Setting the Intention
At the beginning of this year I set my intention for achieving some goals in my life. I wrote down some different goals, centred around my health, finances and personal life. Every day I would read them aloud and keep them in the forefront of my mind. I believed that if I was consistent in doing this, I would experience a breakthrough. I was truly believing that this year would be my year of miracles. I was truly believing that this year would see breakthroughs in every area of my life and that, by writing down and committing to my goals, I would be showing God what I wanted and He would help me achieve them.
Fast forward to the beginning of July and I had all but given up reading my goals aloud and focusing on them every day. Within me was a growing uneasiness. I was worried that I was dishonoring God and trying to make Him fit into some type of mould to suit my purposes. It started to seem like the repetition of saying these goals was like casting some magical spell. I didn't like the fact that I was still struggling. I didn't like the fact that my recitations of these goals were seemingly getting me nowhere. "But God...." I was thinking "But God...You promised!" I had a mental image that I was a two year old throwing herself on the ground having a tantrum because she wasn't getting her way. Something was very wrong here.
Sure enough, in the wrongness and growing unease of this situation was the rightness and ease of God. One of the most amazing things I find about God is that He goes ahead to prepare the way. He lays the groundwork that will be needed in the future. Remember, He has ALL the pieces of the puzzle. As a part of what He was bringing to my attention and the teaching that He was unfolding in my life, God had laid some groundwork.
And the groundwork was this...
Around a month or so back, I had begun examining and questioning what I set up in my life that was like a false idol. What was my "go to", my false refuge, that I ran to before God?
For me, one of these false idols or refuges that I identified was food. My feelings of overwhelm, my financial struggles and my sense of unease about the difficulties in my life saw me reaching for food when I wasn't hungry. Another one of these false idols or refuges was that I was spending too much time on social media. I was reading my Bible regularly but it was more like a lip service. I was praying but it was haphazard and quick. I was going through the motions. I was not putting God first. If I was to be really honest, He came in at second or third place. The realisation of what I was doing was quite shattering to me. I really needed to be honest with myself and honest about the fact that I needed to repent of what I was doing and that I needed to do some serious clinging. Onto Him. I had been fooling myself. It was a sobering experience and I felt very fragile.
No More Goals .... Only God
I refocused my intention onto Jesus. I didn't realise it at the time but that realisation about false idols was one part of what my beautiful Jesus - in His gentle, still, infinitely patient way - was teaching me. The lesson about not putting anything else before Him. Those goals I was focusing on? I needed to STOP focusing on achieving them and instead start re-focusing on JESUS. Only He mattered. STOP focusing on where I wanted to be in the future and START focusing on where I am in the present - with Him. I am able to rest assured in the fact that He will take care of all the details of my life. I don't need to control anything. All I need to do is let go...into Him.
No more social media first thing in the morning. Instead - meaningful prayer, meditating on His word and having quiet time with Him in the Garden, reading my Bible with focus, journaling and being grateful for what He has given me and for what He has done for me by dying on that lonely, lowly Cross.
PUTTING. HIM. FIRST! JESUS is the ONLY goal I need. All that other stuff is from the flesh, and the enemy specialises in keeping us in the flesh. Worries about finances? About health? About not having a husband? All flesh. All struggle. All combining to say to me....you are not good enough, you are lacking, you are not enough. These are all lies from the enemy.
The Struggle Stops
I find one of the biggest miracles of our miracle working God is that the struggle stops the second I fix my eyes on Jesus. The struggle stops when I breathe in Jesus and exhale Jesus. There is NOTHING ELSE that matters in this life, in this second, but Jesus. He is my good, faithful, patient, loving, all knowing, all powerful, overcoming and redeeming Saviour. I don't have to focus obsessively on my goals and grow anxious about them not being achieved when I want them achieved. All is taken care of by my God, in His way, in His time. And His promise is that I can cast my cares on Him because He will sustain me. He will not let the righteous be shaken.
Escaping the Snare of the Enemy
I am consciously stepping out of the mindset that has become the snare of the enemy to me. The mindset that says "I want what I want when I want it - and God...I expect you to come through the way I want you to come through because that is what you said you would do". I am consciously nestling into the mindset that is being constantly renewed by fixing my eyes on Jesus - because I have the mind of Christ. I am consciously surrendering into Him and putting Him first.
Because only Jesus matters. Only Jesus. The same Jesus who was with me at the beginning of time, who is with me right here and now and who will be with me into the future and at the end of this life and into Eternity.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Matthew 6:31 Therefore, do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 "But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will - His good, pleasing and perfect will.
God bless you! As always, feel free to post any thoughts or comments you have in response to this blog post. I love to hear from you!