So this week I decided to do a little experiment. This idea was sparked in my mind after listening to a sermon centered around the idea of “dropping your nets” and following Jesus. Matthew 4: 18-20 says, “18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”
In the sermon, the word “net” represented the things in our life that distract us and may keep us from wholeheartedly following Jesus. If Jesus came up to you right now and said, “leave everything and follow me”, would you? Would you be able to drop everything and follow? Your possessions? Clothing? Expensive gadgets? Money? Your house? Your relationships? We like to think, “of course I would drop everything and follow… It’s freaking JESUS”. But when you really think about it, you may resist leaving some things behind. So the big question is…What are those things?
This stirred all sorts of thoughts in my head. I wanted to identify some “nets” in my life. The first thing I asked myself was, “when I feel dissatisfied, what are the things I turn to instead of Jesus?”. Many many things came to my head. I’m gonna be honest and vulnerable with you all right now. Two things I find myself turning to for instant satisfaction other than Jesus would be shopping & buying coffee. If I’m feeling down just popping into a store and “treating myself” to a new pair of shoes, or a nice iced latte sure hits the spot. There so many cute boutiques and coffee shops on my campus, that I find myself wasting a lot of time searching for that satisfaction that I know I will never find in any shop. Living in a first world country you can satisfy any want/ desire with the snap of a finger. It’s truly sad when you think about it. Sad and pathetic, yet very true.
So this week I decided to give it up. No shopping of any kind, and no buying coffee. I still drank coffee, but I would just make it myself. I wanted to remove two things that I turn to first before going to the Lord. I wanted to turn to Jesus first.
A week later: What I learned
Well…I realized I had a lot of extra time on my hands. The time normally used up waiting in line for 15 minutes at Starbucks, or carelessly browsing around a store was spent talking to God, reading a book, drawing, and hanging out with friends. It was like being given an extra hour of time in the day, even though I wasn’t given any more time than I normally have. I tried to focus more on seeing God in my everyday life rather than just when I read the bible, or go to church. This opened up my eyes. I saw Jesus in the exchanged smiles on the street, I saw Jesus in the warm sunshine, I saw Him through the brown leaves falling in front of my face, the sunbeams radiating through the tree branches, butterflies fluttering over bushes, and through the miraculous colors of the daily sunsets. I have been in awe of his glorious creation. His beauty and His voice are always there, calling out to me, but sometimes there are too many nets in front of me that I don’t even notice. My mind gets too clouded to hear his voice whispering my name. I don’t need to turn to material things to try to find instant satisfaction. Full satisfaction was right there in front of me and all I need to do is look up. Rather than turning to these material things, I turned to my loving Daddy who filled my heart with pure joy. A type of full and lasting joy no cup of coffee can provide. To sum this up, removing two things, that seem small and meaningless, from my daily routine pushed me to turn my heart to Jesus countless times throughout the day. Today I encourage you to identify a “net” in your life. Whether it’s something as simple as buying coffee or maybe going without social media for a week! (That’s my next goal) There are no wrong answers! By removing a net and looking up, you never know, you may experience God in a whole new way!
I wish you the best on this little challenge!