Everything is Loss
This was written in the fall of 2008 when we were on tour with Barlow Girl, living on a tour bus for 2 months.
Some of my favorite verses are Philippians 3:7-8:
“Whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of knowing Christ. What is more, I consider all things a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”
How sweet to be reminded that there is nothing greater than simply knowing Jesus; that knowing Him is not a means to an end, but the end itself. I LOVE these verses. They were on the back of my letter jacket, in my Facebook profile, and I have very often quoted them and identified with them. And although these verses were often an accurate picture of my heart, lately this has not been the case.
This season of my life has been extremely busy. I have spent most of the last 2 months on a tour bus with 11 other people, traveling to a different city each day on music tour with my husband, Jimmy, and a couple other bands. This has presented a number of challenges, but namely a lack of personal space and time, both of which are needed to meet with God. The only space I really have to myself is my bunk, which is about the size of a coffin and extremely dark. And the only time I have for myself is before noon each day.
I have experienced many failed attempts at meeting with God since being on tour. One morning, I woke up and got comfortable in the back lounge of the bus with my Bible, only to find others getting up shortly after who needed that space to change in. I moved to the front lounge, which was full of people watching TV, talking, and eating breakfast. Not quite the right atmosphere for getting alone with God.
Another morning, I slept in leaving just enough time to be taken to the hotel to shower before lunch. One day I decided to stay in my bunk and read the Word but soon fell asleep due to the dimmed lighting and the fact that I had to stay in a laying down position. Most days, I feel like my time disappears like the dew on the grass before I have even had time to think. Before I know it, it is midnight and the thought of God has rarely crossed my mind.
Just a couple weeks ago, these verses in Philippians came to my mind. I wrote this in my journal: “I say that everything is a loss compared to knowing You. But do I really mean that? How often do I suffer losses to know You more?” I began to realize that if I really want to know God more, I am going to have to make some sacrifices, experience some losses and make an extra effort to meet with Him.
So in the last week or so, I have tried to chase after God and find time to be alone with Him NO MATTER WHAT! And I have experienced some “losses” to be with Him. One morning, the only place I had to be alone was outside. So I sat outside in the parking lot of a church in 45-degree weather with my Bible and journal, ready to hear from God. It was a bit colder than I would have liked, and my butt was kind of sore from the concrete, and I even had to fight off a couple of spiders (which if you know me, scare me to death!). But it was a small price to pay to get to know my God a little better.
Another day, I was dropped off at a hotel with only an hour to myself before the day started. So instead of devoting the first 45 minutes to hair and make, I chose to sit down and talk to my Creator and give Him time to speak to me FIRST. The cost of my time with God: only 20 minutes left to shower and get dressed for the day. I didn’t get my hair or make up done nor did I have time to iron the shirt I wanted to wear. So although it was a makeup-less day and I didn’t feel that cute, it was a day that I had my eyes fixed on Christ and enjoyed talking with Him through the day. It was totally worth it!
Most often, what has hindered me from really meeting with God has been my to-do list. Unfortunately, the things that “have to get done” often defeat God in the battle for my time. School work, phone calls, laundry, cleaning, preparing food, shopping, packing, and emailing always seem at the time much more important than sitting down for an hour to talk with my Abba Father.
So in an attempt to put an end to this unfortunate event, I have begun to choose to sit with my God first and incur any losses that result. Some of these losses include missed phone calls, skipped meals, missed work outs, loss of sleep and fun trips to Starbucks with other girls on this tour. Although I would have really liked to go to Starbucks, it has been so much better to delight in the presence of my God, my first true love, daily and allow Him time to speak to me.
At first, the time I set aside for God wasn’t so sweet. It was more a choice to say, “YES God, you are greater than anything else, knowing you is worth any loss.” Some days, I sat and waited on God to speak to me but didn’t hear a thing. But, as I continue to readjust my daily priorities, the sacrifices I have to make every now and then seem less and less like losses.
This is the same phenomenon that happens when you start dating someone. The tiredness you feel in the morning doesn’t seem that bad when you have spent all night talking to the one you love. It’s considered a worthy cost to enjoy their presence. A friend of mine recently articulated to me that if our enjoyment of God doesn’t define our time with Him, time will. Simply put, when I spend time with God, unless I am enjoying Him, I will be watching the clock the whole time to see “when my 30 minutes is up.” But, when I am truly enjoying my time with God, I will sit with Him as long as I can. It becomes joy-based instead of duty-based.
It’s easy to forget about other things you have to do when you are enjoying the company of someone you love. You will push the limits of time, barely making it to classes, stopping the conversation just before your next appointment or phone call, all because you are enjoying their company so much. Ideally, this is how our times with God should be: governed by joy. Although it isn’t always this way, the more I choose God over other things, the more I experience joy-based times with Him.
Choosing Him is often as simple as giving Him time to speak to me by sitting still for 20 minutes, although I still have to ignore the bombarding sound of demanding to-do lists. Where I used to franticly be driven and pressured by the tasks of my day, I am now learning to be still and listen for God’s voice. I have learned to make God a priority in my time. I used to give Him the leftovers of my time after I handed it out to everyone else. Now, I choose to give Him the best of my time. Though I experiences losses for His sake, and it is well worth it. For “everything is a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord.”