I was sitting in my living room this morning, drinking my coffee, doing my quiet time, and enjoying the glow of our Christmas tree, when I asked God a question that I’ve asked Him before. One that, for the first time, I felt like He might have whispered to my soul the answer to, and I felt like I had to jump on here to share.
I’ve shared several times that this year has been one for the books! Just scroll through a few posts back to read all about the fun we went through this year. It will definitely be a year that I look back on and think.. that was a tough year. But, it will also be a year that I look back on and thank God. Here’s why..
So this morning, I wrote in my journal..
“God, I don’t get it. I don’t get why you had to move us away from our church, our friends, our family and a job that I loved. I don’t get why I had to be plagued with anxiety and panic so badly that I had to quit my new job. I don’t get why you moved us here. I don’t get it. Why God, why??”
I was almost in tears this morning as I wrote down whatever came to mind.
Here’s what I heard God speak to my heart..
1. Stop trying to control everything! It’s MY will, NOT yours!
Yep.. I’m a controller. Guilty!
When I interviewed for the job at the church, at some point in the interview process I started to get signs that this wasn’t the job for me. There weren’t just a few signs, there were several, but I pushed it off. I really thought I wanted this job! It sounded so different from what I had been doing. Surely God wanted me to continue in ministry right? Surely this was all meant to be, right? I mean, it really felt like everything was lining up perfectly. Surely what I was feeling wasn’t from God, right?
For every thing that came up that showed me this job wasn’t for me, I was able to shut it down and tell you a reason why it was.
Even the first house we were going to purchase. I knew it wasn’t right. It didn’t feel right, but I made it right.
God showed me this year that when I try to control things and do things my way instead of HIS way, He’s going to make sure those plans fail.
2. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
Today God reminded me of something huge.
I remembered that at one point in my first interview of several at the church, they asked me what my dream job was. I laughed and said that I wanted to be like Joanna Gaines from the HGTV show Fixer Upper. I wanted to own my own business.
They laughed, and then said, “Ok, in the next interview, don’t say that. Be sure to say something about wanting to be in ministry.”
I laughed, “Oh yeah! Of course!! I’m just kidding. Of course I want to be in ministry!!” (I remember shrinking back, thinking.. “why did I just say that I wanted to be like Joanna Gaines! So dumb!)
Looking back on that conversation, almost 10 months later, I see where my heart was.
The DESIRE of my heart was in the first answer. I’m not saying I don’t want to do ministry. I absolutely DO want to do ministry. I just think my ministry is going to look different than working in a church. I’m also not saying I want to BE Joanna Gaines! What I admire about the story of Joanna Gaines and her success is that she had a dream and God turned that dream into something she could have never thought or imagined. That’s what I want.
3. I needed to force you to a place where you could dream again.
When I worked at our church in San Antonio, our pastor/my boss, would always encourage us to be dreamers.
He would tell us to not dream little dreams, but BIG dreams. God wants to show up in those BIG dreams!
I would pray to God.. “God, let me dream again.”
“God, give me a dream in my heart.”
But you know what? Since the anxiety forced me to stay home, a little bit at a time, I began to dream again.
And not little dreams, but BIG dreams.
I have no idea where these dreams will go, but it’s so exciting to have a dream in my heart again.
4. Listen for My still, small voice… then OBEY!
I’ve learned that I need to listen, and not just listen, but obey.
When I feel God prompting me to do something, I need to stop asking questions and just obey! I believe that is where the blessing comes from.
5. Be thankful in ALL circumstances.
I’m reading a great book right now by Ann Voskamp called One Thousand Gifts. It’s beyond amazing! It’s a total eye opener! The biggest take-away for me so far is that Jesus gave thanks to God through everything.. even when most of us would have chosen to shake our fists at God and ask, “Why me?” Jesus chose to give thanks.
As you go into this Christmas season, take the time to look back over your year. What did God do for you this year? Did you thank Him, or just look at the negative and complain?
Jesus knew he was going to be crushed for us, and guess what.. he thanked God for it. Could you do that?
This was a hard year for us, but looking back, it was a year full of blessings and lessons learned, and for that, I am thankful.
So this next year, I am going to change things up a bit…
I’m going to stop trying to control everything, delight myself in the Lord, dream, listen and obey, and give thanks in ALL circumstances!
I’m not going to lie.. sharing this was hard. It shows you that I made some huge mistakes this year, and most I’m not very proud of, but you know what, I felt God telling me to share this today. As I stated above, I’m going to obey. So, I’m guessing someone else needs to hear this today!