It's amazing to me how God is so intimately involved in the details of our lives. I have recently been asking the Lord a lot of questions about my life as I set my heart on the remaining years of my life. This happens often to me as I approach my birthday month! I want to live out His purpose for me. I want to use my gifts wisely. I've always been a dreamer, a romantic some would say. But I believe the Lord often uses the dreams He places within us to spur us on to seek out His best for our lives. And so it is no coincidence for me that the Bible study for our woman's group this summer was about dreaming and fulfilling God's purposes for us. The study by Jennie Allen is entitled "Restless" and is centered around the life of Joseph. Through the course of it I have looked afresh at my calling, committed to throw off the things that hinder me and run my race.
I want to finish well - not as others might determine how I finish - but run my race His way, in the center of His plan, with His strength, His vision and His heart.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
Each week as I listened to the women in my group share their stories, I was intrigued at how beautifully the Lord weaves the threads of our lives together. I was moved as women shared pieces of their lives and their suffering, willing to be vulnerable, seeking direction, wanting to know that their lives matter and count in God's divine plan. There were worn out tears from young moms. There were lives that felt empty when they had hoped they would be full. There were stories of radical mid life decisions from women willing to sacrifice salaries and security to answer the call of ministry. There were women in their 80's making a difference leading Bible studies at nursing homes and loving on babies in nurseries. All were seeking to fulfill their dreams while meeting the demands of everyday living. It was evident as I listened that God had appointed people to speak into these women's lives, Others were appointed to love a friend through a difficult season or challenge a friend to move a different direction or simply to dare to dream. As I listened I saw His beauty and love in them all…. in the tears, in the laughter, in the unique and beautiful design of each one.
And I reexamined my own life in the process….looking at the threads the Lord has woven together in His sovereignty and His unique design for me. There have been people and places and suffering and joy…..all working together to help me persevere as I run my race, fix my eyes on Jesus, and learn to dream the dreams He has for me so I can live my life in a way that counts for eternal things.
I wonder where you are in your race today.
It's easy to get lost along the way, to feel numb or just comfortable
Or maybe you find yourself thirsty for more…..
Sometimes we take our eyes off of Jesus and let the world or others mark out a course for us that
we were never meant to run.
Or sometimes the disappointment or suffering in our own lives or those we love just seems too much and we lose our joy. We grow weary and lose heart.
Sometimes we let sin entangle us and we need to throw off all that hinders us.
Or often there is just a restlessness in our souls, a longing for more. The Father can use that discontentment to pull us toward the goal He has set before us if we let Him.
And so, in this season for me, I feel the need to pull away a little from the pace and routine of my life and listen and pray and ask the Father what it is that will uniquely glorify Him in my life in the coming days and years. I think we need to look at what brings us joy, what make us feel most alive. I recently read a wonderful book by Emily Freeman called "A Million Little Ways" that has been such an encouragement to me in pursuing the creative life I believe we were all designed to live. She writes, "You might not see yourself as an artist, but you are --- in so many unexpected ways. In what you create, whether poetry or pie, sculpture or sand castle, calligraphy or conversation. It's time to uncover the shape of your soul, turn down the voice of the inner critic, and move into the world with the courage to be who you most deeply are. Creating a life of meaning is not about finding that one great thing you were made to do, it's about knowing the one great God you were made to glorify -- in a million little ways."
As God's image bearer I need to ask some questions.
Maybe you might need to ask those questions too.
Could it be that the Spirit of God who lives within us as believers could actually be trusted to weave His Spirit so completely and intimately through us that our deepest desires and dreams might actually begin to look like His?
Until we learn to lay our hearts, our dreams and our passions open before the Father, listen to His voice and trust Him, we will never have the courage to release them into the places and relationships where He has called us to live.
I'm reminded of a song I used to sing years ago by Twila Paris entitled "I Will Listen". Here is a portion of the lyrics.
"Could it be that He is only
Waiting there to see?
If I will learn to love the dreams
That He has dreamed for me
Can't imagine what the future holds
But I've already made my choice
And this is where I stand until He moves me on
And I will listen to His voice."
Listening and seeking to be all He has created me to be,
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Scripture images from Pinterest.
Resources: Restless by Jennie Allen
A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman
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