Reluctantly Included

“Just as you can identify a tree by its fruit,

so you can identify people by their actions.” Matthew 7:20

I awoke from my dream, my chest heaving with great gasping sobs. Although grateful that the reality I had just experienced was not mine, it was deeply disturbing. Due to the significance of its message, I felt it was from God. In the dream, I had purchased a ticket at the invitation of my daughters to attend an event of some importance for them. Although the ticket had been expensive, I was pleased and excited to share this experience with them because their busy adult lives leave little room for us to have “girl time” these days. However, after purchasing my ticket, unbeknownst to each other, they had come to me, one-by-one, to advise me of the things they did - and did not - want me to say and do while I was in public with them. With sickening awareness dawning, I realized I had been included in this event due to a sense of obligation rather than as someone they truly wanted or preferred to have there. Hurt, angry and brokenhearted, I wondered what I had ever done to make them feel embarrassed or ashamed of me? How could we have gone from the close, loving family we had once been, completely involved in each others’ lives, to this? Now that they were providing for themselves, they no longer needed me in their lives. Instead, I had become just one more burden to “deal with.” My thoughts full of hurt feelings, I quietly slipped away without even telling them I was leaving, wondering when I would see them again, and not sure I even wanted to. They were my children; the people I loved and preferred to spend time with over anyone else in the world. But they obviously no longer felt the same way about me. After all, people make room in their lives for what they really want.

Waking from that horror, my first reaction was to ask God why? What was the meaning behind it? I was desperate to know if it was a word given specifically for me because of something I had done, or more likely, had failed to do for Him. Quietly, He whispered, “This is how my children treat me.” Although He sacrificed everything – His very life – for us, many barely even acknowledge Him, much less include Him in our daily activities. We regularly go about our self-sufficient lives, relegating Him to hidden moments of quiet desperation when we are hurting, sick, or need something we cannot get for ourselves.

Our primary purpose – the reason God created mankind – was so He could have an intimately personal love relationship with us. His greatest desire is our ultimate privilege: intimate face-time with the Creator of all that exists - the one who longs to be our closest friend. He wants us to know Him so well we don’t have to question if it is His voice we are hearing. He wants us to trust His heart and His intentions so thoroughly that we do not hesitate to obey when He asks us to do something. When He gives us an opportunity to serve Him, it is only so He can bless us with something we could not get any other way. There is nothing He cannot accomplish on His own; He doesn’t need us. But we need Him…far more than we realize. His presence is the sweetest thing I have ever experienced, and His love is the greatest power this earth has ever known. His invitation for us to live in His presence and walk in the power of His love is open-ended. He is waiting for you every morning to make room for Him on your calendar. Just look up, open your heart, and invite Him to join you. It will be the best thing you have ever done.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the reassurance that You truly love me and will hear my every prayer, that You care about every aspect of my life, and that Your greatest desire is for me to spend time with You every day. Open my mind to fully comprehend the vast privilege I have as Your child, and help me grasp the awesome power of Your Holy Spirit that lives within me…the same power that split the Red Sea, raised the dead, healed lepers and calmed raging storms; the same power that caused demons to quake in fear and beg for release as they acknowledged Your sovereignty. My mind cannot comprehend love so amazing. Help me believe more fully, trust more deeply, and love You more completely as I begin and end each day in Your presence, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Additional Scriptures:

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:22-24

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3:14-21

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