Same Path; Different Destinations

During my daily 40-minute commute to work, I have quite a bit of time in the car to think, pray, and even preach (to myself).  The interstate I take branches into 5 different lanes and while I was driving along the other day, I had the most beautiful thought: all of these cars are traveling in the same direction and though we may be going to the same city, we all have different destinations within that city.  There were cars all around me and regardless of speed we had one thing in common: we were all moving forward in the same direction.  Our final destinations didn’t matter at that time because during that brief snapshot of our journeys we were all in the process of getting there.

 

Leave that Fruit on the Tree

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.  Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”  10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”  11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” — Genesis 3: 1-12, (NIV)

In Genesis 3,  the serpent challenged Eve with a question that led her to doubt God and what He had commanded about not eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  She knew that she was not supposed to eat from it but she started reasoning and justified her decision to violate God’s command.  Her reasoning did not change the fact that eating the forbidden fruit was sin and introduced death into the world.  Fact will always be fact despite human reasoning.

 

The Comparison Game

I’m a Christian and I often struggle with what I call the comparison game.  Daily,  I have to shut down lying thoughts that try to tell me stupid stuff like:
‘you probably missed God because you are over 30 and single’

‘God is holding out on you; you’re missing something good’

‘you are wasting time waiting, you need to put yourself out there and make it happen on your own’

‘your friends are all married with children and you’re not; there’s something wrong with you’

‘did you really hear God, is He even with you?

The enemy is out to destroy my relationship with God, he wants me to doubt the Lord’s authority,  love, and concern for me and every detail about my life.  When things don’t arrive on my timetable, I can’t give into discouragement because what I thought was something good didn’t work out the way I had imagined or hoped.  More often than not, whether it was a relationship, a job, or an opportunity that didn’t work out, I can trust and believe that it wasn’t God’s best for me.  Rest assured, the Lord will always come through with the upgrade.

I’ve settled on this– if the Lord thought so much about me that He didn’t think twice about giving me Jesus- His one and only perfect Son to secure my eternal life, how much more willing is He to give me good things that would enrich my earthly life?

 

Unpack Your Bags Now Instead of Later

I realize that God has graced me in my single life to work out a lot of things before I get married. He’s disciplining me to be a godly wife not just in the spiritual things, but in the practical things because honestly, if I can’t manage my own laundry by keeping my hamper empty, why would He add my husband’s and children’s clothes to it?

Seriously, there are a lot of things that I want to overcome; whether it’s being too emotional at times, overly analytical, or healing from past hurtful events.  These and other issues are areas the Lord is growing, pruning, and maturing me through because frankly, I don’t want to expose my husband or my children to a bunch of emotional baggage.

There’s so much more on the table than we realize.  God loves us–there’s a purpose for every season and every challenge that you and I encounter.  We can’t waste time looking at other people around us and measure our life by what they present on the surface.  Don’t assume that everyone who is married has “arrived” and overcome everything that you are trying to master and overcome as a single person. Prayerfully, they are continuing to grow in their relationship with their spouse by the Lord’s leading.  Let God measure your progress and set your standards.  Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.

 

Submit to The Lord

As a single woman with a desire to marry God’s best one day, the temptation to believe that I’m not where I need to be will always be there.  Unless I deny these thoughts access into my mind, I will constantly second-guess and doubt God, His provision, and His plan for how He wants me to live the life He’s given me.  That doubt will lead me away from His guidance and further into my own pursuit of what I think is right.  That’s a dangerous place to be.  I can’t lead or submit to myself but with the help of the Holy Spirit, I can submit to the Lord and He’ll lead me to where I need to be.

When you are waiting on and serving God, you don’t have to worry about time.  Trust the Lord, He made eternity and is not limited by measurable time on a calendar. Don’t compare yourself to others around you, just keep moving forward to your final destination.

~KP

 

The Tough Get Going

Okay; this is probably the 5th time that I’ve started this entry as I’ve been erasing drafts of it.  There’s something I want to say, but I’m struggling with how to say it. I believe the Lord will help me write what He put on heart.

To be honest with you, this season of my life has truly challenged me in a way that I’m just not used to *whew* here we go.

My heart was broken.  You have to know something about me; I had crushes and guy friends growing up, but I never seriously dated when I was in high school or college.  My parents raised me to focus on putting school first and to let God make time for relationships.  Growing up, that was a hard pill to swallow! All of my friends were “going out”, had boyfriends, and then there was me.  Single me.  Looking back, I’m grateful for that hard pill my parents gave me because I’m sure it saved me from having to go through the pain of  breaking things off with a boyfriend.

No one likes rejection.  It hurts.  It makes you second guess everything about yourself.  It can make you pick yourself apart and question why you are not pretty/good/special enough for someone else to see.  If you allow it to fester in your mind, it can convince you to take blame for things that really aren’t your fault in the first place.  Now, in my case, I can say that I had a hand in breaking my own heart; I let the desire to be in a relationship cloud my better judgment and I didn’t listen to the Lord who was tugging on my heart the whole time I was with this guy.

I actually dismissed the Lord’s prompts and I spiraled further and further away from Him because I decided that I knew better than He did.  I justified red flags.  I made excuses for unacceptable behavior. Little by little, I found myself reasoning away my standard.  Can you see how dangerous and crazy that is?! The truth is, the Lord knew that this particular relationship was not for me, but I didn’t listen to Him because everything about this guy looked so good and so right to me.

Over time, I found myself constantly trying to convince this guy that I was good/great/special enough. I thought if I went out of my way for him he would one day see that I was a great person. In the process, my self-esteem suffered.  I don’t know how or why I grew so comfortable with being rejected, dishonored, and manipulated. Eventually, I got tired.  My mind was exhausted, my emotions were all over the place, and I realized he was at complete peace stringing me along.

With the Lord’s help, I walked away.  No explanation.  I dropped my end of the rope. I saw first-hand that whatever you stop feeding will in fact die.  This “relationship” needed to die.  It wasn’t God-ordained.  I quit fighting to be with a guy who had no regard for me or my relationship with the Lord.  Initially, this was very hard because I felt like I failed.  I’ve never intentionally failed at anything in my life because I’ve never been a quitter.  But this time, I found myself quitting.  I needed to quit.  Continuing in this would only cause futher damage.

I did whatever I had to do to get through the process of separating myself from him.  I didn’t lash out, blow up his phone, send him a million texts, or even expect an apology from him for what he did.   I didn’t bad mouth him on social media like he did to me.  I chose to hold my peace for two reasons: number one, I felt that doing so would honor the Lord and secondly, I didn’t want to sow seeds of disrespect because I didn’t want to reap the harvest of them.

I needed healing.  The Lord led me to sermons and podcasts with good teaching to rebuild my walls.  I had to re-learn what it meant to keep a standard regardless of what is going on around me.  I took Proverbs 3:5-6 to heart:

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT)

Looking back, I knew that I was believing God for great things, but I didn’t see how they were going to fall into place.  Maybe my expectations were too unrealistic and somehow I thought running ahead of God’s timing would make things better.  I was trying to figure out and lead my own life.

You see, my limited understanding was ruling my thought process and driving my decisions.  I didn’t consult the Lord about this guy, or the relationship.  I didn’t ask Him what He thought because deep down I probably knew what the answer would be.  And to be honest with you, I didn’t want to start all the way over from scratch with someone else.  I wanted it to work, I wanted things to get better, but in the end they continued to get worse.

In all, the pain had a purpose.  In fact, there is a purpose to every season of your life.  There is a purpose for being single.  Contrary to popular belief, being single is not an indicator that there is something wrong with you or that you aren’t loveable or likeable for that matter. I have settled on the fact that God has a good plan for my life (Jer. 29:11).    I settled in myself that there is no good thing that He will withhold from me (Ps. 84:11) because I choose to do what is right. He wants me to have his absolute best in all areas of my life and it starts with understanding my identity and my worth to Him FIRST.  He’s shown me that I have value and that I don’t have to take down for anyone that can’t see that.

The Lord is good; He’s so good that He will do anything it takes to protect you from people, places, or things that will harm you.  The temporary disappointment of heartbreak pales in comparison to the joy of obedience.  I don’t know about you, but I want the Lord to be pleased with me and my decisions.  I’m not perfect but my intention is to do things that bring honor to God.  If you really want to know whether the things you do or say honor God, ask yourself:

“would it be okay if I did or said this if the Lord himself was physically standing in front of me?”

 Is that real enough?  Regardless, the Lord sees everything you say, do, and even think anyway.  He knows you.  He loves you.  Sis/Bro, consider His presence and look for ways to love Him back by knowing that He’s always where you are.  Practice being mindful of Him.

If you can take away anything from this blog, understand that you are precious to the Lord.  Know that you do not have to fear or worry about time.  The Creator of time has you right on schedule.  His timing is always perfect.  You can’t mess up so bad beyond the Lord’s ability to reroute you.  You aren’t that powerful; *smile*

Trust His timing and keep growing in Him,

~KP