Then they prayed, “You, O God, know every one of us inside and out. Make plain which of these two men you choose to take the place in this ministry and leadership that Judas threw away in order to go his own way.”  Acts 1:23-26 (The Message)

Today is the start of a new month and it brings with it so much potential. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but wonder where I’ll be at the end of these next 31 days. And I can’t help but think that something I haven’t even considered is looming on the horizon of my life and that this month is drawing me closer to that moment when I’ll see it. When I finally realize what so many of my yesterdays were leading up to.

Each day, I make an effort to be intentional, to focus on the people and the small moments that make up every day life. I don’t always do this well, but with grace, I am freely given the opportunity to try again and hopefully to do better.

And lately, I am realizing just what a gift that really is. Grace. Do-overs. Opportunities to try again, do it better, get it right. Or at least get it right-er.

I don’t know about you, but there is such freedom and power in knowing that the Creator of all things knows every one of us inside and out. Can you even imagine that? I have two little girls who are only four and six and I don’t think I can say with any sort of conviction that I know them inside and out. But God, he knows me like that.

 

all its beauty already exists even when it is only a bud
all its beauty, everything it will be, already exists even before it blooms

And not only that, but he knows what I am made to do and how I will get there. Isn’t that incredible? Isn’t it just a huge relief to know that you don’t have to figure it all out for yourself? It is to me. Because I can’t tell you how often I use the phrase, I just need to figure that out. Except that I don’t have to figure it out and that is incredibly freeing.

All I need to do is tap into what is already there, inside of me. It’s there, all of it: my passions, my purpose, my path, my gifts, my strengths, my talents. It’s been there since before I was knit together in my mother’s womb, and, you know what? If I had to guess, I bet I’ve probably spent more than half my life fighting against who I am, against who I was created to be. Against everything that lives in my heart and in my soul. Against the very fingerprint of God on my life.

Because I’ve been trying to just figure it all out, on my own. Or I’ve been trying to figure it all out in a way that meets others’ expectations because I’ve been afraid of letting them down. Or I’ve been trying to figure it all out to prove something to the world or to my family or to my naysayers.

But guess what? That doesn’t work, at least not for very long and at least not for me. For me, being on the wrong path has always stirred a restlessness, a deep longing for something more, in the deepest parts of my heart. And, so, I’d change directions and dive into something new, but without fail I got the same results.

But not this time, folks. Not this time.

even when something isn't perfect, it is still beautiful
its beauty, its purpose, unfolds perfectly

Because I’m finally starting to get it. I’m finally starting to realize that this God I love, this Jesus I walked with to Jerusalem, loves me far more than I can possibly understand and he knows where we’re going and he knows the way. He is the Way. And though I’ve been overheard saying that I trust him, I don’t think I’ve ever trusted him enough to follow him.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ve followed him, but only in spurts. Eventually I get back to thinking that I know a whole lot more than I do, and that includes thinking I know a whole lot more than God. So, I set out at a run and call back to him to keep up with me and, oh, while you’re at it, would you bless this path I’m taking?

Yeah. It doesn’t work like that, folks. And life is messy enough. I sure don’t need to complicate the messiness with my thinking that I know more than I do. I’ve seen the results of that too many times so trust me when I tell you, it does not bring about feel-good moments.

There is something on the horizon. I can almost see it, and until I do, I’m definitely walking by faith and trusting Jesus. I’m all in for real this time because I’ve wasted enough time and opportunity getting here.

But with grace pouring out over me, I am taking the 157th chance that Jesus is offering me to try again. Because this time, I’m going to get it right.

Because this time, I’m going to make sure I’m following him, not trying to edge past him to get in front.

This time, I’m all in.

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