Three weeks ago, I got the kick in the but I needed to start taking my walk with God seriously again. Before that point, I had been really struggling to get into the Word, to get on my knees in prayer, and put my trust in God. The more I began neglecting my relationship with God, the more my life began falling apart. Instead of trusting in Him for provision, guidance, and strength, I took it all upon myself and became completely overwhelmed with the weight of it all. My relationships with others became strained, my conscience became dulled, and my enthusiasm and passion for the church began fading. It was rough.
Now, I'm not about to say that everything is perfect now - far from it. But I've seen encouraging growth in my life since I got back into regular times of devotion and worship. I'm seeing change. I'm seeing fruit.
And through this time, there have been one or two things that God has been teaching me and ingraining in me over and over again. The first is holiness and obedience. The Holy Spirit is given to us as an indicator of our salvation - He is there to apply and carry out what was designed by the Father and accomplished by the Son. Through the Holy Spirit, we should be seeing continued sanctification and growth. There should be conviction of sin. There should be a growing desire for God - a growing desire for obedience. There should be fruit. We shouldn't look the same as we did a year ago.
It was that last point that really convicted me. Is my life really that different from what it was a year ago? Am I really growing in love and knowledge of God? It forced me to harshly examine and evaluate my life and my heart. By disciplining myself to set aside a specific time each day to read the Bible, worship, and pray to God, I began to see some of those indicators in my life again. That initial step of obedience was hard but, since then, God has granted me an incredible desire for His Word - for obedience.
The second thing that God has been teaching me is to trust in Him. Since getting married, my husband and I have developed a well thought-out plan for our lives. How much we want to save, where we want to live, when we want to buy a house, when we want to start a family, etc. The thing is, God wasn't included in many of those decisions. Instead, we made logical decisions based on what we felt was "good" for us. I tend to base my contentment on these plans too, thinking things like, "Once we buy our first house, we can finally start settling in and think about having kids. That's when I'll be most happy." It's almost like I'm waiting for the next big thing.
I know that I need to learn to be fully content and satisfied with where I find myself right now. But, in addition to that, I need to learn to let go of these plans. The Bible calls us to radical abandonment and surrender. I'm reminded of the parable in Luke chapter 12. Jesus says:
"The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, "What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops." Then he said, "This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I'll say to myself, You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." But God said to him, "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you."
We never know what the future holds. We need to live our lives with an eternal mindset because things can change in an instant. For all I know, our "5-year plan" may not even be possible. Any variety of circumstances can thwart these plans and put us on an entirely different path. I need to be prepared for that. I need to surrender and learn to be fully content with the present - not the potential future.