Monday, June 3, 2013

From Barriers to Beauty God's Way

My quest starts on 1 January, but it takes a while to reach my goal.

I'm thankful that May held this year's treasure.

The LORD works an interesting pattern in my life. First, I find myself struggling in a certain area over and over again - as if I were bumping into the same obstacle in my path.

I run headlong into the barrier, not even aware of the bruises I gathered with each encounter. When I finally start nursing my wounds and wondering what's causing them the Holy Spirit begins whispering to me. 

The hints about the gift are subtle at first, delivered in a sermon or a Bible passage. I admit that often the early ones slip by me. Thankfully God is as persistent as He is gracious so the clues to my dilemma increase in frequency and clarity. As I make my way through my days I begin to notice that a certain topic re-appears. 

Please tell me you've had a similar experience where God peppers you with reminders until you simply canNOT ignore them.

Once I noticed the fences of frustration were causing me to grumble and complain.  I admit that I was nearly ready to collapse before I stopped and turned to the Shepherd for help. He brought me the word WORSHIP in just about every context imaginable. I found myself meditating, studying, and appreciating the meaning of worship in ways I never had before. And perhaps more importantly, as my focus shifted Godward my whining decreased significantly.

These treasure hunts have become an annual search for a sort of theme for my spiritual life. God confirmed my Theme for 2013 a couple of weeks ago, EMBRACE. He'd been giving me prompts in all kinds of ways, but it was the comment of a friend that finally caught me. I haven't had time to do a biblical study yet, but He's granting me insights in the meantime.

For example, to embrace in a God-pleasing way means more than accepting circumstances with a hesitant heart. It means opening myself and fully welcoming what the Father arranges for my life. Sure, I may ask questions as I wonder about the details the way Mary did in Luke 1:34. It's the willingness to carry on in the midst that I want to nurture.

A God-glorifying embrace also means more than receiving the bits and pieces I like, enjoy, can handle, or even understand. It requires me to appreciate every detail of every situation as my Sovereign's perfect plan for me. I need to submit my preferences to His will as did the prodigal's father in Luke 15:20. It's this type of faith and trust that I want to cultivate.

You know, these obstacles in my path may be more like trellises. Maybe the LORD sets them in front of me not to block my path but to support my growth. As I head off on this year's Theme I've got an image of the blossoming God wants to bring into my life. 

How about you?

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