With a little triumph under my belt, I am sitting at my desk having my coffee and a couple chocolate mini-donuts. I have to say that even though these are the fake "Dolly Madison" ones, waxy chocolate coating and all, they are so GOOD. Yum! There is just something about mixing hot coffee with little chocolate covered donuts -- the combination is just so GOOD!
More to the point, as I sit here, I am thinking on some things (like normal), and wondering about how I got to where I am, and how I am going to get to where I need to be. Oh, my was that a mouthful. True words, though. I am at this cross-roads of sorts, mid-way between where I was and where I am going. I guess everyone gets to this point at some time in their life. Perhaps it is midlife (40s-50s) or perhaps it is after some life altering event (like illness or divorce)? Perhaps it is a deep spiritual turning point, a moving away from a self-centered life and towards a God-centered one?
It doesn't really matter how one gets to this spot because we all will find ourselves here one day or another. What does matter is what happens next. The choices made from this point on will determine where you end up, so they had better be wise ones. I am right in this process, trying to make good choices now, and it is the most difficult thing I have ever done. I think this is normal...regardless of your situation. When you are young, you tend to toss decisions up into the wind, just to see where and how they land. You are less concerned about the outcome, but mostly, you are just glad to move on. It is as if the decision is made, the motion is propelling your forward, and the thought about tomorrow or five or ten years ahead is minimized. The future is some far off distance place; a place, you know you will get to some time down the road.
When you are in your middle ages, though, the choices are more carefully considered. Life is not so open-ended. Often you have already experienced some measure of loss, be it a friend, a loved one, or even a relationship/job/opportunity/health, etc. You are more wary of making a wrong decision because you have seen the outcome of wrong decisions before. You are more concerned now with how things turn out, and you are less willing to take changes and leave those end results to chance or fate or luck (or whatever you hope in).
It is a very different approach when you are older and trying hard not to mess up the remaining years of your life. Truthfully, there is little chance of messing things up, so long as you are trusting the Lord, listening to His Word, and carefully considering His ways. If you approach decisions from this standpoint: "What would Jesus do? Or What would Jesus WANT me to do in this situation?" you will not fail. You will, perhaps, even find something quite wonderful; some experience that far exceeds your expectations and initial needs or wants.
I want to make sure that all my decisions are based on His assessment of my needs. I want to make sure that I have all the facts correct, that I am not making up things or trying to justify things that need exposure (let the truth be told). I also want to make sure that I am willing and agreeable to what He wants. In doing so, if I am trusting Him to lead me and guide me, believing that He has my Best in mind, and then following His Word...my outcome, my end result, my future should be nothing short of wonderful. Granted, I am not saying it will be "wonderful" in the sense of perfect, never sad, never sorrowful, etc. No, of course not. I understand that this is what our life is to be -- He said it would be so. I am just saying that the Psalmist was correct:
Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked. ~Psalm 84:10
This is where I am at in my life right now. I would much rather be the lowest of lowest servant in the house of my God, than have all the riches and wealth and power and presence of a king or noble person. I still have dreams, mind you. I still have lofty thoughts; thoughts about doing super terrific things and going to far off places. Yes, I even have fantasies about accomplishing great feats, conquering unscalable mountains, and living a truly undefeated life.
I am not old, after all (only 47), and I do have at the least 40 good years left of my life (should the Lord choose to give me that many days). There is plenty of time to scale mountains, and to go to the farthest reaches of the earth. Yes, I can do these things, Lord willing. I can also live a humble, and wholly devoted life; a small and insignificant life, but one filled with His Praise and Thanksgiving. I can live a life of the lowest servant as well as the life of the highest esteemed. I can do either, depending on whether or not He chooses that for me. I am content to be at either end of the spectrum because I know Him, and blessed of all, He knows me. He knows me. He knows everything about me, and He knows all those thoughts, those dreams, those wants. Yes, He knows them all, and even has offered me the opportunity to experience some of them (not all, but some). He knows my innermost thoughts, my deepest hurt, and my humblest want. He knows that when it is "all said and done" my chief desire is to hear Him say to me: "Well, done, my good and faithful servant." Yes, when it is all over, my chief desire is to be His servant.
Now, I have to make choices based on that very thought. How can I serve you Lord? How can I live my life as a servant regardless of where I may be today or tomorrow? How can I move or sit or stir and still be serving you? I don't want to deviate from this path, I don't want to consider other options. I want to serve the Lord with Gladness (Psalm 100:2), and give Praise and Honor to Him all the days of my life. My whole being desires to serve Him, and in doing so, I will be serving others because of Him.
This makes my choices easier to make, because now I know what I must consider. Does this opportunity enable me to serve you and others? Yes, then consider it. No, then move on. Moreover, in considering where to go, what job to take, or perhaps even what career to consider, I must always keep firmly in focus any plans that the Lord may have in store for me. Does the Lord want me to study a particular discipline or field? If so, then I need to consider choices that will allow me to do this very thing. Does the Lord have a specific ministry in mind for me? If so, then I need to make sure I am serving in ministry that is SIMILAR to what He wants from me. It needs to be a ministry focus that will provide training and experience for me so that I will be ready when He is ready for me to do whatever he has purposed and planned.
As I ponder my road in life, I am certain of one thing: loving the Lord with your whole heart will ensure the greatest possible chance of success. You can never lose with this as your focus. The Word calls us to Love God first and foremost, and to place all things in second position. In doing so, we are bent towards His will, and are far more agreeable to His Spirit's leading. I am fully bent, fully agreeable to His will. My heart is simpatico with His -- I want what He wants, I love what He loves, I see the needs that He sees. It is a perfect wish, a perfect want, and in truth...I am not there yet (not by any stretch of the imagination). I am on my way, though; I am on my way to becoming the kind of servant He desires and so much wants me to be. I am becoming like Him, and my mind is being transformed to think like He does, to consider like He does, to do the things that please Him and bring Him honor. Yes, I am being conformed to His likeness and it is a wonderful thing. I still do the things I shouldn't (rats!), and I still think about ME far too often; but, generally speaking...I am starting to get it. It is starting to sink into my thick head. His ways are Perfect. His ways are so High. His ways bring Him esteem, elevation, and exultation. His ways are the best, always the best. I am choosing this day to serve Him and to serve others because of Him. My decisions, therefore, will be solely made with this in mind: they will conform to His Will, His Way, and will ultimately be servant-based. They are being made so that I can serve the One whom I dearly love; and are being made out of direct response to the Love that is coming from Him, and the Love that encircles and enfolds me and keeps me in His Sheltering Arms.
Selah (Pause and calmly think of that!)