Pursue Jesus

"I don't want to pursue anything but Jesus, not even ministry."

This is something that is consistently on my heart as I go throughout my days. I think a lot about "ministry"- ministry meaning living out the gospel and the Scriptures day in and day out. I also mean specific things/organizations I'm a part of from my job at Central, running Intimacy, being a part of Masterpiece Conference and writing songs/leading worship. I think about ministry in these contexts often- how can I be doing it better? How do I really practically live out the Scriptures I'm reading and how do I encourage other girls I meet with to live it out in the stage of life they're in? I can easily get caught up in "steps" or "processes" of how to do something the "right way" (or at least as I picture it). "I want to steward what I'm given well" is a phrase I'm often talking with others about or asking the Lord how to do in my prayer times. I really do want to do the best I can with what I've been given- I think this is a really great desire, but often I let this desire be what my heart is pursuing and Jesus is left to the side. When in reality, all I need to be doing is thinking on and pursuing the Lord.

All other things will follow.

God honors those who pursue Him with a pure heart.

Scripture says that we are to set our minds on the Spirit, which is life and peace(Romans 8). I can easily see the opposite of life and peace all around me when my mind is set on other things. Even though thinking about how I can be doing things better can be really good and lead to knowing Jesus more, I know myself and I am really prone to being more concerned with doing things right than with just following Jesus. I have to remind myself so much when I'm thinking on ministry (in relation to my job and the other things I'm involved in) that if I'm not thinking on Jesus more than what I can do better, it is all in vain. It's really hard for me to let that go and trust Jesus with the outcome. I want to work hard and see the outcome I expect, not simply obey what the Father is telling me to do and trust Him with the results. Lord, help me let this go.

I've been to a few different conferences specifically geared towards people in worship or ministry leadership. I've been really encouraged in some of them and, unfortunately, really discouraged in some as well. Usually the discouragement kicks in when half way through a talk when I realize that Jesus hasn't been the focus of the teachings/ breakouts, but rather how to do _____ well. Of course, the foundation is all in pursuit of making Jesus known and bringing His kingdom on earth- I'm all for that- but I just think that a lot of our time we spend talking about steps to grow our ministry, we should just start with talking about Jesus; pursuing Him and prayer. It's out of all of this that ministry thrives and feeds off of.

There are so many women I've read about, from Amy Carmichael, Emma Booth Tucker and Corrie Ten Boom, who have had such massive influence on generations of women that have lived this out so well. There writings consistently point to dwelling and thinking upon Jesus. As they did this, they got to be a part of what God was doing around the world and in their homes. As these women pursued Jesus, obeyed and trusted God with the results of what He put their hands to they saw Him do things through them they never thought imaginable. Oh, Jesus, let it be in my life! At the end of my life, like Samuel the prophet, I want to be able to stand up before all the people I've had the honor of leading in small or big ways in confidence that I've done and led them the way the Father would want me to. I think this only can come in pursuing Jesus first...and by "I think" I mean I know and have seen it in the Scriptures and in the lives lived before me.

Lord, help my life be about pursuing you and nothing else. I trust that all you want for me will follow. Help redirect my eyes, heart and mind when it's dwelling on anything else but you.