Those who know me best can honestly say that despite my typically jovial demeanor, I can easily be discouraged. Perhaps even worse, I’m also one who can probably see the hope in the lives of others far better than I can see such hope in my own life. I can go from the highest of mountains to the lowest of valleys in an instant.
Well, true to form, I found myself in a place of discouragement this week. A few things happened that caused me to start feeling sorry for myself…but before I could get too down, I was lifted up by a podcast that features the weekly sermons of Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Church Australia. I used to listen to this podcast on a weekly basis, but it’s been several months since I’ve tuned in regularly. And, wouldn’t you know the podcasts I chose to listen to in my car yesterday, “Go: Align Your Life With the Mission of God” and “Favor is a Way of Seeing”,greatly blessed my soul and helped me find a bit of hope.
Both sermons talked about the gap that lies between the life we’re living and the potential life that exists within us. He referred to this gap as a place of resistance…resistance that could equate to fear, doubt, anxiety, a lack of knowledge and skills, a lack of resources or any number of other things. Pastor Houston posed an interesting thought that resonated deeply with me. He asked the question, What if our perception of God is limiting God? He also made the argument that perception and belief are shrinking so many people!
Why did these things strike me in an interesting way today? Well, I’m certain it’s because I’m one of those people who is being shrunk by my lack of faith. How do I know this?
I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to figure out a way to navigate some challenging waters in my life. I’ve been relying on my ways and my little bit of knowledge to try to figure out the next steps, yet I’ve made it nowhere. For some strange reason, I decided to work a little late today, and after everyone left the office, I had a nice quiet space where I could just sit and be still. As I plugged away at the computer, God began speaking to me and giving me guidance about how to deal with some of the challenges I’ve been facing. Prior to hearing God speak tonight, in my rational mind, all I could think was, “Lord, I don’t have the resources…Lord, I don’t have any contacts…Lord, I didn’t come from a rich family…Lord, none of this makes sense…Lord, I’ve accepted that unless you send me a husband (which it sure seems like that’s not in your plans right now), life is going to be a struggle for me for a long time”. I had become so irritated by everything outside of my professional life, that I had started to believe and accept that life was just going to be like this for a while. I wasn’t giving up on life itself, but I wasn’t so sure how those hopes and dreams were going to pan out. The crazy thing is, I’m clear God has greater plans in store for me, He’s shown me a glimpse of the plans He has for me, but I’m human and sometimes our humanness makes us want to call it quits.
But, I rejoice because tonight I believe God stepped in and revealed to me how He intends to conquer some of these challenges that have been weighing heavily on me. He also showed me that my behavior, my refusal to give EVERYTHING to Him also puts limits on what He can do in my life. Even though, I may say out of my mouth all things are possible with God, my behaviors aren’t consistent with that faith statement, and therein lies the problem. My behaviors suggest that I doubt God is capable of turning my situation around completely. Until this changes, my circumstances will remain the same. Well, tonight, I accept that my responsibility is to pray about everything like it all depends on God, and work on everything like it all depends on me. God showed me the steps that I need to take, and I’m just crazy enough to believe that He has already started working on my behalf (and I’ve barely acted upon what He showed me to do).
I’m thankful tonight that God Still Speaks!
Until next time…