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I was walking with a friend outside. It was midday summer; perfect and sunny. We had just come from lunch where we had the benefit of eating outside. The venue allowed dogs because we happened to be in a “dog city” so folks were happily bringing their dogs to this particular restaurant. My friend is becoming a dog lover so this setting afforded her the opportunity to “ooh” and “aww” over the cute k-9’s strolling with their owners who passed by our table.
As we walked, we took in the scenery. It’s a gentrified area and those have their own pluses and minuses. Pluses because they get “redone” with the money that’s flowing into the city. Minuses because the previous residents get kicked out when they can no longer afford the new amenities being added.
As we walked, my friend even stopped to smell some beautiful flowers at a flower shop and I took note. We had been talking about contentment and enjoying the moment. I knew God was working in her.
“Do you feel peace?” she had asked me at some point. We had already been together for over an hour and were catching up on each others lives. I had told her about the ups and downs in my romantic life as well as this season of recovery.
I thought about her question. “Peace?” I asked as I mulled that one over in my head for a sec. Did I feel peace? I asked myself. I struggled with that. Because in all honesty I did not feel peace. I did not feel ok with this journey of surrender and submission. I did not feel ok with grief and loss and trauma. I did not feel ok.
What I eventually told my friend was the truth. I did not feel peace. But I could not disregard my past journey of God showing His faithfulness. That when He had me do hard things in the past, it was actually for my good. So I said something to the effect of, “No, I do not feel peace. But He must see something that I don’t. I also understand that I am an eternal being and this life is fleeting. I understand the importance of living for the eternal even when in the natural I am not rewarded.”
And that mindset is a mindset that I have carried. To do what is eternal over what is natural. But as I am growing and evolving, the Father is expanding my mindset. He is showing me the “both, and”. That there is a dual dynamic with His ways.
I will be teaching a workshop soon on bookkeeping. I started my business this time last year and though it hasn’t grown as fast as I had wanted, there is growth. In the class I will be debunking accounting myths. I realize many small business owners confuse bookkeeping and accounting and I want to shed light on this topic to help them become more successful. I realize that is what God is doing with me.
He is debunking my myths.
I believe there are lies we all believe and depending on your journey, your family history, your DNA, your “wiring” so to speak, you may have more false beliefs than others. Or may have those false beliefs in certain areas of life. For me, I have struggled with trusting God and others. And I have had limitations on that trust.
I did not realize that the reason I did not have peace when my friend asked me that day was because I did not believe wholeheartedly that He was for me. I did not believe that ‘He would withhold no good thing from me.’ I believed that I was missing out on something good. In some far off way I did believe He had something better, but at this point in my journey, I would take the good. I thought that was a reasonable request after all I had experienced. Little did I know, it may have been good for someone. But it would not be good for me…
Now I see His ways are for us, even when they are hard. Even when they are long. Even when they are not the “ideal” of what we think our life should be, or what other people’s lives are. He knows us intimately and He knows what is best for each us. That realization has given me peace.
I now have peace.
I am so grateful He has given me peace and He has exposed the lie. I have not felt this trust in so long, it is a wonder to me that it is here so freely. We are all wired uniquely and He leads us on the path that will bring out our transformation of our true eternal selves to be manifest in the earth. He takes the good and the bad and somehow uses it all for His end purpose. It is truly amazing.
I pray the Father reveals to you your false beliefs, and keeps leading you along His path of righteousness.
After the storm…
I’m reading a book called “Single & Free to Be Me” by Dr. Clarence Shuler. In it he shares a counseling session he has with a 40 year-old single, successful business woman. She tells him she does not feel successful as a person and he helps her to see that she feels like a failure b/c she is basing her value on her relationship status. He then leads her in redefining success in a sense. This takes several sessions I’m sure but his approach at “peeling back the layers” assists me in my own self-evaluation.
How do I define success for myself? Instantly I know that I would easily define success by my career. Yet God has led me these 10 years on a path to remove that type of thinking from my mindset. I cannot feel successful in my career even though I really would like to. And of course, there is the relationship status. But since I cannot go to those things to find success, b/c Holy Spirit has been and is teaching me those are not sturdy foundations, I went to Him.
How does God define success? And here is what I wrote:
1) Success to Him is doing the Father’s will (obedience).
2) Success to Him is perseverance (long suffering, patience).
3) Success to Him is faith.
And after discussing these things with a friend, I will add that success to God is when we evolve and manifest wholeness. When we learn and grow each day.
Upon further reflection I realize that my tendency is to place value on temporary things and the outward demonstration of talent, gifts, and accomplishments. Yet God values what is inside. The inner being. He values character and maturity and mindsets. Understanding His definition of success makes me feel like more of a successful individual and I’m sure helps to expose lies I have believed, just as I’m sure Dr. Shuler’s client experienced in his office.
3 days ago I woke up full of joy. The whole day I had such joy and it was unexplainable. I had a very “normal” day, like many days in this season. I went to work, ran a few errands after work, cooked, did dishes, and watched a movie. But every single event was filled with joy. I was enjoying the Lord. I was enjoying myself. I was in such a great mood and I knew it was the joy of the Spirit. I knew God was teaching me that the fear and anxiety I have been battling in this season is the real enemy. My circumstances had not changed one bit yet I was able to feel elated and led to celebrate the day. I’m learning that I have to fight for joy. My personality is more melancholy, serious and reflective which serves its purpose in my own self-evolvement but also can lead to pessimism and anxiety. Being type A does the same thing. Knowing this about myself, and realizing b/c I have absolutely no control over changing my circumstances in life, well, I must choose joy if I want to enjoy the life I have been given. I actually have to fight for it as joy is not a natural tendency for me.
You have probably heard me talk a little bit about grace on this blog lately. That is another revelation I have been getting. I am seeing it is the Father’s grace that I have had joy these 3 days. I realize that whatever life He has called me to, He has given me grace to walk it out. He has given me grace to stay and wait. That grace can look like joy in the midst of frustration. It can look like the disappearance of anxiety and sorrow. It can look like peace where there used to be fear.
His grace is amazing.
I was caught in such a dark place of anxiety and I did not know how to escape. Anxiety gave me a false sense of control and it was an illusion that entangled me in an addiction of worrying. But He humbled me which allowed me to release control.
He met me. He heard my cry. And He showed me the way to peace. And hope. And joy.
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