When I went to treatment, I was told I needed to put my sobriety before everything. Even before my family. I said NO!. Nothing comes before my family. I was told that was a lie because I had been putting drugs and alcohol before my family for a long time. They said, anything you put before your sobriety, you will lose. Meaning, if you don't stay sober, you are going to lose everything.
I was thinking about this as it relates to my relationship with Christ. When I put things before my relationship with Christ, I don't lose it, but I do deprive myself of the sweetness that comes from walking with Him. I lose the fellowship that He desires for us to have. This isn't easy for me because I get distracted all of the time. Constantly I am catching myself putting some thing or some person before the most important relationship I have. Some of the things that I put before my relationship with Him are Jason, the kids, my appearance, Facebook, my house, TV shows, reading blogs (even inspirational ones) and the list goes on. I wonder how many times God is looking at me saying, "Payton, come spend time with me and quit worrying over wordly, unimportant nonsense. And why do you care what those ladies in New Jersey are doing?"
The only way I can have the joy and peace that He desires is by putting Him first. And He wants me to have joy. (I am currently studying Philippians and Paul is full of joy despite his circumstances.) And He wants me to have peace. So what does "putting Him first" mean? To me, it is not one specific thing. Just like my relationship with Jason is constantly growing and changing, so is my relationship with God. Practically, this is what I strive for. I get up early, before my kids, to spend time studying the Bible. Not a book, but actually picking up my Bible. I also try to journal my prayers, read a devotion, and just talk to my Heavenly Father through out the day. When something is bothering me or I find myself not loving others, I stop and pray about it.
When I am in constant fellowship I am able to examine my heart and my motives. Am I doing this unto the Lord? Am I loving the people God has brought in to my life (when my heart goes unchecked I start judging, not loving, and it is not pretty)?
So, what do you let get in the way of your joy?
Love this post.