In the short 23 years of life of I’ve lived, I’ve noticed a pattern in the lessons God seems to be teaching me. When I’m going through a difficult time, he’s either teaching me:
Trust (in Him)
Or all 3 at once.
I’ve written blogs on all of these teachings, some of which, when I go through a hard time, I go back and read – not because I’m some sort of a genius blogger or wisdom mastermind (or maybe I am and I don’t even know it 😛 ) – but because I want to see my growth. I want to remember what I was facing at that time, how God got me through, and how I can hope for the future that God will come through for me again.
Yet every time, it’s a new situation, something unknown, and the question always arises: But how could God come through for me this time?
Here I sit in September, with the fresh smell of fall on the rise – the hint of candy-apples and pumpkins in the air – at a time for transition for most people, but I’m not transitioning into anything. (Or so it feels).
It’s just a simple September for me, when I thought I would be transitioning into a life of full-time ministry by now.
And I wonder But how could God come through for me this time?
The question, “So… what are you up to these days?” haunts my sleep as I fight for a proper response. Oh you know… just fighting some battles with lies, praying a lot, working on my art/writing, mentoring and support-raising. This is, of course, the truth. But somehow this answer didn’t sound satisfying to me, thus it wouldn’t be satisfying to other people… right?
That’s not enough.
Why don’t you have a job?
The lies plagued my thoughts like some sort of a dark windmill, spinning constantly to generate a power that I couldn’t defeat because I didn’t even know they were there at first. When I was feeling particularly down and not aware of the self-pity I was basking in, my mom asked me why I was so exceedingly sad. I said to her:
I’m not enough.
I’m lazy because
I don’t have a “real” job.
She asked me, “Who told you that?”
My lack of an answer hit me in the gut.
Then, if that wasn’t a clear signal these were lies, a close friend of mine showed me a short, powerful video by Beth Moore, where she repeats that question: “Who told you that?” (Video below).
By the grace of God and through the power of prayer, the lies were replaced with truths:
I’m enough because of Christ. (1 Pet. 2:9, 1 John 3:1, Rom. 8:35-39).
I’m not lazy because I am doing what He has called me to do, even though it isn’t what I expected. (John 15:16, Rom. 8:28, 2 Thes. 2:14).
I am choosing to rest in Him, pray for others and wait on the Lord (Matt. 11:29, 1 Tim 2:1-4, Eph. 6:18, Isaiah 40: 30-31).
When I thought to myself that “just praying” was “doing nothing” or meant I was lazy, I was so incredibly wrong. As Sarah Frazer writes in her blog titled The Secret to Cultivating a Rich Prayer Life:
Do you want to do more for the kingdom of God? Pray! Paul was not bound by the prison walls when he wrote his letters to the church. In fact, his ministry became one of prayer. Simply look at Ephesians 1 and Philippians 1. Paul influenced the church thousands of miles away, all through the power of prayer. ( https://livingbydesign.org/cultivating-a-prayer-life/ , Emphasis added)
When the truths began to seep in, however, my attitude turned from one of despair and self-pity to one of bitterness and anger towards God (and if you ask anyone who knows me well, you’ll know that anger is not a common emotion for me). What was once lies, turned into demanding questions:
God, why don’t you want me serving on the
front-lines of ministry right now?
I’m ready, I’m young and healthy and I have two degrees now – just send me out like you’ve sent out so many others after their graduation!
I’m ready to serve you!
But apparently after 5 years of post-secondary schooling, I still have a lot to learn – especially from God. There’s a difference between head knowledge and wisdom, and the only way to get a degree in wisdom is to read the Bible and get some life experience (lol).
For some reason, I thought of my role as prayer warrior as “simply” being on the sideline, when my prayers for people are desperately needed! In Ephesians 6, right after writing about the significance in going into battle with the full armour of God, Paul says:
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (v. 18, NLT).
Sounds pretty intense to me! One cannot be “alert” or “persistent” without putting some real effort into the job.
Yes it’s true that praying doesn’t pay the bills. But neither does cleaning the house or being a dad, and both are jobs that don’t pay, but need to be done (if you have a house and are a dad) in order to live a healthy life.
So I’m choosing to treat praying and pressing into the Lord the same way.
Yes it’s true that realistically, I need the finances to live life. We all do. And God knows that. He knows each and every need we have (Matt. 6:32, Phil. 4:19). But all I can do is my best in searching, and then leave the rest to God to open doors and lay out the right path for me to walk on (Proverbs 16:9). I don’t know what God’s doing right now, but I know that He’s not finished with me yet.
And he’s not finished with you either! A worship song that I have often drawn deep comfort comes from The Belonging Co and is called “You’re not Finished Yet”. The song speaks to God about his promise for his people and the lyrics in the second verse read “You don’t play games, that’s not who you are, you’re not the type to mislead my heart”, which are truths about God that I so often to need to remind myself of.
September is a month of transition, and I thought I was not transitioning in this month.
But though my physical position remains the same, my heart is transitioning, transforming like never before. This is no simple September, friends.
Questions to Consider:
Are you transitioning and if so, how are you dealing with it?
Are there things you need to give to God?
Are there lies you need to confront?
What is your prayer life like?
Do you choose to rest in Him and take time to reflect no matter the transition?
Photo credits: Kayla Noakes