Clear the Stage.

Life gets really clouded sometimes. For me, what this looks like is a devotion to the people around me rather than the One who created me. This leads to a lot of unintentionality and anxiety because my dependence has shifted from the One who is able to satisfy all of my deepest needs to quick fixes and immediate fulfillment. I drift further and further away from peace, joy and comfort and begin to feel the deep anxiety set in. A lot of past mistakes make themselves known again and whisper lies that say that I have already messed up too much, I’ve gone too far to turn back and my situation is hopeless.

But that’s just it. Those are lies. As I have had multiple conversations with multiple different people, I’ve realized that the action that it takes from me to reach a place of full trust in the Lord and a love for Him that outweighs everything else is to clear the stage. I got this terminology from a song by Jimmy Needham called “Clear the Stage.” This song talks about taking away every distraction and focusing on hearing from the Lord and spending deep intimate time with him, secretly. This concept of secrecy in my relationship with God seems awful at first. We are often discouraged in our walk if our private life does not match our public life, but I have learned from Jesus recently that secret time with the Father is necessary. In fact, Jesus set the perfect example by literally running away from the demands of life and going to His Father. He had to say no to people so that He could be rejuvenated by his time with God. This is the example that we should follow. It takes sacrifice and pain, but it is worth it. After all, He did the same for us.

A lot of the time, a private spiritual life vs. a public spiritual life can be seen as a negative thing. Our culture is so wrapped up in what we can share with others or post to social media, but what intimacy does that hold? Our relationship with the Lord should be scandalously desired and secret. We should not share every aspect of our quiet time with our earthly best friend. During this time with the Lord, we begin to trust more in him and our love for him grows bigger and bigger. This takes discipline. It means saying no to plans and saying yes to Jesus. It means praying when it’s the last thing you feel like doing. It means letting God take away your distractions, the things you put before Him. This is scary but worth it. In Needham’s song, the singer says, “Everything I put before my God is an idol. Everything I want with all my heart is an idol. Everything that I can’t stop thinking of is an idol. Everything that I give all my love is an idol.” What convicting words. Let’s desire the Lord and worship Him and only Him. Let’s make sacrifices that help us grow in our knowledge of Him. He is worth it, sweet friends, and He is all we need.

words by Clara Espe and photo by Camryn Reeves

19. Student at Ouachita Baptist University. Aspiring professional homework-doer. Lover of coffee, my hammock, autumn, 90s rom-coms, and my homeboy, Jesus. Resident of Arkansas.

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