I can usually tell when there is something in me that doesn’t quite see eye to eye with God. Life begins to feel more and more misaligned, and I become increasingly frustrated with the world. But, being the ever faithful God that He is, there’s always some purpose – some lesson that He teaches me while He puts things into alignment.
Nestled in the sermon of the mount is a gem that I’ve been trying to understand, to really focus on recently and put into practice. “But Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:24-25) Christians talk all the time about how we are not promised a simple life, only that we don’t walk it alone, but do we live that out?
I’m not always sure that I do…
I don’t know about you, but I tend to get much more anxious when I try to look at the “big picture”. I try to map out my path myself, and instead of getting anywhere, I just waste time working myself into a frenzy when once again I realize how I can never do this on my own. Forget getting through the next 10 years and having this nice little wrapped up answer like during a job interview about where you want to be and where you see yourself, I can’t even make it to the end of the week on my own. And no matter how I try to finagle it – there just never seems to be enough boxes on a calendar to fit everything in.
So I’ve been wondering how I can ever be everything I seem to need to be. A bit angry that God seems to expect that from me, when some days what I have on my plate is way more than I can manage. I’ve locked myself in the bathroom on more than one occasion only to sit on the floor and cry out that I want to follow Him…but I can’t even see the very next step.
But what I’m learning, more and more, is how the things of the Lord are so interconnected – it’s amazing and beautiful. See, I had thought that I was kinda sorta beginning to understand how to trust Him with the big picture items…and indeed, He’s brought me a long way on that front; but, switching to the smaller picture – the day by day, moment by moment, kind of picture – has been a whole new frontier. The more I realize the truth about how today has enough troubles of it’s own and it doesn’t do any good to worry about what may be next, nor does it mean that I do whatever I want and not care. In fact, the more I learn, the more I find out how beautifully it fits in with Ephesians 5:15-16 “Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
Making the most of EVERY opportunity….
NOT something I’m always…if ever….good at…
So all that anger…all that frustration caused by me thinking that God’s asking too much out of me when he COULD be asking the person sitting next to me that – let’s face it – I “know” how much TV they watch and how often they’re on facebook…
But….that has to be the wrong perspective…because the God I know wouldn’t “set me up to fail”, He’s the God that tells me that I can do all things through Christ…and that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. (Romans 8:28) And then I felt it– the ever familiar zap from the Holy Spirit opening my eyes to the truth of the matter…
God does ask a lot from me….in fact…He asks for everything, because there’s nothing that He’s held back from me. If he’s called me to do everything he’s called me to do, to make the most of every opportunity he sets before me, then there are a few truths that I need to hold on to at all costs.
- Anything that I’m not sure that God has directly called me to, at this time, anything that distracts me from pursuing him needs to be chucked in the garbage — there was another moment a little while back when I know God was speaking directly to my heart — either I can choose to stay where I am, because He’s not going to beg or force me to do anything. OR, I can choose to let Him help me let go of everything in my life – good or bad – that’s not of him right now – and go on to what’s next.
- I have to remain open and flexible enough to let Him call the shots – bring on those divine appointments!
- Above all – Seek Him First – Somehow, when that’s really what I’m focused on, all the things I can’t do on my own, all the things that I can’t seem to fit into my schedule…well, at the end of the day somehow the important has been accomplished instead of just the perceived urgent.
- When I am weak; then am I strong – the other aspect I continue to be blessed to see is how true this is! I’ve been given an opportunity to continue to see that no matter what comes, in the feast or famine seasons of my life, God’s strength can uphold me and better yet – shine through to others!
- Never Quit – God is an expert at making a way where there seems to be no way. We never know what’s around the next bend, or over the next horizon. And regardless of whether that seems to be “good” or “bad”, as long as I’m following Jesus wholeheartedly there really isn’t a “bad” option. There are difficult, exhausting times…but even those are overshadowed by God’s great love and knowing that He works in all things for my good – which ultimately means making me more like Jesus.
Right now, I’m grateful that He somehow, for some reason, sees fit to take the time to teach me to trust him and not worry about tomorrow. That he’s teaching me endurance – so that I may be complete and not lacking – “because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope”. (Romans 5:3b-4) And I want that kind of hope to grow in my life.