Here is the latest Coffee & Pearls Podcast:
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It can be difficult to know how we should spend our time. Most of are not called to cloistered life and few of us will serve out religious vocations where we pray for many hours of the day. The rest of us are left to try and figure out what to do to bring glory to God with the people and the tasks He has put right in front of us.
It’s easy to be confused too. The world has some very specific measurements for success: fame, beauty, and money.
But often we find that God’s economy is the complete opposite. Those who are last are first. I’m sure when we get to Heaven, we will discover thousands of saints that weren’t famous at all. We already know that many saints were not classically beautiful by the world’s standards. Many saints were dirt poor and some who were rich gave all their money away.
With these conflicting ideas, where are we to start? Who should we set out to become? What is our own measurement of success?
I have been asking myself this question lately after publishing my first book. How do I decide if it was “successful?” I knew it wouldn’t be a New York Times Best Seller. I had always planned on launching the ebook version for free so I could get it to as many moms as possible. I had read how important it was to get at least twenty reviews on Amazon so the algorithms of that site take you more seriously.
But would sales, reviews or downloads make my project successful?
When you are working for Christ, you must use a different measurement stick. I told my husband a few months ago that my biggest hope would be to get emails from women telling me that my book actually helped them. Getting those messages is my favorite part of Coffee & Pearls.
In the end, even if we truly and genuinely help one soul turn more toward Christ, our efforts will have been worth something.
Going back to what I mentioned a few weeks ago, we can plant little seeds in everyday conversations. We can put little markers that lead people back to Jesus. Souls are what matters. Eternity is what matters.
If you find yourself worrying about money, promotions, awards, popularity, even security… remind yourself that in the end, none of these things matter. Sure, they may make the journey easier and they may enable you to have the resources to help more people… but it’s the helping more people that really matters.
You are going to die and God is going to review your life with you. How confident are you that what you’re choosing to focus on is something you’d be proud to tell Him about?
“Blessed are those who fear the Lord.” We are not talking about the paralyzing fear that keeps you hiding under your covers and afraid to live your life. We’re talking about the genuine fear of getting to the end of your life and disappointing God. It’s the fear of realizing that we constantly chose the easy way out or the pleasure of sin over what God has asked us to care about.
“For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
I’ve always liked this quote a lot because it makes me think about peace. Because we are constantly thinking about money, it’s easy to think this refers only to wealth. I think this can also be said of our peace and trust in the Lord.
When we trust in God and we have peace, I believe we discover even more peace. We also take the peace we have and we spread it to those around us. But when we are scared that we’re missing out on worldly things and we’re afraid of not having enough fame, money, beauty, we lose our peace and that often leads us to lose even more peace.
In God’s economy “to have” means “to give”. Too many of are focused on the having. The more we start to give, the more we’ll find peace because that’s how God’s economy works. And I imagine we won’t know until the very end of our life how very much we’ll get from living a life of giving to others.
One way we can better keep an accounting of how we’re doing is by journaling at night. See at night, when we write down what we’ve done for the day, we can more clearly see the genuinely good things we’ve done and the ways we’ve strayed away from the Lord. This is especially good to do after we do an examination of conscience. None of us will write in our journal, “Had a great time gossiping with my friend about another mom.”
Journaling helps us quiet the lies of the world and focus on what’s true and good. It also helps us see the ways we weren’t our best. When I sit down to journal, I can’t lie to myself about what I’ve done for the day. It’s all laid out there for me to see. When I’m writing, I think of standing before God and telling Him about my day. It’s good to have those moments every day so we don’t die having never really examined our own life.
Where do you have your priorities turned around?
If you’re not journaling, why don’t you choose that as something to try out for Advent this year?