Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Devotional - Because I Need It

A while back I read something that talked about ‘spiritual markers’ – specific times of God’s activity in one’s life. It’s something I hadn’t given a lot of thought to, perhaps because I focus so much on the future and decisions I’m making day to day that I forget to stop and think about the past. And it’s so important to think about the past. Not to dwell on it, but to learn from it, and to allow it to mold us into something better.

So I thought about it, and I made my list. I tried to recall the times that I can look back on and specifically say God was doing things to bring me to the place where I am now.

I’m not going to bore you with my entire list, but it contained some basics, some mini events, some big events…a full life of a sometimes-easy-sometimes-difficult spiritual journey. Things like:

·         My decision to accept salvation. It laid the foundation for everything that was to come.

·         My college experience, where I learned just how much negativity about what I believed was out there. Mostly, it made me sad. But it also made me realize that I needed courage that I still didn’t possess.

·         The death of a close friend. The injustice of it broke me – and often made me wonder if the pieces might be unsalvageable - but then it forced me to eventually learn what justice truly was.

·         My marriage. The decision about the most important earthly relationship I’ll ever have.

·         The wait for children. Excrutiating. Confusing. Depressing. The hardest lessons of patience and trusting Him.
And so much more. Through all of it, I knew I wanted to be better, and whenever I stopped relying so much on myself, I slowly began to learn that I could be better. A new me.

But the thing I wonder most is – am I even close to being the ‘me’ I want to be? All of my spiritual markers have collectively brought me through the fire, but did I truly come out refined on the other side?

I worry that I’m not being everything I need to be. As a Christian, do I always show God’s love to others through my actions? Do people see me as kind, humble, and living purposefully? Or just annoying, awkward, and weird?
I put too much pressure on myself, and a lot of that comes from my misguided desire for everyone to like me. When am I going to learn that it isn’t about me? I can’t be everything to everyone. The best I can do is to simply be a vessel for Him and not allow myself to get in the way. Because I can’t do it. Not all people will like me. Not all people will understand me. It’s more likely that few people will even be interested in getting to know me.

It’s not me they need. It’s Him.
So what has been the purpose of this life of mine? What is its future purpose? Where am I going, and what do I need to do to get there?

I don’t have all those answers, but in looking back at all of my spiritual markers, I am certain of one of the answers. He has been with me the whole way. Faithful in a way that I’ll never be. That’s why I can’t rely on myself – I’ve got to rely on Him.
I don’t always clearly see His guidance. And truth be told, I don’t always seek it. I need to be better.

It’s time to be better.