Friday, March 23, 2012

where i am.


The only thing I can say is that the Lord is more wonderful than we could ask for or imagine. There is absolutely no way that we can know where we will end up in life. It's funny how much I begin to fret when I don't feel like things are "coming together" (whatever that means). The plans that Harris and I had originally thought were going to be perfect for this next step of life did not pan out. We are somewhat back to square one. As you read before, as I was about to face this response, I wanted to make every effort to see both a "yes" as well as a "no" as God's provision; I didn't want to be discouraged if the answer was a "no". Well, I'll just be transparent, I was discouraged.

A good friend once told me, "All you can do is take the next right step." This is so true. For today, for this morning, and for any forseeable future, the only steps that are available for me to take concern my attitude and actions. I don't have any "open doors" at the moment to choose from, so I'll walk through the only "open door" that is always open to us: knowing Him and following hard after Him.

C.S. Lewis put it this way:
"God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing."

Aparently I have been blessed with many wise friends.. because I'm about to reference another good friend who counseled me in a different "life stage" when I was at a crossroads. She told me to seek after His face, not what was in His hands. Seek to know God not what God could do for me or give to me. So the only conclusion I can come up with is that God himself IS the blessing! Where we go or what we do does not matter - it pales in comparison to enjoying simply being His.

This picture spoke to me this morning. This is exactly where I am. Contrast this picture with the one I know you've seen before: the girl standing at a literal crossroad with signs pointing this way and that. She has a perplexed look on her face and seems very confused and frustrated. The girl in this picture is not walking down a path choosing right or left, she is not praying the question, "what next?" - she is enjoying simply being His



What a beautiful image. Wrapped up. Covered with the power that He has. Not a worry in the world. Also notice that the little girl is facing the bright side of the painting, the sun. Jesus is facing the dark side. He is protecting her from the darkness. I can't help but imagine that when He puts her down, He places her on the light side and sends her on her way towards His blessings. He does not allow her to see all of the things He is fighting so that she can be free. He faces the things in the dark so that His beloved can walk in the light free of worry or fear.

If I never made another choice, step, or decision in my life, I could be perfectly content RIGHT there.

Thank you, Jesus that the only happiness and peace we can experience is in You.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

wait.

I have been reading from an article this morning about the psychology of waiting. The article makes some points that I believe are true:
- occupied time feels shorter than unoccupied time
- people want to get started
- anxiety makes waits seem longer
- uncertain waits are longer than known, finite waits
- unexplained waits are longer than explained waits
- unfair waits are longer than equitable waits
- solo waits feel longer than group waits

and the one that I really connected with this morning:

- the more valuable the service, the longer the customer will wait

The more valuable the service, the longer the customer will wait. I had to repeat it. I thought about this concept in relation to real-life examples like waiting longer at a nice restaurant. I also thought about it in relation to seasons of waiting in my life. Waiting on the Lord to reveal His plan for my life. Waiting on the Lord to tell me where to go and what to do. It is so interesting to me that this article about how our brains are wired mentions that when there is perceived to be a valuable service, we will wait longer for it. Valuable service...

The Lord promises us many things (services) such as, "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you or forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:18), "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28), and one of my favorites, "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).

These are ALL extremely valuable "services" that the Lord promises. We do not deserve them. We did nothing to deserve a God who will always be with us and promises to love, protect, and care for us. I believe, however, that the greatest "service" that we could have ever asked for has already been given: Jesus died for us. We didn't even have to wait at ALL for that!  He lived a perfect life and then died so that we could go to Heaven. The "extras" that are promised us in the Bible are simply second-mile services that are gifts to us. Why then, is it so hard to wait? Why then, do I get impatient while I'm simply waiting for His direction in my life?

I suppose the article did not say how we would wait for valuable service. We will sometimes wait with bad attitudes or impatient hearts. I definitely fall into this category. We are sinful and we don't have the best attitude when we're waiting. One thing is for sure, however long it takes, I will always wait. The Lord, I know, has the best plans for me. They are worth waiting for. I may not do so with the best attitude or in the most graceful manner, but I'll wait longer for the most valuable services. If he can perform the greatest gift/service I'll ever receive (death on a cross), then I think I can wait on His direction for my life. Who knows better what I need than the One who made me?

Waiting. I think I can wait longer for the value of an infinite God guiding and leading my life.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

how it should be.

I am currently in the process of completing a task wherein its success, from the world's perspective, would be completely against all odds. When I look at the numbers, compare the notes, and get a wide-angle perspective, I can only see the potential for defeat.

I was thinking about the whole process of how my husband and I managed this particular decision, and I started to wonder, is this how God wants us to handle every decision in our lives?

The process began with a calling. Through surrendering our will to the Lord, we were able to hear and believe a calling from Him. We then began by praying; my husband and I have prayed about this task for as long as we've been married (I know, I know, a whopping 3 months! ha). We have been seeking the Lord's guidance in this area of our lives. We have been seeking counsel from those wiser than us. We have been seeking the good of each other throughout the process.

Side note: It has been fun to attempt something that because of the odds, we know that the only way that we will succeed is because the Lord moved in some magnificent way!

Now don't get me wrong, I am well aware of the fact that this could not end in "success". I am well aware that I could "fail" in this endeavor. However, in this particular case, I will not be thwarted. At least, I'll try not to be! I know that the Lord has plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future, and I will grasp tightly to this truth as I proceed, no matter the outcome. It has just been so cool to gain a new perspective on pursuing a goal in the way I think the Lord likes.

We cannot begin without praying hard to the One who can.
We cannot make it through the process without living in communion with the One who can.
We cannot succeed without the One who can.
We cannot take the glory, but give it to the One who can.

We must let go of control and let Him work. We know that the Lord could direct us differently than we thought because we are fully aware that we do not know how He works. It is just fun, yes FUN, to be able to know that this task is well beyond my reach. I'm relying solely on the strength and power of a HUGE God. I cannot wait to see how He will show up.

The verse that is on my heart through this waiting period is:
Hebrews 11:1 - "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

I'm not claiming to have a great faith by any means, but I know that I am sure of what I hope for in this circumstance and I am certain that the One I cannot see is powerful enough to make it happen.

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[Further reading if you're into that type of thing:]

I found a commentary when I looked up Hebrews 11:1 and I found it really interesting and I hope that one day you'll get the chance to experience what this is talking about:


The definition of faith given in this verse, and exemplified in the various instances following, undoubtedly includes justifying faith, but not directly as justifying. For faith justifies only as it refers to, and depends on, Christ. But here is no mention of him as the object of faith; and in several of the instances that follow, no notice is taken of him or his salvation, but only of temporal blessings obtained by faith. And yet they may all be considered as evidences of the power of justifying faith in Christ, and of its extensive exercise in a course of steady obedience amidst difficulties and dangers of every kind. Now faith is the subsistence of things hoped for, the evidence or conviction of things not seen - Things hoped for are not so extensive as things not seen. The former are only things future and joyful to us ; the latter are either future, past, or present, and those either good or evil, whether to us or others. The subsistence of things hoped for - Giving a kind of present subsistence to the good things which God has promised: the divine supernatural evidence exhibited to, the conviction hereby produced in, a believer of things not seen, whether past, future, or spiritual; particularly of God and the things of God.

 LOTS to be learned from that little excerpt, but I know the Lord will show me (and you) more if I (we) seek after it.