Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Living the Unexpected

If I were to be honest, this was not the life I expected.
I never expected to move to Seattle after graduation.
I never expected to pursue a degree in theatre.
I never expected to attend Baylor University.
I never expected to leave Texas.
I never expected to maintain only a handful of friendships from high school.
I never expected to have a heart for the lost daughters of China.
I never expected to meet some of the dearest friends through my blog.
I never expected to leave my sorority sisters after one semester.
I never expected to find a passion for God's purpose and power in the arts.
I never expected to be content or joyful in singleness.
I never expected to find freedom from the painful comparison of my past.
I never expected to be where I am, but I always should have expected God to be good. 
It's His nature and He cannot help it.


One of the biggest lessons I'm learning in this season is how sweet it is to dream with Jesus. To dream BIG with Him. There is no fear or flaw in that because He is the God of big dreams. Have you seen the world He created? Have you read, heard, or seen the goodness of His people? Have you been redeemed and rescued by His elaborate, sacrificial plan of salvation where He sent His Son to pull us from our self-destruction and seat us in a place of honor and value at His side? And have you heard of what He is going to do to set all things right again? Talk about a God who thinks BIG. So why shouldn't we do the same?

I used to think small. I used to think about today and find myself dizzy with the tiny details, or only worry about tomorrow and ten years from now, tearing away the days on my calendar to "make it" to this check point or that. Neither of those were okay. Neither of those were what He asks of us. Neither of those do I claim to have fully recovered from, but I'm surrendering it whenever I can. 

As His sons and daughters, we are called to live in the present but for the future.

Let me say that again. We are to live IN the present but FOR the future. Sadly the world promotes the opposite. The world says "We aren't guaranteed tomorrow, so live it up today!" This is where YOLO comes from. Please give me a good kick if the word letters YOLO escape my lips. It's true though. You only live once. So what are you living for?

Take a moment to read the following verses:

"How blessed is God and what a blessing He is! He is the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in Him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son."
Ephesians 1:3-6, The Message

Did you read it? Good. Now read it a second time
What stands out to you? Three things jumped out at me from the start:

1. Long ago, God chose us (you and I) as the focus of His love.
2. He chose then and there to adopt us into His family (and He delighted in this decision!).
3. He is a God of lavish gifts (see Gift #1: His Son, Jesus Christ).

Y'all! This seriously blows my mind! Before the world began --before He created day, night, land, sea, sun, stars, water, air, man, woman, ANY OF IT-- He knew your name! He knew mine. He desired a relationship with us and wanted to adventure with us in the work of His kingdom. And He knew what He was getting into when He created us and chose us.  For more on this, listen to "I Knew What I Was Getting Into" by Misty Edwards. Over and over again. It has wrecked my world in the best way possible.

He did not stop there though. He chose not only to save us but to adopt us! To bring us into His family and give us an inheritance! An identity directly linked with His! We were trapped in sin, deserving of death, but he wiped the slate clean and promised goodness and grand gifts. Who does that?

Oh, yeah. He does.

"...God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike 'What's next, Papa?' God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us-- an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with Him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with Him!"
Romans 8: 14-17, The Message

And so, I dream BIG. I dream in six different directions at once and I'll be the first admit it. But I know that I can because at the heart of those dreams is a desire for His dreams. We hear the verse in Proverbs quoted over and over again, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." I believe it, but I'm beginning to see it in a new light. I do not want to delight in Him in order to get my Christmas list. I want to delight in Him so that He may put His desires in my heart. If He is my delight then His desires are my desires. 

I may be free to dream in six different directions but I am free from those dreams --dreams that at one point threatened to tear me from God in desperation to make them happen on my own-- by surrendering them to His greater plan. He is the Creator of the universe! I certainly trust Him to create my future with just as much care and skill. And His timing is perfect and not on our clock. A day to Him might be a thousand years to us, but it is worth it because He is worthy of it all. I am living in the present, trying to BE present with the people He has put in my life and the opportunities He puts in front of me and leads me to, but also living with a future (Kingdom and eternal) mindset. My discipline and surrender now will pave the way for intimacy and fruit later.

Goodness, all of this simply bubbled out in, as the theme has been, six different directions, but it's where He's taken me and I simply had to share! All in all, this is where I'll leave you:
Currently, this isn't the life I imagined or expected. It's so much better!

16 comments:

  1. I like the way you think! Even though it's not what we ever thought we were going to be doing, we're sure are living a great life.

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    1. Thanks girl! And it's certainly an adventure :)

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  2. Wow, what a lovely, awesome post! It really encouraged me to realize that I can dream many different dreams with God at the center of them all. But he has it all under control for us, too! I agree that we need to live in the present but with the mindset that Jesus will return one day. What an awesome God we have! Thanks for this post :)

    xo, gina

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    1. You're seriously the sweetest :) And yes! Dream all over the place! He's got powers, plans, promises, and the patience big enough for all of them!

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  3. Story of my life! I used to make decisions solely based on where I thought I might be a few years in the future (i.e. - "I'm not going to start grad school until after I move back to Louisiana because I don't want to be stuck in New YOrk as a single woman " - says a girl whose now a grad student in New York). I was always looking for the next step and not really focusing on where God had me NOW. I've now learned to balance the two - live in your current circumstances but recognize they will chang :) It's great! I never in a million years figured I'd be where I am today - but I love it!

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    1. That's awesome! I've been guilty of the same thing, trying to plan the next five years before making a decision about tomorrow. God's got it all under control :) I hope you're enjoying NYC! I want to go there so badly.

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  4. Love this! God chose us, created our life with us in mind... and gave the ultimate gift for us. Nothing better!

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    1. Yes, ma'am! He always goes above and beyond!

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  5. i LOVE this statement: "I never expected to be where I am, but I always should have expected God to be good.
    It's His nature and He cannot help it." SO TRUE!!! And I can claim the same thing you can when you say that "Currently, this isn't the life I imagined or expected. It's so much better!" AMEN!

    Elena

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    1. Thanks girl! God is so good! Glad to know you're seeing His hand in your life too! I'm sure His fingerprints are all over it! :)

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  6. Okay, thanks for this post girl! Goodness, the Lord just used you to convict me and encourage me! I think we have a few of the same "I never expected" statements too;)

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    1. He works in mysterious ways and brings encouragement in surprising places :) You've such a sweet heart I cannot wait to hear about what all He's doing in your life!

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  7. Thank you for the reminder! You have added a new prayer to my life: "I want to delight in Him so that He may put His desires in my heart."

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, girl! I can't wait to see what He shows you :)

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  8. Girl- I LOVE that you mentioned Misty! Her songs are so powerful-- especially the song "I knew what I was getting into"-- I got totally rocked by that the first time I heard it. Like like boo-hoo crying. He knows us in our fullness and loves us just like that! Thank you for this post- you really had some great words of insight & encouragement!

    Lauren
    How Beautiful Are The Feet

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    1. Oh yeah, the first time I heard that song I was on the floor. So good! You should check out the extended edition of Jonathan and Melissa Helser's music. Also so good!

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