I know Valentine’s Day doesn’t seem like a time for reflection, but it hits right at that time of year when we’re all worn out from resolutions and goal setting and all that good stuff. So when I saw that Bethany and Jennifer had another free devotional and printable set coming out I was excited to get my hands on it. They’ve put out a few others and they’re always good. Bethany is so creative and I love her beautiful printables because there are so many ways to use them. I knew the message would be timely as well.
The focus verses for this devotional are Revelation 2: 4&5. What I love about this message is that there’s wisdom here for everyone. This verse in Revelation is talking to the church at Ephesus. They’re working hard, checking off those to-do lists and getting everything done that they’re “supposed to” – but they’ve completely forgotten the point of all that effort. They forgot their first love.
I think all of us have had a moment where we look at our lives and just feel stuck. We get burned out and sick of chasing things that we never seem to reach. But when we step back and look at what we’re doing, it doesn’t seem like there should be anything wrong. Especially when we look at what other people are doing and start comparing.
Right before Christmas I hit that wall. I was overwhelmed and confused about why I never seemed to get anything done, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. When I tried to explain to my friends over group text that I was having a hard time, I couldn’t even put words to what I was feeling. I ended up word vomiting out something like “my garage is a mess and I can’t reach the Christmas decorations,” which was not even close to describing the problem. But as I tried to backpedal and clarify, I realized how it all sounded. I mean, there I was trying to tell my best friend with a newborn how tired I felt. Delete, delete, delete. I tried to shrug it off and walked away feeling like I shouldn’t have reached out in the first place.
The problem is we are a culture that likes to treat symptoms instead of digging at root causes. I felt like I was at a breaking point because, without realizing it, I’d disconnected from my purpose. The reason I’m here. My frustration had nothing to do with a mess in the garage, the amount of things on my to-do list or how much work I was trying to fit into each day but it had everything to do with how lost I felt. In short, I didn’t have a decorating problem. I had a doubting problem. I couldn’t explain that to my friends because I couldn’t even see it myself. All I saw was the surface.
I wish I could say that it was as simple as taking a few deep breaths and looking at an inspiration board to remind myself of why I’m here and what I want to accomplish. I also wish I could say it just took a few prayers or painting a page in my bible to get me back together. It was a process. I had to look for God moving in my life. I had to choose to keep moving and asking to see Him. I had to seek Him first. I could keep going through the motions, but I would have been spinning my wheels unless I remembered the reason why I was working so hard in the first place.
That’s why it’s so important for us to step back and remember our first love, the reason we started working so hard in the first place. Not only does it give us the energy to keep going even if we don’t see an end in sight, but it keeps our hearts and minds focused on the things that matter more than just checking the boxes.
If you’d like to see the process I used for this page, you can check out the video below: