What Occupies Your Heart?

God was teaching us the same lesson in different ways. From Casi:

I think the honeymoon in Japan is over. Last week, I, Casi, was feeling very tired and nauseous. Physical pain of pregnancy got blurred with emotional tiredness, which left me feeling mixed up and out of it. We've also been in Japan eight and a half months now which is a normal transitional time. Through all of this, it was hard to discern what was really going on in my body and my heart.

For a few days I began to think of things like "if we were in San Diego it wouldn't be like this" or "in San Diego we would have this." You name it, in my head I had concluded whatever the situation was in San Diego it would be better than Japan. I obviously recognize this as a lie. The truth is maybe some things, through human eyes, would be better. They definitely would be more comfortable.

I began to seek the Lord in prayer as to why I was feeling so yucky and if there was a connection to why I was looking back to the life I had in San Diego. During prayer I remembered when Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me more than these" (John 21:15). My intent here is not to do an exposition of this verse. In that moment I knew what God intended for me to hear. "Do you love me more than the life you had in San Diego?" To emphasize the point I could hear all those things I loved listed out. The Holy Spirit was saying, "The house, I gave you! Your neighbors, I gave you! Your friends, I gave you! The Friday night beach nights, I gave you! Your ministry I gave you! Those were all gifts I gave you! Do you love the gifts more than me?"

Sadly the answer was Yes. Unknowingly, I did love the comforts and ease more than God who gave them to me. I had made an idol of those things at that time in my heart. Even here in Japan, my heart desired those gifts, and I longed for that time again. It hurts to say, but it is the truth. I am humbled that God even revealed this to me. Through this truth I am not in bondage to the lie that life would be better somewhere else. Plus, I sense that after navigating life, especially while pregnant in Japan, I will have a much deeper faith, dependency and trust in Jesus than would have ever been possible if I was still in the States.

Even though I do recognize I am blessed with many provisions, being here is uncomfortable, but, for now this is where God wants our family and that's enough for me.

From Dan:

This past weekend I, Dan, preached a message at our church on "What occupies your heart?" It is funny, that as a pastor and preparing messages, God many times will place on my heart to teach about the very thing He is working in me. This was the case this past weekend.

Recently my focus has not been the Lord. Instead my focus had been on studying Japanese and "doing ministry work". This is always dangerous. I was replacing my time with the Lord with doing things for the Lord. I can say that this is not the first time that I have done this. Really, my focus had been placed on "things" and not on Him. In doing this I started to find myself getting tired and worn out. One can only go on so long by their own strength.

As I studied for the message and in seeking the Lord as to what He would have me preach on, it was clear--"What is occupying your heart?" In doing so I would have to be transparent and honest about my weaknesses and the "idols" that I had put over God. God is so gracious and patient. My time spent with Him was beautiful and precious. I pray that my focus stays on Him and He is all that occupies my heart.

Over the past 2 weeks, the song "Lay Me Down" by Chris Tomlin has been playing over and over in my earphones. It is not because of some awesome musical talent, but because of the lyrics that I have made as a prayer for my life.

All the lyrics have really stuck with me, but what he sings in the bridge has especially stuck with me. Tomlin sings:

"It will be my joy to say Your will Your way always."

I pray this song blesses you as it has me. (youtube video with lyrics below)