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First things first

“Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about decision making. Not the “Do I want eggs or oatmeal this morning?” kind. The more life-altering kind — like what you choose to do, where you decide to live, what risks are worth taking.

So often I want to be sure before plunging into things. Yes, there’s wisdom in making informed decisions, in being patient, in seeking godly advice. But in the end, what ultimately matters is, “What’s driving your decisions?”

Asking myself that question hasn’t necessarily made decision-making any easier, but it’s revealed a lot of what holds me back.

I suspect that part of the reason certain decisions are so difficult is that failure scares me. (Where Failure = “things may not turn out like I envisioned.”) I think for everyone, Christian or not, the driving decision-maker is, “What will make me happy?” I’d like to believe that I’m pursuing God and His righteousness above all else and that I truly trust Him as the only source of true joy and happiness. But these feelings of possible failure prove otherwise. I can put far too much faith in myself and my ideas of what will make me happy. I can use what makes me happy now as the plumb line for what will make me happy in the future.

My heart is divided, and God is far, far too small. I need to spend far more time searching God rather than searching my desires, trusting that by searching God my desires will either be reconfirmed or realigned.

Two blog posts came across my screen this week, which speak beautifully to this whole heart re-orientation.

First, from Andrew Peterson:

“Here’s what I know, in a nutshell: Seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.

Early on, I didn’t always seek God’s kingdom first, and Lord knows his righteousness was only on my mind for a minute or two a day, max. Now I’m up to three, maybe four minutes a pop. I’m growing by leaps and bounds. That simple scripture draws into sharp focus the only thing that will satisfy us in our desperate seeking for what it is that we think we want. We may want something harmless, but if it’s out of place, if it comes before the right thing, then what’s benign becomes malignant. We want the wrong thing.

So boil it all down. Chop off the fat. Get rid of the pet monkey you’re feeding, because you can’t afford to take care of it anyway. Wrench your heart away from all the things you think you need for your supposed financial security, your social status; set fire to your expectations, your rights, and even your dreams. When all that is gone, it will be clear that the only thing you ever really had was this wild and holy Spirit that whirls about inside you, urging you to follow where its wind blows.

If you can put aside your worry long enough to feel that wind and to walk with it at your back, it will lead you to a good land. It will remind you that righteousness is more than pious obedience; it’s letting a strong, humble mercy mark your path, even when—especially when—you don’t know where it’s taking you.”

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From Cara Meyer:

“The path was not one that we initially wanted. One day Jason stood in the kitchen and started weeping. He said, Lord, you know that I do not want this, but you seem to be leading this way. Why? It seemed as though the Lord said, “But what if you would have more of me in all of this?” It was the answer we needed and it became the watershed moment. It was like Jericho where all of our defensive walls fell down. We were able to say, “We have never wanted this (Pastoring Bethlehem), but we have always wanted that (more of God).”

Everything changed after that point. Suddenly, the path that we were on (which we loved), was now the one that seemed scarier to stay on because the Lord was moving to another. Don’t get me wrong, this path scares me. However, if this path that seems scary and big brings me closer to God, then it is the path for me.”

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Lord, help my unbelief.

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