R. E. L. A. X.

hammock-1031363_960_720.jpg

This year has been a challenging one. 2015 was all about change and transition, but 2016 has been all about the changes that God is doing on the inside of me. It has been a difficult and challenging, yet rewarding process. This is one of those seasons that I know I'll look back on two years from now and say, "Man...I would not be who I am today, if I hadn't gone through that." I am thankful for this season, because I know God is using it to make me stronger and make me more like Him. This year there were a couple of curveballs thrown at me that I didn't expect. Navigating those circumstances has tested my faith and confidence in the Lord...Big time. God is using those situations in my life to invite me trust Him and to take steps of faith, even when I can't see or know the outcomes. The frustrating thing is that sometimes no matter how hard you try to follow God's lead in a situation, you still find yourself standing in the middle of what seems to be a big mess. I ask myself, "How did I manage to mess everything up...again?!?" Then my brain goes into fix-it mode. If I perceive that something is broken, I want to pounce on the situation and attack it with my "resolutions." Sadly, I usually end up making things worse.

Time and time again I am reminded that what looks like a mess in our lives could be exactly where God wants us. I am sure Joseph could have identified with my feelings. "I try to do everything right, but somehow I ended up in slavery, falsely accused and imprisoned...I must be missing it somewhere." But for those of you who know the story of Joseph, God was working behind the scenes in all of his "messes." It is the same for us. God can use whatever situation we are in to teach us and to cause us to grow. Sometimes he even brings us to messy situations to allow His plans and His purposes to unfold in our lives. Even when it feels like you are standing in the midst of a disaster, God is always at work in your life. We need to trust that.

The other day I was driving home from work and thinking about some messy situations in my life. I was reflecting on choices that were made, decisions I arrived at and the current state of being. Do you ever worry that your going to mess up God's plans and miss out on something He has for you? Yup. I do that too. I found myself racking my brain trying to figure out what words I could say and what I could do to bring about faster resolutions. How could I fix the mess? Is there a short-cut I could take that would be a faster route to the happy ending in all of this? My thoughts went on and on. Eventually, I paused long enough to ask God a pivotal question: "Lord, what are you saying to me in all of this?" All I heard was one simple word, "Relax." Excuse me? "CHILL OUT."

I was a little taken aback. I was expecting God to say something different, not sure what I expected, but that wasn't it. But I started to think about that. A few months ago, I taped up several scriptures all over my desk at work, so that I could constantly redirect my thoughts to God's words and His promises. One of the verses that I look at everyday is this one from the Gospel of Matthew: "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes" (Matt. 6:34). This verse hits home every time. If you are anything like me, you might worry about the future from time to time. You may wonder how everything will turn out. You may feel like you are standing in the middle of a mess and wondering how you will find your way out. God wants us to lay all of our burdens on Him. He wants us to stop trying to fix things, according to our own understanding and to trust Him to work in our lives in ways we couldn't possibly foresee.

So, I asked God, "What does it mean for me to relax in this season?" "How do I even do that?" This is what I heard:

Rest in Jesus. Enjoy the moment. Let it go. Appreciate your blessings. Xpect greater things up ahead.

So, this is where I'm at these days. Walking this out moment by moment. I'll wrap this all up with this. Yesterday, I was sitting on my couch, deep in thought once again, about situations far beyond my control. Unfortunately, at times, I need a ton of reminders from God about what he has told me and spoken. (Even if it was the day before.) I had a bottled drink in my hand and for whatever reason, I found myself staring at the label. I read these words:

Refrigerate after opening. As in life, chill for best results.

Isn't it funny how God speaks sometimes?