We started the conversation as dinner was being prepared. The young couple was giving us a glimpse into their hearts. They were on a journey that had taken them out of a church in town. Once outside the doors, they became aware of it’s trappings. Religious activity had covered their lives.
You could see the pain in their eyes as they spoke. Instead of showing them the path to the Father’s love they had become encumbered with commitments they were expected to fulfill. It happens to the best of us. It’s one of the downfalls of religious Christianity.
Many enter into places they have no business being because the need is great, the call is strong. They think it’s what God expects of them. Yet that’s the farthest thing from the truth.
I know this place all too well. I was once there. I wanted to work for God. I thought it was what was expected of me. Before you knew it I was sucked in, offering myself everywhere I could. It does feel good after all to be needed, wanted and valued. I rarely stopped to look before walking through an “open door”.
It was 9:00 AM on July 9th when I got the phone call. I knew something bad had happened. My daughter was crying so hard she could barely talk. “Mom I think I just got bit by a poisonous snake.” “It has a diamond shaped head.”
I tried to stay calm as I rushed to get my clothes on. Maybe she was wrong. Did she really know snakes that well?
A conversation with her father confirmed it. She had been bitten by a baby copperhead as she walked through the doorway into work. It had been hidden between the threshold and the door. She never thought to look to see what was in her path. If she had, she would have never stepped through that door.
I’ve walked through many doors in my church experience never stopping to look for traps. Everyone is needed, I was told. Being capable, I did things because I could. I moved from place to place in ministry and I was good at it. I was needed, wanted, appreciated.
I’ve since discovered something. The serpent lay hidden in many of the doorways I walked through. He deceived me into thinking that the Father expected that from me. He wanted me to find value in what I can do instead of who I was. It kept me from living loved.
Things became twisted in my understanding. I didn’t know the true heart of my Father. The enemy convinced me that this walk with God is about what I could do for God. When in fact it’s about what God wants to do in and through me.
I became busy in activities I had no business being in. My heart was far from my offering. I relished the recognition. I thought it pleased the Father.
It was then Jesus came for me. It was then I heard His call.
“Be still and know me, Jewel.” I accepted His invitation and discovered something. As I became still, my work ceased. The work became His. He began to live through me.
Jesus saw the religious trappings of old. He sees the ones of new. Walking the path with God is understanding what it’s really all about. Christ the hope of glory is our very life. He lives in us waiting to live out of us. It’s not our efforts. It’s His.
Stillness frees us from religious activity. For in stillness you learn not to move until He moves in you. Requirements and expectations no longer have a place. You find the Father’s heart which loves you as you are and invites you to where He is.
Today my husband was walking through a customer’s yard when he looked down and saw something out of the ordinary. A closer examination showed not only one, but two adult copperheads hiding on the path. They are now dead.
The serpent lurks about with his religious trappings. They are hidden in doorways of activity. They are hidden in paths of good intentions. Many will walk straight into them. They will miss the heart of the Father. For His heart calls out. "Be still dear one and know ME."
©copyrighted 2009 Julie L. Todd