Thursday, June 26, 2014

God Spotting: Six Months in….My Word for the Year

{God Spotting posts are for the benefit of my children.  I am hopeful that they can see God working in me everyday and will look back on these posts to see that God was constantly working in the life of a poor wretch saved by His amazing grace.  I pray it will encourage them in their walk.}

My computer ate my “Word for the Year” post earlier this year; I was so frustrated that I just could not re-write it out!  Until now.

I have had times in my life that I just knew what God wanted me to work on for a period of time.  One year it was prayer.  One year I could sense that God wanted me to “just do it” and go deep and intentional with my Bible reading – so I read the Bible in 90 Days (It was amazing and I highly recommend the challenge!).  Last year must have been the year to trust God as we jumped full into self-employment.  I know I learned a lot during 2013 – but I’m grateful God doesn’t give us grades. When I sense that God is giving me something to work on, I often feel like I am playing Tug-of-War with Him.  I struggle with constantly letting him be in control and leading.  Well, 2013 was definitely a Tug-of-War!

{image credit}

January 1, 2014 came and went, and I was still overwhelmed with issues from 2013.  It wasn’t the best start of the year in my walk with God, and if I am honest with myself I would have to admit that I was struggling to listen and hear God.  I was wrestling with a lot of worry, busyness and some anger with God. 

But, by the end of January or February, when life had finally calmed down, a date night conversation with Dave revealed the character and spiritual trait I needed to work on in 2014 – contentment.

Let me backtrack a couple decades and paint this picture for you.  Dave and I did a major backpacking trip when we were first dating.  Without the benefit of the internet or cell phones or GPS, we managed to plot a course of travel from the top of the Whistler Village Gondola, and hiked (bushwhacked) in the beautiful mountains of Garibaldi Provincial Park in British Columbia. We did, literally, have to bushwhack through some grasses that were well over 5’ 5” tall in order to connect marked trails together to reach our destinations.  We were hesitant with each step, hoping we didn’t run into a resting bear behind the foliage! 

The memory that I have of pushing past the grasses immediately in front of me and trying to look two or three steps in front of me – this is sometimes how I feel I am living life.  I am a project person…which (to me) means that I see life sometimes as a series of projects to dive into.  Which often means that when I am about midway through a project, I become antsy for the next new thing.  I’m ready to be done and ready to move on to the next.  I’m not content with where I am  at the moment;  I’m not living where I am at the moment.  I’m not seeing the blessings where I am at the moment.   

Now, let me tell you that home schooling my kids for the long haul has definitely cured me of a measure of discontentment. The start of a new school year or the start of a new math program or co-op or unit  often involves some amount of change and newness, thus my antsyness (not sure that is a word) is curbed a bit.  Oh, it shows up, mind you.  I’m blessed to have had the finances and space to house a nice collection of books covering all sorts of subjects.  I’ve got books that I absolutely adore, but haven’t read aloud to the boys because – well, I already read that with Ben 4 years ago and I cannot bear to read it again to Luke and Levi.  We switched spelling programs last September because I just could not open up the same book I’d been suing for 4 years even though it is a highly regarded, successful program.  I need a bit of change, newness…a “project” to figure out. 

And then there is the worrying part that leads to discontent.  I come from a long line of very competent worriers. 

Back to January/ February 2014 and our date night conversation. I knew that God was speaking to me, because I was expressing ideas I’d never heard rattling around in my brain before – and it was all making sense and resonating with me. (I’ve added some verses that I will thing upon this year)

Be content with where I have placed you.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

Do not worry about The Next Step.  I know and have it under control.

Matthew 6:25

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Job 36:10-12

He makes them listen to correction
and commands them to repent of their evil.
If they obey and serve him,
they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity
and their years in contentment.
But if they do not listen,
they will perish by the sword[a]
and die without knowledge.

Enjoy the days I have given you. Each day is a gift.  Treat it as such.

Psalm 118:24

This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Obviously none of these are new ideas.  I’ve thought each of them hundreds and hundreds of times in my life.  But the beauty of God (and the Bible) is that He speaks to us where we need it. The words in the Bible don’t change, but how God uses those words to communicate to me about my life and my relationship to him changes.  Relevant verses and teachings pop out on a page that I’d not noticed before.  Our date night conversation was just like that – relevant Biblical truths were dropped into my mind and so resonated with where I was/ am this year, that I knew it was from God.

As the first half of the year has melted away, I can still sense that I am where God wants me to be.  Learning gratefulness for every day in every situation.  Not worrying about the future, but planning wisely and rolling with the unknowns.  Being present for my boys in their activities and adventures.  For sure, I am not “cured” of my discontentedness (I know I’ll never be this side of heaven), but I am learning to let God be the God of my life on a daily basis, and in Tug-of-War game, I’m learning to be a good loser.

2014 is Contentment at Reaping a Harvest

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