Her Story: Flexibility is Next to Godliness

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33 (ESV)

I stopped the vacuum in the middle of the living room, shut it off and said, out loud, “Okay, Lord, I think You’ve made me a speaker.” I waited for a moment. Silence. I turned the vacuum back on and continued my chore. I didn’t hear an audible voice, but I knew that He was impressing something on my spirit and mind. I’m not sure why God spoke to me that day in that way, but I won’t forget it.

For one thing, I didn’t get out of vacuuming. One job isn’t better than another. I just knew that for whatever reason He wanted me to keep speaking for Him, and in the meantime, housework was part of the deal.

I had begun speaking for my church and for a few other churches at that time. God was confirming a path that took a ton of work but offered a ton of joy. Just because God gives a gift, doesn’t mean it doesn’t take effort, preparation, and practice. I even attended a women’s speaker conference but didn’t get a lot out of it since I suffered morning sickness the whole week. Who knew that I’d have a “surprise treat” arriving in my 43rd year? I thought I was going to be a speaker. Instead, I was going to be a mother, again. Who had time for speaking?

Was I getting mixed messages from God?

Should I put away my notes and get a better vacuum? I wasn’t sure.

But I was sure of this: God made me the way I am, He was growing me into His likeness, in spite of myself, and serving Him in any way, shape, or form – and my form and shape did change – was my lifelong privilege. I went on to mother three daughters and spoke at women’s events when asked. I started a blog, developed an encouraging online community, wrote some books and courses and began a podcast. Not all at once, mind you. One book took three years. But looking back, I see God’s hand and leading. I’m glad I didn’t know what was ahead. (I may have only vacuumed!) But note, I didn’t get out of vacuuming. One job isn’t better than another.

Pursuing God helped me know the pursuits for which I was made. I get into trouble if I reverse the order. Jesus was very clear about this order. Matthew 6 was written for a woman, at least this woman–a redheaded California woman married to a man from Iowa who wears plaid, mostly: “Stop being anxious. You don’t know what’s coming. You don’t need to know what’s coming.” Hmm. A great word to the wise (who said I was wise?)

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, ESV).

What I love about this passage is that we are not just told what NOT to do – we are given something TO do: Seek first God’s kingdom. That’s it.
Seeking God’s kingdom first helps me figure out the pursuits God’s outlined for me.

What does that mean to you today?

It may mean to get out the vacuum (or your maternity clothes – bless you!) It may mean to get out of your comfort zone, or raise your hand when your Director of Women’s Ministry asks: “Who can teach this year?”

I’ve decided that “flexibility is next to godliness” – not cleanliness – although I need to be flexible enough to clean when it’s time to clean. By flexible, I mean, when God changes my course, I want to be ready to change with Him.

They say the older you get, the more rigid. I don’t want that to be me.

Instead, the closer I get to Glory, the more fluid I want to be in God’s kingdom. Click To Tweet

And to be so close to Him that I hear what He’s saying, even when it’s only a whisper.

My favorite To-Do List helps me seek God’s kingdom first:
1. Relate well with God.
2. Everything else.

These are some of my favorite “seeking God’s kingdom first” resources:
Face to Face by Kenneth Boa (meant to be read in 5-minute increments)
Daily with the King by Glyn Evans
My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers
Seeking God by Fenelon
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

So whether we are washing bottles, changing sheets, making tea for a neighbor, or writing an online Bible Study, you and I know God better when we seek Him first. And then we’ll know what to do next.

It’s all in the pursuit.

God, His kingdom, the next thing. And there’s nothing to worry about.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34, ESV).
(And its own dust in the carpet!)

Reflection Questions

What has helped you know how God wants to use you for His kingdom?

What does “seek Him first” look like in your daily life?

Prayer

Father, thank You for saving me. I’m nothing without You and all gifts are from Your loving hand. How would You like to use me today? Please help me listen close and be flexible for Your kingdom. Thank You and Amen.

 

26 thoughts on “Her Story: Flexibility is Next to Godliness

Michele

Sue, thank you for your reminders and circling us back to God’ greatest desire—Him first, then everything else. I am in a season of being a “Nangigi” for my three granddaughters. My assignment: Love God, Love others, which others right now are my family members—poopy diapers to blog writing, each assignment is seeking Him first and important.

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    Sue

    What a blessing! Three girls! A comfort to know it’s not the service but the seeking that counts in God’s economy.

    Reply

Jodie

Seeking him first looks like starting my day in his word. I’m not always alert but if I hang with it, He awakens my heart. This practice helps me carry conversation (continual prayer) with Him all through the day. Sue, your post encouraged my heart in so many ways. I ordered your book and I’m thoroughly enjoying in. I love gathering people around my table and miss it right now.

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    Sue Donaldson

    Thanks, Jodie! There’s no better way to start our day and no better thing to anticipate then the guests who will be around our tables again (someday!) Send me a favorite recipe of yours and I’ll share. I have a hungry audience. (:

    Reply

      Jodie

      One that always pleases and only has 3 ingredients: baked cream cheese
      1 block of cream cheese
      1 can crescent rolls or crescent dough if you can find it in the sheet
      Dill seasoning to taste

      Lay dough out flat. If using crescent roll dough smooth out the perforations. Place cheese in center of dough. Sprinkle cheese with dry dill seasoning. I use pampered chef mix or plain dry dill from seasoning isle. Fold dough around cheese, removing any excess. It should look like a neatly wrapped rectangle. Bake at 350 for 25-30 mins until golden brown. Serve warm with associated crackers or some enjoy just eating the cheese and bread. A fresh fruits selection is a good accompaniment.

      Reply

        Sue Donaldson

        Sounds divine – you use as an appetizer? yes sounds good w/ grapes. Thanks!

        Reply

          Jodie Whichard Barrett

          I do use it as an appetizer.


        Sue

        Making tonight!

        Reply

Cindy Wilkins

Seeking God first for me lately has been participating in online ministries like Sisterhood. They have stretched me in my re,action ship with Him and I’ve learned much from and been inspired by the women I’ve met through them. I’ve been struggling with not having a clear idea of what I’m called to do but thanks to the wisdom of your words I’ll begin to stop stressing, seek His Kingdom, and let everything else happen as it should.

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    Sue Donaldson

    Stress can be my middle name but also a reminder that I belong to God and I don’t need to stress. Bless you, Cindy, as you continue to know HIm and serve Him how He designed you to.

    Reply

Kelly Stanley

Sue, apparently vacuuming is a holy time. (So why don’t I do more of it?!) One of the times God spoke most clearly to me, I was vacuuming my house that I couldn’t sell for a rare house showing… and He told me to pray for the woman who would someday buy that house. Thus started almost two years of prayer before the house finally sold, and that story became the foundation for my first book, Praying Upside Down! So maybe I need to step away from the computer and go take care of the debris littering my living room carpet. Seriously, though, this is a really great post and valuable reminder to seek the Kingdom of God first and foremost, and the other things will fall into place. Thank you for sharing!

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Sue Donaldson

Hmm. Maybe it’s the white noise that vacuuming provides. Drowns out all but His tapping on my soul. Your book sounds fabulous. Thank you for coming by. (Upside Down Vacuuming perhaps?)

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    Mitzi

    I like that Sue! Vacuuming is the white noise that drowns everything else out while God is tapping on my soul. I long to please Him and work really hard at listening to Him. Sometimes I’m the girl who needs red lipstick on a billboard to help make the point, but I’m ready and waiting. Thank you for sharing these beautiful words with us. Hugs to you.

    Reply

      Sue Donaldson

      Thank you, Mitzi. God is pleased as punch with your loving heart. And I love your lipstick.

      Reply

Tara Horsley

By seeking God first through Sisterhood ministries..They have re-action inspired me to stitch through, and get to know women through Sisterhood. Getting in His word.To fill my through with His desires, to take His character for my pattern; and to serve and obey Him in everything. By giving him Frist place in every erea, of my life, As He manifests through me the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him, I most take the awesome responsible of being a unique distributor of the fragrance of Christ to everyone in my sphere of influence. By distributing His fragrance effectively requires, worship,witness,and walking worthy.It also requires me to dicover and develop my God give spiritual gifts. Yes I am willing to be a flagrantly spilled out to Him.

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    Sue Donaldson

    It is an awesome responsiblity, isn’t it, Tara? Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

nylse

God usually speaks to me over the kitchen sink while the water is running in the morning. But whenever he speaks I listen. It’s why I’m not too invested in my plans – I want to be flexible when I hear his voice.

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    Sue Donaldson

    Not too invested. Sounds smart to me. Thanks, friend.

    Reply

Amy Jung

I love Face to Face! Each person in our family has a copy! 🙂 Great post, Sue!

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    Sue Donaldson

    HI, Amy – thanks – yes, I’ve used it many years and keep giving it to folks!

    Reply

Michele Morin

I am definitely coming into a season of transition. I honestly don’t know what is next, and after 21 years of homeschooling I am ready to invite some flexibility into the room.

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    Sue Donaldson

    Ahh. I know the feeling. You might listen to my podcast with Pat Fenner – she wrote a book on that very thing: Empty Nesting for Homeschoolers. And she’s a peach!

    Reply

Tea With Jennifer

Great post Sue!
Q.1 What has helped you know how God wants to use you for His kingdom?
A. Knowing God always knows what’s best for me & that nothing comes to me but by His hand. I trust Him for His leading & direction in my life, ministry & relationships.
Q.2 What does ‘seek Him first’ look like in your daily life?
A. He is my first go to for & in everything, chatting in prayer to Him not just in our quiet time together but during the rest of the day. Following His lead/prompts in encouraging others. Being faithful in ministry even when feeling unwell (which is most days with chronic pain) through His strength & enabling.
Bless you,
Jennifer

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Sue Donaldson

And He’s pleased as punch with your seeking and pliable heart. Bless you, Jennifer!

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Maree dee

Sue,
My phrase for the year is “Seek God in Everything.” I can’t wait to look up a few of the resources you mentioned. I try to seek God first thing in the morning. However, I have to admit I started today reading your post. I am stopping now and redirecting.

Thank you,

Maree

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    Sue

    Redirecting needs doing all day long with three daughters and a wanna be contractor doing things I didn’t know needed doing. My prayer yesterday was, Lord help me find you in every aspect of my day. From Jesus Calling. I’ll use that again today. Thx Maree.

    Reply

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