Our COMMITTED group had been apart for a couple of months, so to reconnect us at our last meeting I asked everyone to bring an item that represents where they are in their walk with the Lord, and an item to represent where they would LIKE to be with the Lord.
I always enjoy this exercise because it is not invasive but still reveals much about each person.
My girls were creative, as always, and brought interesting items. A watch, a pull-up, a plant, curly ribbon, a juice drink, and Rolo's to name a few!
They presented their items, explained them, and then offered more details and depth when answering our questions.
This activity is always light-hearted and fun - and - purposeful.
Spending time together as believers is always a good thing, but spending time confessing sin, encouraging one another, and praying for one another is better.
And that is always our goal for COMMITTED: To leave each other with a desire to read the Word, pray, and love God more than we did when we arrived.
My time with these young women is such a blessing!
So - why the pillow and the hammer?
Those were my items. Quite a dichotomy, yes?
The hammer represents where I am in my walk with the Lord.
Toiling. Laboring. Striving.
I keep swinging the hammer over and over again expecting different results. Problems will be solved. Attitudes will improve. Habit will become passion.
But nothing changes. I just keep swinging, getting one nail secured only to find three more that must be thwacked into place.
It is exhausting, and fruitless.
And the whole time I am breaking a sweat with the cold, hard hammer in my grip, I can see the soft, fluffy pillow in the corner of my eye.
The pillow represents where I WANT to be with the Lord.
Content and secure.
Trusting the One who holds me close as I nestle in the pillow that rests against His strength.
But the truth is, there is comfort in the swinging and striving - because I am in control.
I decide when, where, and how hard to swing. Forget the fact that the Lord is continually clearing His throat in my ear asking, "Are you done wasting your time yet, daughter? I have a better way."
"You mean there is something better than endless toil, failure, and defeated pride? Who wouldn't want to exchange waste for profit?"
As appealing as the pillow is to me, however, there is risk in resting on it.
When I am in pajamas, cozy, relaxed, and asleep - I am vulnerable.
I have no idea what is happening in the next room, let alone out in the world.
I cannot make decisions, veto ideas, share my opinion, or get my way.
I am asleep! Completely dependent on the one who is awake, alert and aware.
The only thing I can do - is TRUST.
When I have the hammer in my hands I don't have to trust. I am making all of the decisions - even if they are terrible ones. There is an illusion of control - and it is comfortable.
But 'comfort' is not what God has promised me.
Control has never been offered.
I hate that I keep swinging my hammer. I hate that I even own one.
But - I take comfort in the fact that I also own a pillow!
I may not use it enough, and I may not always recognize the value of surrendering to its comfort, but it is in my possession - and that is a start!
Lord, break my desire for toil and striving, and teach me how to surrender to the safety and security of Your rest.
Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23