As we enter the home stretch of summer, is your scurry crowding out your stillness? Is life’s hurry overtaking His holy hush? If the answer is YES to these questions, then this month’s Heart of Womanhood blog is for you. After spending years pouring into our children, “there’s truly no greater joy than to know that our daughters are walking (and resting) in God’s truth.” What a delight it is for me to now sip soul-refreshing truths from the overflow of our own daughters’ hearts! This well of biblical truth was penned by one of our three Jesus-lovin’ Wigginton daughters. Take five minutes to step into Tori’s boat and let our Savior calm your soul.
Live fully in the perfectly imperfect present
I have always been captivated by the power of words and their ability to convey the deepest layers of thoughts and emotions, the widest range of human experience, the most vivid windows into souls carefully crafted by the Creator. This love for words has led me to a career in English education where I have gotten to experience the power of words alongside hundreds of high school students. However, I have found that while it is a beautiful gift to be swept into the current of the words of others that inspire, instruct, correct, entertain, or enlighten, God has given each of us words of our own to bring Heaven to earth, echoing the Lord’s Prayer
“Your kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven” (Mat 6:10).
I have learned over time that my tendency is to hear and read the words of others, draw wisdom and encouragement from them, and quickly run to the next social engagement or obligation, all the while attempting to maintain a carefully crafted image of perfection. However, in this season of my life, Jesus has gently, lovingly, and consistently reminded me to embrace rest and to live fully in the perfectly imperfect present, using my words to bring the heart of my Savior to the lives of those around me. Jesus strengthens me to resist the urge to sprint to the next distraction or to discount my voice because of the inadequacy that is all too apparent to me in my perfectionist tendency. He beckons me to allow His Word to take root in my heart so that His words become my own, whether spoken or written. So I find myself here, sharing through imperfect words a lesson the Lord has revealed to me in His kindness…a lesson of valuing presence over perfection.
Jesus patiently pulls me back to the present
I think back to many of my stubborn childhood moments when I would learn the same lesson over and over from parents who were far more patient than I deserved, and I see much of the same girl in me now. Jesus patiently pulls me back to the present when I pack my schedule with people and events, becoming lost in the blur and the striving, missing the beauty of each conversation, each child of God looking back at me, each opportunity to see the fingerprints of God surrounding me. It seems that nearly every Christian book that has deeply compelled me in the past few years has covered this topic (Present Over Perfect, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, Garden City, Abide in Christ, Rest and War, and One at a Time to name a few). The words of each of these authors have drawn me back to the fundamentals of being a disciple of Christ: living as He did, which means drawing from a well of rest to live spiritually awake to every moment- one person, one conversation, one decision, one moment at a time.
In college, I followed a predictable cycle of wanting to do everything with everyone at all times, not wanting to miss a moment of fun. However, when a plan would fall through and I was left alone with my thoughts, an open Bible and journal, and a pretty landscape view, I would be reminded of the gift of peace, of silence, and of solitude. That time with the Lord would strengthen and equip me to live out of a space of rest- soul rest. My striving, perfectionist tendencies would give way to a spirit that did not need to say the most words, see the most people, or squeeze every happy experience from every second of the day. Because of the rhythms of rest breathed over the waters of my spirit by my Savior, I was able to simply be present and embrace each imperfect moment as the Spirit led.
Let His rhythms of rest breathe over the waters of your Spirit
So, we’ve gotten this far, but if you’re like me, you can get lost in a beautiful hypothetical concept and need some practical reminders to apply. I have personally found that what helps me be most present, most alive to the power of the Spirit throughout my days, is intentional time with the Lord. For as long as I can remember, thanks to my parents’ guidance, I have had nightly time with the Lord, my “quiet times” where I read, journal, and pray. While these times are beautiful and necessary, what consistently renews my focus and perspective and multiplies my spiritual fruitfulness is when I intentionally schedule weekly “dates” with Jesus. While this practice has been more consistent in some seasons of my life than others, I have noticed that this time with the Lord- carved out of the usual busyness in my days- has been essential to developing a true relationship with my Savior, allowing my spirit to know His. It reminds me that embracing intimacy with the Lord is just like any other earthly relationship; it is not the by-product of margins and leftovers but rather intentional, sought out time.
Matthew 11:28-30 echoes His invitation to us, “Are you tired? Worn out?…Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Eyes for the one
The beautiful outcome of this well of time spent with the Lord has been eyes that see others as He does. I have been convicted recently of the fact that when we look at the life of Jesus, He did not get overwhelmed by or lost in the need to do everything, with everyone, and for everyone, at all times. He first prioritized time with His Father, then He lived life- as Kyle Idleman wrote in his book One at a Time– “with a zoom lens.” Each circumstance in which Jesus would find himself resulted in a life that was personally and permanently touched by His presence and His compassion that compelled him to lovingly draw near. As we seek after Christ, this should be what is true of us. No matter how stimulating the circumstance, may we have eyes for the one.
Cease striving and seize the gift of each day
So that, my friends, has been the messy lesson I have learned over and over again. My imperfect words strung together to convey a spiritual discipline that is ever so challenging if you are wired anything like me. Whether you are a momma or a daughter reading these words as summer comes to a close and a new season approaches, my prayer is that through consistent, vulnerable times of rest with our Savior, your spirit is strengthened to “cease striving,” to resist the urge to get lost in the pursuit of busyness and perfection, and to live with intention, eyes wide open to the present- to the people who need what the Spirit has implanted within your heart, however imperfect you feel your gift is to offer. When I was young, my momma shared with my sisters and I a phrase that I immediately loved: the Latin phrase “Carpe diem” which is translated “Seize the day.” While my first and strongest instinct is to use that phrase to fuel and justify my love for busyness and adventure, over the past few years, I have learned it should mean far more. When we live spiritually awake to the gift of each day, one imperfect moment at a time, in Christ our days will amount to far more than we could ever ask or imagine.
Living in His Presence in the Present,
So mommas and daughters, before we set sail into this next day and season, let’s intentionally set aside and seize holy moments for Jesus to still our souls. Heart of Womanhood Bible Studies are specifically designed for imperfect moms and daughters like us to develop the rhythms of grace that draw us closer to Jesus and each other. Like my daughter, Tori, as we draw from His well of Truth together, God’s Spirit will empower His imperfect girls to live embracing His Presence more fully every day. To seize the opportunity to enjoy intergeneration Bible Study together this fall, go to www.heartofwomanhood.org TODAY!