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After the clarity of the compass conversation, I was finally able to accept the truth that I had been focusing too much on the outer things and not enough on the inner things. I loved my ministry role so much that it had become something of an idol. And I was obsessing over disciplines somehow still believing that it pleases God if I wake-up early to read my Bible and subscribe to every devotional the internet has to offer. I never missed an opportunity to serve and I engaged wholeheartedly with my small group, but I was not fully honoring God with the whole rest of my life. I wasn’t recognizing His glory outside of my spiritual activities. And while I was following the rules and doing the works, my personal relationship with God was not deepening because I wasn’t actually seeking Him.
There were many Sunday mornings after finishing up with First Step that I was too tired to stay for the weekend service. I often ended up watching the message online, or sometimes just missing it entirely. I’ve skipped several of my son’s football and baseball games to be somewhere for serving, and it has been far too long since the last time I had a fun weekend away with my husband.
I was forced to confront some tough questions. Was I practicing good stewardship with my family and other close relationships? Am I honoring my children and the beauty and awesomeness they bring to my life? Where have I allocated all the time I used to spend caring for the good health God has blessed me with? Why did I sit silent when my best friend asked how come I never have time for her anymore? What was the last book I read that did not come from the “Christian Life” section?
I finally grasped the difference between putting God first in my life versus putting God at the center of my life. And I have decided to work toward the latter. When I put God and all of my “God duties” at the top of my life, I have no choice but to put all of the amazing gifts He has given me into lower positions, as terrible as that sounds. But instead, if I work from a place where God is the center of my life, I can focus my efforts on His will for every aspect of my life equally by remembering that in all things – from worshiping in church to training at the gym – I can honor God and be ever grateful for His presence in all things.
In summary, the last eight months have been extraordinary. I have gained practical skills to use in ministry, such as learning to speak to large groups and how to prepare a talk or message to give. I have learned more from the many teachers and topics at Eastside Institute than I ever could have hoped for. Every class was engaging and unique, and each teacher brought a style all their own which was refreshing and fun. I have learned a valuable life lesson about how trying to constantly keep doing things can make me miss the everyday miracles right here and now.
I’ve spent the last several weeks taking steps to free up my time and I absolutely recognize the importance of that. I am moving toward a different model of glorifying God.
I am looking forward to the future, to seeing where my purpose, dreams, and goals will lead me. I will keep striving to improve my public speaking and communication skills, and I will work with all my might to publish my story and help others who have lost their way. Its simply that no matter what I do – I will live to be a light in this world in all that I do.
And that’s how it all went down! 😉
If you’re curious:
- The bowling league was the first thing to get cut. And I am glad its gone!
- It is Summer so school is out of session until about August/September.
- My small group is on a break for the summer and I have some plans that will make this a more family-friendly committment when we reconvene in Autumn.
- I am in the process of developing a small team of First Step Assistants, and I am thinking of ways to break-up the responsibility into smaller portions.
- As you might know, my husband and I did get away for a weekend. I talked about it on this very blog. One, Two, and Three times.
- First Step Experience is happening again right now, for the 6-week Summer session with this coming weekend being the fourth week. While I am currently covering it both days, that is all I am really doing right now besides work and family so there’s no balance struggle. However, I will not be doing it at all in the Fall session as I will be back on the teaching team then and need to stay focused. So this part of the whole thing worked out fantastically. God has a funny way of making that happen when we finally surrender control! 😉
© Danielle Hewitt (of Loving A Fit Life) and DanielleHewitt.com (including LovingAFitLife.com) 2011 – 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Danielle Hewitt and DanielleHewitt.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.