This blog has been on my mind a lot lately. I'm hoping I'll have the time to update what life has looked like the past few months and where I find myself today. It's been quite the wild ride. I'll leave that story for another day and stay focused on my one goal, get a Five Minute Friday post up!
Contributing to Five Minute Friday has been a goal of mine all year. I often write on the prompt and then it never makes it to the blog. However today, I've got my eye on the prize!
I'm a big fan of First5 and have been doing their studies for the past two and a half years. They started the book of Mark two weeks ago, and I'm a little late to the game and started this week. Had I approached getting caught up as I typically do, I would have blown through each day, being caught up in no time. However, a friend messaged me this morning saying she stumped across my blog and mentioned my "When God Gives You A Plant" blog post. I reread it and once again reminded of my default ways, and it was just the right dose of conviction to approach getting "caught-up" differently this time around.
When I study my routine usually consists of journaling first thing, reading the chapter of the day, completing the experience guide and then reading their teaching. I decided to skip journaling this time and went straight to reading. After reading, I was processing so much I ended up journalling about just one verse. It just so happened I was able to have my journaled page match the Five Minute Friday prompt for this week. A page in my journal takes me just about five minutes so here it is! Five minutes of writing inspired by the word only.
"Don't be afraid; just believe." Mark 5:36b
At first, reading the words "don't be afraid" sounds demanding. My rebel heart wants to take offense and think how dare you to tell me what to do. (Yuck. My heart is so ugly.) It's like a parent telling a toddler not to do something for the fifteen-thousandth time. They say it with love and good intention. However, those instructing words fall on deaf ears because the rebel heart wants to have its way.
The book of Mark points to Jesus' authority. In that day, they had been under Roman rule and had only seen authority abused. Jesus brought a new level of authority and his kingdom a different type of rule. Looking at this verse through that lens, knowing just how much Jesus loves us, I can see a deeper meaning, helping me to redefine the way I see this verse.
You see, fear is focused on self and faith is focused on Jesus. In this verse, he's calling us to look not inward but upward. This ties directly into what I'm learning in the book, Free of Me. I hope to dig more into that, but for now, in summary, she explains our self-centered society treats everything around us as a mirror. For example, in relationships, things are good for me, if that relationship reflects back good things. If there is something off in the relationship, and things aren't going well, due to our mirror tendencies, it reflects on me, and then my life is no longer "good" based on how I think it should be. This truth carried a lot of weight for me and can see how it relates to this verse.
When we live in this self-focused way, treating everything around us like a mirror, we give the power to others to completely alter our days and ultimately our lives. The answer she proposes to our self-focus nature is self-forgetfulness. Since I'm only a few chapters in, I'm looking forward to learning more about what that term means. For what I understand it to be, it's what Jesus is saying here in this verse. Stop focusing on yourself, and just focus on me.
God gives us himself in human form for us to keep our focus on. How great and amazing is that! He also gives us his word which is alive and active to help us focus on him. We lack no short supply of ways we can direct our heart to him, and it's something he invites us to do daily.
So this verse written thousands of years ago is applicable more now than ever. In the Free of Me book, she points to the fact our self-help generation is the most self-focused generation and at the same time, and we're the most anxious and fearful generation to date. We desperately need this truth from Jesus to go deep into the marrow of our bones.
So today, read this verse and hear Jesus saying, don't take the road of fear and self-absorption. Stop looking to yourself for strength and power. Instead, look to me as your source, you only need to believe.
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