Faith

In God’s Wisdom — Of Greater Consequence Than What We Do Today

Woman walking on planked walkway with quote pulled from text

I have a tendency to focus on all the problems and opportunities in front of me. To plan and plot and scheme and strive. But I’m learning, God is more concerned with what is going on within me than anything going on around me.

God is more concerned with what's going on within me than anything going on around me. Click To Tweet

He’s much more concerned with my growth, in wisdom and character, than any role I fill or opportunity I accept. As a result, He rarely tells me what’s up ahead. Instead, He gently whispers guidance for today.

One summer, I found this particularly frustrating. I was wrestling with some career decisions, feeling as if I needed answers immediately. I wanted to follow God’s wisdom, to yield to His guidance, but He appeared to be silent. Feeling discouraged and unsettled, I met with a friend for coffee.

I shared with her all my concerns, all my options, and of course, all of my confusion.

“Well,” she said, “What’s God saying to you?”

I sighed. “Nothing. Other than character-growth stuff.”

She smiled. “Then that’s what He wants you to focus on.”

Later that afternoon, as I puttered around my house, tidying up (also known as allowing my thoughts to stew), realization hit. My personal growth would have far greater benefits, not just in terms of my faith and relationships with God and others, but also in relation to future success, than any momentary decision I could make.

We don’t need to have everything figured out. We simply needed to follow God’s guidance, trust in His wisdom, & lean into His strength.

Scripture and experience tells me my view is faulty and distorted on my best day. But God’s wisdom is perfect and infinite. He knows everything I’ll face tomorrow and precisely what I’ll need, internally and externally, to overcome every challenge.

Foggy road with quote pulled from postIn His wisdom and infinite love, God was preparing me for what lay ahead. This understanding lifted my heart and stilled my swirling, chaotic thoughts. I didn’t need to have everything figured out. I simply needed to follow God’s guidance, trust in His wisdom, and lean into His strength.

We don't need to have everything figured out. We simply needed to follow God’s guidance, trust in His wisdom, & lean into His strength. Click To Tweet

The rest would come, in His perfect timing. And it did. With each opportunity, and endeavor, God showed me precisely what steps to take, leading me in a direction I hadn’t known existed but proved far better than anything I could conceive on my own.

He’ll do the same for you.

Let’s talk about this! Are you in a period of waiting? Are you tempted to jump ahead, to make things work out according to your plans and wisdom? Do you trust that God truly does want to guide you toward His very best? How might focusing on that truth give you the courage to yield to Him–His timing and will? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

 

Faith, Living loved

The Unshakable Security of Christ’s Love

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Jesus should’ve given up on me long ago. I gave up on myself, especially during my teen years, when I spent more time drunk than sober, and filled with enough anger to emotionally combust.

But each day, God pursued me and lovingly drew me until, eventually, His gentle and persistent love soothed my inner angst and healed the hurt it came from. He always offers us more grace and patience than we’d ever offer ourselves, and His staying power far exceeds ours. I know this, but in moments of doubt or discouragement, or when my pride wins out over obedience, I can easily forget.

God's love for me is based on who He is, not what I've done, and my salvation rests on what He's done, not what I haven't. Click To Tweet

In Christ, I am held secure.

I never fully understood God’s heart for me, and the power and strength emerging from it, until I became a parent. But having walked beside my daughter through nearly a lifetime of good, bad, the obedient, and at times, flat-out rebellious, I’ve caught a better, deeper, picture of my Father’s heart—a heart that never lets go, never gives up, and will in no way ever turn away.

When our daughter was seven or eight, we moved across the country from Southern California to Bossier City, Louisiana, a transition she struggled with. Though initially, we were oblivious to her pain—seven-year-olds aren’t often able to express their emotions—we soon became alert to a drastic change of behavior. Our normally cheerful, affectionate little girl had become sullen and angry.

I was confused and concerned.

One afternoon, she grew quite upset with me (for reasons I can’t remember), shouted, “I hate you!” and slammed her bedroom door.

That was the first, and perhaps last, time she’d ever said something like that to me, and it broke my heart. But not for the reasons you may assume.

My heart broke because I knew hers was breaking. Beneath her anger and harsh words, I saw her pain, and in that moment, what I longed for most was to draw her near and hold her close.

Throughout my faith journey, I’ve displayed a similar response toward God as she had to me, numerous times. Like when my friend was dying, and I struggled to reconcile my circumstances with what I knew regarding God’s love, power, and sovereignty. Once my emotions settled down, guilt and fear followed. Had my anger angered God?

Had I—or would I—do something that would drive Him away for good?

But each time, not only did He remain. But He took giant, loving steps toward me.

God holds me secure, and His love will always remain. Unshakable. Immovable. Solid and sure. Click To Tweet
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How securely are your feet planted in grace? When doubts and insecurities arise regarding God’s heart for you, how might pausing to remember who He is, rather than what you have or haven’t done, help you rest in His embrace? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another.

For those wanting to learn how to more fully embrace their Christ-centered identity and rest in His grace, grab a free copy of our study, Becoming His Princess. You can do so HERE. And make sure to join us for one of our upcoming Fully Alive conferences to learn how to connect on a deeper level with your Savior and live vibrantly alive in every moment. Find out more and how to register HERE. Want us to join you for your next women’s event? Contact us for more information or to schedule a time to chat by phone HERE.

 

 

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Faith, Resting in Christ, surrender

Empowered by the Holy Spirit

 

I was worn out from the chase. For as long as I’d practiced Christianity, I’d felt like I was running after God and perfection and both were slipping through my grasp. I thought His love for me ebbed and flowed based on my merits. But I found a power working in me that’s separate from my striving and never tires. He’s the Holy Spirit.

He’s a member of the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—whom we may avoid because He seems elusive. Early in my faith, I wasn’t sure how to rely on an unseen Being with immeasurable and invisible power. I felt like a failure most of the time. Seemed like everyone around me was crushing it while I was smothered by the stress of life.

Could the Holy Spirit provide power and guidance to transform me into the wife, mother, friend, and servant I desired to be?Could the Holy Spirit provide power and guidance to transform me into the wife, mother, friend, and servant I desired to be? Click To Tweet I needed Him to be real because I was tired of trying to change for the better on my own. So I opened my Bible and read everything about the Holy Spirit I could find. The most important truth I found is that He is with us.

Scripture asserts that God was Emmanuel (God with us) when Jesus walked the earth, and now is present through His Spirit poured out after Christ rose from the dead. In order to rely on His strength, we must believe that God resides in our being. And that with His Spirit, God will build us into who we were made to be.  

As we tuck daily into the Holy Spirit’s presence and yield to His leadership, we’ll experience abounding love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). These were all the qualities I wanted to embody and everything I couldn’t become on my own. So I trusted God to work them out in me as I came near to Him.  

Here’s what walking in God’s leadership has looked like for me. As I spent each day intentionally reading my Bible, praying for every need, growing friendships with other faithful women, and building a relationship with God, I began to hear the His voice. It was never audible, but a gentle nudge guiding me from my old sinful ways to His loving ones. He’d replay truth from Scripture in my mind when I needed help. In moments of anger, I heard to be quiet. While grieving my Grandma’s death, He assured me people are never lost and that Jesus has overcome the grave. When I felt alone, He proved God’s love for me affirming that I’m chosen and adopted into God’s family.

We can’t trap the Holy Spirit’s power by our limited knowledge.We can’t trap the Holy Spirit’s power by our limited knowledge. Click To Tweet We’ll never fully understand the vastness of His reach in this life because we are human and He is God. But we can choose to believe He’s active in our need. Knowing God’s Spirit is with us in every situation empowers us to keep going and fixes us on the right path.  

I’ve found the closer I stick to God through His Spirit within me, the more peace I feel in this chaotic and messy life. Problems still arise, people still disappoint, my sin still tries to drag me away, but now I live with God’s power fighting for me. I simply step in His footprints and keep my gaze on Him. Find comfort this week knowing perfection is not required of you, but that the perfect Spirit of God will transform your life into something better than you can fathom.

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Let’s chat about this! How do you come near to God in your everyday life? How would it change things to know that you are not alone in the battle? Visit us on Facebook to share your thoughts. Or connect more with Andrea at her personal blog.

Faith, Hardships and Trials, Hearing God, obedience

When Patience Grows Thin

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV)

It was a beautiful fall day, but all I could think about were the negatives. My patience was growing thin every month seeing one line instead of two. I wasn’t prepared for the wait my husband and I would endure to have a baby. Just as God quickly arranged our marriage, I thought He would as easily bless us with a growing family.

Instead, we were left to wait and wonder. I had been praying endlessly for patience and a child, but I hadn’t asked God why it hurt not to have it right now. It’s a good thing I decided to call out to Him because He had surprising answers.

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When I find myself waiting on God to move, deep down I know I should set my mind on things above (Colossians 3:2) with an open heart for His plan. But in reality, I turn inward. I grow selfish and impatient, convinced that I’ve waited longer than anyone else. I grow envious of the people popping out of nowhere who are enjoying the things I’m praying for. My inward and outward attention hinders me from looking upward for wisdom, and thus, I’m tuned out from insights God wants to reveal.

My ugly attitude that morning didn’t match the beautiful fall day, and it was likely God who nudged my husband to ask, “We can keep trying, so why is getting pregnant so urgent?” I was stumped because I couldn’t pinpoint the reason for urgency. For weeks, I asked God to search my heart (Ps 139:23), and He showed me my anguish was not the negative pregnancy tests.

I wanted a baby and I longed for the break from my career travel demands maternity leave would grant. Hidden deep in my heart, God had a new calling for my talents. He used my wait to reveal it to me, but only after I summoned the courage to ask Him why I was hurting. It felt counterintuitive that He would call me to leave a steady job and team that I love, but I couldn’t ignore the peaceful curiosity of pursuing this new path He was making known to me.

We are still patiently waiting to see if growing our family is in His plan, but God lifted the heavy burden of urgency. My changed heart no longer wishes for changed circumstances. A changed heart no longer requires changed circumstances. Click To Tweet

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What if waiting isn’t a test of patience, but an opening for God to REVEAL His divine direction?What if waiting isn't a test of patience, but an opening for God to reveal His divine direction? Click To Tweet We can fear what God is asking, or we can anxiously await the opportunities He provides.

Let’s talk about this! How can you call on God and tune into the hidden wisdom He can make known during your wait?

Hearing God

Surrendering to God’s Timing–Guest Blogger Meredith Kendall

Jennifer here. If God assigned me responsibilities based on my timeline, I’d either delay to the point of irrelevancy or would quickly blunder ahead before necessary foundational components fell into place. I’m learning, like today’s guest, to turn off my inner stopwatch, turn up my hearing, and practice surrendered obedience more consistently. When I–we–do those three things, regardless of how things play out, we can rest in the peace of knowing we’re centered in God’s perfect will.

When God’s Assignment Comes Sooner Than Expected 

By Guest Blogger Meredith Kendall

Have you ever told God, sure I’ll do that, but it needs to be after…? If so, you’re probably already laughing. In 2017, my husband and I were talking about our future and told God that we’d be willing to move, but not for five years. We explained our reasons, which we thought were great; aging parents, three married children and five grandkids. We also told Him that we wanted to stay close so we could return easily. We felt for sure God would honor our plan.

I got a, “Really you think that’s how it’s going to go? Pack your bags!” from God.

As crazy as it was, I was excited to start this new chapter. Yes, I wished the timing would have been later, but in September 2018, my husband and I moved over 800 miles away from the grandchildren to plant a church. We knew with certainty this was our next big assignment, and if we hadn't moved, we would've been disobedient. Click To Tweet

Prior, I’d filled the first two weeks with appointments. I just knew that God would bless my efforts to start a second site of our 15-year-old non-profit while my husband got the church started.

All the meetings came and went. I followed up, and even though people were excited, all of companies had a reason why they couldn’t or wouldn’t work with me. My excitement turned into depression. Lord what am I to do? The more I would push trying to Quote from Dwight Moodymake things work the worse my funk became. I cried and cried. I felt rejected… Alone. I felt God had let me down. I was on my way home from church and I heard the word, “prepare”.

Not knowing what that meant, I started to pray. I still felt empty though, like I was not doing enough. You see I’m a High D on the DISC personality profile. That means I’m one who prefers to lead, rather than follow. I’m a risk taker, problem solver, and a self-starter. “D” also stands for direct, decisive, and dominant.

Knowing this may help you understand why I started to get depressed and why hearing, “take this time to prepare”, didn’t bode well with me. I wanted to be doing. I came all this way to do. If I needed to prepare, why could I not stay where I was, where I knew everyone. Where I was comfortable. Where I could still “do”?

Sometimes God needs to take us away from the hustle and bustle of life to prepare us. Click To Tweet

As I wrote those two letters D.O. in my journal, God spoke to my spirit, “Because that is why.  You would not sit still. You would get active in everything, and I would not be able to speak without yelling. I needed to take you away to prepare you, but I needed all of you, not just what was left over.”

God wants all of us, not just what's left over. Click To Tweet

A peace came over me. A peace to be okay with “preparing” instead of trying to manipulate God to do what I wanted done in my timing. Have you ever felt God telling you to stop, be still, and wait for His next assignment? It’s hard, especially when it’s not in accordance to how you would work it out. Is God asking you to be still and prepare for you next assignment? What will be the hardest thing for you to do?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or join the conversation HERE on Facebook, because we can all learn from and encourage one another!

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Get to Know Meredith!

Meredith Kendall's Author PhotoMeredith Kendall had the dream life, but God had other plans. He called her away from a successful career to be the Co-Founder of Advancing the Gospel. AtG serves those who are often forgotten; those Jesus would call “the least of these”. As a nationally recognized sales leader, Meredith learned how to build bridges and make connections with the heart of what people need. She uses that same ability to cut through the tough layer we use to protect ourselves and help people understand the root causes of their struggles and find freedom through Christ.

In January of 2011, Meredith was attacked by a gang member. She would quickly learn that it was a warning to stop offering freedom to those held in bondage of abuse, addiction and negative cycles. That attack made Meredith even more aware of the awesome calling on her life and how serious it is to be on the front lines for Jesus. After a few months of recovery Meredith was back in the jails knowing that her attacker, who was never caught, may one day walk into her class. Visit her online at www.meredithsagekendall.com.

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