By Matt Clarke
In today’s culture, it is easy to lose our identities in the shuffle of being busy. The culture in and around Dallas pushes us to be more, do more, get more, earn more, spend more, and go more. As a result, many people feel like they are failing, they are flailing, they are driven too hard, and are drowning under the pressure of performance, unmet and unrealistic expectations, and making lists for our to-do lists. In Psalm 127 though, we are reminded that “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who work labor in vain.” It is far too familiar and easy to become burdened and burned out, even by worthy causes, if we are not pursuing a deeper relationship with the One who sustains us. Eating the bread of anxious toil (Psalm 127) characterizes far too many of us instead of being nourished by the Bread of Life (John 6:48).
As believers in and followers of Christ, we know that being drawn into the alluring practice of higher performance and goal attainment can often push us further from God, our families, relationships, and purposes. It will happen without our permission if we lack discipline, direction, and intention. We are not made to burn out, and yet so many of us are running on fumes through the week and trying frantically and unsuccessfully to pull it together by the next Sunday. Chasing significance from both the world and Christian activities will remove our focus from the purpose of the cross, which is meant to invite us into meaningful, significant, and transformational relationships, first with God, then with others.
We are made to receive from God and in the overflow of our connection to Christ, pour ourselves out into the lives of others so they might experience comfort, healing, joy, grace, mercy, and love that surpasses understanding.
One of my favorite characteristics of our body is that we seek to operate as a family. We desire to build each other up, outdo one another in honor (Romans 12:10), encourage one another, push each other into deeper relationship with our Creator, mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice, and expand our family through discipleship and lengthening the cords of our tent (Isaiah 54:2) in our communities.
Many of us may come from families who struggled to care for us well, to meet our emotional needs, to support us, build us up, and make sure that we knew who we were. At Normandy, we want to be marked by the Holy Spirit who guides us as we connect as a family and have the Lord, as our Heavenly Father, meet our needs so that we might meet those of others in the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 1:23).
Our annual conference, Wired, helps us do exactly that.
Because we are biologically, emotionally, and spiritually wired for connection to God and others, we believe that the best way to understand who God is, who we are as a family, and the mission he has entrusted to us is to learn more about Him, together. As we understand more, we are able to practice applying the knowledge so that as a family we can care well for those inside and outside our church body.
In the latter part of the Psalms, the Israelites are beaten down. The culture in which they exist doesn’t favor them. Life, in general, was both disappointing and difficult for them. However, they were not defeated. There was One who favored them. The Lord. They were his chosen and so He promised in Psalm 125 to “surround his people, now and forevermore.” Their flesh wanted to despair, but their hope would not allow it. In Psalm 130, they were promised “plentiful redemption” because the Lord was for them. He saw their struggle, had compassion on them, and had a plan to provide for His children physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Much like the Israelites, we find ourselves beaten down by our to-do lists, our commitments, our work, and our responsibilities. We often sacrifice so much of ourselves on behalf of our busyness and schedules that we lose sight of the One who gives us rest, restores our spirits, and lifts our burdens (Matthew 11:30).
You have enough on your list. We are not inviting you to add one more thing.
Wired is an invitation into life, into connection, into family, into comfort, into healing, into peace, and into knowing God and our purposes more deeply and more clearly.