Crazy has ended. *Major happy dance* It has been so encouraging to finally settle down again into a routine and “normal” life. Well, if we can even say there is such a thing as a normal life anyways! Thank you for being so patient with me, I feel like it’s been a month long parade of ups and downs but through every event that’s gone down; God’s hand has been so incredibly evident. I just recently got back from Florida with my family. Honestly, a get away with just me, my parents and my siblings is exactly what we needed. It was so relaxing to, well first of all sleep and second have pretty much no agenda. If you were able to catch my last post, you’d know that I literally didn’t sleep because of all the school I had to catch up on. While we were all away, it was so much fun to refocus as a family and flip the page to a fresh, clean start again. I think that’s one of God’s biggest and best gifts to us as Christian’s; a fresh start and a clean slate. I can’t imagine what it must be like to continually carry all the burdens from yesterday, the day before, the week before…. blaahhh. It actually makes me feel gross just thinking about it! Like, a couple verses that were a huge relief to me while out in Florida, were 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” and Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you.” I was able to step away from everything that was bothering me and give it to God. My saddness with my Grandma passing away, my stress and frustration with my school work and classes, and other irritations going on; everything. I pictured it like all of my “issues” were individual golf balls and one by one I lined them up on the beach and took a deep swing. Hitting each and every issue into the ocean where I knew the Lord would deal with them. And besides, that’s a more fun way to imagine surrendering my problems to God! What was really cool, is that even on vacation, I was still able to see things that God was doing in my life! Like, God never takes a break! GAH. Honestly, that makes me so freaking excited!
One thing that God has continually been reminding me, is to be content with what He is doing in my life – even if I may not see exactly what it is. I also feel like God is continually putting patience on the menu. Now, I wouldn’t say that I’m an impatient person. I mean, I’m not throwing the remote at the TV screen when commercials come on. I’m not honking my horn at every red light I stop at or ridiculous drivers. And, I’m not even mad when I have to wait in a long line at the grocery store! *Cracks knuckles* Pretty good hey? HA, wrooonnngggg! Dang it. I may not be chucking the remote at the TV screen, but inside, my heart is irritated. I may not be honking my car horn in traffic buuuuuuut I’ve mastered the death glare behind my sun googlers. Ok, I also confess that I can be annoyed in line at the grocery store. You see, it’s the heart that matters. When I was reading in Proverbs I realized that I wasn’t guarding my heart against the selfish, impatient person we all are by nature. In Proverbs 4:23 it read, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Sooooo if deep down my heart is not content and patient – my actions will eventually show just that. Here’s another thing to look at. No really, just look at this photo for a minute.
What do you think of when you look at it? Just allow your imagination to run with it for a second. When I look at the picture – and most pictures, I think about what else could be in it. A few weeks ago, I went to a bible study and there was a quick activity that we were all asked to do. Several random pictures were spread all over the floor. Super random; from a school bus to a piggy bank, or a cloud to a group of people. Anyways, we were all asked to pick one photo that related to us in some way, shape, or form and share what it meant. My eyes were immediately driven to that forest one, because I was picturing more in the forest. Maybe a bird flying high in the trees. A deer could be hidden deeper in the woods. Or even a hunter ducking in the bushes. That original photograph of the woods is absolutely stunning though! Why would I feel the need to imagine things to somehow make it better? You know? As I looked at the forest and how it related to my life, God showed me that it wasn’t the actual picture that related to my life – but what I was doing to the picture that related to my life. I was taking the picture and trying to imagine it better. Trying to add things to it that didn’t really need to be there at all! As the other girls were going around sharing how their photo related to their life, I was stuck in this thought bubble where God kept unfolding how the picture connected to me. The forest was my life and I was viewing the forest, the same way I’ve been viewing my life. Ultimately, when it came my turn to share why I related to this image of a forest; I had to be completely honest with myself. “I chose this photo, because I think it looks incomplete.” Go back and look at that forest. Incomplete? ……..Really? “When I look at the forest I think it’s missing something.” God pointed out that I am not being content. Each and every one of our lives are beautiful and important to God because He made each and every one different and unique to a specific part in His plan. Your life. My life. God challenged me. Who am I to be thinking that God’s masterpiece isn’t complete? Who am I to think that there is something that could make that forest – or my life better? I’m completely stepping out of line! I don’t know if you’ve been feeling the same way – you think there should be something in your life right now that isn’t, but know that God hasn’t placed it there, for a reason. I’m in the same boat. Not only do I need to be content with the “forest” that God has given me, but I also need to be patient to wait for the bird that will quickly fly by or the deer that will poke out from behind the trees. Guys we need to be patient to see these small, sometimes unnoticeable things happen in our lives and be content with waiting.
Now, I want you to go and grab some paper and split it into three different sections. In the first section, I want you to write everything that you’re not content about in your life. Absolutely everything. People, your job, frustrations, disappointments, stress, grief. We both know that this list could go on for ever and ever. In the second section, you now need to write down everything that you are content about in your life. Hopefully, this list can be longer than the first one you just wrote. People, your job, frustrations, disappointments, stress, grief. Now, before we conquer the third section, look over the two lists you just wrote. Read em over. Is there a theme or something consistent in either of them? For the first list, I want you to hold onto it and I want you to pray about everything that you are not content with in your life. Now, I’ll fill you in right now that God is not gunna magically fix everything on that list cause you wrote it down and now you’re praying about it. However, God will work in your heart and help you to overcome these things that are on your list. As you pray regularly for these people, your job, these frustrations and disappointments, all of the stress or grief, I can guarantee you that God will work with you to overcome them. See, I want you to keep the list so that you can keep track and check off the things that God helps you over come, one by one. Now, with the second list, I want you to also keep that one and thank God for those people, that job, those events or whatever you wrote that you are content with in your life. Now here’s the tricky part: the third section. Que, suspenseful music. After reading over and praying for both of the lists you wrote out, I want you to take that third section and just look at it. It’s blank. There’s absolutely nothing on it. And you know what? I want you to be excited for what’s NOT on the list. Right now, you haven’t got a clue about what God’s gunna do. And I want to you not only be content with not knowing and patient to wait but to also be stoked for it. I’m looking at that forest and I’m excited for what I DO NOT see. God wants us to be excited for His ultimate, greater plan. There is nothing that we could possibly imagine that would be better in our lives than what He has planned. But in the time that God asks us to wait patiently, He also wants us to cast our cares, our hopes and all that we desire – to Him. Allow God to grow your forest with all of the unique animals and plants He already has picked out for you. Trust me, it’ll be worth it!
– Stay Satisfied