Thursday, February 23, 2012

Living Intentionally

Ok, this post could go about a thousand different ways, so I'll just write and see what comes out!

A little bit of background: I went to a Bible college in 2006 when The Hubs and I were newly married.  We were only there for one year, and it was a 3 year program.  We thought it was going to be a totally wonderful, uplifting experience that would help us to grow in the Lord together in our first year of marriage.  We did grow and were able to spend all kinds of quality time together (we lived 1 km away from the beach and didn't work because once taxes were taken out in this particular country, it wasn't really worth it).  Beach, newly married, no work....SIGN ME UP!!!  We had an amazing first year of marriage...except for the fact that Bible college was not what we expected it to be.  I came away feeling torn down, exhausted, and not really knowing what I believed.  I knew that I still believed in God, but that was about it.  I had a hard time reading my Bible without it feeling like homework, and over the next few years I read less and less and felt further away from God than I ever had.

The only thing that really stuck with me from Bible college was what one professor told me: "There was a yes in me that just could not say no."  In those years, I kept thinking to myself that I should just stop pretending, just keep living a "good" life but that I didn't really need to acknowledge God.  But there was that little bit of me that couldn't just let go fully.

Fast forward to about a year and a half ago.  I started reading my Bible a bit more as part of my 101 things to do in 1001 days because I really wanted to be able to say that I had read through the whole thing.  I still had not given up on God (and luckily He never gave up on me) and started doing what I felt like I could do to grow closer to Him.  I never really felt like I got closer to Him, but I kept feeling like I was getting closer to what I was "supposed to become."  I had a bit of anticipation, and was getting excited to see what I affectionately called my "thing" was going to be.  I started doing a bit with photography, realized that I really loved to cook/bake (when I actually took the time to do it), I'm obsessed with crafty-type things (though I don't do any of it very well, I like to take shortcuts and it shows!) and I wondered if any of this was related to my "thing."

A few months ago I realized that I really needed to get on with my Bible reading if I was going to finish the whole thing in the allotted time, and along with that I had been praying that I would actually WANT to read it, to figure out who God is, to read it like it was something that I actually enjoy like any other book, instead of feeling like I HAVE to read it because that's what Christians do.

I realized just about a month and a half ago that that is exactly what happened.  I was getting lost less and less, disinterested less and less (let's be honest, some of those books are hard to follow and can leave us wondering why we should read it!  Leviticus anyone?! ;)), and hardly ever falling asleep (yes, I confess I did that many times!)  I now find myself carving time out of my day to go finish where I left off the previous day!  I'm starting to remember things that I've read, just as I would any other book.  What?!  God answering SPECIFIC, seemingly RIDICULOUS, prayers?!  You betcha!

Now, at the end of December, instead of making New Year's resolutions, The Hubs and I resolved to live by these two words: Living Intentionally.  We want everything we do this year to be with intention.  We've found ourselves wasting a lot of time being on Facebook/Twitter/blogs/Pinterest, etc instead of spending time doing what we actually WANT to spend time on.  I won't go into detail in this entry about things we are doing to live this out, but let me tell you, it's been AMAZING!!!  Our relationship with each other changed, our relationships with our kids have changed, and our relationships with the Lord have changed, and all in a fantastic way!

Okay, I promise this is going to end soon! :)  With Living Intentionally, my new love for reading the Bible, and actually praying, I have come to a place in my relationship with the Lord that I honestly never thought I would be.  I just finished reading Jeremiah and I was shocked at all the times that God would get angry with the Israelites and then say (totally paraphrasing!) "But come back to me!  I want you!  I want you to choose the right thing!  Choose me!  I love you!"  It goes on and on.

We had a prayer night at church a few weeks ago for healing, and we went (though I normally don't like to go to those kinds of things...especially with 2 kids and no child care!). We got some awesome prayer for healing (our family has been sick a LOT this winter!), but I also had 2 different women come up to me saying (again, paraphrased) "God is well-pleased with you.  You are right where you need to be.  YOU are enough.  You don't have to be seeking what you 'should' be doing, you're already there."  All very encouraging things, and God speaking straight to my heart.

As I thought about it more, I realized that this "thing" I had been trying to figure out, what I was supposed to become, was just being a lover of God.  Yes, it can turn into more.  Yes, it might later become something to do with photography, hobbies, food, etc.  But Jeremiah 9:23-24 says,

"This is what the Lord says:
'Don't let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their riches.  But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord, who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the Earth, and that I delight in these things.  I, the Lord, have spoken!"

As my little girl says "Wowsers!" Here I have been trying to be something, find what I'm good at and created for, and while that is GOOD, I feel like the Lord is saying that if I just go ahead and make my focus getting to know Him and understand that He is Lord, and make that my "thing," I will be doing all that I am supposed to be doing right now.

Okay, so that was a REALLLLLLLLY LOOOOOOOOOONG way of saying that God is good and He answers prayers :)  Congrats if you made it through!  I feel like it was just a really long run-on sentence, but it was something that I needed to do for myself, because too many times I forget the good things that He has done.  This is one I NEED to remember.