Posted in Life

Imperfect Yet Workable

Tonight I brought out my collection of beads and started stringing a bracelet. As I sorted through the seed beads (those really tiny ones that roll everywhere when you drop them) to find just the right color, I realized that they all look slightly different. When I make jewelry, I like symmetry and for everything to line up over a middle line. That doesn’t happen when your seed beads are different shapes. So I searched a bit deeper to find beads that were at least similar sizes. Each bead had to be in the perfect place in order for the final project to fit my symmetrical desires.

Here comes the moral to this beading story.

God has to do the same sorting with us. We are all made just slightly different. Like the beads we have individual deformities. If God were designing a bracelet, he would have to sort through us to find just the perfect person for each spot. God is designing a bracelet of sorts when he puts us all in places together. He sorts through people and puts them in the locations that he wants them and where he knows that we will best be able to fit. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like we fit very well, but once things settle down, it’s usually pretty obvious where we fit.

That’s kind of where I am right now. I am on day four of this internship and it’s been a bit rough. I wasn’t sure at the beginning what my role was (and I’m still not entirely sure) and then my phone was stolen. I felt like I wasn’t needed. Now that a couple more days have passed I am starting feel that maybe I have a niche here. I’m still not sure what my role is or what purpose God has for me here, but I am certain that he has placed me here for a reason. I am a bead placed in this portion of the bracelet and once things settle I will find that I fit perfectly with the surrounding beads.

Posted in Bible Study

Surrounded by thornbushes

“But I will fence her in with thornbushes. I will block the road to make her lose her way. Hosea 2:6.

God has a perfect plan for every life. It involves our happiness. He will make us happy in Him.
And then we don’t listen. Is that in God’s plan? He knew we wouldn’t listen but did he desire that from the beginning?

In the not so distant past, I wanted something. The opportunity was presented to me. I had doubts about whether this was an opportunity from God or a temptation. I convinced myself to believe that it was an opportunity from God. Looking back I think it was a temptation and I fell for it. Thankfully God protected me and brought me back to his perfect plan but not without a bit of pain first. I can see where God put thornbushes around me to keep what I thought was good from happening. It hurt because I kept trying to get to what I wanted on the other side of the thornbushes.

God has that perfect plan but sometimes we choose to stray from the plan. We may be confused by temptation. We may ignore God’s voice because the other thing just too shiny to pass up (too bad it’s simply fool’s gold). Regardless of why we stray, we do. Like Israel here, God places thornbushes around us. That’s why when we keep trying to get it, we feel pain. Eventually, we’ll realize that maybe we’re not meant to have it. Eventually we turn back to God’s plan.

So maybe it isn’t that God has multiple plans for each way we could mess up. Maybe he isn’t being cruel when we feel pain. Maybe we cause or own pain by not giving the control to God. Maybe he has one plan for each life and the pain is just a way of bringing us back to his plan and reminding us that he has it all under control.

Posted in Bible Study, Remembering

Drawing Lines

When I was a little girl, I used to take our laminated map on long car trips. I would figure out where we started and where we were going and use a dry erase marker to connect the points. I drew a line.

There’s more to this story than entertainment for a young child. Now that I’m a bit older, I also try to draw lines, not between two places on a map, but between me and somewhere I want to be in life. I decide that I want to do something in life and then I draw a metaphorical line to get there. I make plans.

Go back to the car. That line I drew on the map did not determine how we wherever we were going. My mom determined that part. Similarly, I can draw metaphorical lines, but God ultimately determines the path I take.

Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our step.

Posted in Bible Study

Making Plans

A week or so ago I made a post about the phrase “pushing on a pull door.” For me, pushing on a pull door is when I try to make plans that involve more than just me. It also usually means that I am making plans without God.

It’s cool how God constantly reveals things to me when I just search for answers.

Today while I was reading my Bible I came across a couple of verses in Proverbs about making plans:

“We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

“Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3)

Making plans without God is futile and they often fail. Right now I know that some things might possibly happen in my future or they might not, and my tendency is to plan in my head how I think the situation should turn out. This often in the past has led to disappointment though when something does not turn out according to my plan. These verses tell me that we should make let God make the plans. Our actions should reflect our faith in God. If our actions reflect the fact that God has it all under control and that He has it planned for good, then our plans will succeed. If our plans reflect that we trust God with whatever comes out of a situation, then we will be truly happy.

Posted in Life, Music

Pushing on a Pull Door

“Pushing on a pull door”

It’s a phrase, a song (For king and country) and feeling that I think I might finally understand. For a while now I’ve been trying to find peace and contentment by making my own plans. I decide that something is going to happen a certain way and that will make me happy. Then it does not and I am disappointed, feeling worse than I did before. The problem with many of my plans is that they involve other people, and I just cannot predict how other people will respond or act. I cannot decide for other people. That’s why my plans fall through. You know what they say, “the best laid plans of mice and men…” (Actually I don’t even know what the rest of that phrase is but I feel like there has to be more.)

My plan making needs to stop. It’s just like pushing on a pull door. The song says:

You made a plan. You think you’re in control. Yeah you’re flying. But you’re way too high to fall. And hey man, check around the corner because it’s coming. Here’s your wakeup call.

I make plans that I think will succeed but then I fall and it hurts. The opposite of making plans is to let life happen, keep my focus on God, and the pieces will all come back together. God’s been at this whole plan making business a lot longer than I have so leaving it to the expert sounds like a good idea this time.

The good thing is that God has plans that are good for me. He’ll reveal them to me in the right time.

If only I didn’t have to get to the point where I feel like life is upside down and broken at the same time in order to come to this conclusion. Now to just remember this…

I’m not going to ever get somewhere by pushing on a pull door.

Posted in Bible Study

Wait.

Questions weigh on my mind and I want answers. I try to sort through the problems logically and turn round and round in circles. I turn to God when I realize that I should have gone to Him first. I ask questions and pour out my struggles. Then I finally shut up expecting to hear this great voice that will calm my mind. I hear something, but that’s just my mind coming up with I think the answer should be. I shush up my mind but all I hear is

Wait.

“I wait quietly before God,

for my victory comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress where I will never be shaken.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,

for my hope is in him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

my fortress where I will not be shaken.

My victory and honor come from God alone.

He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.

O my people, trust in him at all times.

Pour out your heart to him,

for God is our refuge.

 

I know that God has a plan that is perfect and he will reveal it to me in time so for now I wait.

 

Psalm 62

Posted in Bible Study

God wants ME to be happy

And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing—like working for the wind. Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry.

Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.

-Ecclesiastes 5:17-20 New Living Translation

 

Sometimes, as a child of God, I feel that I can’t enjoy the work that I do for God.  I feel like that I have to be serious because I am doing “God’s work.”  When I have a choice to make and I’m trying to determine which is God’s will, my thinking sometimes is that the one that I would enjoy or want the most is most likely not God’s will.  Now, don’t get me wrong, my brain does not always work this way.  Sometimes I have lots of fun doing what I know is God’s will.  But other times I feel like I can’t enjoy the more fun of my options because then I would be selfishly choosing and not following God’s will.

This set of verses seem to be saying the exact opposite.  God wants me to enjoy what I do, because God loves me.  As long as the wealth is coming from God, I can enjoy it.  That means I don’t have to feel guilty because I am blessed while others are suffering.  That does not mean I keep all of my blessings for myself.  No, there are other passages in the Bible that talk specifically about helping one another in our times of need.  I am blessed, so I can enjoy the blessings and bless others.

Ultimately, God wants me to enjoy the life that he has given me and to enjoy the blessings.  Didn’t he say “I know the plans I have for you.  They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  Yep, in Jeremiah 29:11 he said that to the captives in Babylon, but I believe it still holds true for me today.  God knows what is best for me and he wants me to be happy following his perfect plan.