If you are single, in a relationship, engaged, or married, I highly recommend this book. It really does a good job at highlighting what marriage is really about and the purpose of it. I am still reading it, but there’s so many good points that he’s making in this book and it’s confirming some of the things that have been shown to me as of late.
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” — Matthew 21:22
There are several things that I’d love to accomplish and that I desire, right now. In fact, I’d go on to say that two of those things are things that I’ve been desiring for the past couple of months or maybe even the past year. The enemy has been using those things a lot to try to discourage me from following God’s will for my life and instead try to force my own. The enemy has been trying to make going back to a life of sin look more appealing as if it won’t lead to death and separation from God.
Last night, I hit my breaking point. After talking to my boyfriend about some concerns that I had and still feeling very down and out, I sobbed last night talking to the Lord. I finally told Him EVERYTHING that was plaguing my heart and everything that I’d be keeping inside. I was honest about what I was feeling. I was honest about my fear and discontentment that was brewing in my heart. I told him about how I desire to be a wife, how I desire to serve more, and how I desperately want to hear from Him more. I tried not to share those things because every time a thought would come in I kept trying to remind myself that God had a plan and that just because a thought came in didn’t mean I needed to entertain it. Yes, that was true, but sometimes those thoughts were rooted in fears and other things that were much deeper than a passing thought. I kept dismissing what I was feeling without going to the Lord about it because I felt that in doing so I was being ungrateful or even insulting to Him. I never want to insult God and I felt that by admitting what I was feeling (even though God already knows), I’d be doing just that.
“What do you mean you’re afraid? You’re not really Christian if you’re afraid of what the future will hold for you.”
“A real Christian would have more faith than what you have.”
“See? This person isn’t Christian and has everything you want…”
I’ve heard these comments and more within the past couple of weeks. I’ve allowed them to shame me from being honest about what I was feeling. Yes, it’s great to focus on the positive and focus on the great things that God is doing, but I also think that by trying to push away the concerns of my heart I wasn’t being honest with myself or with God.
I almost imagine Him sitting above on His throne as I am consistently trying to pretend that what I’m feeling in my heart isn’t real, wanting me to be real with Him. I imagine Him softly reminding me that I CAN be real with Him and that although He knows my heart, He wants me to share what’s bothering me with Him and that He won’t judge me.
So that’s what I did. I laid everything out there and shared my discouragements, my pain, my stress, and everything that I’ve been hiding behind this facade behind. Yes, the Lord is trustworthy, but it served no purpose in me trying to pretend that I was doing such an awesome job at being content, when deep down inside I was shaking in my boots with fear of the future and desiring certain things. I realized last night again that God wants us to be honest with Him. He wants us to be real. I believe in reinforces our relationship with Him and continues to build that trust.
But Do I Believe?
Something that was reminded of this morning was the story of Abraham and how I need to have faith in what I pray for and what God reveals to me. Abraham had faith in what God had for Him — or at least that’s what I got from it. In fact, the word states, “And he believe in the Lord and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6).
Abraham didn’t doubt God. Although, it looked impossible in the natural, Abraham knew that when God said something He meant it and that He keeps His promises.
God has told me to trust Him and that He’ll take care of me. He’s reminded me that I have nothing to worry about it and that I should seek Him and allow Him to handle all of the concerns of my heart. Why is that when faced with the fire, I feel so troubled?
I do believe. In fact, I am certain of what God has promised me, but I also have to not allow my emotions to dictate whether I believe in what I’ve prayed for either. Prayer works, but it’s also coupled by faith. What’s the point of praying if I don’t believe that God will answer my prayer according to His will? That prayer might be answered with a “no” or it may be answered much later than I expected. That does not make it any less of an answered prayer. In all things I must believe in Christ and believe He’ll answer my prayers, but according to His will. That means that it might not occur when I want it or how I expect it to be answered, but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t hear it.
I am also reminded that God cares about the little things that concern me. But in all things I need to seek His kingdom first and give those things to Him. This does not mean pushing them away by my own strength and assuming they’ll never return. But it does mean sharing these concerns honestly and openly with God, and trusting that He’ll handle it all according to His will.
Although, this is still very difficult for me, I am so grateful for the ways God has been showing me His heart towards us all. I am grateful that I can count on Him to be there and that He’s a constant figure when there’s so many things changing around me. I am confident that although my circumstances will often change, God and His heart for us won’t.
Side note: Sorry for not posting as much. I’m actually on a mission trip/teaching at a summer camp, so I’ve been crazy busy. There’s also no WiFi at our place, so I would not be able to publish any posts as frequently as I’d want to even if I could. I am currently typing this at the church’s office building.
I think oftentimes I am very hard on myself. I over-think, over-analyze, and stress over things that I really should not be concerned about. I get anxiety over things that I should be leaving with the Lord, whole-heartedly. It’s a constant struggle and throughout this entire experience, I have been second guessing myself. I have been questioning whether I am truly doing all that I can do because I haven’t seen many or any come to Christ through this. Not only this, but I am struggling with so much myself and I feel like the enemy has been working hard to get me to believe that I cannot preach or share the gospel authentically because I am still struggling myself.
How can I speak about God’s love for us if I am criticizing my own body behind closed doors? How can I preach about being patient, when there I am stressing out over not having secured a place to live next year?
There’s a lot of uncertainty right now and to be transparent, it can be scary and sometimes discouraging. Sometimes, I am just overwhelmed with the joy of the Lord and other times I’m frustrated with myself, feeling so broken at His feet about my circumstances. There’s so many wonderful things God is doing in my life and yet sometimes I find myself at a place of just feeling so lost in regards of what to do next.
At the same time, I know God’s got me. Even when my anxiety is high, God is saying otherwise — even when I cannot hear Him. Even when He’s seemingly silent, I know and have faith that my Savior is there. As desperate as I am to hear from Him, I know that He’s probably speaking to me already in different forms. He’s reminding me of His love through the breath He breathes into me each morning and through the children that hug me for no reason at all — telling me they love me. He reminds me through each sunrise and sunset that He’s covering me. He reminds me each bill I pay that He’s my provider. He reminds me through what He’s been bringing me through this week that He’s my strength and deliverer.
Even as I write this, I cannot help but smile at how faithful God’s been. How even though I have not had these awesome, really profoundly obvious interactions with Him this month that He’s still been showing Himself to me. I may not have had prophetic dreams or visions where He’s spoken to me, or an opportunity to watch a child come to Christ, but I have felt the warmth of His love through the Holy Spirit. I have felt Him encouraging me by giving me the strength to endure and continue pouring out to these children — even when I think I can’t anymore.
I cannot be discouraged. It is not my job to save. I am not anyone’s savior. It IS my job, however, to encourage people to follow Christ and to share His goodness. My boyfriend reminded me that worrying about how good of a job I am doing can hinder me from really doing what it is that God is calling me to do. God calls us to freedom in Him. How can I experience that freedom if I am so busy being held captive by my own critical thoughts?
How can I rest in Christ, if I am too busy trying to find security in the things around me?
There is no security in the things around me, which is why each time I make the mistake of getting too comfortable with my surroundings, I am left empty. I am left unfilled and wondering why. It’s because I am filling myself up with temporary things. I am filling myself up with the approval of other people and the temporary affirmation that comes from posting something really thought-provoking online and receiving “likes” for it. It’s not until all of these things are gone and that all of these things fail to fill me that I realize I’ve been seeking the wrong things.
The ONLY security I should have is security in Christ. I have desires and goals, but God’s will for us is to seek HIS kingdom first — not create our own vision for our lives and follow God only so He can bring it to fruition. I have to remind myself of this — especially when I am caught up in seeking worldly things such as financial security. Yes, that’d be nice to have, but God tells us to seek His kingdom first and all else will be given to us according to His will. He will provide for me. It may not be in the way I expect or the capacity I expect, but He will.
He already has.
I had a thought recently because sometimes I see this verse in the bible being used to condone certain acts of violence or anger.
“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” — Matthew 21:12-13
I think something we forget that’s crucial is that Jesus’ anger was righteous anger. It was not the type of anger we have when someone cuts us off as we’re driving or when someone says something mean about us and we feel the need to defend ourselves. Jesus was angry because they were turning the temple into something to be made a profit of. People were there selling lambs and animals to sacrifice among other things. They were turning something that was meant to be holy into something they could make a profit off of. I would compare this to how you have some minsters and pastors preaching the gospel for the sake of being known and for worldly luxuries instead of for the purpose of God being made known and glorified. That’s not why Jesus died for us. That’s not what we’re here for. So yes, Jesus was upset, but His rebuke also came from a place of love. His righteous anger was fueled by love for us and Him wanting us to be better and do better.
We have to stop trying to condone our actions by misusing scripture. Yes, Jesus overturned tables. Yes, Jesus was angry. But there’s a HUGE difference between our anger over having our foot stepped on and God’s anger because of how they were misusing the temple and perverting it — similarly to the way that people have perverted the message of the gospel to be more about receiving than giving.