Tuesday, January 28, 2020

When a Heart Wants to Know~

I open her message
and as I do,
the desire of her heart
spills over into mine
through the words written there:

Hi friend,
Today in church my pastor was talking about making a new year resolution. He suggested making a simple resolution - to live by faith and not by sight. How allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you will change you from the inside, little by little.

I guess where my question is is this: How do I do that?

To me it doesn't seem so simple. Don't get me wrong. I somewhat understand. I feel in touch with the Holy Spirit when I am quiet and focused, but what about in daily trials and decision making? I don't know why this concept doesn't feel so simple, but at the same time it feels like EVERYTHING I want this year to be about.

My private resolution for this year (before church today) was to strengthen my relationship with God, devote more time to my Bible and be more aware of my mouth and my emotions. I think these two are somewhat the same, but now I feel a little confused. I think this is something we all strive for, but he made it seem so simple that now I find myself questioning what that "really" means to me.

As I read her words,
it is as if
she is sitting beside me,
and we are once again,
sharing our hearts,
like so many times before.
Only now -
miles between
leave us no other choice
than being connected
via social media.

I put my phone down,
and I lift my eyes
(and the eyes of my heart)

I pray
for His words.

A day passes.
Then, another day.
And, another.
And then one night,
I hear His voice
and I reply:

Hi, my beautiful friend! Happy, blessed new year to you. And, I know it is going to be just that for you because the desire of your heart is to know the heart of God. As I read your words, and most importantly - heard your heart in each one, I was struck by how what you were asking me about "how to do" was so similar to the friendship, relationship, heart to heart bond that has become me and you.

When I first met you (and visa versa), our time together was cordial, pleasant, and amazingly comfortable and relaxed - so much so that my first brief introduction with you left me wanting to know you more. Visit after visit of honest time spent together, and honest and real conversations trusted to and shared with each other soon made time with you more like "heart therapy" than a simple get together.

I started to know your heart. You started to know mine. I started a sentence. You finished it. I felt your struggles as though they were my own (because they now were because of our relationship) and you "took on and carried mine". And, I say all of this to say - for me, precious friend, this is how you walk in the Spirit. To lean in close to God, to become so attuned with His Spirit that you know His voice. To know what would please His heart or hurt it. To know in your innermost being His leading, convicting, encouraging, re-directing, longing, etc. 

It's simple in the fact that once you know, you know. Just like the knowing of you is simple because my heart knows you so deeply and personally. But, it - like any relationship - is also "difficult" in the sense that it requires you being intentional, deliberate, honest, real, willing to set aside regular time for "visits" to know God deeper and more intimately. 

Our relationship was built over time and it's the same with God. Like you said, you already are aware of His Spirit in you. You are seeking Him and wanting to know Him more. And, you will. Day by day. The harder you listen. The more you be still in His presence. The more you pray, read His word, join a women's Bible study, listen to Christian music, read daily devotionals, spend time worshiping, lean in to know Him more, your heart will become more and more attuned to His.

Think also about your relationships with your two young sons. Just like your spirit can sense things about your precious boys "simply" because you know them so very well as their mother, you'll be able to sense things about God because you are His daughter. One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:13 - "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all of your heart." 

I am sharing this here,
because maybe,
just like my precious friend,
you, too,
have the same desire,
have the same question.

Maybe, you too,
feel as though this concept
of walking by faith
and not by sight
doesn't feel so simple,
but at the same time
feels like EVERYTHING
you want this year to be about.

If so -
this is for you, too,
precious one.

And I will end this here,
the same way,
I ended my words to her-

If you make even the slightest effort
to "meet Him", precious friend,
He will meet you right back.


Saturday, January 4, 2020

The Secret to Contentment~

If only, I was married.
If only, I wasn't married.

If only, I had my dream job.
If only, I was retired.

If only, my children were old and grown
and on their own.
If only, my children were little again.

If only I was skinny.

If only I was talented.

If only I was rich.

If only.
If only.
If only.

Have you ever been caught up
in the "if only" game?

I'm sure you probably have.
After all,
it's pretty popular
and it doesn't require much more
than a discontented heart
for you to be able to play along.

For some odd reason,
we humans are never quite satisfied
with where we are now.

We somehow think
if our circumstances were different,
everything else
would be different, too.

We'd be

We'd be
more productive,
more popular,
more dependable,
more agreeable,
more Christ-like.

the "if only" game
only leaves us feeling
and ready to give up.

Want to know
how to win
at the game of life?

Want to know
the secret to
enjoying where you are,
making the most of the moment at hand,
finding contentment
no matter what
your circumstances are?

Here it is:

The secret is Christ in me,
not me
in a different set of circumstances.
~Elisabeth Elliot

You see,
what matters most
is not what is happening around us,
but who is residing inside us.
If we have Christ in us,
we have all we need.
End of story.

It is Christ that makes the difference.

Instead of dwelling on our circumstances,
we simply need
to trust in and rely on
the One dwelling inside us.

If Christ is in us,
than Christ is also in
our finances,
our health,
our marriage,
our loneliness,
our children,
our job,
our conflict,
our trials,
our victory.

The very One
who is in our midst
is in the midst
of our circumstances, too.

Right here,
right now,
God is here.

All we need to do
is to keep our focus
on Him,

Allow Christ
to become the center of
where you are,
what you are doing,
and who you are becoming
through it all.

In every season of our life,
Christ longs
to make it count.

And, He will . . .
we keep our eyes
and our heart
fixed on Him.