I have been wrestling with my faith lately. To be honest, a more accurate description would be to say that I have been stubborn in admitting that I was not living my life in faith- giving God control and trusting Him. Sure, I was checking the religious boxes, but somewhere along the way I shifted from walking in faith to walking and trying to control and manage everything at the same time. Let’s just say multitasking is not exactly my strong suite. There was a lot of tripping and running into walls.
You know what the result of living like that is? a lot more effort, a lot less return. Feeling burdened. Getting burned out. Also, not sure if this applies to anyone else- but for me, it also involves me becoming grumpy and scared and short sighted. Sounds awesome, right?? I’m sure I have been a lot of fun to be around lately 🙂 (don’t respond to that, people!)
Thankfully, God is patient and knows me inside and out. He responds tenderly and keeps pushing even after approximately 743 stubborn refusals to listen on my part. Yeah- probably not as much of an exaggeration as I wish it was.
Months ago, my amazing mentor and her husband started planning a little trip to Colorado- all the way from North Carolina. They were going to hang out and see a few sights- but one of their main purposes for the trip was to see us. Mary has known me since I was fresh out of high school and engaged. She has walked and prayed with me through the last 8 years and has been a constant anchor and reminder of where my focus should be. She has the sort of faith that I can’t really comprehend, but that I know I want to have. The kind of faith that makes her do really crazy things and see really crazy results. She lives with the kingdom in mind. She is effective and significant where it matters- bringing people to the feet of Jesus. She walks hand in hand with Him and fights mercilessly in the spiritual realm for her husband and children. Basically, she pretty much defines the kind of woman I want to be. I am truly blessed that God has linked us together.
All that being said, their little trip happened this weekend and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. I’m sure God is chuckling at this because He had it set up long ago. My brand of stubbornness requires someone taking a cross country trip to pray with me. Awesome.
We prayed and talked at multiple coffee shops and around random picnic tables and it was AMAZING. I am 100% sure that the things I learned will be the subject of many blog posts to come, but one in particular is on my heart right now: grace creates space.
When Jesus died on the cross, He assumed so much of the burden we were carrying. Took away the price of sin and left freedom in its place. Freedom is SPACE- chains being broken and the ability to dance in His infinite grace.
We were given the gift of space- but what we do with that is our choice. God provides for abundant life, but it requires that we seek it out. Just knowing that it’s available doesn’t automatically mean it’s applied to our lives. It comes with choosing to fill that spaces with the right things- it starts with a conscious and intentional effort from us.
Kind of like being given a coupon: if someone gives me a coupon for a free cookie, I’m going to be excited. If eat the coupon itself, I am in for a really disappointing experience.. worst cookie ever. However, if I cash that coupon in for an actual cookie, life is good 🙂 I am really hungry.
If we don’t actively work to fill that space with things that bring everlasting life: faith, joy, love, prayer, peace, scripture, TRUTH…
…then Satan will work to fill that space with a bunch of things that trick us into being satisfied with the promise of abundant life and never actually finding it. This doesn’t mean that life will always be easy, but we will have the hope, joy and purpose that comes with walking hand in hand with our Jesus.
People- why are we settling for eating a piece of paper, when Jesus is RIGHT THERE offering us the actual cookie? why do we think this is ok? ? he YEARNS for us to find it!
If your heart looks a little bit like mine did: tired, angry, disappointed and burned out from trying to hold it all together with little to no success- you may just be eating a bunch of paper. Food for thought 🙂
“For my yolk is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10