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An Agenda That Will Never Satisfy

July 2, 2018

“He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” Mark 3:14-15 (NIV)

I should have been happy. I knew it. I could have listed so many things for which I was thankful.
So, what was this undercurrent of disappointment that ebbed and flowed just beneath the surface of my more honest moments? I got still, and I got sad.

I was doing a lot, pouring myself out for God, but not really spending time getting refilled by God.

Maybe you can relate?

We run at a breakneck pace to try and achieve what God wants us to slow down enough to receive.

He really does have it all worked out. The gaps filled. The needs met. The questions answered. The problems solved.

And the parts He’s purposed for us? They’re all perfectly portioned out in assignments meant for us today. No more. No less.

All He asks is that we personally receive from Him before we set out to work for Him. In doing so, we’re fueled by His power and encouraged by His presence. This is the daily sacred exchange where ministry duty turns into pure delight.

How it must break His heart when we work like we don’t believe He’s capable. We say we trust Him but then act like everything depends on us. We give all we have to the tasks at hand with only occasional leftovers of time to slightly acknowledge Him.

Imagine it’s like a little girl running while holding a cup, sloshing out all it contains. She thinks what will refill her is just ahead. So she presses on with sheer determination, clutching an empty cup.

She keeps running toward an agenda God never set, one that will never satisfy.

She sees Him and holds out her cup. But she catches only a few drops as she runs by Him because she didn’t stop long enough for her cup to be filled. Empty can’t be tempered with mere drops.

The tragic truth is what will fill her … what will fill us … isn’t the accomplishment just ahead.
That shiny thing is actually a vacuum that sucks us dry — but never has the ability to refill.

I should know, because that’s where I was. There’s no kind of empty quite like this empty — where your hands are full, but inside you’re nothing but an exhausted shell. I knew it would take slow moments to get me out of this empty place.

I needed to reconnect with the One who knows how to breathe life back into depleted and dead places. Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race. He’s into the slower rhythms of life like abiding, delighting and dwelling — all words used to describe us being with Him.

As a matter of fact, when Jesus appointed the disciples, there were two parts to their calling, as we see in our key verse, Mark 3:14-15: “He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.”

Yes, they were to go to preach and drive out demons, but the first part of their calling was simply to “be with him.”

True fulfillment comes when we remember to be with Him before going out to serve Him.

He wants our hearts in alignment with Him before our hands set about doing today’s assignment for Him.

So, He extends what we need and each day He invites us to receive in prayer, worship and truth from His Word. And He lovingly replenishes our cup while whispering: “This isn’t a race to test the fastest pace. I just want you to persevere on the path I have marked out especially for you. Fix your eyes, not on a worldly prize, but on staying in love with Me.”

That’s an agenda that’s always completely satisfying.

Dear Lord, I’m choosing to stop in the midst of everything to just be with You. Let me never forget what a gift it is to spend this sacred time in Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

If this post resonated with you today and you have a desire to rise above the rush of endless demands in your life, I’d love for you to check out my book, The Best Yes. Together, we’ll learn how to press pause and really seek what the Lord wants us to receive from Him! Get your copy here.

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  1. Monica T Smith

    Lysa; thank you for this message! It made me realize that I’ve been chasing things outside myself that I believe will be fulfilling/fill me up so that I will finally be full to overflowing. We can be empty for years and spend our days searching for something, anything to fill our deep need, but only God has the ability to do that. We have to slow down, abide, dwell and delight in Him. I think of the MSG version of Matthew 11:28-30 that speaks of Jesus’ “unforced rhythms of grace”. I believe that is an unhurried pace that makes room for Him and us to connect, get filled up, and encouraged. My dream is for that to be my lifestyle – unforced, unhurried, connected and enabled – so that I can serve in the ways He has called me to serve.

  2. Anitha

    Lysa – I love how God works. I was just thinking that I need to get to my “ministry” stuff but I knew I hadn’t taken the opportunity today to be “ministered” to by God. So, I clicked on your devotional and it confirmed what He was saying to me. Thank you!

  3. Deborah Stevens

    This became a good check list for me to see if I have been doing what God had called me to do, or had gotten off track! We are all responsible for what we do, whether it’s obeying God or giving in to our own desires! But in the end, how we arrive at the final goal is based on our ability to be sensitive to what God is telling us to do! Am I seeking his face or his blessings? Chasing after success or for God to receive the glory in & through my life! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Rebecca

    This is where I am…running a race…trying to fix everything, control everything……exhausted and overwhelmed with anxiety. I can’t seem to let go and let God……

  5. Sharon Ainsworth

    “I needed to reconnect with the One who knows how to breathe life back into depleted and dead places. Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race. He’s into the slower rhythms of life like abiding, delighting and dwelling — all words used to describe us being with Him.” Yes…this.

  6. Deborah

    Your article was inspiring, thank you Lisa.

  7. Denise

    I could barely get through each paragraph, weeping and tears. I am in an empty and depleted place. Not connecting with God. Wanting to be in a satisfied place but I can’t seem even head that way.

  8. Carolyn R

    I can so relate to that little girl with the empty cup. I need to go to the well of God every day and I’m working on that. Thanks, Lysa, for a visual that resonates with me and motivates me to do stop and fill my cup.

  9. Jim Bures

    I don’t know what to say. Your post touched me. I was just kind of wiling away my day and I didn’t really know what I needed. But your post brought out what I wanted: God to take care of every detail of my life so that I don’t have to worry where my next job comes from.

  10. Bethany Gerogia

    “Running toward an agenda God never set.” How easy it is to do that! I appreciate your candor on this topic. It seems as if I need near-constant reminders that everything does not, in fact, depend on me. And that our God is a God of rest! It’s so easy to just work and do and push. Learning how to be still is the tough part! Thanks for sharing this, Lysa!

  11. Kristi Ann

    Amen-Amein Sister in Christ Jesus-Yeshua!! God Bless you Sister in Christ Jesus-Yeshua and Your Family members and Friends!! ❤

    May our ONE TRUE GOD THE FATHER who art in Heaven Above Bless all my Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus-Yeshua and my Messianic Jewish Sisters and Brothers in Christ Jesus-Yeshua and Your Families and Friends!!

    I Love you all Everyone through Jesus-Yeshua Christ, because HE LOVED 💜💕 EVERYONE FIRST!!

    Love 💕 Always and Shalom ( Peace ), YSIC \o/

    Kristi Ann

  12. Randi

    IF there is one thing I have learned in the last 3 years, is that I, under no circumstance want to run out in front of God, but that I want to wait on Him.. I finally have learned it’s in His timing and to be content in the waiting. The waiting time is a time to get closer, learn to trust better, (I have had an issue with trust), and just bask in Jesus. He knows best, so I give Him control, which is still an issue. But I am learning…..waiting… and trusting.. I am so in love with Jesus. It took the study of John in BSF 2 years ago, where I finally fell head over hills for Jesus..

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