Walking with God is such an adventure. If you're not walking with God, He invites you to start today. Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances. Life with Him is so fulfilling and exciting. I cannot imagine my life without Him.
If you've been reading, you know that lately God has led me to a place of complete surrender and obedience. You know, the place I should be all the time. :) The more I surrender to Him, the more I see that His way is so much better than my own. He's been teaching me so much about Himself, about me, about His ways. I just had to share.
First of all, He asked me to surrender the gym to Him. That was probably the hardest one, the one I was holding onto the tightest. I wasn't sure why He was asking me to do it, I just knew that He was. So first I stopped doing boot camp. Then we canceled our membership altogether. Whoa. That was huge. I've had a gym membership somewhere since I was sixteen. That's seventeen years I've gone to the gym! What will I do with myself now? Will I become lazy? Soft? Overweight? The fears have plagued me. But day by day, He has given me other opportunities for exercise. Over the weekend we took three very long family walks. Pushing a double stroller for five miles is no walk in the park! The time with my family, talking and seeing sunsets together has been so nice. More positive, less demanding on our schedule, less stressful for my body. Then, we have a wonderful young neighbor who loves our children and has been available to come over early in the mornings and let me go for walks/runs while it's still cool. The change has been staggering. Instead of the focus being on myself and how strong I am and how fast I can run, I've been focusing on worshiping Him. There's a great station on Pandora called Hymns 4 Worship that I've been listening to. This morning I heard "How Great Thou Art", "He Leadeth Me" (my new favorite!), "Be Thou My Vision" and "Blessed Be The Name of the Lord". I got to see the sunrise, smell the spring smells of lilacs in bloom, and praise God for His creation all while getting some exercise. What a difference! I can't imagine that same experience in the smelly, sweaty gym. Look what I've been missing! Can't you just feel God beckoning you forward?
I recently used a Living Social deal to see a chiropractor for the first time. I had been having some headaches that seemed to originate in my lower neck area and turn to migraines. He took some x-rays that revealed that I have two discs at the base of my neck that are fused together, providing no shock absorption. The rest of my neck is doing extra work to hold up my heavy head :), and when I run, those discs are just pounding. Aha. This could be one of the many reasons God is calling me to a slower, less demanding workout routine. Also the fact that it draws me into closer relationships with my family and worship time with Him. :)
At this same time, by no coincidence I'm sure :), we've been going through the book of Galatians in Sunday school and I've been doing Experiencing God at home. It's all going together with my reading through the Bible chronologically in the mornings. It's amazing how God chooses themes and then reveals Himself in so many ways along that same theme. It's all about letting go of what I think I want or need (my fleshly desires- even the ones that are "good")- and surrendering to whatever He wants. It's about knowing that whatever God has for me is so much better than what I could even think to ask for. It's really not even about me. It's about Him. Which made me kind of huffy at first. What? It's not even a tiny bit about me? No. I mean, sort of. It's about what HE can do through me. But beyond that, it's really not about me at all. This is kind of the direction it's taken in my prayer life for example:
Step 1: Heavenly Father, You are sovereign and You already know what I desire. But let me put it out there again and remind You. I really want to sell our house and go live in that log cabin on ten beautiful acres. I want to live out there and fill that house up with more and more children. Overflowing with children! Let me be pregnant this very month Lord! And keep blessing AMP please Lord!
Step 2: Heavenly Father, I surrender my plans to You. You know that I want those things, but if you want us to stay in this house, I know Your will is better than mine. I give the house situation to You. You know that I want more children, but if five is all you give me, you have already been so good and I praise You. I will be content with whatever You give. I ask you to bless AMP but even if You don't, I will praise You. Your ways are so much higher than my ways. I surrender it all to You Lord.
Step 3: It's not even about me Father. I praise You for who You are. You are Alpha and Omega. You are sovereign, you reign over all. You are great and You are good. Praise You. Any blessings You choose to bestow on me will just be icing on the cake because YOU are enough.
The Experiencing God study is teaching me that my job is to adjust my life to what HE wants to accomplish rather than asking Him to adjust His activity to my plans. "I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing." -John 15:5. God is always at work in and around me. He is always revealing Himself and His ways. It's my job to stay in tune to what He is doing and focus on following His lead. The rest will take care of itself. "Seek first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well." -Matthew 6:33.
Sometimes God speaks to me through other people. I was talking to Brian the other night about what God is teaching me, and he urged me to journal it and write it all down. The next day in my EG Bible study, Dr. Blackaby said, "When God speaks to you, it is important to write down what He says." Later that day, my friend Leah was telling me that she had learned to do "listening prayers", where she just listens instead of talks, then writes down everything she feels God is saying to her. She said that every time she does, it's so beautiful she should frame it! That God really does speak when we listen long enough! Since three different sources were telling me to write, I decided to write. :) I KNOW He said:
1) Keep teaching your children at home, 2) Keep simplifying and giving stuff away, 3) Love and adore that man of yours, 4) Love on your friends, 5) Don't go to the gym during this season, 6) Get down to one closet (check! Just did! Got rid of half my clothes!), 7) Keep only 4 pairs of shoes (check!), 8) Keep meeting with Me in the mornings, 9) Surrender all your hopes, dreams and plans to Me, 10) Chill out and watch Me work in your life. Number 10 was a real clear one the other day. I was stressing about something to Brian, and he said, "You need to let go and let God." (i.e., CHILL OUT.) Brian's biggest pet peeve is worry. He is allergic to worry. :) The next morning in my quiet time, God showed me a contrast between Psalm 143 and Psalm 23. I love Psalm 143 and often pray it aloud. At least, I have been praying parts of it. I had been praying verses 8-10: "Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; in You I take shelter. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. Your spirit is good; Lead me in the land of uprightness." Good prayer. But that morning I read the whole chapter and saw that David was saying, "The enemy has persecuted my soul. . . He has made me dwell in darkness. . . . Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me. . . " Wow. I had been using the word "overwhelmed" a lot lately. I recognized that the enemy was persecuting my soul with worry and causing me to dwell in darkness. I thought of Psalm 23 and how Jesus, the Good Shepherd, leads us not to places of darkness or persecution or overwhelming anxiety, but to green grass and still waters. In fact He makes us to lie down in green grass. That doesn't sound like anything active. We just lay in the green grass and enjoy being taken care of by the Good Shepherd. I thought of "Be still, and know that I am God." I have heard a different translation say, "Cease striving, and know that I am God." (i.e., CHILL OUT. Where have I heard that before. . .?? :)) So, I am chilling out. God's plans are wonderful. And if I follow Him day by day in obedience, I will be in the center of those plans and life will be good. In this house or the log cabin. With five children or twelve. In abundance or lack.
My walk today ended with "In Christ Alone". "No guilt in life, no fear in death; this is the power of CHRIST IN ME. From life's first cry til final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand. Til He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I stand."