He Has Already Begun

Have you ever felt like you were in a dry wasteland?

I have been spending a lot of time lately in the Old Testament. I seem to be able to relate to these characters. They made mistakes. They doubted. They didn’t always see the bigger picture. They feared. And, they waited. For. A. Long. Time.

Sigh.

In our microwave, high speed society, we want instant messaged answers. It usually doesn’t work this way.

I am in the midst of a waiting season. In the waiting, a lot is happening. God is doing work in my life, but it’s hard, and it often doesn’t feel good.

I read this passage in Isaiah 43:19 NLT:
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

The thought that hit me after I read that passage is this…I am that dry wasteland!

God is working in my life. Through these seasons as I wait and trust Him to unfold my dreams, He is doing something new. It is already underway even on days when I feel exhausted, depleted, and defeated.

And another amazing revelation? He doesn’t need my help!!

Wow, the God who created the universe does not need my help. That has been so freeing.

So, wherever you are on the journey towards your dreams, know that God is already paving the way.

He has gone before you. He only needs your response of obedience.
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:8

God is with you. I have spent a lot of time in worry trying to figure out the next steps. He is already with me, and He’s with you.

Enjoy the new life springing forward in you!

He has already begun the good work in you.

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Just Enough…

I attended a wedding last night. It seems like Friday night weddings are becoming more popular. As the pastor delivered the wedding message, this phrase really resonated with me…

May you experience just enough failure that your hands stay tightly in His and may you experience enough success to know you are following His calling for your life.

I think we underestimate the importance of failure. I think we forget the value of learning from our mistakes. 

If we are brave enough to honestly look at our lives and allow God to peel back the layers, the areas where we need to surrender and grow are exposed.

Some of my most difficult moments in life have been wrapped up in failures. Yet, some of my most rewarding moments have been unraveled through those very same failures.

Enough failure to lean closely into God and enough success to smile and know…yup, God is working through the mess in my life.

I am reading In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. He believes that our trials have a way of helping us rediscover our purpose in life.

I have seen that play out in my life time after time.

Trust God. Embrace failure. Celebrate success. Seek your purpose in Christ. And chase those things you believe He is calling you to chase. Discover all you were created to be day by day!!


The Illusion of Perfection

I fight the thoughts of perfection as chocolate smoothie falls onto my white top. I try to remind myself of how far I have come from the grips of anxiety, self doubt, and the second guessing. Those reminders can seem like mere whispers among the shouts of the world… You’re not good enough!!

As I listened to another woman’s fears and saw her tears earlier this week, I saw my own fears through her words. I was reminded that we are all broken people fighting a battle of some sort.

I attended another Casting Crowns concert this past weekend, and as I listened to the lyrics of the songs, I did reflect just how far I have come in just a few months since I heard them in concert in October. 

From their song God of All my Days…My seasons change, You stay the same.

Despite my circumstances and feelings, God is the constant in my life. When the anxieties of not being good enough creep up, God is constant. When the fears of failure knock at my heart, God is constant. He stays the same through all my changing seasons.

The illusion that everyone else has it together but me is just that…An illusion. I remember the first time I visited one of the other soccer mom’s homes. You couldn’t see her kitchen table. She had a stack of reading books by her bed. A huge stack. Her kitchen counters were filled with packages of food and a sink with dirty dishes. I remember sighing a huge sigh of relief inside…I wasn’t the only mom who didn’t have it all together. It really was OK.

I have been really reflective the past few weeks. Perhaps it is related to the passing of my dear 95 year old friend. Her life left such a legacy.

As I think about success and what it means, it is not about having it all together. How do I define success? What do I do well?

I would like to believe that I love people well. 

Instead of cleaning the stacked mail and clutter off the table last night, I spent some quality time with my son. He will remember that much longer than he will a clean table.

A few things to remind you mid-week…

Perfection is an illusion.

Success is defined individually by what matters most to us.

We are all broken people in need of each other.

God is constant. He never changes.

31 Days of Gratitude: Success as defined by God 

Sigh….deep sigh…it has been a long day, a long week. I am tired, but it has been good. God is teaching me. Stretching me. Growing me.

One of the messages at the Christian writing conference I just attended was that God does not measure success as the world does. Success is not the number of blog followers. Success is not when I am published. Success is not the amount of money in my bank account or the kind of car I drive.

I attended a church last Sunday in the town where the conference was held. My friend and I arrived two minutes before the start of the service. The parking lot was near empty. No hiding for us. We walked in and were warmly greeted by several people. The music wasn’t perfect. There were no bulletins. 

The sermon was on prayer. At the end of the service, the pastor allowed for a time of silence for individual prayer. In that silence, in the company of a few, I sensed His presence. The pastor closed with a word of prayer asking God that we could all take a piece of something from that service with us. God whispered to me…. Success is not about numbers.

In a world that is so quick to equate happiness and success with money, social status, and material possessions, it is easy to lose focus on what defines success.

Doing something for you, bringing something to you-that’s not what you’re after. Being religious, acting pious-that’s not what you’re asking for. You’ve opened my ears so I can listen. Psalm 40:6 The Message 

Open my ears, God, so I can listen.  

Today in our leadership meeting at work, we opened with a devotional on the story of the cracked pots. The message behind the story is that beauty exists in imperfections. God can and will use us if we are willing to obey and surrender.

Our leader looked across the table at all of us and stated, “Perfection is not our goal. Staying true to our mission is.”

Okay, God…. I am listening.

 Perfection and performance are not what You desire from me. It is more about obedience and willingness to listen to You, step out in faith, and trust You to guide my journey.

Looking at life through God’s view of success creates freedom from the pressures and stress of performance and perfection.

Thank You, God, for Your definition of success.