Not Perfect

We are all broken. We’ve all made mistakes. We all have a past. We are all sinners. Yet God works it all for His good.

How many times have you been ashamed of your choices? Have you ever met people who appear to have it all together, seem to know all the answers, and portray a perfect life? How many times have you felt less-than, inadequate, or ashamed because your life doesn’t match theirs? Personally, I’ve lost count.

I’ve left the church as a result of these comparisons. I have wondered what is wrong with me when I knew I wasn’t perfect, despite choosing Christ. I considered myself a failure when I compared myself to everyone else’s life. I concluded that I was a failure because I wasn’t perfect.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that we all start at different places. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us by the day. By the hour. By the minute. By the second.

Our lives – our stories – are used to draw others to Him. To show what He can do. That we aren’t alone. Not for us to relive our shame and feelings of inadequacy. Our stories make us relatable and REAL, which enables us to grow His Kingdom.

People don’t want to fail. They want to succeed. When we share our stories where we left places of failure, addiction, inadequacy, anger – our sinfulness – and how far we have come, that is how others find peace.

When we compare ourselves to others, we lose sight of the fact that we were each created in His image for a unique purpose. Something only we can accomplish because of what we have been through, not despite what we have been through.

His mercy refreshes us daily. His grace washes us clean. His love makes us whole. We were made to reach the lost, not to alienate them. Why? Because we have been there. Right where the lost are now. He saved us, not because we were perfect, but because we have value.

Share your stories and testimonies. Be authentic. You have a divine purpose…. Because God is merciful and good at every moment in every day.

Detour Ahead

Last week was a struggle. I’ve been floundering as I try to understand the way events are unfolding in a particular area of my life. Cue the self doubt and craziness.

As I sat in my women’s small group tonight, we learned about how God’s plan can shake things up to get us into position to fulfill His will for our lives. Things started clicking in my brain as we chatted about this week’s message.

The video in this study had an amazing quote that really got to me. The guidance was something along the lines of how life’s interruptions can actually be divine interventions.

Wow. So you mean those times when I think I’ve been derailed could actually be God repositioning me according to His plan?!

We spoke of detours and how they often are unsettling and create fear, but can actually turn out to be some of the most amazing trips we have ever taken.

I shared a story about a detour I had to take years ago as I drove to North Carolina. I love the mountains and the detour took me onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was one of my first trips to the area and I was actually intrigued by the ability to experience this famed roadway with its scenic views.

As I began the detour, I remember being blown away by the beauty around me. However, it was the first time I had ever felt carsick while I was driving. I was forced to pull off the road to settle my tummy and got out of the car to breathe.

The sun was just starting to set, and as I turned to get back into the car, I looked out at the Blue Ridge Mountains. That view literally took my breath away. The vibrant colors of the sunset illuminating the tree-topped mountains was incredibly beautiful.

When you look back at your life and those detours you’ve had to take, you realize that those detours led to great experiences and beautiful moments. Unplanned, perhaps, but amazing just the same. Maybe some of the best.

When we rely on God to work His will on our lives rather than focusing only on our own wants and plans, we position ourselves for Him to shower us with His blessings. When we cling to our will, however, we may be missing out on some incredible moments and indescribable beauty. After all, God created each one of us for a unique purpose.

Without that detour, that mountain sunset detour years ago would never have occurred and I would have missed one of my favorite views ever.

I pray for each of us to remember that His plans are more beautiful and amazing than we could ever imagine so that we can embrace life’s interruptions.

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

Just a Mound of Dirt

Today started off like any other. I was scrolling through my newsfeed and trying to find the gumption to start my day. I saw a friend’s social media post celebrating her four-year-old son’s birthday. Of course, I had to read it to share her joy. Little did I realize how profound of an impact that post would have on me.

My friend was writing about how she and this innocent soul visit their house site pretty much daily (they are building an amazing home for their family). She recalled how they would go visit when there was just a piece of land with a hole in the ground, but she told her son that it would become their house.

From the hole in the ground with a mound of dirt piled beside the hole to just the framing for what would become the walls of their home. He never doubted what she told him. The final picture in her post was a priceless picture of this young boy standing in what is now a carpeted room – his room. The wonder on his face in that picture spoke to me. He’d never doubted his mama when she told him that this empty lot would become their home, and here he was – months later – seeing it for the first time. The realization of her promises.

Wow. How many times have we stood on a metaphorical mound of dirt, unable to see the future or the beauty of promises fulfilled? I mean, it’s just a mound of dirt, right?

In life, there are so many times I’ve had tunnel vision and saw only what was in front of me. I couldn’t see potential in the dirt I was standing on (or in, or even under), but it was THERE. The whole time. Not just for a fleeting second, but always there. I couldn’t see past the rain of the storm. I couldn’t see past the valley I was in. I. Couldn’t. See.

As humans, we focus on the here and now. God focuses on the future. The could-bes. The will-bes. The just-trust-mes.

Our faith may be shaken (repeatedly), but we know that God will work all things for good, if we have patience and trust Him. That mound of dirt becomes a home. That storm clears into a beautiful rainbow and a promise of better days. That valley leads to a peak with an amazing view. But only with God.

In the stillness of a difficult time, we must refocus on His promises and look beyond what our human eyes can see. He sees clearly with a wider view. He just asks us to trust Him. He will never forsake us and His promises are always fulfilled. Maybe not in our ideal timing, but in His.

May we see the potential in our hardships and embrace the blank canvasses that will yield His ultimate promises just as completely as a little boy believed the promises of his mom.

For we walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NKJV

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

“Faith makes things possible, not easy.”