I just put the kiddos down for a nap and I started scrolling Instagram. In my mind, as I was scrolling, I noticed myself saying things like “oh, good for you.”, “Um. Ok!” and other statements like “well, aren’t you just perfect”. As sarcastic as can be. Only to discover that that sarcasm was rooted in a deep hurt inside my soul.
Most of those statements were aimed towards everyone’s life who seemed to be going so perfectly. I know that’s not everyone’s story but that seemed to be mostly what I saw (of course). Not to mention it’s Christmas-time. So bring out all the perfection. Especially on social media.
When my life isn’t going according to what I think it should, or what I think I “deserve” or happen as fast as I think it should. I get like this. SURPRISE.
How did I get here? Things look so differently than I thought they would by now. At this age. When I had kids. This past year was not what I thought it was going to be. Can I wake up now? And on it goes, inwardly.
As I sat saddened by my circumstances, I decided to clean my office as I tried to ease my mind of all the typical thoughts that come when facing trails and tribulation. As I started to clean, all I heard in my Sprit, is “It is well”. Most of us have sung the beautiful hymn "It Is Well with My Soul" for years without realizing that it was written by a man who experienced great personal loss. Even in the midst of his tragedy, he was able to exult in God's goodness. This great hymn encourages our souls to praise our gracious God whatever our circumstances.
For me, in times of trouble, its easier said than done.
What makes us choose to allow our circumstances to reign? Because of God’s faithfulness, why can’t we say “it is well with my soul” in times of peace or sorrow?
I have a harder time saying “it is well with my soul” when there is unresolved conflict. When a season is taking way longer to walk through than expected. When things don’t go according to planned and it doesn’t seem like change is near but very very far.
I dug a little deeper.
What I discovered was surprising. I realized I wasn’t doing what brings peace and contentment.
I wasn’t trusting God.
Recently I started reading “Rooted” by Banning Liebscher. In Chapter 2 Banning mentions how Nehemiah had a powerful encounter with God after hearing a report about Jerusalem’s fallen walls and God gave him the assignment to rebuild those walls. He arrived in Jerusalem, scouted the walls to determine how bad things really were and what needed to be done. Then he called the priests and people together to delegate the work.
Nehemiah 3 lists specific individuals or groups to work on the wall and the exact part of the wall they were assigned to rebuild. For the most part, people were assigned to work on the part of the wall that was closet to their homes: “The priests made repairs, each in front of his own house”. (verse 28).
Stay with me here.
Nehemiah basically said “Walk out your front door and look directly in front of you. The wall that’s directly in front of you— build that.” Strategic, yet simple.
THIS is a powerful picture of how God works in our lives. Sometimes we miss what He is doing right in front of us because we look longingly at other people's portions of the wall, wanting to build those areas, we get distracted watching other people doing other things, in different seasons of life. The grass looks so much greener…over there, at their section of the wall. We can't see that God is using what is in front of us to develop the root system we so desperately need. The need for significance makes us look at other area's that feel more exciting or more in line with our desire's.
So often I have a hard time focusing because what is in front of me sure doesn’t look like the promise, dream or vision that is in my heart.
That’s where I was missing it.
It takes faith and commitment to trust the God who gave us both the dream and our current assignment and to say, “I don’t know how you’re going to do it, Lord, but I trust you”.
“Faithfulness to build the wall is not giving up your dream; it’s trusting God with your dream” (Liebscher)
I was reminded that I am ultimately not called to be passionate about a dream but about Jesus and His cause on the earth.
Are you more passionate about pursuing a dream or about following Jesus?
Don’t think I don’t know that the majority of all those things we see on social media are the highlight reel of each individual who posts.
Do I believe we can get to a place where contentment isn’t based of circumstances but based on trust. That’s my goal. To not look at my circumstances and allow them to determine how I live my life.
To walk in faith and obedience no matter what it looks like. To wholeheartedly follow after Jesus continually acknowledging Him so He can direct my path.
If he can do way more than we can even imagine why are we so quick to try and figure everything out?
Thankful for His love, and grace, forever and always,