This year, instead of listing lots of New Year’s Resolutions, I am asking God for New Year’s Revelations. If you want to craft actionable New Year’s Resolutions, please read my previous blogs with suggestions on how to have holistic and SMART resolutions. Though I try this method every year, I don’t always reach my goals. During the lockdown in 2020, I didn’t visit a new state. I couldn’t control COVID. I also failed to meet other goals, but God reordered my world that year and accomplished different things instead.
To better align with God’s desires, I’ve decided to pray for God’s revelations on what He wants me to do. My first goal is to seek insights into His will and design for my life during each day this year. I can set all the lofty goals I want, but have learned that many things reside outside of my control. God knows my future. I need to listen to His will for the moment instead of charting a course when I don’t even have a map.
I look to God’s Word for His directions. Second Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (NKJV). God gave us the Bible so that we may deepen our relationship with Him every day. All God-breathed Scripture gives us wisdom to obey God so that will glorify Him and have no regrets.
When I seek wisdom, often I use a concordance or go to www.Biblegateway.com to look for verses on a specific topic. For example, when writing this blog, I discovered there are 86 verses in the NKJV that include the word “reveal.” I reviewed those verses, collecting the ones the Holy Spirit highlighted in a Word document to use in this blog. Scripture answers the questions you are asking God. He doesn’t leave you high and dry, but shares His truths with you so you can honor Him in all your ways.
The Bible clarifies that when God reveals truth to me, He wants me to obey. Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (NKJV). Sometimes, obedience requires action. Maybe I need to apologize to someone or send a note of encouragement. Other times, obedience requires patience. I am to stay and listen. I struggle to wait for God’s timing because I have a bias for action. Yet, in my waiting room, God whispers to my hungry soul that He will provide all my needs. His timing is perfect. God is never early or late. I need to obey without delay, be that stay or go.
As I listen for God’s voice to guide my steps, I remind myself that God will never reveal “new truths” that contradict the Bible. When I look for God to reveal His will, I read a passage in context and cross-reference it with other parts of Scripture. Sometimes, people will read the Bible to try find a verse to justify their actions. God is not about helping us find excuses to disobey His Word, but uses Scripture to convict us of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).
As we go forward into 2022, I challenge us all to sit at the feet of Jesus by reading the Bible and listening to the truths He reveals to us. Daniel 2:22, “He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him” (NKJV). May we listen to the deep things He wants to share with us to lighten our paths. May we obey no matter the call, so we can see greater things in the year to come. I pray that we, our children, and all generations would listen to the secret things of the Lord and live them out in our world for His name and renown both now and forevermore.
As I leave the season of Thanksgiving and enter into the frenzy that precedes Christmas, I can focus on what I want instead of rejoicing in what I already have. One way that I’ve learned to fight off coveting both things from stores or other people’s lives is to practice thankfulness. First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (NKJV). At times, I struggle be thankful when I see people who have gone further in their careers than me or have the families I wish I had. Over time and space, I’ve learned to be more thankful with a few key practices.
Five ways to grow in gratitude:
1. Count Your Blessings
Once when I was frustrated because my life seemed to be heading downhill, I met a homeless woman by my local grocery store. She had lost her job and was sleeping in a cemetery. When I saw someone in worse shape than me, I realized I had a lot to be thankful for. At least I still had my own bed. That night, I wrote a list of the top five things I was thankful for that day. Then I started writing them down every night. My whole mindset shifted to looking for the good instead of expecting the worst. Psalm 107:15 says, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men” (NKJV). God does great things for us every day, we just need to watch for them.
2. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Beyond just listing the things you are thankful for, you can also journal the experiences to read later. When I go back to some old entries, I see how God got me through circumstances that appeared impossible at the time. Those stories become my testimony of God’s faithfulness. God didn’t just care for people in the Bible times, His goodness extends to me in the present.
3. Ask Others to Share Their Praises
If I feel like my list of blessings is lacking, sometimes I ask others to tell me about how God is working in their lives. However, I must have the right mindset. When I am in a bad mood, hearing about good things happening to others can do one of two things to me. I can either pout that I don’t have what they do, or realize that if God cared for them, He would also attend to my needs. The two ways I listed above help us to recognize good things, but our joy multiplies when we share our praises with others.
Malachi 3:16 says, “Then those who feared the spoke to one another, And the listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the And who meditate on His name” (NKJV). As we fear God, we share about His mighty acts with each other. This grows our faith and blesses our hearts. The Lord delights in those who abide in the truths of His Word.
4. Talk about God’s Goodness with Others
After we ask others to talk about God’s faithfulness, then we share our praises in response. Even on our darkest days, good remains. Take that list of things you are thankful for, even if they are only a pair of shoes and a blue toothbrush, and tell someone. Call your mom, phone a friend, or talk to the lady at the register at the grocery store. When we hear ourselves speaking about what we are thankful for, it registers deeper in our minds.
Psalm 89:1 says, “I will sing of the mercies of the forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations” (NKJV). God designed our mouths to sing about His mercy so that every person that ever walks with earth will know the faithfulness of God.
5. Write out the Names of God:
Psalm 97: 12 says, “Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name” (NKJV). Another way to flex our thankfulness muscles is to write down the names of God. Jehovah Jireh reminds us that God is our Provider, not our job or our spouse. The Lord provides for all our needs because He owns everything (Philippians 4:19). Jehovah Rapha means God our Healer. As we saw with all the miracles Jesus performed during His life on earth, we see that He can heal our hurts too. The names of God reflect His character. Research the names of God and find out which ones apply to your current circumstances. When we think about Who we have in Christ, it helps wipe out our longings for what we don’t own.
These are just a few ways to build our thankfulness muscles. The bigger our gratitude grows, the more capacity we have to be truly thankful in all things. My thankfulness pulls me out of the slump of feeling like I don’t have enough to realizing the abundance of all I have. I am blessed beyond measure. May you grow in gratitude every day as you bask in the Lord favor shines upon you.
As Americans, we celebrate Veterans Day every year to remember our military members who fought to preserve our freedoms. We honor all who have served, including those who paid the ultimate price to sacrifice for our liberties. Over 650,000 American troops have died in battle and over 539,000 have died in non-combat situations. More than 1 million lives have helped keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave. Freedom is not free.
The same truth applies to our lives as believers. As Christians, we no longer live as slaves to sin. Romans 8:2 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (NKJV). We are free to walk in the newness of life in daily communion with the Lord. The law of sin and death condemns us before we even get out of bed in the morning because of the weight of our human sins. Fortunately, because of Christ, we live under God’s grace that covers all our trespasses so we can walk in newness of life in the Spirit.
When we walk in the Spirit, we walk in the light. We walk in freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (NIV). The Holy Spirt guides our thoughts and actions so we can break the chains of bondage to sin and live lives worthy of our calling.
Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (NIV). Our freedom lets us love others well. We are not free to do whatever we want. We cannot indulge in any sin we want and think God doesn’t notice. Our lives no longer belong to us. The things we say and do represent the God who saved us.
Some people forget the price of our salvation. They cheapen grace into a get out of hell free card, forgetting their freedom is not free. We do not have an excuse to justify sin. Instead, the blood of Jesus justifies us from the penalty of sin that is death so that we walk in the paths of righteousness.
1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “You were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies” (NIV). Jesus paid the price of His shed blood for our sins. He endured an excruciatingly painful death on the cross and the full wrath of God so we could be reconciled back into relationship with the Father. May our love be loud and proud as we show our liberty in Christ to the broken word where we reside.
America may be the land of the free and the home of the brave, but I can’t think of a better time for us to use our freedom in Christ as a door to share the love of Christ near and far. We are to offer our lives as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2) to spread the good news of a grace that transforms us from the inside out so the world wants that life-changing freedom for themselves. May we never forget the price Jesus paid for our freedom. May it compel us to serve others in love and shine as lights into a dark world.
What do you do when you suffer? Do you moan and groan? Do you complain to a friend? Do you phone your mom? If I’m honest, often I think “Who can I call?” I want to talk out my problems and hopefully find solutions through the discussion. Sometimes this works, but the results are usually incomplete.
I see a lot of suffering in the world right now. Personally, I have a family member in the hospital. Again. Chronic stuff is miserable because as soon as you think the person is better, the pain rears its ugly head. A lot of my friends seem to be under a squeeze right now too with knee injuries, unemployment, cancer. The list is long and ugly and too big for me to crack. Even if I phone my mom, she can’t fix all these problems.
Instead of calling friends or family, I need to call God. James 5:13a says, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray” (NKJV). Wow. The Bible is clear in what to do when we are suffering. We should pray.
When we pray, we unleash the God of the universe, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, to enter the equation. We allow all of His strength and ability to fill in the holes of our human inabilities. God can solve the problems of the world today – be they big or small. We need to come with faith like a child, knowing that God cares and will act on our behalf. Psalm 18:6 says, “In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears” (NKJV).
I want God to hear my cry. Many times, I’ve prayed with passion, fearing if I didn’t say all the right words that God may not help. Now I realize that does not align with God’s character. He cares more about the heart of the person praying than the words they speak. When we don’t know what to pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans that cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26-27). With the Holy Spirit as our prayer buddy, with the right heart we can never pray wrong. The prayer of surrender to God is never easy, but we will have the best results when we do it His way.
Maybe you are suffering right now. Keep your quarter, and don’t phone home. First, call upon the Lord, and He will listen to you. Let Him know the depths of your pain. He can handle it. Leave your problems in His hands and trust Him to comfort you and make a way. The path may not look how you expected, but stay on it no matter how narrow the road. It will lead you deeper into the heart of God as He sees you through all your cares. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7 NKJV). His timing is perfect. Keep praying. Trust God’s character. One day, the Lord will dry every tear you cry in suffering and turn it into a thing of beauty for His glory.
Which internship should I take? I had just been offered an opportunity, but was waiting to hear back on a different position that I wanted more. They say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, so I leaned toward taking the offered job, but wasn’t sure. My school required an internship to graduate, and I only had one day to decide because I was leaving for study abroad the next morning and needed to line everything up beforehand.
I asked my mom what to do, and we prayed together. She then got the idea to write the names of the internships on strips of paper and pull them out of a hat. Two out of three would decide the job for me. I pulled the same place that had already offered me a position the first two times, and didn’t look back. I had peace, and the internship worked well.
Later, I saw that my decision-making process was the Biblical equivalent of casting lots. Proverbs 16:33, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (NKJV). During the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit only inhabited a few people every once in a while. When the leaders needed to make decisions, they often cast lots. One example is when Joshua divided up the promised land allotments for the children of Israel (Joshua 18:6-10). In 1 Chronicles 24, the priests and Levites decided the order in which they would serve in the temple by casting lots. Nehemiah cast lots for which people would live in Jerusalem and who would live in the surrounding regions (Nehemiah 11:1).
Looking at these examples, I noticed they were all in the Old Testament. The one New Testament example I found was Acts 1:26 when the disciples cast lots to decide which disciple should replace Judas Iscariot. Every time people cast lots in the Bible was before the Holy Spirit arrived as a mighty rushing wind in Acts 2:2.
On the night before He died, Jesus told His disciples of the coming Holy Spirit. John 16:13 says, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (NKJV). Under the new covenant, we as believers all receive the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Spirit does not come and go, but abides in us and guides us in all truth. The Holy Spirit listens to the Father and shares His heart with us so we may have heavenly wisdom. He is our primary source of guidance.
Was I wrong to cast lots to decide on where to do my internship? I don’t think so. We didn’t cast lots as a first resort. My mom had the idea after we prayed together. Nonetheless, I haven’t made any major life decisions using that method since then. God can use whatever He wants to guide my steps (Proverbs 16:9). The main thing is to seek out the Holy Spirit’s guidance for what He wants. He will never direct me in a way that does not align with Biblical truth.
Sometimes, we may have two good opportunities, and God just lets us decide. The beauty of God is that when we seek Him with all of our hearts, He will be found by us (Jeremiah 29:14). If we strive to obey God, He won’t drop us on our heads. Even when we abandon the goodness of
God and pursue our own desires, we can’t escape God. We can never go so far that we can flee from His notice (Psalm 139:7-12). When we repent, He will pull us back to His side, and is bigger than all of our bad decisions. May we seek the Lord’s direction and allow Him to show us how to make decisions as the Spirit chooses. He won’t lead us astray, but will guide us day by day.
I once had a mountain top experience at a fall retreat with my church. We spent the entire weekend studying the Bible and worshiping God together. The presence of the Holy Spirit was thick during the praise time. I felt joy as I opened the door for friends and helped clean up after meals.
My drive home was a spiritual high. I was ready to tackle the world and spread the love of Christ. Then I went to work on Monday and tried to keep the momentum going. By Tuesday, the daily grind consumed my thoughts and actions. It seemed that my high got left behind at the retreat.
Why wasn’t it easier to take God with me into the office? What changed?
First, my days weren’t bookended with deep spiritual time with the Lord. Sure, I was reading a psalm in the morning to implant some truth, but I wasn’t meditating on it like I had on the weekend away in the mountains.
Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
I let the Word of Christ dwell in me richly by applying Scripture and using it in my life and with other believers. I should enjoy the Bible like a decadent dessert, instead of rushing through it like a bowlful of broccoli to get my greens. Just skimming a psalm wouldn’t pour a day’s worth of spiritual nourishment into my soul. Delighting in the Word and deciding how the truth changes me make the verses last longer and the day seem less heavy. I needed to choose to love God more than my snooze button.
Another key part of keeping the Holy Spirit active is being part of Christian community. The same verse tells us to teach and admonish each other in the Lord. This teaching sinks the truths deeper into our hearts because we apply the word in our lives in a group, thus breeding accountability and fellowship.
Too many times, I just want to hear encouragement, and don’t want to focus on where I need to grow. However, in the safe space of Christian friendship, I can give and receive feedback that convicts me of my sin and points me to truths in God’s word to help me overcome. Service is more than washing dishes, it encompasses speaking the truth in love to help keep one from the error of their ways.
Colossians 3:16 also talks about singing praise to God. When we sing, we release stress, fight depression, and boost our immune systems. Praising with other believers strengthens our connection with them because of the endorphins that are released when we when we sing together to bond us together in Christ. When we glorify God with our mouths, it nourishes us spiritually because we are appointing praise in the right direction, upward and not inward to self. We had worshiped with hearty voices that weekend, and I needed to keep the praise going at home.
While I can’t go on a spiritual retreat every weekend, when I meditate on God’s Word daily, maintain godly friendships throughout the week, and worship with believers at church on Sundays, I can keep that mountain top experience going even after I return home.
Once a child went to fight a dragon. He underestimated his enemy, and the only weapon he found to defend himself was a pencil. The boy jabbed at the soft underbelly of his foe, but it did not penetrate deep enough. The dragon’s fire soon destroyed the lad.
Maybe you memorized verses like John 3:16 when you were younger. That’s great! All of God’s Word is inspired and helps us flourish. However, if that is the only verse you know, you might want to fortify your spiritual arsenal to something beyond a pencil so you are prepared to face the enemy when temptation comes.
We Need More Than Digital Data
Perhaps you have wondered why, with a world of knowledge at our fingertips through the Internet, would anyone need to memorize Scripture? Isn’t it easier to search online to find a verse than spend time learning passages? Yes, in the world of modern technology, I can pull up information quickly, but what happens when my phone is not nearby? What if I am tempted to sin, yet can’t think of any reason not to give in, and don’t Google reasons why to obey God? Despite the advances of technology, Scripture memory will never become antiquated.
Committing God’s truth to memory gives the Holy Spirit more room to change me from the inside out. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (NKJV). When my life is permeated with digital everything, my brain starts to atrophy. The Lord wants to transform my mind, which happens when I let Scripture nourish my soul.
Feed Your Mind on Truth
Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (NKJV). When all the riches of God’s Word dwell in me, I will have wisdom to face the challenges that society poses. Without God’s truth abiding in my heart and guiding my choices, I can fall prey to the trappings of this world instead of walking the straight and narrow. My heart rejoices when God’s Word rules in my life because I can give and receive correction in ways that align with good sound doctrine.
I desire to obey God, but first I must know what God has called me to do. Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You” (NKJV). When I store God’s truths deep inside the wellsprings of my life, the Holy Spirit can use those verses as spiritual weapons to help fight lies from the enemy. Think of Jesus when He was tempted in the desert. He recited Scriptures to Satan to deflect the attack and left without succumbing to the lure of evil. What an example He set for us to follow.
Fight with a Full Arsenal
As I learned from the story of the boy and the dragon, I can much better stave off temptation when I have a wide array of truth ready to slay the lies. One way I can escape sin is when the Holy Spirit reminds me of specific verses that apply to my trouble spots. For example, when I am tempted to blow up in anger at someone irritating, the Holy Spirit reminds me of Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (NKJV). In the moment, that verse helps me to bite my tongue and pray for the person instead of stirring up wrath.
This type of targeted Scripture memory applies to a wide set of temptations. For those struggling not to lust or look at pornography: learn Psalm 101:3, for those caught up in gossip: commit Proverbs 16:28 to heart, for those prone to rack up credit card debt: study Proverbs 22:7. I’ve found that learning Scriptures that fit my circumstances lets me live in victory. If your struggles are different than the ones I noted, memorizing Bible verses that address your areas of difficulty can help you triumph too.
Now that I’ve sold you on the importance of remembering God’s Word, maybe you are moaning because the thought of committing Bible verses to heart is daunting. Here is a link to an article Know the Word that includes a list of ten creative Scripture memory tips.
As you commit God’s Word to heart, don’t forget to pray for the Holy Spirit to help you. Memorizing Scripture is much easier with supernatural power than with just your own ability. Part of the Holy Spirit’s role is to help you recall the truths you’ve planted inside your soul (John 14:26). Ask Him where to start, and He’ll help you throughout the process. His desire is to grow closer to you and equip you to handle the hassles, temptations, and opportunities of each day.
The Holy Spirit can give you the right verse faster than any Internet search with His personalized service to help you recall the right Scripture at the right time. Commit God’s timeless words to heart, and they will sustain you for eternity. A sharpened sword of Spirit, the Word of God, will defeat the dragon so you can overcome sin.
This week's guest blog for Labor Day is by Danine Gruber. We met at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference earlier this year. Her quiet spirit produces powerful words that she weaves into morsels of encouragement for her readers. I am honored to share her blog with you today. May you labor unto the Lord and rest in His provision.
Labor and Ordered Rest
We celebrate a day recognizing the efforts of those before us, coming together as one for their country at large. Their skills were being poured out 12 hours a day, 7 days a week with minimal compensation and often, in the worst of conditions. An uprising occurred; strikes were held to bring about fair working conditions for the American people. Work may be necessary but its counterpart, rest, was as well. In 1882, the president declared the first Monday of September as a National holiday to commemorate the efforts of man and their need for rest.
I had to look up its origination, for like most Americans, I tended to think of it as a day to enjoy picnics and family time. The idea of rest, true rest and the need for it sails out the window in our cultures’ efforts to unceasingly gain or store up “more _____”. This day should cause us to recall why such a day was thought necessary to be instituted in the first place. It reminds us how our forefathers considered rejuvenation critical to the safety, productivity and overall health of the workforce.
I delved further into the history and found conflicting opinions as to which man brought the need for rest into focus. It was either McGuire, a labor board co-founder or Maguire, the machinist.
In reality, the ideas of fair labor and rest came not from a man but from God. Genesis 1 tells us in the beginning, He performed the precious work of creation in 6 days and rested on the seventh. Did he get tired? I think not. Isaiah 40:28 says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable” (NKJV). Rest was a framework that He set forth for us to follow.
God told the Israelites in Exodus to institute one day every week, called the Sabbath, for rest and restoration. Once every 50th year, they set aside an entire year called the Year of Jubilee. The land, animals and people would be gifted with the chance to recover and rejuvenate (Leviticus 25:1-13). Debts would be cancelled, workers would be freed to go and return to their families and even the land was returned to its original owners.
Yet, the greatest rest and greatest work existing outside of Creation can be found in Hebrews 4, and in Revelation. I’m referring to the finished work of the Cross. Jesus made the way to have full relationship with the Father, eternal rest and freedom to walk unhindered. That’s what we share, celebrate, and rest in every day!
I get ready in the mornings by the dim glow of my night light. It takes me a long time to wake up, so any light blinds my sleepy eyes. Every night before I go to bed, I lay my clothes and shoes out beforehand so I don’t have to see anything in the morning. As the day progresses, I build up to more light until I am finally under bright fluorescent bulbs at my desk. If I want to do good work, I have to see what I am doing.
Light is so important because it reveals the world around us. Though our irises widen when we enter a dark room so we can see more, the better option would be to hit the light switch. Seeing in the light is so much easier. We don’t have to live in the dark, but there are some people who like the shadows.
In the Bible, darkness is often likened to evil and sin. Ephesians 5:11 (NKJV*) says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Some people think that they can hide whatever they do under the cover of night. If no one can see them, then certainly they will get away with their secret sins. What they don’t remember is that God’s vision works perfectly night and day (Psalm 139:12). Their wickedness will be exposed, and the Lord will punish them.
However, for those of us who know Christ, we do not have to be eternally punished for our sin, but it matters how we walk. We live under the freedom that comes from Jesus paying the debt we owed. We don’t have to stumble around in the night. Dawn has shed light on our lives so we may live righteously before our Lord. Ephesians 5:8-10 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” Our lives can display the fruit of the Spirit as we walk in goodness, righteousness, and truth.
To actually live by the Spirit, our actions need to match our words so that we walk the walk instead of just talk the talk. People around us will recognize if act like hypocrites. More importantly, God sees our hearts. First John 1:6-7 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” That sweet companionship that comes from walking alongside Jesus help us to display His light to all.
While I may never turn the light on in my room to get dressed in the morning, I need to sit in spiritual light so that my path will be clear. Once I arrive at my desk, but before starting to work, I read a Psalm or Proverb every morning to shed Biblical truth on my heart and mind. This gives the Holy Spirit room to plant good thoughts in my mind that resurface throughout the day. God’s Word keeps the spiritual light shining so I can honor the Lord with my life. Let’s go walk in the light.
*All Scripture verses are taken from NKJV
Earlier this year, I was a bundle of nerves. Rest and relaxation were far from me as I strove to orchestrate my life to match what society defined as success. I didn't like my current circumstances and decided I had to do something to change.
The first area I tried to tackle in February was my relationship status. This was still during the lockdown, so my options to meet people were limited. I found out about online speed dating, and decided to try it. Bad idea. While there were some genuinely nice guys on there, none were a good fit for me. The two men who did contact me afterwards were both a little pushy. The first guy left me alone after I said I wasn't interested, and the second guy was much too young for me.
Obviously, my own attempts to find someone were pitiful. I argued with God over what He wanted me to do, because my efforts were going no where and fast. I thought I had two options "sink or swim." If I did nothing, I would never meet anyone and end up sad and alone. However, my doggy paddling was spinning me in circles, tiring me out so that sinking seemed inevitable regardless of whether I tried to meet someone or not.
After listening to me exert a lot of energy and frustration, the Lord told me there was a third way. I maintained, no, the saying is "sink or swim." There were only two possible outcomes. God then told me to float. He saw how trying to swim was eating away at my vigor for life. The Lord resolved my dilemma by telling me to trust Him. I was to lay on my back and rest. As I soaked in the light and warmth of the sun, He would hold me up and have the currents carry me to where He wants me. I just need to float.
I was shocked. It seemed to easy. Just float?!?!? Surely that couldn't be a legitimate option. God reminded me of Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (NKJV). If I would but trust Him, even when I didn't see Him working or understand what He was doing, He would direct my paths to where He wanted me to be. I had to admit the visual of floating was freeing.
The Lord told me that He wanted me to float in every area of my life during this season. I also have uncertainty over my long-term life plans and where I want to live. I tried for a month to buy a house, but was never chosen. I thought it was the Lord's leading, but maybe it wasn't His timing. I quit looking and have such greater peace. God will let me know if and when to try again.
Choosing to float is a daily decision. Some days I rest with warm waters lapping around me and listen to the gentle whispers of the Lord. He's in control. He's got good things for me. He won't let me drown. He is leading me to where I can best be used for His glory. As these truths fill my mind, my heart rate slows. Floating leaves space for me to hope for what God has for me without fretting about the hows and whens.
Sometimes, I try to swim again. I stick my head above the water and flail my arms about in the sea. I get news that looks like a shut door that I wanted open and try to find a way to swim under it. God tells me to keep floating. That may still be my door, just not yet. There are other doors I really wanted open that the Lord has painted a resounding No on the front. Those are not for my entry. They are off limits. I remind myself often of Psalm 84:11-12, "For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly, o Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You! (NKJV)" If God says no, what I want is not good for me. He won't give me garbage.
I don't know where you are in your life right now. Maybe you've been trying to swim like crazy to get where you think you ought to be. Take time to rest. Turn over, lay on your back, and relax in the Lord's provision. God is Sovereign and good. We can trust where He leads us.
It's hardest to float when the waves are choppy. However, when I think of Peter, when he kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked on water. The Lord will sustain me even in the ocean. While sometimes seasons are dedicated to floating, even when I need to swim, I still must follow the Lord's leading. The key is to trust God. As I learn to float and rest in the Lord, He will carry me safe to shore. God will do the same for you.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over ten years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people know God better. Joanna enjoys coffee, traveling, and reading, and currently lives in Virginia.