Life is fickle. It doesn't matter how well you started or whether you were voted most likely to succeed. Life can shift in a moment, causing feelings of inadequacy and fear. Even so, you are not your mistakes or what has happened to you. You are bigger than your circumstances.
A favorite Scripture that I quote often is Romans 8:28: "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Because we all experience ups and downs, one of my favorite sayings is "Life just happens." It can seem that we spend more time being down than being up. All of us have felt like quitting in the face of challenges so tough that we can't figure a way out. If you're like me, you look back and wonder how you allowed your circumstances to determine your path for so long.
You might feel that you have lost a lot more than you have gained. Nobody means for it to go that way. You had goals. You had a vision board. Yet where you are right now was absolutely not part of your plan. You might even have sat in church on Sunday and wondered whether being there was a waste of time. Maybe you're thinking that God has forgotten you or turned down the volume on your prayers.
I can assure you that He hasn't! The Scriptures state clearly that God knows your name and address. (See Ps. 139). He has very clear ideas about your life, and He says so: "For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jer. 29:11).
You might think God's promise is for everyone but you. Don't you know the enemy tells you that to dispel your faith? It's easy to look through the eyes of self-pity and tell yourself that no one cares. But you have no earthly idea how many people have put you on the top of their prayer lists. You have no clue who focused on you and your needs as they sought God today.
Let me use my life as an example of what I'm saying. God was thinking of me throughout my years of rebellion, when I wanted to forget I was raised as a preacher's kid. I wondered why I couldn't be like my friends whose parents hung out on Sunday and didn't worry about all those Christians who, in my opinion, weren't special anyway. I could hardly wait to grow up, leave home and do my own thing. I wanted to show the world how independent and strong I could be. Then I could go to church on Sunday if I felt like it, or I could go to the beach instead. I didn't see what difference it made because I'd never understood what involving God in my everyday life would do.
Against my wishes, my mom would always sit my brother and me down at bedtime and pray with us. My dad was usually out leading home-group meetings, as my parents were church planters and starting a new church. I didn't understand the importance of my mom being at home with us and establishing a godly family life while my dad worked outside the home for the kingdom of God. I look back now and realize how much I resented our family's not looking like every other family on our street. Of course, I get it now. If my family had been just any family, my parents would not have known how to fight in the Spirit for my very life as I rebelled against all that we had.
I had no idea that I was setting myself up for rejection, loneliness and even trauma by rejecting the source of the peace that encompassed our home. Today I am so thankful for the strength that kept my parents fighting for my future even when I had decided to do life my own way. I did not realize that I would initiate a landslide of events that, apart from the grace of God, could have taken me out.
Please understand that you are never in your life situation alone. Even when you feel abandoned and betrayed, God is with you. He never leaves nor forsakes you. That is probably the most important thought I can leave with you! Of course, everyone's challenges are different. As you're reading this, you might be thinking that I don't understand your situation.
You are right. I cannot know all that you are going through. You might think I have no clue about the mess you are facing at home, the grief you catch at work or the people at church who do nothing but judge every move you make. But I can tell you that even your toughest situations will make you better if you let them.
In my daily interactions with people, I ask the Lord to help me remain transparent. I share my life struggles so they can be examples to those who are looking for answers. I want them to see that I first find my answers on my knees. It's not about giving glory to a man or a woman. It's about knowing the one who has a plan and who works that plan for you.
Let me assure you right now that you will move from brokenness to beautiful if you choose to stand. God has given you a promise to help you: "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). Jesus in you is greater than any trial or tribulation that tries to devour you. It is up to you to believe it.
Adapted from Shut Hell Up by Real Talk Kim (Kimberly Jones-Pothier), copyright 2020, published by Charisma House. This book will show you how to step away from feelings of inadequacy and embrace who you are as a child of God, so that you can realize God's plan is bigger than your past or anything you are currently facing, and make choices with confidence and not doubt. To order your copy, click on this link.
Prayer Power for the Week of April 5, 2020
As we enter Holy Week, remember our Lord's sacrifice for our sin and prepare to celebrate His Resurrection. Remember His victory is your victory over the forces of darkness that cause fear, anxiety, dread, lack, and all kinds of bondage and disease. Continue to pray for worldwide revival. Continue to pray that God would give our leaders supernatural wisdom and knowledge to make needed decisions. Thank Him for His faithfulness. Ask Him how you can be a blessing and share the love of Christ in this season. Read 2 Chronicles 7:14, 2 Corinthians 12:9, 1 John 4:4.
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