Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 24- Once You Get to Your Promised Land...

There is something to be said for that moment when you can confidently and honestly say, “I’m OK.” It is the greatest sense of freedom.

Even if your promised land still seems so far away, you know that you are content with where God has you because your hope, faith, trust, and whole heart abides with Him.

We’ve taken the last 23 days to look deeply into what that entails, so going forth, I thought it would be beneficial for us to look at keeping our focus on being content even when we’ve reached our promised land. The earthly promised land, that is.

Over coffee a with a dear friend a few months ago, chatting about life, she made the statement: “You know, I’m finally in the best place I’ve ever been and I’m just so grateful to not have to be begging God each day to keep me afloat.”

While I sat, listening with happiness and a grateful heart for my friend, who’s endured a tough journey for the last 2 years, part of me cringed that her perspective was that she could take a sabbatical for approaching the Lord with desperation in her days ahead.

The hard truth of the matter is, our promised land experience could end tomorrow. Especially if we haven’t learned the lesson of complete dependence and surrender in our journeys of not OK. Remember, our seasons of not OK are not accidents. They’re appointed by God to draw us to His feet and open our hearts and minds to the simple.

Even in our season of contentment we should hold on, stand tall, and pursue Him with the same desperation we were faced with in our season of not OK. This is hard, I know. But isn’t He worth pursuing regardless of our circumstance?

I have had some of my most beautiful cathedral moments when everything in my life was right, still, and peaceful because my heart could appreciate all the more His grace, sustainment and power in holding me there.

The promised land is just as important as the journey that took us there.

Sometimes I think we treat our satisfaction with God much like a buffet. We keep making just one more trip to the line, piling up our plates, looking for anything that will fill the craving… hoping something more will be forthcoming. Rather than laying down our fork, pushing back from the table and giving thanks for what’s been provided. If nothing else comes Lord, I’m full and thank you.

Being satisfied with our niche in life, trusting that He has everything under control no matter what comes, requires extensive focus and attention on Christ. Colossians 3:15

We’re going to journey through the rest of our 30 days, honing in on that together. I hope you’ll stick with it!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 23- It Really is OK

Ann Voscamp says something that has managed to stick with me. Life is not an emergency.

We were in the grocery store and I made the mistake of letting Harrison get out of the cart. He, sister, and the buggy just weren't getting along. This was one of those, "Fine, have your way" moments for me. 

There was too much to accomplish and not enough time nor sanity. In turning my back for one second, I hear it. The loud crash that I was pretty sure sounded like broken glass followed by my informant daughter gasping, Oh. No. Mommy! Look what Harrison did! 

The finger pointing, the stares, the shards of glass around him... It was all too much. And so came the wails. 

I wanted to break too. I mean, "ain't nobody got time for this." Somewhere between yelling, Clean up on isle four, and rushing to my boy I felt this wave of grace overcome how my flesh wanted to react. 

He's not hurt- I remember thinking. That's a good thing. Thanks God. 

He isn't defiant and he knows he has done wrong. The tears streaming down his soft cheeks and look of remorse say this much. 

And then I remember the words again... Life is not an emergency. 

So I scoop him up and hold him- and life- mindfully. Intently.

It was an accident buddy, it's OK, I whisper. But let's get back in the buggy now!

And he sits. Happily this time because He knows... His way isn't really better. 

I took this as such a picture of our faith walk with Christ. We kick, scream, and sometimes thrust to have our own way because we're certain that it's better than being where we are. And so He lets us choose, sometimes giving us over to our sin and the urge to fight Him out of our season of discontent. 

Then somewhere along the way we see Him through the shards of broken dreams scattered around us and we understand. He knows best. I'm ready to sit now, Lord. And be content with you.

Because it really is OK. And life is not an emergency. 

I took in that little cathedral moment fully because I was truly amazed at how He helped me to remember with my children what He does for me every day... Dispense grace. 

It's the way we handle even the smallest incidents of unexpected chaos in our lives that will shape our response for what's yet to come. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Day 22- Joy & Peace Can't Come Without Trust

Believing God is who He says He is must be more than mental assent. It must be an everyday trust that is exercised in our lives. Belief isn't a thing... It's something you do. 

Authentic belief is faith that sees Him in every season and deeply trusts that He is worth relying on with your everything. Yesterday we looked at running with freedom in your journey to OK and before you can trust you've got to throw off what hinders. After you throw off hindrances in total absence of fear, then comes trust. 

But this is hard. Life is hard, even if you're cultivating contentment and have been OK where you are. It's just messy, crazy hard. Stress and anxiety almost seem easier. Easier to let the mind run away with fear and worry than to rein it in with disciplined faith through a gaze that is wholeheartedly fixed on Christ.

But, I think joy is worth the effort... Don't you? 

When I look back , ultimately much of the discontent and not OK-ness I've experienced has been a failure to fully trust that my God is who He says He is. 

When you're exasperated, trust.

When you feel stuck, trust.

When you've been betrayed, trust.

When you've lost it all, trust.

When you can't find a single ounce of goodness in your life, trust.

I'm certain that in our Savior we are always safe. So let it go, my friend... He has never given us a reason not to.