The past several months have held a mix of emotions for me. Some days were harder than others, but through the rough patches, I was able to see abundant grace that can only be found in beautiful brokenness. As a young adult, about two years removed from college, I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know exactly what I should be doing or how I should be doing it. I can make a decision with all of the perceived available information, only to realize it would have been better to wait.
Even in the uncertain places of this incredible life, I know I’m becoming the person I was created to be. That, in itself, keeps me going. Knowing that the hand of God is personally molding me into exactly who I need to be is mind-blowing. God loves me and God loves you. I take comfort in that.
In this life, as we face decisions, it’s easy to get discouraged. Something may not work out as planned and the next thing you know you’re wondering what to do. Even if things do work out, you may be left asking, “is this it?”
I’ve realized that the best place to be is in the will of God. But, how often do we truly listen for His guidance?
We live in a world of instant gratification and personal gain. From the narcissistic nature of excessive selfie-taking to the societal pressures of climbing the corporate ladder, we’ve gotten off track. Bigger and better is what we run toward. More money and more prestige are supposed to make us feel special. The truth is that the more we get of the world’s riches, the harder it becomes to follow God. We, in the Western World, have a whole lot of riches.
Even when we have the best intentions, it’s easy to stray away. We can logically know right from wrong. We can know what it means to do good and carry it out, but if we aren’t doing it in the will of God, we’re accomplishing nothing. This is truth that hit me hard this fall.
For the past several months, the young adult small group I’m involved with has been going through a study called Experiencing God. It’s written by Henry & Richard Blackaby and Claude King. What I love about this study is the way it takes you step by step through the ways God speaks, how to listen, and how to apply it to your life in a practical sense. There are many stories of God’s work through people who faithfully followed. Along with examples from scripture and thought-provoking questions, the weekly lessons guide you toward a real relationship with God where He speaks and uses you to accomplish His will.
While I don’t agree with every blanket statement made in Experiencing God, I know that God’s used this study to bring me back into His will. What I mean by this is that although I wanted to follow Him and did consciously try to be a “good Christian,” I have weaved in and out of following the Lord closely over the past several years. Throughout that time, I made decisions that weren’t God’s will. They were what others would consider right, but I knew that they weren’t what God really wanted from me. At some point, I may go into more detail on this, but for now I’m going to be vague. Bear with me. :)
This is a passage from the study that stood out to me the most:
“We cause some of the wreck and ruin in our churches because we have a plan. We implement the plan and accomplish only what we can do. We ask God to bless our plans, and then we promise to give Him the glory when He does. Yet God is not glorified by making our plans succeed. He receives glory when His will is done in His way.” (Unit 2, Day 2)
This shook things up in my heart. Even when we have great intentions, those intentions are not enough. We need to follow the Lord. It’s that simple (or maybe difficult, depending on how you look at it). God knows what is best. He is the creator of all things good.
I’ve come to the point in my life where I have to follow the Lord. I can’t avoid His will because I know the peace that comes with it. When you follow the Lord with every area of your life, everything comes together as it should be. This doesn’t mean it will be everything you want, but it will be everything you need. As I wrote in the last blog post, when you seek God and His kingdom, everything else that you are prone to worry about will be given to you. You’ll have no reason to worry. (Matthew 6:33)
I know that following the Lord means a life of of endurance. It means carrying my cross daily. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.