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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Out Of Order

Recently, I began to feel pretty flat spiritually. Okay, really flat. With little inspiration to write, to read or even to pray, it was all I could do to keep from sinking into depression. When the Lord led me to search my soul about it, an unsuspecting thought surfaced.

No, THAT is not the problem. Next thought, Lord.

No matter how much I tried to deny it, the Holy Spirit kept bringing the same subject up in my heart and mind--through devotions I would read, sermons I would hear, songs that left a thick lump in my throat, and through conversations with my friends and family.

You haven’t been putting Me first.

That’s the thought that kept coming. I asked Him to show me what I was doing out of order, and He began the process of revealing it to me. I feel led to share one moment in particular with you.

That morning I was sitting in “my chair” (the one I sit in to read my Bible). I had just checked my email and commented on a few blogs, when I got up to get my second cup of coffee. As I looked over at the side table, the image I saw froze in my mind:

It was my laptop sitting on top of my open Bible. You see, when I first sat down that morning, I had opened my Bible up to the Psalms, which is how I’d jumpstarted my morning for several years. Then I thought I would take juuuuust a second to check my email before the kids got up. After all, I’d rather them see my face in the Bible instead of my computer first thing in the morning, I concluded.

While my rationale seemed justifiable at the time, the Holy Spirit put a check in my heart, pointing out that I’d been doing this more and more lately….the end result being less and less time with the Lord. I was getting into a habit of coming before Him distracted and half-heartedly.

I hadn’t been putting Him first. (Gulp)

Embarrassingly, I had become more excited about checking my email and my blog in the mornings than I had about checking what He had to say to me through His Word. No wonder I was to the point of depleted. I was pouring myself out to things that couldn’t fill me back up.

It wasn’t that I had been intentionally walking in a life of sin or anything, but I hadn’t been intentionally guarding my time with Him either.

His Word reminds me:
Romans 12:11 (NIV)
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

I like the parallel that can be drawn from this OT passage:

Deuteronomy 11:16-17 (The Message)
“But be vigilant, lest you be seduced away and end up serving and worshiping other gods and God erupts in anger and shuts down Heaven so there's no rain and nothing grows in the fields, and in no time at all you're starved out—not a trace of you left on the good land that God is giving you.”

Friends, this applies to all of us. When we let the “things,” good, bad or in-between, woo us away from our One and Only, then our spiritual growth stops. He’s a jealous God, and He simply won’t stand for it. If we don’t stop and repent, turning our face to Jesus, we’ll waste away to nothingness spiritually speaking, bearing little fruit to offer anyone.

Is there something sitting on top of your Bible? Is there anything sapping the life right out of you? Are you being honest with yourself about this issue?

The reason I ask that last question about being honest with yourself is because I wasn’t. My husband asked me several weeks ago if I was becoming overly dependent on my laptop, and I gave him the most defensive “NO” I’ve given him in a very long time. That should’ve been the first clue.
Psalm 119:58-60 (NIV)
“I have sought Your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your promise. I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to Your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey Your commands.”

So sisters, in Spirit and in Truth, let’s repent and turn, moving forward in His order and seeking His face more than any other. It is only with Him in full view that we can experience His life in full measure.

Lord, I’m so sorry for putting You out of order. You have made the choice so simple for me, yet so often I seek other pleasures to give me abundant life. Thank You for Your forgiveness and mercy and for putting me face forward in the right direction again. Help keep my wandering heart focused solely on You, Father. I pray for my sisters in Christ who also struggle with getting their priorities out of whack, and help them to seek You, accepting Your perfect correction and direction for their paths in the meantime. You are so good, Lord, and I thank You for being a God of perfect order. Help me to follow Your example, I pray, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

In the Key of HE,

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Blogger Denise said...

Amen, such a powerful, and very truthful post my dear friend. I love you.

December 18, 2008 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger LisaShaw said...

And my soul cries YES LORD!

As I read this it reminded me of the time(s) when I experienced this in Ministry. We can even put people and our service to the LORD ahead of HIM. Many years ago He showed me that when you are spiritually dry it's becase you're missing ME! I can not give out of my own well because that will quickly dry up. I need the well of the Holy Spirit ever pouring into me which I receive as I bask at the feet of my LORD in prayer and in His word.

This was beautiful, transparent and a much needed reminder for all of us.

I will share this on my blog today. God bless you.

December 18, 2008 at 3:02 AM  
Blogger Tami Boesiger said...

This happens so easily to we bloggers. Your picture of your laptop on TOP of your Bible was startling and a good wake up call for all of us. Thank you!

December 18, 2008 at 4:35 AM  
Blogger Homesteader in Training said...

You hit it on the head girlfriend. I've had to put some priorities in order. I have been guilty of the same.
Thank you for your honesty.
Hugs to you.

December 18, 2008 at 4:46 AM  
Blogger Patricia said...

Oh, wow! You nailed it. This is just where I've been. And on top of that...since my inspiration comes from my time alone with the Lord, my writing has suffered. Thanks for this reminder. It is so timely in my life. Now, I'm stepping away from the keyboard and heading to "my chair."

December 18, 2008 at 6:43 AM  
Blogger Marci said...

awesome post! no matter our season, there's always something that creeps in to steal our time with him. being intentional daily to choose the word instead of the world! god bless-

December 18, 2008 at 7:22 AM  
Blogger Betsy Markman said...

Oh, this was very timely. I need to pray over this issue and let Him show me exactly how this applies in my life. Thanks for being used by Him today.

December 18, 2008 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger Laurie Ann said...

LauraLee, it is easy to get sidetracked and wooed away from our First Love, but with encouragement from people like you we can recognize it and return to the Lord. God bless you for your bold call to make sure we have our priorities in order. Awesome post, my friend! Love ya, Laurie Ann

December 18, 2008 at 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are on the same page my friend. I spent some serious time with God yesterday morning and He spoke to me about why I was consistently frustrated and stressed and it's because I wasn't putting first things first. He revealed to me that I find my joy in serving HIM through serving my children; my family. And when I am not doing this, I become frustrated (without knowing why at the time). I also wasn't giving my days to HIM and relying on Him to carry me through.
This was such a well-timed devotion. Thank you for it.

December 18, 2008 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Debbie said...

I feel like you were talking to me. My Bible is close by and I kept thinking I need to get off the computer and sit down and have my quiet time. You hit the nail on the head. I've been checking email, Facebook, twitter and blogs. This is the last comment I'm doing until I take a time out. The Lord must be first and not someone I squeeze in when I'm ready. Thanks for posting this. Now, I'm going offline and spending some quality time with Him.

December 18, 2008 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger Cindy and Tay said...

It was just what I needed to hear. I wake up with a list of things to do knowing God should be first and I justify it by thinking that if I do this and this and that first then I'll have more time with God. What happens is my time with God gets interrupted and I get distracted because it's not quality time and sometimes it just doesn't happen. Thank you for sharing this with me. I confess and want to change...starting now. Off to pray...

December 18, 2008 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

Okay, I am moved beyond words at what the Lord is doing with this message. Sitting here in tears, because this was a very difficult testimony to share. Thank you all for spurring me on, and HE WILL help us to keep Him first! This is only ONE of the many issues He has been re-ordering in me. (sigh).

All for Him,

December 18, 2008 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

OUCH!!! & AMEN to a very needed awakening to ALL of us...that GOD comes first and we must SEEK Him first & all these 'things' will be added unto emails, blog
friends, internet time...etc. This is very powerful & direct!

Blessings LauraLee...I have found myself lacking also & out of key with HE first. I didn't read the above comments but I'll bet we are not the only ones guilty.

I confess that I would find more JOY in opening a friend's email or checking my blog than seeking HIS DAILY MANNA. Oh I spend time with Him before this & worship but not His WORD! It is so convicting to see it in black & white like your laptop on top of the BIBLE!!OUCH!!!

Sorry Lord! But with confession comes repentance so off I go...OFF LINE &
into my DIRECT LINE with my Father
in HIS WORD! Thank you LauraLee
for putting me back on track!

December 18, 2008 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Debra said...

My sweet sister,

Thank you for this. I loved when you said you answered your husband defensively and that was a sure sign you were out of order.

And I am so grateful for the Spirit of our King that spoke so clearly to you and enabled you to be so transparent with all of us.

I confess I have out of order myself. I posted late today because I felt the Lord calling me...calling me first. Calling for time alone and for time spent interceding.

He is my first love...I don't want to be out of order. Thank you LaureLee. Thank you Jesus for my sister who had the courage to speak truth in love.

Hugs to you today!

December 18, 2008 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Thank you for that post! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our computers, we lose sight of what is most important. I think a great thing for all of us is to print out the prayer at the end of this post, and tape it or attach it somehow to something we see every morning! I'm opening my Bible now! Really, thank you for the gentle reminder! God bless You!

December 18, 2008 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger Joanne Sher said...

I've already told you how powerful this is. Just have to say it again, in public. I SOOO needed this - and as is clear from the posts above, I'm not the only one! Powerful, my dear friend!

December 18, 2008 at 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Beverley said...

As I sit here in my special chair, my laptop open and my Bible still closed ... I'm feeling just a little bit like this message was for me! That photo is so powerful ... I will be making changes in my life, spending time with God is oh so much more important than reading blogs. Thanks for the reminder.

December 18, 2008 at 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This speaks volumes. Thank you, Laura. Sunny

December 18, 2008 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger ChristiS said...

How very true, and yes....I'm guilty of putting other things before Him!! Thanks for this reminder!

December 18, 2008 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger LilBear said...

You totally got me. I have been so guilty of this lately. The verse from Deuteronomy was a reminder of what I discovered recently. Blogging, though a new hobby, had become more important than God and my family. I was up until 2am reading other blogs and setting up photos. It's so true that, if we're not careful, we can become enslaved in idol worship -- of the computer. Thanks for the reminder, Laura Lee!

December 18, 2008 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger ktwalden said...

Powerful lesson! I was convicted also. Thank you!

December 18, 2008 at 9:15 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Wow, what a great post, and what a wake up call. Since I bought my laptop back in September, guess what I've been doing in the mornings...? Yes, exactly what you wrote about here. Tomorrow though, it's back to how it should be - Him first, emails and blog second! Thank you for this post and thank you for letting me know that it doesn't only happen to me! Paula :-)

December 19, 2008 at 7:44 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Oh my, I haven't been reading this devotional for a few (quite a few)days because I was letting other stuff get in the way.....Guess The Lord was speaking to me through you today!

December 19, 2008 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Gigi said...

Me too...guilty as charged. It used to be that I would never touch my laptop until after my quiet time with the Lord. How spiritually "full" I felt! And that time almost always delivered fruit to share with others through my blog that day. But somehow, over the past few months while my Sweet Hubby was so ill, I drifted away from beginning my day in the presence of God. Your post, Laura Lee, is a reminder that above all I need to reprioritize my life. And I do know Who (not "what") needs to come first. Thank you!

December 19, 2008 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Ouch. Stinging conviction here, Laura Lee. Thank you for having the courage to openly share this with us. That photo speaks volumes. Thank you for lovingly challenging us to keep our priorities He centered, rather than me centered, particularly as we start our day.

Blessings to you this Christmas!

December 24, 2008 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Cheri said...


I loved this devotional, and I so appreciate your transparency! I read it right before Christmas and sent myself a note to my own Inbox to be sure and pop over to comment and tell you thank you... when I got home from the Christmas travels... after I got through my daughter's wedding on New Year's Day... when I got my writing assignments in... after I'd spent time with Him???

You see how long it took me to actually find time to clean out my Inbox, since I'm just now getting here, right? It is so easy to get buried under everything and put Him on the back burner.

But when we put Him first, He helps us dig out!!

Hugs and blessings,

February 6, 2009 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Sheila said...

Isn't that the truth? God's been saying something similar to me, too. I need to take time talking to Him, and more importantly LISTENING to Him, before I check my email! How is it that it's so easy to get so far off track?

June 2, 2009 at 12:33 PM  

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