November 30, 2013

Starting Over Again

Thinking today about starting over - again! I know I have written blog posts with this same title before, probably a couple times over the course of the life of this blog. I guess I agree with what F. Scott Fitzgerald says -- "it is never too late or too early to be whoever you want to be." I like that he reminds us that there is no time limit, and that you can stop doing what you are doing at any time. There is no rule or police to say "no" to you. You can decide today to make a change, any change (thinking here diet, lifestyle, work, etc.) You can change your attitude, your preference, or your mind (I do it all the time, just not with purpose).

Now I am thinking about Rick Warren and his "Purpose Driven Life." I am thinking about what it means to be purposed, to be driven, to have a goal in mind, and work toward that goal. I am considering how purpose helps provide framework to our life, how it gives us confidence to keep on walking in the direction of our life. I am also thinking about how a life without purpose is like a ship without a rudder (James 3:3b-5 has just popped into my head):

"When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark."

Yes, James is reminding us about the power of the tongue, but in larger context, I am thinking that the same principle holds true for our life. Without a rudder to guide us, we are like a ship drifting out on the open sea. No matter how hard we try to steer our life, we will end up floating this way or that -- simply at the mercy of the current. I pray that the current in your life is that of the Holy Spirit, and the rudder, is His Word!

As I think about starting over today, I am reminded of where I have been, and where I am headed. I am moving forward in my life, toward what I believe is the will of God. I am working, and I am growing, and I am learning how to live my life His way. It has been a long journey, and learning how to live God's way or the way that He wants us to live, has not always been easy. In fact, I would say that learning to live God's way has been difficult and frustrating. Not because He is a hard taskmaster or that He demands I do this or that, but rather it has been difficult and frustrating because my will is so strong, and my head (my mind) is firmly fixed on my way. Yes, the truth is that God's way requires a yielding of our will, a humbling of our spirit, and a willingness to trust Him regardless of what "looks" or "appears" to be happening all around us.

Yes, I am reminded of what Micah 6:8 says to us. I am reminded that God asks us to act a certain way, and to humble ourselves before Him. We are to do justice (to be accurate or fair -- to represent someone or something with accuracy, as it truly is), love mercy (to be kind, forgiving), and to walk with God in humbleness (without pride). What great advice for our daily life? Oh, how I pray that I may do what the Old Testament prophet declared -- to live in such a way that I accurately represent the One who called me, and who saved me from a life of sin. In turn, may I treat others with kindness and with forgiving spirit. In all, may I remain humble before God, remembering who He is, and who I am.

God knows me so very well. He understands the struggles I have in my life, and His mercy is new every day. He loves me unconditionally, and with this love comes a wealth of understanding - true understanding of my nature, my heart, and my mind. He knows me.

I sit here today and I consider that fact, that the God of the Universe knows me well. He understands me, and He accepts me -- just as I am. In turn, I devote my life to learning more about Him, to learning His ways, and to trusting Him for every need. He provides for me, He loves me, and He cares for me.

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." ~1 Peter 5:7 NIV

My anxiety, which often controls my thoughts and my feelings, has to go. It has to be put to death along with the other sins and shame I bear. I am an anxious and fearful person, a perpetual worry-wart. I am ready to start this new day, this new way, this new walk without the burden of fear, anxiety and worry.

Dear Lord,

Cover me with your blessings this day. I am ready to trust you, to let go of the anxiety that controls me and often causes me to doubt your provision. I let go of my fear, and I rest in you completely. You are God, and I trust you as such. I represent you accurately and fairly -- you are God. I will live my life in such a way that others will see that I trust you, that I believe in you, and that I am following after you. I ask now for the grace to follow you, to walk humbly with you, and to live in harmony with your plans and purposes. I am purposed. I am driven. And, I know that you are leading me through these choppy waters, with the skill of your hand upon the rudder of your Word. You are my God, and I humbly confess this today, trusting in your Name, and believing that You ARE all that you say you ARE, and as such, there is nothing that will come to pass today that has not been carefully sifted through your merciful hands of Grace. Thank you, Lord! I ask this now in the Name of Jesus - Amen! So be it, thy will be done. Selah! (Pause and calmly think about it!!)

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