I had just come home to Romania from spending another 10-month stint in Africa, when I heard God calling, “Come aside by yourself to a deserted place and rest awhile” (Mar. 6:33).
Honestly, I was not happy about His invitation. I had always been a very active person. For the past five years, in fact, I had been working as a volunteer missionary in Guyana, Vanuatu, and Namibia. And I had loved it.
The reality was that coming home to visit my family each summer was hard, as I faced counter-culture shock and didn’t really feel like I fit in. So when God started calling me to rest from my missionary labors in Africa, He might as well have been giving me my death sentence. My whole life revolved around service. What was I to do now? I was really confused.
Reluctantly I obeyed God’s call, but it was not without arguing and many tears.
However, not long after, in the quietness of my grandparent’s home God began speaking to me. “Raluca, I want your heart, not just your service. I want to spend time with you. I miss the time we used to spend together.”
Suddenly it dawned on me that for the past five years I had been so busy working for the Lord that I had not really been taking time for Him. Oh, I usually had morning devotions, but it was often superficial and rushed. Prayer was more a monologue, giving God a long list of my needs and complaints rather than fellowship. In reality, I had been living for service, not for God.
To be honest, I was proud of what I’d been doing. Even though I came from a poor country and had no source of income, God had been providing. I was also proud that I was a single girl who dared to leave the comfort of her home and live in dangerous places as a missionary where not too many girls would dream of going.
However, as I sat in my grandparent’s home, I realized that my years in service had really been more about me, and not so much about Him. Service, not God, had become the lord of my life. And while it was a good lord, it was not the true Lord I should be following.
In Proverbs 23:26, God gives us an invitation, “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.”
Thankfully, I finally realized what I’d been missing in my life. I needed to re-surrender my heart to Him, learn to sit at His feet, and rebuild my relationship with Him. This required a change of focus and discipline in how I used my time, but wow, what a difference I experienced in my spiritual walk as a result.
It’s been almost five years now since I made this choice to spend more time at His feet, but to be honest, these last few years have been some of the best years of my life! God has exceeded all my expectations. I work in full time ministry once again, but now in ways I never imagined in my wildest dreams. I mean, if you’d known me in the past, never would you have guessed I’d one day be traveling, speaking and leading prayer and revival ministry in different places around the world.
But this is what God has called me to do, and this time, instead of it being about service and what I can do, it’s all about Him and what He will do. Truly, God has proven His promise, that He can do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20). I couldn’t be happier or more at peace than I am today. God is so good!
Heart Prayer Challenge
Father, thank You for calling us to spend time at your feet so we can know You better. Thank You for not giving up on us, even when we rush through our time with You or when we are more focused on our ministry than on you. So many things we justify doing that keep us away from you. Now as we begin this 100 days prayer journey, I pray that You will teach all of us how to truly put You first. Help us to surrender even the good things in our lives that have taken Your place that You, and not service to You, will be our Lord. Teach us to sit still at Your feet and learn of You. And then send us to those You want us to reach. Help us to work in Your power and not our own. Amen.
By Raluca Ril
(Raluca is passionate about God, prayer and mission work. She loves to cook, travel with her husband, and share God with others. She and her husband Roman have just finished a medical missionary training course and are excited about helping people find mental, spiritual and physical healing. She is also co-author, with her husband, of the Ten Days of Prayer materials for 2015/16.)