So, have you ever walked into your house after a long day, looked around, and thought, “How in the world did this BIG mess get in MY house??” I had this thought just the other day, and it made me began to think of the connections to my spiritual life. Have you ever gotten to a point in your own life and thought “How did MY life become such a BIG mess??”
In my house, the messes come when one person leaves something out instead of putting it in its place. Then, someone else does, and then someone else. You get the idea. After a while, these little compromises become an avalanche of clutter that needs to absolutely be cleaned. I think to myself, “You know if you just cleaned it up as you go, this would not happen…..”
Messes in our lives are exactly the same way. Some challenges that come into our lives are completely out of our control and catch us completely by surprise. We feel like we have been blindsided, spun around, flipped over upside down and inside out. Yet, other times, these challenges come from the little messes that become medium messes, that become large messes, that then become an out of control mega mess. How do I stop this pattern and learn to clean as I go in MY life?
The scripture that keeps running through my mind is from Psalm 139. The key verbs are search, know, try, know (again), see, and lead. It starts with searching and ends with leading. Isn’t that what we want Father to do….search us, know us, and ultimately lead us??
Psalm 139:23-24 (NAS)
23Search me, O God, and know my heart ; Try me and know my anxious thoughts ; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
When translated in Hebrew, “hurtful” means: pain, sorrow, idol, and “way” means road, path, journey, course of life, or direction.” I want Father to look and see if there is pain or sorrow that may come from a choice I am making, or an idol that I am worshipping and putting before Him that will bring sorrow or pain. When choices I make lead me in a direction or on a journey that will take me to a place I never intended to be, I want Father to show me. Yes, it may be painful. Yes, it may require that I make changes in MY plans for MY life, but oh the pain and sorrow that I will not experience makes it all worthwhile.
My prayer for each and every one of you reading this is that when these challenges or messes enter into our lives that they will never turn into a MEGA mess. I pray each day that your mind is showered with truth and full of His grace. Ask Him each day to search you and to know you. When that anxiety begins to rise, ask Him to show you why it is there. Let Him lead you and guide you. Letting go of our plans can be hard, but in the end it will bring joy and peace we could have never imagined of dreamed of.
During our Unglued Bible Study, Lysa Terkeurst had us reflect on others who are affected by our decisions. That made me think about how my decisions not only affect my children and husband but my children’s children will be impacted as well. It is amazing that when I am asking Father to search me that ultimately it will impact my children and their children. I want them to walk in truth and to lean on Him. I know you want that too.
Remember dear sisters that you are loved!!
Become … a short but beautiful word. As I thought about this word something drew me into it. Something simple. Something so simple that most of us can’t even see it. Something like… the syllable. Yes, I’m talking about the dividing line that separates the word “become” into two words “be” and “come.” Then I knew. I knew that this is where it all begins…the journey. And your journey begins with…”Be.”
“Be?” Yes. You see your journey begins here because you became. You became because the most powerful force in the universe designed, constructed, and patterned your very existence out of the particles of dust from the earth. He, Almighty God, formed you and gave you radiant physical attributes that were carefully thought of. Attributes that He patterned after your mom and dad whom He also created.
David, a man after God’s on heart, said in Psalm 139:13-16…”For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”
This Designer skillfully created everything that you are. Your personality, what you like and don’t like. He knew what would make you happy, what would make you sad, what you would be afraid of, and most importantly…what you would become. He brought you into being hoping that you would simply…come.
Would you come to the one who designed you? Would you draw near to him in your distorted view of what he created you for and allow him to reform that view into what it was intended to be. The view that you were uniquely designed for a God given purpose to simply…become.
Become all that He designed you to be…to be like Him, to know Him, to follow Him, to worship Him. He brought you into being to come unto Him.
So…as you journey, be …and know that the Almighty God perfectly designed every part of you; as you journey, come … and he will give you an abundant life; as you journey, become … more of Him. The created ... in the likeness of the Creator.
Reading between the lines,
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28) I love this verse! But I really only began to understand it in the past few years as circumstances that in no way were “good” came into my life.
There was a point during the toughest times when I hated that verse. How could good come from what has happened to me? This is just NOT GOOD, God! I can’t ever imagine seeing good in the things that my family has had to go through. Those words became a part of my prayer life at that time, and sometimes I was ashamed to say those things to God. But, as I was honest with Him, He showed me something in that verse I had never noticed before.
It does not say all things ARE good. They just aren’t. To pretend so would be to believe a lie. But when I really listened to the words, I learned that though the circumstance was not good, it just might work together FOR MY GOOD as I choose to love Him and follow His Purpose for me. And, when faced with a challenge, we can respond in a way that shows His good to the world.
How does the good happen? Who does it happen to? Well, second half of the verse is clear: “those who love God and are called according to His purpose." Recognizing the good and fully receiving it are directly tied to loving and following Him. So, even though life was NOT GOOD, I had to choose to love the ONE WHO IS GOOD and focus on HIS GOOD PURPOSES. Easier said than done, and I have not always gotten it right, but progress is progress, imperfect though it may be. As I purposely and intentionally made the choice to love and follow regardless of how I felt, amazingly enough, the good did come! Not by a change in my circumstances, but because of those circumstances. So many people – family, friends, even total strangers became the arms of Jesus as they wrapped me and my family in hugs and spoke words of encouragement. Being loved like that is an amazing feeling.
But even then, the greatest good came during the time when I felt all alone, when I had no one else but God to turn to. HE WAS THERE, right beside me. Walking through it all with me. I think God knew that in some way, I needed to “lose it all” to truly find Him. I needed to be in a place where He was my only source of hope, peace, comfort and JOY. Joy in the midst of my challenges and suffering, not joy in their absence. Joy in Who He Was, not in what I was going through. The struggles brought me to a place of utter dependence on God, and that has been good, VERY GOOD. Without the struggles, I would have never been in that place to trust so fully and completely. Looking back, I know that it was not that things were good, but that God used those things to bring good to me, to grow my faith and character in ways nothing else could. To make me who I am today.
This is the epitome of God’s amazing mercy – making good come from the bad, making beauty from our ashes, trading our mourning for joy, giving a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (see Isaiah 61:3). I love how my daughter's Bible, the Jesus Storybook Bible, puts it: “Jesus makes sad things come undone, and death come untrue." Mercy brings hope, and hope brings a new perspective and attitude.
The song “Fall Apart” by Josh Williams is easy for me to identify with. The chorus says: “My whole world is caving in, but I feel You now more than I did then. How can I come to the end of me and somehow still have all I need? God I want to know you more! Maybe this is where I start. I find You when I fall apart.”
When life gets challenging, my prayer is that you will FIND HIM. Find the God who loves you, has good plans for you, and is always there. Find your Savior, the Friend of Sinners. Find peace knowing that even in the challenges, God has power to bring good. Allow Him to use the challenge to chisel away the things in your life that keep you from being a Masterpiece.
Rejoicing in His Goodness,
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
What does your life look like? Does it look like you expected it to look at this stage of it?
Maybe you are in the middle of a situation right now. Maybe you just can’t seem to shake those negative thoughts from your past and fear-based worries for your future. Maybe you KNOW all the "right" things and all the "right" scriptures, but you just can’t wrap your arms around them to make them a reality. If that's the case, then ... CHOOSE HOPE!
Jesus is not a magic potion. You don’t become a Christian and never have another problem. You can’t just say, "I believe in Jesus" and magically everything in your life is now clear. We aren’t promised everything will turn out the way we expect. And I'm not encouraging you to wish for some magical change to take place. On the contrary - I'm challenging you to be proactive with your life and to Choose Hope grounded in Christ as your Foundation.
We won’t have all the answers and we won’t find some new and perfect equation to solve all the problems in our lives. But, what I know we can all Choose Hope.
When you struggle with guilt from the past, choose hope. When you struggle with fears about the future, choose hope. When you can’t yet believe and claim the promises you read in the Bible and hear about from others, you CAN choose hope.
Take responsibility for your life and Choose Hope. Put your hope in Jesus and He will carry you when you can’t take another step. He will set you on solid ground and help you build anew. He will guide you along the path of becoming and give you strength to make the best decisions. He will teach you how to fly again and will even breathe new air under your wings.
He’s cheering for you,
even when nobody else seems to be.
And like Kari Jobe's song, "Steady My Heart" says, "Even when it hurts, even when it’s hard, even when it all just falls apart. I will run to You, 'Cause I know that you are, Lover of my soul, Healer of my scars.
You steady my heart!"
Choose to let Him steady your heart today!
Thanks for being a part of my journey!
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