year ago and my husband and I are expecting our little boy Isaac in just one week!

    Although I love marriage and I can’t wait to meet my little one I was just journaling about how hard this season has been because I am learning to love Jesus in a different way than when I was single. I don’t have alot of those emotional moments. He’s teaching me that it’s not about what I feel but about His promises that never fail. He is the same towards me in every season of my life.

    I am also in a season of repentance. I think about how my actions and my words will effect little Isaac. I just wanted to thank you for being so geniune and open.

    Toni

  29. Mercy Says:

    Fellow john piper fan from sydney – He’s aweeesssoommmeee- I agree with India, i’d fly to Brisbane, love u to make a visit 🙂


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