Wednesday, January 11, 2017

for when you are being taken to deeper places

It's been a year of waiting, a year of being asked by my all knowing Father to just wait.  Yes things are going to happen He said, Yes I am still working, always working, He promised, but you my girl, you need to just wait.  Wait for what is to come.  I spent the year waiting, waiting for what I did not know, sometimes thinking there was a giant party around the corner and if I sat still and patient the whole time He would jump out with a big gift and yell SURPRISE!

In the end, there was not exactly a party and then again maybe I should have thrown one myself because now sitting here and listing--obviously a list is involved if its me--the events of the year I can see His hand through it all and how the hardest of hards and the best of the best and even the sprinkle of surprises mixed in can only be designed by the one most creative of Creators and the Spirit within who thankfully navigates my directionally challenged soul.

Within this past year marked the second hardest event of my own life with the closing of my church and the loss of the stability of my church community, these people who have seen me and known me and me them through the darkest of times and the joyous of moments.  It also brought about a wealth of His good things, the first being a new calling in my life, a trajectory that only His will could vastly change.

Adding to the statistics of the year from the severe doubts that come with loss and confusion to enjoying my friends and family more as I fight to let go of the control I was never supposed to have, was brought about a better understanding of patience with life itself and the lesson that immediate solutions are not always, and honestly almost never, necessary.  Except in a true emergency, and not just what we want to place urgency on, there is always time for thought and prayer and the learning that what is happening will be clearer, or even over, after a mere 24 hour wait.  Added also, is that what seems broken, whether in a relationship, a requirement placed on yourself, or just a piece of furniture, was either not a needed item and can be let go or needs the time and care to be placed right again, something only the Gospel can bring.

Have you taken the opportunity to recognize the Good from your year?  Specifically those treasures hidden in the rock hard things bring.  Focus on that for a moment, look for His Good.

With every ending comes a beginning whether we are at the end of a year, the end of a day, or the end of a moment.  In the short journey for a new word to place as a compass for life in this next 365ish days there was a leading towards so many directions that it was assumed somewhere the world's magnetic pull had disappeared sending the needle spinning wildly.  Thoughts of the need for contentment rose in the most uncomfortable of ways and in the midst of reactions that do not drip with pride.  The desire to give what we have to others and take--accept--the treasures others have to give sent a warming smile throughout my being.

But confusion came next due to those words feeling awfully familiar.  After a bit of research through past writings, the mystery was solved as those were both words chosen in past years.  Contentment, give/take, and slow were each contemplated during the first three years of choosing a word to lead my thoughts.  Explore and enjoy was begrudgingly settled upon at the beginning of our year of infamy  and then after months and months of not understanding why I always felt so unsettled God in his violent love blew life up so that He could rebuild it.  Abide, onward, and wait took up the three years after taking me down roads never ventured that felt oddly comforting even in their unfamiliarity.  So here, this day, if my heart is hearing correctly which, lets face it, is never a guarantee, I am choosing the word deeper.

Deeper.  Deepening all parts of life.  Delving under to the depths of not only more that each of these words hold, but more of the parts of life given to me.  There has always been a temptation of skimming the surface; of doing what is expected, getting the jist, making it good enough for now until I can come back later and really invest.  Well that time is now.  Going deeper will take time, commitment, and discovering what is a priority and what is just distraction.  Going deeper is also not a place to venture alone.

When you choose to go deep spreading yourself thin is not an option, when you choose to go deep it will have to involve choosing less.  However, in the choosing of less, you will automatically get more.  More knowledge of a topic, more understanding of a person, more enjoyment from a moment, more gratification from an accomplishment, and more familiarity with a Father who has given your these opportunities to begin with.  

Madeline L'engle wrote "The times I have been most fully me are when I have been wholly involved in someone or something else; when I am listening, rather than talking...I look forward to deepening relationship with my husband, my children, my friends but knowing more of Him.  
That will be the best deepening of all.

So taking each of those past words chosen, I will rely on Grace given to delve deeper.  One at a time, a month or so at a time, starting with contentment, because in a life desiring to run hard after Christ that is where it needs to begin.

"One of the most beautiful fruits of grace is a heart that is content, more given to worship than demand and more given to the joy of gratitude than the anxiety of want. When you are satisfied with the Giver, because you have found in him the life you were looking for, you are freed from the ravenous quest for satisfaction that is the discouraging existence of so many people." Paul David Tripp

I hate to even attempt to guess how many times I will stumble, fall, and fail.  They will be countless.  I can promise you that, but I can also hold on to the promise of Hope that those new mercies do come each morning.  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; [because] GREAT is [His} faithfulness. Lam. 3:22-23.  

Please remember there are an infinite number of endings that can happen in life which just means there are an infinite number of beginnings following them.  Choose next steps slowly, carefully, forgiving yourself when you hesitate, giving yourself grace when you falter and fall, all the time remembering that you were not meant to do it alone and not meant to accomplish all the things, just one at a time.

Find the one thing God is calling you to do next and go after it trusting that even if it feels like no progress is being made that He is working, always working, in the midst of everything; crafting in your heart, in your mind, and in your habits the emotions, thoughts, and skills needed to put into bodily action what is being prepared in Spirit.

I am praying for your next thing, for finding the direction you are being called, and for being able to delve deeply into it. Pray for me.

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