Almost Christmas. Almost the end of the old year. Almost the beginning of a new one. A new chance. A new start. A new everything. I’ve known many people who have hated 2016. Social media expresses it very clear. Though I do not know what circumstances are happening in other people’s lives ( unless they choose to share it ), I have to very much be the opposite of the popular trend of hating 2016. This has nothing to do about historical occurrences that have happened in our Country and the world, good or bad. It has everything to do with my walk with Christ.
Though I do not hate 2016, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been struggles or hard times. I believe a daily struggle for most believers is the letting go of your plan, your will, for your life and finally surrendering that over to God. We all have seasons of discontentment. But some people experience it for years with no change. When that happens, it is so easy to doubt the promises, security, and love from our Creator. Its a trap so easy to fall into but 10 times as hard to get out; because we are selfish human beings who wants what we want and believe, often, that God agrees that our plan is a really good one. Who has not thought this way?
I will not go into detail, but I have been in a certain position for a few years now that I have begged God time and time again to remove me from, but has yet to do so. Its not anything terribly bad, but I have been ready for a brand new chapter for a very long time. Its a circumstance beyond my control. And waiting for God to step in has felt defeating. Why would God be this way?
Through the struggle and hurt of it all, one of the hardest things for me to do was to change. Instead of the circumstance in my life changing, God cares more about my heart reflecting Jesus. Not that He doesn’t care, but one of His many promises is that He will be with me through everything I may face in life, including this moment in time. Sometimes that answer doesn’t seem good enough. But to take up my cross and follow Jesus, it has to be enough.
What I mean by change, is me laying down how I see life around me, and choosing to see life through my spiritual eyes the way God sees it. When I am looking at myself and what I want, I cannot see the opportunities God has placed in my life, where He as me, to minster and bless others. Sometimes God calls us where we are for a bigger purpose than we can see; but we trust Him that He is good, and has the best for His children. Despite how our current trials may make us feel, we as children of God must choose to deny ourselves and place His truth in its place so we can accomplish the task placed before us. It almost seems impossible at times and I personally have had set backs. But by God’s good grace you confess it and go at it all over again until it is done right.
Something I’ve told a couple people recently: I began to wear the I Am Second black bracelet for a few months now on my right wrist. I love the message of this ministry, but I wear it for a bigger reason: I always need to be reminded that I am to live a life that is second. And by doing that; meaning I am choosing to let the drive for my wants go. I am choosing to accept where God has placed me, even though I still do not like it, and believing that He has a purpose for it. Asking God to open my spiritual eyes more to the opportunities to minister to hurting people. Because the opportunities must be there, or else God would not have put me where He has me. I must also be reminded that when I gave my life to Christ, I was surrendering my life. This life is not mine but the Lord’s. Its not one of slavery but one of obedience to God who gave His only begotten Son to die on my behalf for sins I committed that Jesus never once did or could do. And it was all done out of love. How could I not give Him my life? I owe God everything I have! The debt has been paid. And the God who created me in my mothers womb, me born a sinner like everybody else, wants to have a relationship with me.
To know God’s truth is one thing, but to act upon it is another. These past few weeks I have felt the conviction I need to finally sum it all up: “God, I’m done wanting what I want. Change my heart to want what you want, where you have me. The End.” When it feels difficult, I look at my bracelet and remember, “I am living my life for Christ today, exactly where I am at.” And then go do whatever it is I need to go do. This has been my 2016 year, and I do not hate it because of the good I am always gaining in Christ. God will place me where He wants me, and move me elsewhere when He wants me to be elsewhere.
Now I know that not every circumstance and trial are the same. I’m sure there are many people who have had to face loosing a loved one this year, or perhaps encountering a divorce from their spouse. Sometimes we will face hard times that we may never have an answer or reason for. Because life does happen does it not? But whatever the trial, God is still God. This world is not our home. We are not without hope or healing. Because of Jesus shedding His blood on the cross for you and me, if we choose to place our faith in Him, we will enter our heavenly home where we will never be in pain again.