“True love is that which lasts in times of adversity.” -anonymous
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified…” 1 Thessalonians 4:3
I’ve taken a temporary hiatus in part because life feels crazy at the moment, and in other part because I felt like I was misappropriating my time. That being said, I’ve reevaluated things, and I’m back, at least for this post. 😉
I was really trying to do some soul-searching; figure out what I want to go to school to study, what I want to do as a career, how I’m going to pay for my education, etc. What I found out was that in spending so much effort thinking about the what-if’s and how’s and why’s, and when’s that I took my sight off of deepening my faith and in my morning devotions had just been going through the motions. So, I took a break from everything I felt was distracting me, and I set aside some time to really think on things. I came up with a few conclusions:
1.) God indeed has a will for me, and it is His intent that I discover what His will is for my life.
2.) In order to see God’s will, one has to be in close fellowship with God; I like the illustration of walking in pitch-black darkness, with only a lighter to lead the way- the closer to the light, the more you can see.
3.) My focus should forever be on the Lord and His teachings because that is my ultimate purpose- to serve and worship God, not to go to the right college, or get the right job, or have all kinds of money. My purpose is to be a servant of God and to His people during my time here on this earth. It is God’s will that I be sanctified, or set apart and dedicated to the Lord, not living consumed by the things and desires of the world.
It was made clear to me when I did this soul-searching that my priorities had slid out-of-order and I was trying to pile my goals on a stack of uncertainties. Imagine a large stack of books teetering as you try to carry them to the shelf; the stack goes up past your head and you can’t see where you’re going, all the while the stack of books sways unsteadily as you attempt to move forward. What happens then when you meet an obstacle you didn’t see coming because of the precarious book stack? You trip, fall, and books go everywhere. I decided to put down the books and discard the few that were blocking my vision. So I picked up THE book, God’s Word, the Bible and I started to read. God’s will is for me to be a servant to the least, to throw away my pride, anxiety, and selfish ambition and focus solely on Him. That is the ONLY way to learn and follow God’s will; to learn and follow God’s teachings. Then the Holy Spirit will reveal the Lord’s truths through scripture and study.
Would you all like to know what happened after my big, epiphany of letting go of the unnecessary and focusing in on God? I’ll tell you what happened…
I had been completely preoccupied with finding a way to pay for my schooling which I would like to start back to in January. Anyway, I had been filling out financial aid forms, surfing scholarship websites and looking for grants of any kind for which I qualified. Finally, I had enough of the exasperation of searching for “free money” for school and I just turned to God. I prayed, “Lord, I don’t know what you have in mind for me, but I’d really like to. I desire to further my education and get a good job. I know my motives tend to slip toward monetary and earthly things and I pray that you’ll guide my intentions and keep them pure. God, I’m tired of searching and coming up empty and I’m ready to let go, and trust that you’ll provide a way. Even if your answer is ‘Not now,’ or ‘Not this way,’ I will be content with your answer because I know that your way is always the best way. Lead me, God, and take this burden away from me. Amen”
Later that week, I was called for an interview with the county school board for a position as a substitute teacher. I had almost completely given up on that as a valid option seeing as how I had taken the class in July, and school has been in session for almost three months now. That only goes to show you that God’s timing is not the same as my timing and that when it’s the proper time, His plan will unfold.
As I sit and ponder the situation and my upcoming interview, I still wonder things like, “will this position pay enough to cover the costs of my tuition?’ or ‘Will I be able to handle the demands of the job AND the demands of school?’ and ‘If I have the opportunity to work full-time, should I take it and postpone my schooling until I’ve managed to save some more money and go back to school with my husband after he gets out of the corps?’ Following God’s will doesn’t mean you will stop having questions. If anything, closer proximity to the Lord has only raised more questions in my mind. Now that I know this, what comes next? But I think that’s the way God made us, so that we’d be continuously seeking HIS wisdom, and HIS insight, and HIS will because HE is the only one who can answer our plethora of unending questions.
“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
I decided today that I could either sit around with a sour look on my face, feeling sorry for myself, or I could choose to be proactive in my situation.
That being said, in a matter of hours, I filled out 2 more job applications bringing the grand total to 8. With my wisdom toothless husband needing squishy foods and myself in need of a little southern-style, home-cooked comfort food, I decided to pull my great granny Wilma’s noodle recipe out for some made-from-scratch chicken noodle soup 🙂
I’ve tidied up the living room, and gone in to “organization mode” with my monthly calendar and our various family events, and printed and clipped so many coupons from smart source coupons, and coupon bug.com that I actually made a use for the coupons for $2.00 off Ace brand braces and Aleive. 😉
So there you have it- I choose to be proactive. I choose faith over fear.
Divorce is our society’s emotional cancer, creating hate, rage, confusion, anger, and blame that turns into a monster. Those from divorced homes are at greater risk of going through divorce as adults. But with the right approach, you can overcome these odds.
– Ken Freeman, Rescued by the Cross
“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27
The affairs of my household have just become increasingly complex. And I confess, I may have nibbled upon the bread of idleness. Okay, I munched that bread down and washed it back with some chocolate procrastination milk. Not because I was intentionally choosing not to complete my daily household tasks, but more because I have no choice but to wait on conditional circumstances. I took advantage of that situation.
I admit that this whole buying a house thing is beginning to take its toll on my sanity. When I start to get overwhelmed, I find my butt gets planted on the couch, and I start trolling Facebook for entertaining posts as a way of putting off thinking through the bog of financial obligation and commitment into which we’re about to lunge. And in my defense, it works as a distraction and I’m able take my focus off the “pressing issues” and give my brain a moment of frivolity in an otherwise stressful process.
But today, as I was going over the mortgage packet and crunching the numbers, I was starting to feel Dread creep up my spine and try to choke out my brainstem. But I didn’t let it. Fortunately, my brainstem (and everything else) belongs to God. So I flipped open my Bible to Matthew 6:25-34. God has it under control. I don’t need to worry about where the money is going to come from, because God will provide a way for us. All we have to do is tighten the belt a little and we’ll be fine. And then the dream I had what seems like ages ago came back to me…
Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
All God asks of me is that I remain steadfast; faithful to his Word, and committed to living a life in righteous pursuit of his Son, Jesus Christ. He asks that I seek him in devotion and prayer. This world doesn’t matter; God will deal with the details. What he wants of me is faithfulness and service. And as long as I continue to live that, the rest will be “added unto me.”
I have to remind myself of this periodically. I tend to forget that I have my Heavenly Father laying out the plans and foundations for this life. I forget that it’s not up to me to control things. I forget that in surrendering my life to Christ, I’ve been given the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me in all that I do, so that worry, anxiety, dread, and fear no longer have a place in my life.
I’ve recently taken to “spiritual breathing,” with an exhale, confessing my sins to God, the very minute they occur to me- including sins of omission, as well as commission. And with my inhale breath, I ask God to fill me with the Holy Spirit, and lead me away from temptation; the temptation to be anxious, or the temptation to seize control from God. And I’ve found it works to keep me in line with what God wants for me.
You know how “they” say that the key to a good relationship is communication? Well, “they,” whoever “they” may be are right; and we’re foolish to think that the same doesn’t apply to our relationship with God. We have to communicate in prayer with Him if we want a successful relationship. We have to be patient and seek him if we are to hear his answers. And we have to ask for the wisdom to know when God’s telling us to wait, and the discernment to know the difference between our will and God’s. The Serenity Prayer comes to mind:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.