This past Wednesday marked what would have been my 25th wedding anniversary. Never in a million years did I dream I would end up divorced, or be a single parent. I do remember saying to our church at the time that my relationship with God came before my relationship with my husband, and that if at any point he decided not to serve God, I would continue on the path I had already chosen, alone if necessary. Never really thought that would become my reality, but I can’t in all honesty ever say that I pictured us growing old together, either. I don’t know what I was thinking. We didn’t have the same dreams, goals or priorities. A counselor at that point in my life would have been a wise idea, but it never occurred to me. Had I listened to my heart, I would have not needed a counselor to tell me this was a Very Bad Idea. Now I realize the ‘red flags’ were more like emergency flashers.
A couple of weeks ago, we had a guest pastor from Elim Bible College speak at our Sunday morning service. He spoke on “Failure to Thrive” and drew a diagram of the relationship between God’s ultimate purpose for us individually, and our individual passions and desires. He said that in every season of our lives, there are ‘quickening moments’ which tell us we are in line with God’s purpose, and then there are the excursions off the path into areas where we lose sight of our goals; areas where our abilities and gifts are wasted. He called this ‘unused potential’. It creates physical and mental fatigue, and entraps us in a cycle of trying harder, only to get discouraged and quit. Then we feel guilty, and try harder again, and get fatigued, and quit again. Sound familiar to anyone?
Some of my notes from this message:
- “Tired eyes rarely see a good future.”
- “Don’t lose sight of the source of your strength.”
- “Christianity is not a self-help religion.”
- “Grace empowers us to do what grace demands.”
- “Any time you perform for a promise, you give birth to an Ishmael.”
- “Premature babies cost twice as much to raise.”
- “God gives us desire and ability.
Not waiting on God twenty-five years ago for Him to provide a way out has caused considerable pain. It resulted in a way of life largely dependent on miracles just to survive. Granted, few of us make wise decisions at that age, and as I tell clients, most of them are on the planet because their parents were making emotional decisions, usually without wise counsel or guidance. Not many of us wake up thinking “Gee, how can I screw up my life today, and the lives of my future children, and/or grandchildren?” Most of us are doing the best we can with what we have. We don’t (most of us) plan evil. Most of the parents I know are just like me; wanting the best for our children while realizing that our choices over the years have a direct impact on them. There is a song that I used to hear on the radio a lot; I can’t remember the artist or the title, but it’s a prayer “to my great-great-great grandchild” and it just says it all.
I wish I had done differently. I certainly would have had a better week, as my anniversary is always a time of fresh grief and regret. But it gets better. As Joyce Meyer frequently says: I may not be able to change the past, but I can decide today to change my future. Listening to God is a huge part of this; cultivating the soil of our lives, and planting different seeds yields a totally different future.
So let me ask you this: In what environments do you feel fully alive? When do you sense the quickening of your spirit, and the stirring up of the gifts God has put within you? Something to think about today. Have a Blessed day, people.
“For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His great pleasure.” -Philippians 2:13