I really have no clue as to what my future might be like. Sure, I have an idea of what I want it to be like, but with God, I’m willing to bet that the future God has in mind for me is much bigger and much different than what I could ever imagine.
At the beginning of last semester, when I came back to The City after Christmas break, I started praying for God to prepare me, in whatever way He saw fit, for the future He had in mind for me, not specifying what I wanted or how I pictured it, just that He would drive me forward in His way and help me not go in any other direction, set my mind on the things He needed me to be thinking about, and challenge me in the areas in which He needs me to be strong.
So, connecting these two thoughts together and bringing with them the understanding that, when I pray within God’s will He does answer my prayer, I can only conclude that the things I’m struggling with now and the new obstacles around which I’m maneuvering in the present are indeed preparing me for the future, while also bringing my heart ever closer to the One who holds it.
On that note! Overscheduling (the pros and cons…yes, there are pros), ministry, loving people I just don’t understand or feel incapable of communicating with, and sorting out priorities through the heart and will of God are all things I’ve been looking at and scratching my head, thinking “I have no idea what I’m doing.”
I’m currently reading a book by John Eldredge, titled “Wild At Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul.” With all of the insight on men that Eldredge offers in the beginning chapters of this book, he also offers bits and pieces of insight on women as well.
“The world kills a woman’s heart when it tells her to be tough, efficient, and independent. Sadly, Christianity has missed her heart as well. Walk into most churches in America, have a look around, and ask yourself this question: What is a Christian woman? Again, don’t listen to what is said, look at what you find there. There is no doubt about it. You’d have to admit a Christian woman is…tired.” (pg. 17)
So, when I over schedule, when there’s one thing after another for a long time, the importance I place on relationships and loving others and having quality conversations defers to the analytical part of my brain, so I’m powering through on just “what needs to be done next?” and then I fall into the habit of being a know-it-all and I don’t as deeply consider what other people think and feel and I have a hard time being sensitive. Over scheduling and not knowing how to just say ‘no’ and instead leave room for only the things God has put in my schedule is something I’ve struggled with forever. I become, for however short a time, tough, efficient, independent, and yes, tired.
For the last two weeks, I seemed to be planning every minute out and giving myself no room or time to think through anything or just rest in God’s presence or even to really enjoy spending time in His word. Of course I was spending time with Him, but it was becoming harder and harder to focus. And I began to be afraid of becoming that tired Christian woman. It became difficult for me to focus on other people and really think through everything and take time to pray and choose to depend on God, which leads me to be more susceptible to poor reactions and complicated, vague responses that confuse and frustrate other people. And of course each time I react poorly or get frustrated, I feel incredibly stupid and wonder how God can use me if I keep messing up in this way.
So, this past weekend along with the first couple of days of this past week, it “just so happened” that there were obstacles in the way of my scheduling anything extra during my days. God has provided me with a job done for an elderly gentleman in my church who’s very kind and simply wants me to come when I can. After my first couple of days there, he asked if I wouldn’t mind coming only when I could come for an eight hour day. Then, my mom has been using me as a wild card, and I’m so glad that she’s taken advantage of my being home. She asked me to pick up and drop off the kids at school, which left me little time to schedule between or even after picking them up and dropping them off. Therefore, I had two whole days where I had nothing scheduled except picking up the munchkins. I will feel free to call this divine intervention. This gave me time to be refreshed and recharged in the word, to rest in God, and to be reminded of how completely He’s loved me and does love me and will continue to love me, and it doesn’t matter how many Bible studies I’m doing, how many girls I’m discipling, or how often I’m at the church with others, God will still love me. He will use all of these things for His kingdom, of course, but He didn’t save me when I was fruitful. He saved me when I was shattered. He didn’t just want me in order to use me. He wanted me, well, because He wanted me.
In the realm of pros to overscheduling, however, I learned in part how to make the most of every minute as far as being productive and efficient is concerned, and how to depend on and be revived by God when I might not have time to sit alone with Him for a couple of hours. But I don’t like being there…I NEED that time with Him every day, and I would love it if it could be all day.
And the enemy plays on the times when I’m not full, when I’m tired, when I’m stretched, when I’m overwhelmed. So, naturally, the old lies have been messing with my head. All of the past things, all of the fear, all of the uncertainty about the future came back up to the forefront of my mind, and I forgot what God has brought me through and how He’s triumphed over the enemy, and that the enemy can’t use those things against me anymore.
Having to fight against habits and instincts from when I sat at the bottom of a pit that I had dug for myself, remembering that there is a war in my head and there’s an enemy opposing me every step of the way, became much less of a fight and more like an onslaught of very dark and intimidating thoughts. God is good, however, with bringing my focus back to Him, reminding me to whom I belong, showing me that He’s much stronger than the lies in my heart. He cares about this battle I experience and have experienced for so long, and it does matter to Him, my hurt and my fear and my uncertainty and everything painful to and difficult for me. The best part? He’s set to win.
Mom, Gracie, and I have begun a Bible study together, specifically Beth Moore’s Bible study on the tabernacle 🙂 I’m already really enjoying it, not to flippantly say that “Oh, it’s just fun,” but it really is fun 😛 It refreshes me to be in the Bible and to dig around in the word and to be reminded of who I am in Christ, to be shown my own identity by the One who made the stars, and to be encouraged by His words to me, by His kids, and by their testimonies of His love. It’s just really cool 😀
Next week, my family and I will be road-tripping down the east coast all the way to Florida to visit my mom’s side of the family 😀 The weather here in the Shire for summer has been beautiful, (very summery :P). I’m insanely excited for this and I love road trips 😀 God continues to challenge my heart through my family and through my striving to love them as He loves them…it’s much more difficult than I thought it would be, but God is bigger 🙂 And then Jacob comes home! 😀 And I won’t even attempt to convey the joy and excitement that spring up in my heart when I think about that, because my words would just fail 😛
Meanwhile, staff training for the counselors of BaYouCa has begun, and while I miss everyone from last year, and while I enjoyed every single moment of my time there, I am so glad and without regret concerning the decision I made to stay home.
God knows what He’s doing 🙂
“…For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.” —Isaiah 46:9-11, ESV