At the beginning the idea of quarantine was not such a terrible thing for me. As an introvert who enjoys her family I knew I could make the best of it! I wrote letters to people every day (I still do that, just not every day) and I finally had the time to record an album! But lately my morning routine has been to stay in bed staring at my phone, get up, have some coffee, and watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything wrong with coffee and Gilmore Girls and sleeping in, sometimes that's actually exactly what the soul needs. I think Lorelai would agree.
But it seems the longer we have been in quarantine it gets so much harder to not get depressed or anxious. Too much TV, too much worry, too much waiting. Yesterday though, with my new morning routine, turned into such a good day! I found all that tension was absent after spending a solid morning with Jesus. Today is my second day in a row waking up and reading the Bible FIRST THING. I brush my teeth, wash my face, get back in bed, put my phone on "do not disturb," read, pray, and blog. Breakfast and coffee come after.
Having done this before, reading the Bible in a year, I know I won't be able to keep this exact routine up. I will read whenever I find the time. Sometimes at my lunch break, sometimes after work, sometimes right before I go to bed, sometimes I will forget and have to catch up. There isn't a wrong way. But for now, this routine is exactly what I need and want.
1 Samuel 29:1-31:13
I noticed a theme in the reading today in 1 Samuel and John; I saw a message of humility, generosity, and surrender.
When David fought the Amalekites, defeated them, and brought back all the plunder, he shared everything with all his men, even those who did not help him fight. "'[this is] what the Lord has given us. He has protected us and delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us...all will share alike.' David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this." (1 Samuel 30:23-25).
Then in John, Mary offered precious perfume worshipping Jesus. Judas saw how valuable the perfume was and thought it as a waste; but Mary saw that Jesus Himself was far more valuable.
Everything we have is God's. He is Creator; "every good and perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17). When we try to grasp tightly to things we have or plans we make, it is pointless. We are stewards of the gifts we have, our family, our friends, our opportunities, our talents, our very breath. Jesus is the true King, everything we steward belongs to Him.
Therefore we are to steward these things the way Jesus wants us to: love your neighbor as yourself and love the Lord your God will all your heart, mind, and soul. This is how we steward: with love. Love for God and love for our neighbor. I see this in both stories. David loves his neighbor, Mary loves her God. There is such freedom in this. How freeing it is to let go and love, instead of trying to control and maintain our assets and wishes.
We can trust Jesus. If we love instead of bunkering down and holding on tight to control, we can trust that life will be far more rewarding. We can trust Jesus because we can know Jesus loves us.
I really liked the part in the reading when David asked God, "can I go get my wives and children back from the Amalekites? Will I succeed?" I liked it because I see the humility in actually asking God before he did anything. There's definitely an attitude here that suggests that David recognized that his own wives and children did not belong to him, that he was merely a steward. If God had said "no," it would have been because God had a different plan and He would still be trustworthy in that. But God says "yes," and how cool is it that David heard? And so David had the confidence to go and fight.
During quarantine I have had many more moments to sit and just listen to God's voice. Sometimes I bring a question, sometimes I just sit and listen. I have found in these moments that God is talking a lot more than I ever realized. I just have to be still long enough to listen, and just listen. I also have to trust that I know God's voice. This is a learning process. But what I hear Him say more than anything else (a sure sign it is the voice of God) is "I love you." God's love is applicable to literally everything I am going through or feeling. It is always relevant. It is always what I need to hear.
The words "Jesus loves me" give me confidence to do what God has told me I can do: I can love my neighbor as myself and I can love my God with all my heart, mind, and soul. Loving is such a humble, generous, and vulnerable surrender, but I am sure I can choose it because Jesus loves me.