Last week we focused on the importance of loving each other and concluded that nothing is more important than our relationships with each other. Truly a wonderful thought in the context of the message of prioritizing each other above considerations such as weather, convenience, and uncertainties of travel as we were discussing factors influencing our decision about when to return home. In the context of what I was discussing, the conclusion made perfect sense. Yet it wasn’t long after I pressed “send” that Abba reminded me of my flagrant omission, or at least that an important qualification needed to be made to such a broad statement.
I love when Abba chastises me in the synchronistic ways He gets my attention. . .
One of the times most precious in my relationship with Abba is in the morning when I can take a jog and listen to Him to the backdrop of my favorite Messianic Jewish music. Carving out this time is not easy since the daily texts and phone calls start early. Other than those from my cousin with multiple myeloma, and maybe a sister or two, I try to keep this appointment with HaShem.
So today I started out the door for my jog thinking about what I had forgotten to say in last week’s Shabbat encouragement. I needed to add that the most important relationship we have is with HaShem whom we must work to keep front and center every day despite the many distractions. Granted, shelter in place has helped some of us in this regard, but each day brings new challenges. As those thoughts were swirling around, I was humming a particular praise song when, you guessed it, as I clicked on my Bluetooth ear buds, that was the very song “randomly” playing in my headphones. I had received an affirmation that I was on the right track.
I immediately felt awestruck. My concern about the omission from last week was right on and I was going to make sure to correct the error through my message for this week. Affirmed by the synchronistic song, I was feeling great! One with my Abba. Then it happened – incoming call and it was my counterpart at High Rock with whom I really did need to speak for various reasons. All is good with our upcoming transaction but I felt the interruption was warranted, so I took the call. Ah, being a flawed human is so liberating.
After the hour long phone work was done, my entire feeling of being in holy space was completely shattered. I was involved in emails, texts, stress, typical stuff, that easily could have waited had I let the call go to voicemail.
As I was venting to Sid, I realized that this part of the story, the loss of my intimacy with HaShem by taking the call and experiencing its effect on me, was illustration of the point I was to share with you! Instead of berating myself for allowing the distraction to pull me away from God, I saw it as Him showing me the visceral, tangible effect of making the wrong choice. I understood at that moment that had I prioritized God as I had started to do that morning, I would not be feeling so stressed out. And most likely, if I had started my day deep in prayer and thoughts with Him as planned, I would not have felt so stressed out and burdened by the work generated by the call, for He is my Rock with me at all times if I keep Him present.
Especially in these trying times, and when difficult situations challenge us, it is more important than ever not to side bench our Abba. HaShem took my mistake and used it to again remind me of His presence helping us through every one of our decisions. In this case, He took my bad decision, answering the call during our appointed time together, to teach me the importance of maintaining deliberate time for Him, for us. Beautifully, in the way only He can do, as I once again was struck with awe that He spoke to me in this way through my human failing, I re-entered that holy space I was beginning to enjoy before the interruptive phone call.
Nothing is more important than our relationship with God. As I further processed my misstep, and more deeply understood how HaShem used it to teach me the point, I basked again in that special space with HaShem. I restarted my run, with the bonus being a little walk time with Sid along the way.
More than a hat nod to National Prayer Day which was last Thursday, more than an afterthought of an overlooked reminder in a Shabbat encouragement, remember to put Him first! Always! In everything! When you do, the abundant love, mercy, and grace you will receive overflowingly will power the love relationships we have with others, all of us in an eternal circle of love from heaven, through us, and back to Him. Baruch HaShem!