mini devotional: the one I wrote for V

It seems like when I’m losing focus, God sends the right word…passage…song…friend. This time around God sent a friend. A friend who encourages me and points my thoughts to Jesus. I keep editing and re-editing because I’m wondering if I’m talking about God too much. I’m wondering about how to reach you, Reader. How do I connect? I didn’t start this page or this blog for the followers. But that’s always in the back of my mind: I wonder if they’d like me more if I…

I don’t like doing things without purpose. I like to do things and see results. I think that’s why I love cleaning so much. Well, that and the fresh, clean air smell.

Sometimes it’s difficult to maintain our sight of purpose. We can get stuck in routine and wonder what it all means. We wonder whether we’ll ever get out of this rut or that situation.

Maybe that’s how the Israelites felt when they were enslaved in Egypt. Century after century they woke up to the same old limited freedom. Unable to worship the one true God perhaps because they had lost their sense of hope…and their identity.

Exodus 6:

“Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!’”

So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.

If you’re a little discouraged because life seems stagnant, I encourage you to take on a new perspective. You’ve never experienced today, tomorrow, or even the next moment. Each day brings new opportunity even if you’re doing the same old thing. Your identity is rooted in who you are in Jesus. Your identity is first and foremost (I really don’t like that phrase; feel free to suggest another one) in Jesus. That means that even when we’ve got nothing in life, we still have everything because our every thing is based on Jesus. If our identities are based in our achievements, friends, family, jobs, education, or anything but God, then we’ll find that our emotions go up and down like an unpredictable roller coaster because those things (achievements, friends, family, etc.) are always changing. But when we put our hope, faith, foundation in Jesus, we’ll find that even when we’ve got nothing, we have everything.

We’re not really at a loss at all.

And you know, Reader?

There is really no such thing as having absolutely nothing. It’s just a matter of perspective.

There is always something to be grateful for.

But you might need more.

So here it is.

This morning’s Bible verse from Isaiah 40:28

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

The God we serve doesn’t get tired of hearing from us. Further proof here.

The God we serve cares about every detail of our lives.

While you’re waiting for the next thing, change your perspective about the current thing, whether it’s a person, place, or situation.

Find God’s purpose for you. Find out what He wants you to do in the meantime. Use the talents you have in ways you never thought of.

when you just doubt.

I wanted to entitle this one “just hope” but that didn’t feel right.

I’ve experienced a lot of terrible situations in life that have left me fearful. 

Anxiety.

Imagine walking to your favorite restaurant. You already know how to get there so you don’t need a map. You know you need to cross a few streets and maybe wait at a few stop lights, but instead of walking the direct path from point A to point B, you stop behind each building you see along the way and then peek from behind the building’s walls before moving forward down the familiar path to your favorite restaurant. That’s what anxiety feels like to me. I feel like I have to hide behind bushes and buildings and wait to see if there’s any traffic rushing towards me before I step out into the street. I feel like a dangerous accident might happen. 

Drunken driver. Malfunctioning airbag. Deer in headlights. Flock of geese. 

I mean, anything could happen. 

And that’s what anxiety feels like to me – like I need to have a peek around the corner before something terrible happens to me. 

Sometimes when I feel that way, I remember this post I read a while ago “Expecting the good that God wants to give you“. 

If you’re too lazy to read that short article, here is a powerful line that stood out to me:

“Fear is the opposite of faith and it takes faith to accept anything good in our lives.”

This verse is powerful too:

All the days of the oppressed are miserable, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast. 

– Proverbs 15:15 HCSB

satan wants us to focus on the terrible things in life that have happened, are happening, or could happen. When you’re stuck on focusing on anything/anyone but God, it is so very easy to become anxious and depressed. We don’t focus on His abilities. We focus on our inabilities. When you see no way out, of course you’ll feel trapped and saddened.

Exodus 20:2-3. Israelites have just been delivered from slavery. God doesn’t want them running their lives by the rules of the old land so he gives them rules on how to live life free. 

The first thing He says to them is 

““I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. “You must not have any other god but me.”

Exodus 20:2-3 NLT 

If you look up the definition of “god” you’ll find it associated with words like worship and adoration and admiration. Whatever or whoever receives our worship, adoration, and admiration is our god. God wants us to make Him our priority. 

Rule #1.

Obtaining freedom from anxiety involves keeping God #1. Not our jobs (or lack thereof). Not homework. Not friends. Not boyfriends. Not girlfriends. Not spouses. Anything else you could name doesn’t count as God. 

But when we focus on God we learn things like true love (click this link & the ones below).

We learn that He is our refuge so we can run to Him at any time.

And not just any time in a fearful way but any time and confidently.

We learn that He’s forgiving

We learn that He’s patient.

We learn that He is merciful.

We learn that He can bring to fruition things that are seemingly impossible

We learn that He understands us.

Yup, understands us. 

And loves us exactly as we are

But too much to leave us there

When we trust Him with every aspect of our lives, He directs us. And He doesn’t just direct us in a far off, distant sort of way. He cares about every single detail of our lives. 

The God of Christianity isn’t at all a tyrant as some have presumed. He is the One who brings meaning to life. 

He brings good things to those who follow Him.

And our God is very good.