I read the following quote in my 20s, and like many things from this classic book on daily life as a Christian woman, I’ve never forgotten it:
Jealously guard a daily time spent alone with God. Jesus did! He sent the multitudes away — and prayed (Matthew 14:23). When our three babies were age 2 1/2, 1 1/2, and brand new, I found my days were just one succession of bottles and diapers, and I got desperate for times with the Lord! Normally I sleep like a rock, but I said, ‘Lord, if you’ll help me, I’ll meet you from two to three a.m.’ I kept my tryst with Him until the schedule lightened; I didn’t die; and I’m not sorry I did it. – Anne Ortlund, Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman
True confessions: I’ve never done this — not at 2:00am at least. But in the two decades since I read this statement, I’ve gradually learned to embrace the heart behind it:
Life doesn’t have to be easy for me be holy.
In fact, God says that wherever He’s working — in your heart and mine if we believe — the soil is rich and the land is cleared, protected, ready, and equipped to produce good things:
My beloved (that’s God) had a vineyard (that’s us)
on a very fertile hill.
He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it (Isaiah 5:1-2, additional notes mine).
We are His people, and wherever we find ourselves, He’s provided everything we need to produce the fruit of His holiness. The Second Epistle of Peter taught this truth, too, 800 years later:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature... (2 Peter 1:3-4).
I’m often busy. Tired. Insecure. Confused. Lonely. I find it easy to dwell on my flaws. And most days, all that happens before 7:00am.
But I can no longer wait for things to be “just right” to pursue righteousness. I can’t wait for some idealized season or version of myself to press in to what God has for me. In fact, I grow the most, love the most, and trust the most where things feel unsteady — where life looks like it could possibly go very, very wrong.
Getting my life in order doesn’t make me obedient; being obedient, over time, puts my life in order.
Don’t wait for life to be perfect to be brave for God. Don’t wait for things to be different to be joyful and bold in your faith. Don’t wait to be someone else, love someone else, have something else, look like someone else, or be somewhere else to love God and live for Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. He’s given us everything we need to find His best, whatever the outcome.
I confess to you that I have not always done this. I have missed chances to be used fully by God out of fear, selfishness, and pride. I do not want the same for you. I no longer want the same for me.
So, seize the opportunity where you know you’ll fail without His strength. Give it all away and trust Him to provide. Be brave and don’t fear what you’ll look like or sound like or what people will think. You and I — we have the power through Christ to become partakers of the divine nature today. Someday soon, we’ll be out of tomorrows.
Act where you are. Because right here, right now, we have all we need for life and godliness. Right now, we are planted in rich and fruitful ground.