Why is it that being with someone is so important to us? When we’re not in a relationship, we’re automatically looking for one or thinking that we should be. It’s as though being with someone makes our lives complete and meaningful. As soon as a relationship goes south we think we need to get out of it right away and look for someone more deserving. We feel entitled to have someone in our lives that makes us feel good. When our spouse or partner doesn’t act appropriately our minds quickly go through the “push through it” stage to thinking about divorce, moving on or thinking that we deserve better.

What would happen if we devoted our lives to God instead of wondering what other human could compliment us? Even if we are married, what would happen if we dedicated our actions and emotions to God working on satisfying him and living for his glory, instead of being concerned about how our spouse is acting or making us feel?

Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 10:39

My mind is on those marriages suffering. Those marriages where the spouses aren’t together, like mine, where moving on seems so much easier. What would happen if we forgot about finding or even accepting another human to make us happy, and instead for a set amount of time, we gave our lives up. What would happen if we gave our lives to God, regardless of marital status. If what the bible says is true, then we can give up our lives for God’s sake and we will actually find our purpose.

I ran away from my husband, marriage and God and I pursued everything that I thought would give my life purpose and satisfaction. And God allowed me to receive these things. I had the best paying job I had ever had, I was dating the exact man off of my “Want” list, I was living in the cutest condo and had a fun and vibrant social life. I had exactly what I thought I wanted. But when I “found my life”, I actually lost it. It’s not until I surrendered it completely to God that I actual found what I was looking for. I now have none of these things and I am the most purpose-filled I have ever been. I actually had no idea I could feel this content with my life!

But I’m not content because I have anything to my name. I actually have nothing. I am the worlds definition of a modern nomad, really. But I have God. Doesn’t that sound fake? It really does! Because the world has put such a standard on contentment and we have all fallen for it! Is it the world…or is it satan who has done this? Having God, in our minds, can’t possibly be enough to complete us!

But when we give up our lives, we will find them.

What would happen if, instead of trying to move on from that spouse, or find someone who is more of a fit, or who acts like we think we deserve, we spent those emotions on bowing to God. Spending time with our savior, reading about him, getting to know him, putting our faith into action, going to bible study, bringing food to the people in need….what would happen if we committed to giving God one year of our lives, uninterrupted by relationship expectations or pursuits of any kind.

When you look back on your life, what is one year?? It’s nothing! A year flies by so fast you’re surprised when the end of it comes. Sure, lots of things can happen in a year, but out of your entire life, one year is a tiny fraction. And if one year is what it takes to become closer and more passionate about the God you will face for eternity, isn’t it worth it?

Food for thought…

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Aside

Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him all the earth

Psalm 96:9

Our lives were made to worship God. All of creation, every thing on the earth, every star in the sky, every human, every bug, every river, every tree…it was all created to worship God!

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.

Psalm 96:11

I forget sometimes, that the path of my life needs to be to worship my God. I forget that the sacrifice I am making, that he has asked me to make, is worship him. It get’s overwhelming sometimes when I look at what I am doing, giving up my marital status. I look at my future and it’s completely unpredictable and I wonder what the point is, I wonder what God has for me and where I am supposed to go. But when I remember that the point of my life is to worship God, it all boils down to one thing: Glorifying God in what I do.

God has asked me to set aside my dating life, my yearning for a family, for being a wife, until his plan unfolds. His instructions to me were crystal clear, almost audible, that I was supposed to move back to my hometown and just live. Live to glorify him. And just live.

It seems simple but sometimes it’s so hard to just live simply and give up control to God. It’s a hard sacrifice to make, my marital-status. Society puts a lot of weight on dating and marriage and children. And sometimes when I look around, I feel like I failure. But when I look up and I focus on my creator, I remember that my sacrifice is an actual act of worship to him. When I look up I remember that this is the purpose of my life, to worship my savior and I am blessed to have been brought to this point.

My marriage failed for a reason. As hard as that is to understand, it’s true. Nothing is an accident. God knew that it would happen and he knew that I would run not only from my marriage and husband, but also from God himself. He also knew that he would bring me back to this point of living fully for him. It’s hard, it really is, to live simply to worship God and this last week has taught me that I still have so much to learn and I still fall so far from the mark. But God’s grace covers all. All he asks me to do is to focus on him and live my life to worship him. He asks me to constantly give him control and to trust that he is working even when I can’t see it.

Worship doesn’t just happen at church, worship is the purpose of your life. It’s the purpose of all creation. Take a minute to close your eyes and imagine all of creation making noise together in order to worship God.

This week my goal is to remember that my life is an act of worship to God. Every success, every sacrifice, is bringing him glory!

Aside

I cry out to God the Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.

Psalm 57:2

I turned to my devotional book today and saw this verse. Perfect timing, for one thing, as I had just had a fight with my mom and was actually crying out to God because of my frustration with myself. But as I read the verse from my bible instead of the devotional book, I noticed that I had previously highlighted it and underlined the words “his purpose”.

Isn’t it interesting how we will read the same verse multiple times and each time something different jumps out. Tonight the words “God, who fulfills his purpose for me” were the words that jumped out.

God has a purpose for our lives, it’s not about our purpose or our path or our goals. Our life is about fulfilling God’s purpose for us. But the greatest thing about this verse is that it’s even bigger than God having a purpose for us. This verse says that God himself will fulfill his purpose in our lives. If we allow him to, God will take control of the direction of our lives and fulfill his purpose in it for us. Isn’t that amazing? We can actually just sit back and allow him to control our situations, circumstances and life direction, and he will do the work for us. It’s that simple. Notice I didn’t say it’s “easy”, because giving up control of your life and surrendering your plans to God goes against our human nature. But once we do it, we realize that it’s as simple as trusting him through everything that happens around us and to us. It’s not easy, because it’s not normal, but it’s really simple.

It’s simple because we can trust that in everything God’s hand is working. He knows every thing that happens to us and he knows our needs, desires and wants. It’s simple because if we trust with every step that God will make clear what we are meant to do and where we are meant to go, God will work in our lives in order to bring us fulfillment and also to bring him glory. It’s simple because when we start to realize just how huge God is, and that his hand is in everything anyways, we will also realize that fighting his plans or making ones without him is really making life so much harder than surrendering to him.

But this isn’t easy because it goes against the independence that not only are humans born with but that we are taught throughout life. We are taught to be strong, independent individuals. “Looking out for number one”.

Psalm 57:2 says that God will fulfill his purpose in our lives. We don’t have to do it! He has a plan for us, and God himself will accomplish that plan. It also says that the author cries out to God. So do that! Cry out, yell out, scream out if you have to! Be honest with God and communicate daily and continually to him and he will answer you. God wants your communication, he wants you to get to know him and to talk to him. That’s how we draw closer to him and that’s how we start to see answered prayer.

The bible says that part of our spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:18) is praying in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers and requests. So let’s do that, let’s dress ourselves in our spiritual armor, pray continually in the Spirit and trust that God will work for us to fulfill our purpose in life.

 

Aside

God’s timing. When did anything in the Bible ever happen in anything else but God’s timing? When Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, it wasn’t in his timing that the situation changed, it was at the very last second…God’s timing. Going back even further, when Abraham and Sarah conceived Isaac…it wasn’t in their timing! Sarah was 90 years old and in her husbands words, beyond her prime. It was God’s timing though. It didn’t make sense to the humans in the story, but it made every bit of sense to God. What about Rebecca, praying for a child while she watched her sister, Leah, have son after son after son…She must have questioned God’s timing continuously. What about Hannah praying for children or the Israelites and the Egyptians, or Joseph, or Saul on the Damascus Road…

In each story, and the list could be as long as my arm, God’s timing turned out to be the best timing. It rarely made sense as the individuals were going through their lives, but when it all panned out, it turned out that God knew what he was doing and his timing was best.

After I left my husband I know that people were praying for my return. I’ve had people tell me that they were praying for my eyes to be opened, for me to be able to see what I was doing. In their opinion, their prayers should have applied to me two years ago, as soon as I left my husband. God should have listened to them as they were praying for me and, at that moment, zapped me with those blessings. But it didn’t happen that way. It took two years for me to go through my trials and to run away from God and my marriage, in order for me to be blessed (finally!) with seeing eyes and hearing ears. This was highly inconvenient for the people praying for me, it made no sense, and it likely still doesn’t make any sense to them. Why did it have to take two years? But does this mean that it wasn’t in God’s timing? Does this mean that their prayers weren’t answered?

No. Far from it.

It means that God’s timing isn’t our timing. It means that God heard their prayers and their prayers were answered.

Someone once told me that prayers are like drops of water going up to heaven. They’re kept in a bowl and once they fill that bowl, the answered prayers overflow and pour out. I love that visual. Prayer is about continually trusting that God has perfect timing and will apply your prayers when he sees fit. You only need to keep on praying. Just because our prayers aren’t answered at the exact right time, in our opinion, doesn’t mean that God isn’t hearing them or that he isn’t planning on answering them. It just means that his timing is his timing. He will answer your prayers in his way and his time. And it. will. be. perfect.

There is a reason that God chooses not to answer prayer at specific times. His eyes are always on you, his ears always hear your voice, but sometimes it feels as though he’s just not there. He is! He wants to hear your concerns, your praise, your requests, your worship. But he may choose not to answer your prayers in your timing. He only asks that we have the perseverance to push forward and ignore our feelings about his presence. We need to ignore what our human emotions are telling us and have faith that he is beside us continuously and answering our prayers in his time and his way. And it. will. be. perfect.

Our God is a God of healing. A God of miracles. A God of the impossible. A God of restoration. He loves us with a love we can’t even fathom. He chases us with a fervor we couldn’t attempt. He will never leave us and his plans are only for the best for us. If we allow ourselves to surrender to him and allow him to take over our lives, we will be amazed at the fulfillment we feel. Not only that, but we will be amazed at the simplicity life takes. It’s hard to trust an unseen God to take control of our lives, but it’s even harder to continually push forward through life against the current. When we learn to release control to God, the God that knows you better than anyone else and only wants the best for you, we will begin to see miracles in our lives. And it. will. be. perfect.

 

Aside

I think about the amount of excuses I make in order to avoid taking the steps of obedience that God is asking of me, and it blows me away. When God told me to return to my commitment of marriage to my husband, there were SO many excuses. But he doesn’t love me. But he lives so far away. But he’ll never give me another chance. But he’s dating someone else. But my friends will think I’m crazy. When God told me to move back to my hometown, there was another handful of excuses. But I don’t want to live in a small town. But it will cost so much money to move. But my friends will think I’m insane. But I have no money. But I won’t have a job. But I’ll have to live with my parents again….

There are SO many human excuses we can make to avoid doing what God has told us to do!

God has told me to take certain steps in my life. Before I left my husband, he told me to keep trying. He told me not to move. He told me to keep reading my bible. He told me to keep going to church. But with my human eyes, these didn’t seem like good options. I couldn’t see how doing these things would change anything.

Obedience to God isn’t about making sense. It’s not about doing what makes sense to us! It’s about being obedient to our GOD and trusting that whatever he’s asking of us is in his plan for our lives. It’s about just doing it! Just taking those steps to shut our mouths and obey him.

God doesn’t care about our excuses, our excuses don’t make sense to him. He has infinite power over our lives, our excuses are just empty words to him. He can see the whole picture, he knows that if we just listen to him and take the steps to do what he’s telling us to do, everything will make sense to us eventually.

Looking back at the excuses I made to avoid returning to my marriage and my hometown, I see that none of them were valid. I moved back to my hometown and somehow the money wasn’t an issue. I moved back in with my parents and don’t mind it a bit. I am loving my life in a small town and the quietness and peacefulness it’s bringing. And I had a job within a week of moving back. My friends, the ones that thought I was crazy for taking both the step to return to my commitment to my marriage and to return to my hometown, have faded away. It turns out we weren’t as close as I thought we were and their opinions aren’t important to me anymore.

God has taken care of all of my concerns and shown me that I needed to just take that leap of faith…he’s shown me that it wasn’t really that big of a leap, the ground was closer than I thought, and that cliff I thought I was jumping off was just a tiny hill. God has shown me that even when something seems impossible to me, I need to obey him and he will prove to me that nothing is impossible for him. God has shown me that I only need to be obedient, even when it doesn’t make sense at all, and he will provide all of my needs. God has shown me the power of prayer.

God doesn’t want to hear our excuses. To him, our opinion of his commands are laughable. He chuckles when we try to tell him that our situations are impossible to fix or that his requests can’t be accomplished…All God asks is that we obey him. And when we do obey him, when we shut up and do what he says, we will see just how big our God is. He will bless us in our obedience! And the biggest blessing we could ever ask for is to see the power that our God is capable of!