Clarity and Hope

17 Jan

I’ve been wanting to blog for the past couple of days but I’ve been [shocker] busy at work and [bigger shocker] busy outside of work this week. So here I am on a nice little Saturday, taking time to read the Bible, pray, and blog.

[Side note/Update: My resolutions for this year are going well. I did create a little reward system for meeting my goals each week and so far, I’ve been doing really well. The hardest thing has been to exercise 6 days a week (my body isn’t used to it) but other than that, I have been consistent in getting in the Word and praying daily as well as memorizing one verse a week. We won’t talk about eating… 🙂 I’m not expecting complete consistency there.]

Saturdays are my favorite day of the week. That’s why I would love to be a writer by vocation: every day could be a Saturday (except Sunday because I’d still have to go to church in the morning). But I love being able to get up early (today I got up at 7:30…I’ve been trying to get up relatively close to when I get up for work so that I don’t mess up my sleep cycle on the weekends) and eat breakfast, read the Bible, pray…just be very relaxed. It reminds me a lot of college. Every day was like this…I loved it back then too.

Anywho…can you tell I’m more upbeat today than I have been in some of my recent posts? (I was being a total Debbie Downer…but I was also being honest.) The reason for my mood/outlook change is that God has been faithful in giving me insight into the past few months.

I was living in my failures and sinfulness. Even though I “knew” I was forgiven, I was still carrying them around as my personal burden. Especially in my marriage. I saw my sin affecting Travis and I was terrified that I was going to ruin our marriage, drive him away–that’d we’d wake up one day in 15 years and realize we no longer knew each other at all…and that we’d be able to trace it back to something I did or said that set the ball in motion.

I was also hating myself. For sinning again and again. For (from my perspective) never learning or advancing. For being a coward and a hypocrite.

But this past week, I remembered that there are many stories in the Bible that depict God using sin or using people in spite of their sin to accomplish His purposes. That means I can’t thwart God’s will or purposes by my sin. That means He can make our marriage thrive even despite my constant threats to kill it. I was making my sin and failures all about me…when nothing is all about me. It’s all about Him. And HE is so much BIGGER than my sin. Who am I to think that my failures will deter Him from His will?

I also realized that I have been holding myself back from God. I felt like a failure and a pathetic sinner who would never learn. When reminded of God’s love,  a tiny voice inside me said, “Yeah but, I’m still doing X and struggling with Y. God’s love is great but first I want to stop doing all these things that I hate.” Silly girl, it’s God’s love that enables you stop doing all those things you hate.

BarlowGirl’s song “I Need You to Love Me” sums up my realizations well:

Why? Why are you still here with me?
Didn’t you see what I’ve done?
In my shame I want to run,
And hide myself.
Yeah, but it’s here I see the truth,
I don’t deserve you.

But I need you to love me,
And I, I won’t keep my heart from you this time.
And I’ll stop this pretending that I can,
Somehow deserve what I already have
I need you to love me

I, I have wasted so much time
Pushing you away from me.
I just never saw how you
Could cherish me.
Cause you’re a God who has all things,
And still you want me.

Your love makes me forget what I have been.
Your love makes me see who I really am.
Your love makes me forget what I have been.

My favorite line of that song is “Cause you’re a God who has all things, and still you want me.” Me, a sinner. Me, a girl trapped in self-pity. Me, an unremarkable person. You want me. You want me. You want me. How powerful each of those 3 little words is.

I have also been reading “God Has a Dream for Your Life” by Sheila Walsh. It’s a good book. Very easy reading. There are 2 passages that stand out to me regarding the whole questioning-life-and-purpose thing I’ve been going through for the past 6 months or so.

On discovering who I am and what God’s will for me is:

“So what are we to make of this God-given promise that if we delight ourselves in him, he will give us the desires of our heart? I love what C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity: ‘Your real self will not come as long as we are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.’

“My own journey has taken me away from trying so hard to find the will of God for my life. It has taken me to the place of brokenness and letting go of everything I thought I needed. I found peace and purpose as I lay exhausted at the feet of the Lion of Judah. It took me many years to understand that God wanted my heart, not my schedule.”

God wants my heart, not my fine-tuned plans for aiding His kingdom. He wants me to be who I really am in Christ, not try to be someone I’m not.

On my desire to write but feeling it’s prideful to want to do so:

“Don’t turn your light down just because it seems to burn brighter than the one who stands beside you. Let it shine and hold it high. The liberating truth is that none of this is about you anyway–it is all about God. If God has given you a voice to sing, then sing out for him. If God has given you the gift of mercy, then pour out that mercy in Jesus’ name whether anyone gets it or not. If God has given you a heart to serve, then serve with your whole heart even if no one stops to say thank you. If God has given you the ability to teach, then teach with vision and passion.

“Whatever God has placed in you, use it.”

I’m planning on starting my weekly writing retreats (to Panera, Starbuck’s, or a cute local coffee shop if I find one) this week on Tuesday. I have a lot of books on writing to read, old journals to review, and a long way to go. But it’s my dream and I’m going to pursue until God slams the door in my face. At least I’ll know that I have been faithful in using the gifts God has given me.

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