Always see the good

I really liked today’s Scripture in that it asks us to look at the good in the world. Let’s take a look.

 

Philippians 4:4-9

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

 

The take away is…

The biggest thing here feels simple: rejoice in the Lord, and think on the good things in the world. Stay positive. Only give the energy of your heart and your mind to things that are true, pure, good, lovely, and praiseworthy. Do not waste your heart on things that are not of God. The Lord has given you things, the Lord has spoken to you in your life. If you dwell only on those things, then you are always with God.

God is a god of peace. The end. Only speak over you and your life the things He has spoken for you, the things He has provided. Because that is Truth.

What are you allowing to steal your joy? What are you meditating on that maybe you shouldn’t? What have you learned, received, or heard from God that you need to really think about? Because only then will you have peace.

Remember: His mercies are new every day

Today is Day 2 of the Scripture Writing Plan, and I am already sensing a bit of a theme in what God is speaking to me.

Today’s verse is Lamentations 3:22-26: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

I felt yesterday’s verse, Isaiah 43:16-19, was about letting go of the past to allow God to do more in our lives. Today, I sense a bit of the same. If His mercies are what keep us from being consumed, if His compassions are new every day, then surely He forgave us for whatever happened yesterday (both immediately yesterday and the more distant past). So surely we can, and should, forgive ourselves and not dwell on it. God has promised us a fresh start every. single. day.

I have heard that forgiving yourself is often the hardest thing to do, and I think that’s because we truly know what was in our heart and our mind, and we must live with that person for the rest of our lives. We must live with the knowledge that we have the power to be that person again, good or bad. But I have also been told that if we cannot forgive ourselves, then we are saying Jesus was not enough. Because if God can forgive us, if He sent His Son to die for us, then what more could we possibly want?

So, yes, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed.”

The other thing I hear from this is that God is faithful, and He will “show up” (as our pastor says) when you seek Him. But what gets me is verse 26: “It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” I do not take this as God telling us to hide our faith (“Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket” – Matthew 5:15). Instead, I take this to mean that we should seek Him in our hearts and wait and listen for His answer to our seeking.

I can’t help but feel that God is telling me to let go of things in my past, great and small. He is reminding me that, yes, His mercies are new every day and that He is always faithful. This Scripture Writing Plan is reminding me of all I can learn when I actively seek God and take time to truly listen to what He has to say to me.

My question to you today is this: What new mercy do you need God to show you today? What forgiveness do you need reminding of so you can move forward and seek God?

Letting Go, Letting God, and Feeling Peace

The tighter we hang onto the rope someone is trying to tug from our hands, the worse our wounds are and the longer it will take them to heal. If we are always holding on, our hands will never be empty for God’s next plans for us.

A friend of mine said this at our women’s Bible study last night, and I was surprised at how relevant it is to me right now. While I have let go of most of the offenses I feel I have encountered in the past year or so, I know that there are things I am holding on to.

Like any young woman my age and in my shoes (you know, 25, with a degree, and seeking a career), I have goals. Desires. Dreams. For someone who just received her master’s, I have a pretty solid idea of what I want to do with my life, and I have since I started graduate school. But how do I know it’s a desire from God, and not something I have been hanging on to as a desire I have created? This is a question I have struggled with for some time.

In a meeting my husband and I had with our pastors to discuss this season we are in, I began to cry at the thought of getting, or even not getting, this job I so desperately want. Our pastor told me it is okay that I have this much emotion tied into this goal because it shows that God has placed this calling on my heart. And I have felt this calling for years now. But he also told me to be aware of why I have this excitement, and to really think about what God is saying to me,

I am excited by the possibility of moving again, and I know things will work out if we do. This is not out of pride, or out of a “I know what I’m doing” idea. I know it will work because in the past 6 years my husband and I have been together, we have moved states a total of 3 times. Each time, God has proved his faithfulness—we got jobs, we got places to live, we succeeded. Then, when I graduated and, for once, we stayed in the same city, my husband got a promotion and we got a great apartment all on the same day. A month later, I got an offer to teach 3 courses for my university. Each time we have gone through a season of change, God has showed us He is faithful. I have no reason to doubt Him, to doubt that He will not provide us with what we need.

Our pastor also delivered a message one Sunday on being faithful in your season. Of planting, of sowing, of believing. If we are not content with where we are, God will not advance us. We have to learn to be happy, to be thankful, with what He has provided us before He will allow us more.

All of these messages seem to tell me the same thing: stop worrying. Do what you are doing, and it will come. Sow, plow, believe, have faith. And over the past few weeks, I have experienced something I have not experienced since this whole season began: peace.

I am still pursing what God has called me to do with my career, but I am at peace knowing that I am also at a great place in my life. I can honestly say I enjoy teaching. I love my students, and I love watching them grow throughout the course of a semester. I have a faithful and amazing husband who has a good job, who does all he can to support and provide for his family, who will always tell me “let’s pray about it” before we jump to conclusions. I have a family who supports my dreams. I have mentors who respect me and guide me and help me to be the best I can be. I have a church I love and pastors who love and support their leaders, believers, and community in a way I have not experienced before. I have friends who know what my goals are, who know my personal struggles, but who support me none-the-less and know how to ground me.

I’ve gripped my rope of worry, of “I want!”, of my own desires and ambitions so tightly, I do have burns. But, you know something? When I stopped fighting and said “alright, you can have it,” when I asked God if this is from Him, He has done wonderful things. I am ready to have my hands empty so I can receive what God has in store for me next.

Are you?