Sunday, October 25, 2009

Only One God

Last night my mind was racing with details and sleep escaped me. Yesterday, we had happily spent hours shopping for cabinets, countertops, hardware, lighting and paint chips to do some long-overdue remodeling of our bathrooms.

Now, all the various colors, patterns and options paraded through my mind like an endless merry-go-round as I listened to the gentle snores of my husband and my dog, in stereo.

If I match this part, then that part will no longer match... What parts can we keep "as is" so that we are being prudent with our resources?... I want color and character, but not anything that's going to quickly become dated... All these thoughts, and many more, revolved around in my head until the excitement of the decisions turned to torment. I was obsessing over making the right choices. I know it is a big investment and we will be looking at the results for quite some time.

As I heard the soft chimes of the antique clock strike midnight and then each quarter hour after that, I agonized over trying to free my mind and realized I had to give these petty distractions over to the Lord.

God, I know that you will help me make good choices at the right time. Right now I need to tell you, there is no God but you. I will not put this project above you; I will not let it keep me from focusing on you. I will not let the enemy tempt me this way. God, you are awesome, and I need more of you right now.

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you. "(Is. 26:3 NIV)

I thought about the word "steadfast," recalled my favorite scriptures about peace and reflected on how God is in control of all. Everything I ever had or ever will have comes from God, and He gives me all I need. I don't need all this detail right now, the one thing I need is God. Finally, I drifted off to sleep...beautiful, restful sleep.

When I awoke, yesterday's events crept back into my consciousness and I had to purposefully "Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5 NIV) so the merry-go-round wouldn't start again. These decisions will be fun, but they need to stay in perspective. There is only one God and I choose to keep Him at the center.

Can you relate? Is there anything distracting you and threatening to push God to the sidelines? Join with me in prayer...

Father God, you are the one and only! Help us keep our focus on you, and let everything else take its proper place. We know you provide for all our needs according to your riches. We love you and trust you on the throne of our lives!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where He Leads

About eight years ago, I was planning a Bible study with a friend. The study was all about learning to trust God at deeper levels. While we normally didn't talk about work, the time together had opened that door. He told me about a job opening at his company he thought I'd be suited for. I told him, "Thanks, but I am happy where I am."

I was loyal to my employer of 23 years, and planned to be a "lifer" there. It was a solid company and I had progressed through different jobs and really knew my way around. The work was interesting, the people were nice and it was comfortable. In fact, I was quite at home.

That's when these words distinctly popped into my head: "But...there comes a time to leave home."

I smiled. Yes, but it's scary uprooting everything and going to a new place! My life felt in upheaval in other areas (a recent move, teenagers going in different directions) but this seemed the one stable area! Shouldn't I hold on to the safe thing?

Plus, I had all kinds of loose ends leading up to a huge project that was culminating in the next few months. I couldn't possibly leave at a time like this!

Then these words: "But will you trust Me with everything?"

"Yes, Lord, with everything," I relented.

I turned in my application, made my way through a lengthy selection process, and slowly and surely, with each step of the way I received confirmation. While the anticipation grew, I struggled with leaving a large burden behind if I were to get this job and give my notice.

My friend offered, "Maybe God didn't plan for you to finish it. Moses led the Israelites 40 years through the desert but never did walk into the Promised Land with them. Are you willing to let it go? "

I decided I was, if need be.

But as it turned out, I was able to give a three-week notice when I was offered the new job. This allowed me to personally wrap up the project and accomplish what I had been planning for two years -- with two days to spare before beginning my new job.

What I could not have known while working in my secure job was that this new position would be a much better fit for me. It's a company where I have been able to use my talents more effectively, an environment where I love to go to work and a job that encourages me to grow. I've found wonderful new friends and mentors. I feel motivated and productive and passionate about my work. I have no regrets.

God had a wonderful opportunity in store for me but I would have never known it if I had been afraid to trust Him...with everything.

How about you? Is there something "safe" you are holding onto? Will you trust Him with everything?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Five Loaves, Two Fish

We read in the Old Testament about how Moses felt inadequate... “Who am I? I am slow of speech and tongue,” he said when God appointed him to go to Pharaoh and get his Israelites out of Egypt. (Exodus 3)

But the Lord said, “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

Yet Moses fearfully replied, “Please send someone else to do it.”

Ever felt this way?

Now let’s move to the New Testament… In John 6:9, a great crowd followed Jesus, eager for the wondrous healings and the teachings they had heard about. It was now late and they were all hungry, and Philip estimated it would take eight months’ wages to feed the whole crowd.

A young boy had five loaves and two fish. The meager supply seemed inadequate to feed the hungry crowd at hand, but the boy willingly gave what he had… and Jesus blessed it, fed 5,000 and even had leftovers!

Reflecting on these two stories, I surrendered. “Who am I to decide if God can use my unpolished skills, my limited supply?”

Dear Lord, even when I’m anxious, I will give you all my skills, abilities and passions. While they may not seem enough to me, they do to you, because you already know their full potential. Use them for your glory.