There and Then

I think God has a genuine sense of humor. I truly do.

This week I commented to my Graduate Assistant that I was feeling put together again, back in organizing mode and giving due attention to the things that needed it. It’s been a season of triage and rushing. As I made the statement, closing a binder to replace on the shelf, several binders fell from the shelf. Then I dropped my pen, which was open, and commenced to writing down the front of my dress. The topping on the cake was then getting hand sanitizer shooting up like a fountain onto my desk and papers. To which we both agreed that God just laughs at us when we make statements like that.

In the humor though is real love and attention to our lives. Last month, and for many before that, a focus shift occurred where I was looking ahead to the next thing. Which in and of itself is not a bad thing. Much like I talked about in a post last month, “by now” started to creep in. It went beyond marital status though. Soon I felt hurried and rushed to be addressing the next thing and not relishing the now.

“God laughs when we make plans” has been something I have seen throughout life, but never more have I seen it come true than in recent weeks and months. When we become preoccupied with the plans ahead we begin to regret and bypass the now. We speed through lists, through meetings, through people in order to get to next thing quickest.

I cannot help but be reminded of two of my favorite passages when I get too far ahead. They are so oft quoted that I wonder if they become cliche and fettered about only in times of suffering or trial. Whatever your usage of them, Jeremiah 29:11 and Isaiah 55:8,9 are reminders that we are living in the now based upon the plans and ways of a Creative and Thoughtful God. Yes we can plan, but we should not be so focused on the then that we never see the now.

Throughout Scripture He reminds us of stillness, of waiting, that we always have Him with us, and yet we cannot help but focus on future planning. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad thing until it becomes the only thing we can focus on. Sometimes the journey towards that future is just a beautiful as what is awaiting you. In fact, the deeper I dig into my journey I am seeing that the end result is merely a by-product or side effect to the present I am choosing to live. It’s a life built on His love and sacrifice, but also overseen by His design.

If I am not trusting in that, I have a much graver future ahead. After all He journeys with me so why not enjoy the company I am in now, knowing the only guaranteed future is one spent eternally with Him anyways?

Day 19-Doubting Ways

I have been a very independent person, possibly since birth, but definitely since I could crawl for sure. When I was told “this was the way things were going to go” I would purposefully find my own way of doing it, just to show you it could be done some way other than the prescribed one.

I have been described as “strong-willed, stubborn, difficult, bull-headed, stifling and controlling.” I wore those names proudly, with the exception of difficult as that was the one that got me. It broke through to my heart and really unraveled much of my core when I was informed it was used to describe me, wielded as a weapon by trusted mentors in talking about me to others.

I embodied for much of my life the Eve way of doing things. Misinterpreting what has been told of me not to do, and immediately thumbing my nose in it’s face. I do so respectively, just as she did in the Garden, but out of a doubt of how God will work and has been working.

God says “Wait on Me.” I choose to figure out my own way to get results quicker.

God says “It’s on My time.” I will make it about me and my schedule.

God says “Be still.” I fidget and tinker relentlessly.

 

Until recently.

I was finally able to see that I continuously doubting God, what He has said over and over to me and my heart, choosing instead my own stubborn way in things. I may bear His image, but I also carry the fallen nature within me too. Those war and clash often without me realizing it. It has never been more apparent than over the course of the last four months.

Yes I love and follow God, but only when it’s easy…when it’s going my way and just as I had planned. But when His timing (in my mind) is delayed? I get my  hands in the mix. When He says wait, I pretend to be deaf.

The reality is that doubt will seep in where we allow it to in our lives. Just as the serpent slithered his way into Eve’s life…yeah, Eve because he knew where to get her…we as women war with doubt daily, in every aspect of our lives. When we open our eyes to it though, we are able to tackle it with confidence in Who God is and who we are in that. I don’t make myself in His image, He makes me in His. That means it’s in His hands to define what that looks like, not mine. I am following Him, not the other way around.

Choosing confidence in Him, choosing faith He knows what He’s doing in every circumstance and even in suffering is extremely difficult. But my way has proven to lead to even worse situations…so why would I continue to choose my way instead of His?


“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8,9 (NIV)

 

Are We There Yet?

From what I recall, and my family can correct me, I was never an “Are we there yet?!” kid when we traveled. I just didn’t mind the journey. Of course I was usually asleep or reading, until I got the Game Boy and then life changed forever.

Now though? I ask that alot.

Or rather I assume that far too often in my faith journey.

Whether it’s a a specific area God is having me address in my life or my entire spiritual walk. I find myself trudging along sometimes behind repetitively asking “Are we there yet God? I feel like we should be there by now. Seriously? How much further?!” I am the ubiquitous 15 year old in my faith. I am petulant, defiant, and constantly asking “But WHY?!?!?” to God when this journey seems to be taking so long.

Then I stop and consider the truth that spiritual maturity isn’t something I will fully complete this side of life. I must continue in my development, yes, but to complete this journey will take my entire life.

Many of the paths will be longer than the others, and often I will wonder if we are there yet…and that’s the interesting thing about this life. My timeline and God’s are drastically different. When I am in those moments of tiredness from the journey or frustration in the delay I have to remember one thing:

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
” -Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)

Meaning the way He chooses for my journey to go, I cannot question when I have arrived. I have to trust His way is good, is right and is true. Sometimes though that makes me yell from the backseat “ARE WE THERE YET?!?!?!”