Recently, I have hit a sweet spot in my life. I said this in my last post and I will say it again. I am facing the exact same set of circumstances. The same challenges, the same complications, the same questions, the same job, the same ministry, the same relationships and the same family dynamic. But I am looking at everything through a new lens. It has been a long, grueling and gradual process. There have been many nights I have stayed up late, unable to sleep. There have been several times I have ugly cried and broken down over the phone or during one-on-ones with friends and spiritual advisors. I have been exposed to a lot of ugliness that I have carried in my heart for far too long. God has stood in the muck of my life with me. He has been faithful to hold my hand and has not abandoned me in the process. Although the process is far from complete, I feel like the sun has come out in my life. Where I used to feel despair, I feel hope. Where I used to feel sorrow, I feel joy. Where I used to feel dread, I feel expectation. I am hearing his voice more clearly and I see the small, yet significant, steps He has helped me to take in my personal growth and walk with Him. Looking back over the past several months, I see progress. I am far from perfect and there is so much more work that needs to be done, but I know that God will be faithful to complete what He has begun in me. I have seen His faithfulness in operation, up-close and personal in my life. So much of that has to do with God re-aligning my priorities and causing my vision to come into focus.
The other day I was journaling my reflections on the verse Matthew 6:33, where it says, “But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Here it is:
Do not lean on your own understanding…I will never be able to gain a sense of understanding by looking at my circumstances, my perceptions of my circumstances, the opinions of others regarding my circumstances, or even the players in my own circumstances. Analyzing the details, over thinking and projecting into the future will bring about a sense of anxiety in me and do little to bring resolution to my questions. Trying to make sense of things and make everything fit into a tidy formula gives me a false sense of control and causes me to act out of my own intuition rather than being led by the Spirit of God.
What then should I do? Seek first…I hear it over and over again resounding in my spirit. Seek first the Kingdom of God and all of these things will be added unto you. It has become my daily question. What am I seeking first? Is it His Kingdom or all these things? This is the right question to be asking. It is the question that brings all other questions into focus. When I invest my time and my attention in a vain effort to control matters that should be left in God’s hand, I find myself given over to fear, worry, anxiety, even confusion and chaos at times. When I set my gaze on Him and let everything else fade into the background, I am able to rest and be secure, knowing that He is working out all things for my good. It becomes less about figuring it all out and more about hearing His voice every moment. Lord, what step are you asking me to take now? Where would you have me to go in this moment? What would you have me to do?
God is using the situations and circumstances to draw my attention to how much I need Him. He is allowing me to feel things, to experience things and to walk through the fires of life to draw me closer to His heart and to increase my awareness of my dependency on Him. He desires to satisfy every hunger. He longs for me to rest in Him. Day by day He reveals Himself to me as my constant companion. When I understand that His love is all that matters and that nothing can separate me from His love, no situation seems as pressing, daunting or scary.
Today, I choose to lay down my questions. I chose to stop asking for a time even, to seek Him first. My desire is to come to a deeper understanding of Christ, my answer. The Answer.
I mentioned that all of this work that God is doing in my life has been without a change in external circumstances. I believe that God desires to change me first, before He changes my circumstances. I think God knows that before I can walk into all that He has for me, He needs to walk me through a season of preparation and maturation. Otherwise, I would not be able to properly manage or handle the coming season when it arrives. God is teaching me valuable lessons and principles that I will need to rely on to get me through the challenges of the next season. Maybe you, like me, have walked through some challenging times this year. Don’t be discouraged. Nothing that you have experienced will go to waste. God is preparing you to receive the promise. Don’t lose heart in the wait.