I memorized this verse when I was around 10 years old…
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5
It's stuck with me all these years. If we look at each of these three ways to love God in a somewhat literal sense, we have a measuring stick of sorts to gauge our devotion to the one who deserves our everything. Examining my life this way made me realize, I have a tendency to settle for “good enough” living. Perhaps we all do.
I love my family and friends, and I see evidence of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control) in my attitude towards others. But if I’m being completely honest, I don’t inconvenience myself all that much. There are opportunities to invest more in my community, near and far. I have prayerfully asked God what that looks like for me personally. If I reach a point of contentment, I’m stifling the Holy Spirit in me. He’s always on the move. Always.
So, a group of ladies from my church got together recently. We brainstormed one-time mission projects. I’m a Bible study gal - teaching and studying come naturally to me. Hands-on ministry doesn’t come as easily, but no more good enough living. Once a month, we are going to do a service project. Doing this in a group offers accountability and fresh ideas. We’re starting in April with a platter of baked goods for each of the schools in our church community.
This represents my individual relationship with God. What does it look like for me to interact with God on a daily basis? Five years ago, I started reading the Bible chronologically every day each year. It’s a life changer! I have various passages on my mind throughout the day. I read with a group of people on Facebook, and we discuss what’s new and interesting to us. I’ve also branched out and looked for new ways to practice my faith. I’ve prayed with the Orthodox, attended special services with the Catholics and Episcopalians, and read numerous books by Christians who worship Jesus differently than I do. (I’ve written a book about all the things I’ve learned from these spiritual wanderings.)
Again, soul work is never done. The times in my life I’ve settled for good enough living in this area, I read a few verses in my Bible on Sunday mornings and would read a short daily devotional. Maybe for you, that’s a starting place, and that’s perfectly OK. By increasing my study of the Bible and learning about new spiritual disciplines, I’m loving God with more and more of my soul lately. It has me soaring.
If I look at this part of the verse as a physical representation, it means considering the way I’m taking care of my body. If there is an area where I struggle the most with good enough living, it’s this one. My clothes (most of them) still fit. I enjoy cooking, gardening and canning, so we eat healthy (for the most part). I have access to workout DVDs and an elliptical machine at home (although I haven’t used any of these for months now). I’m fortunate I can do very little and still appear to be relatively healthy.
I’m convinced there are blessings I’m missing out on by living this way. The Holy Spirit wants to work in every area of our lives, and I lack his fruit of self control when it comes to caring for my body. I know it. I want victory in this area too, although I’m not quite sure what that looks like for me. Sometimes I tell myself if I could learn portion control and eat things in moderation, I would achieve success. Further, I determine to add some sort of workout into my daily routine. Surely I can do 15 minutes of some activity a few times a week, right? It’s alright to eat and drink anything I want if I don’t partake in it all the time. None of these pep talks have worked long-term.
I’ve decided no more good enough living in this area, with God’s help. I’m going to cleanse my body, and hopefully kick some bad habits to the curb. My husband has agreed to join me, and we’re setting out on the Whole 30 journey. I’m going to be praying through this process as well.
Lord, show me how to love you with all my strength. Give me a desire to improve here, as I have with my heart and my soul. Help me throw off good enough living in all areas of my life. Amen.