In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to rest in God’s word. This week, we find ourselves in Psalm 33 and 34 with verses such as these:
“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You.” (Ps. 33:20-22)
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps. 34:18)
Friends, our God is bigger than any virus. This did not take him by surprise. We can be assured that God is still God and He is still good, even as we face these weird days of uncertainty. One thing remains: God is faithful to accomplish all that He’s established.
How often does it feel like the whole world is not only against you but reveling in your defeat? The psalmist, David, understood those feelings but also knew and declared the truth of who God is and who God says we are meant to be.
Don’t forget to check out this week’s all-new episode on recovery. We’ll be dropping full episodes every Tuesday full of great content about mental health in the context of faith. We’ll continue our rest stops every Friday, as we set the activities of the week aside and spend some time unwinding from the busyness of life.
“Oh God, You are my God, I shall seek You earnestly;
my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
– Psalm 63:1
Word of the Year
At the end of 2019, I did what so many of us do – I reflected. I thought about what I’d accomplished in the year as well as the ways I’d grown and the many areas in life where I hadn’t achieved quite what I’d set out to do.
There’s been a trend for some time now for people to choose a word that will be their focus for the year. Sometimes it’s simply a word that a person chooses based on what they hope to accomplish, while some people seek God to give them a word. I’ve sought God in this process multiple times over the years but it seems like He wasn’t super keen on my approach. It’s equally possible that I just wasn’t being a good listener. It’s a problem I sometimes have. Can I get a witness?
This year, as I moaned and groaned to God about why He never gives me a word for the year (please tell me I’m not alone in sounding like a whiny kid when I talk to God), He answered. And man…how.
Standing in the shower, I felt a spiritual gut-punch like I’ve not often felt. And the word “Enough” hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew, hands down, that God was giving me exactly what I’d been begging for: a word to focus on.
Here’s how I knew: I’d spent the bulk of 2019 comparing myself with every other person around me. I compared myself to other podcasters, writers, speakers, musicians, needlework designers – all the fields I’m a part of. Daily I was feeding on everyone else’s success and instead of rejoicing with them in their victories, their accomplishments were rotting in my heart and festering into an emotional bile that left me feeling more bitter than blessed by being surrounded by people that are walking in their gifts with grace and purpose.
That day in the shower, this is the conclusion I felt like God was bringing me to: I, Brandy, am enough. The call that God has placed on my life is enough. The talents He has given me and the ability He’s given me to grow those talents, is enough. The arena He’s put me in, no matter its shape or size is enough. And above all…He is Enough.
Thus began my year of Enough.
Enough is Enough
But Friends, we are in February and I am here to tell you, that when God gives you a thing to focus on, He won’t quit just because you think you’ve learned the lesson. If that were the case, I’d have been good two weeks into January when all of the above truths were affirmed at a women’s worship night I attended at a local church.
Instead, here’s where we are now, God and I.
After my shower revelation, aka Holy Spirit gut-punch, I sat down and made a plan to read through the Bible in a year. Mind you, I’ve done this before, though not in some time. Not only is reading through the Bible a good practice to develop but it also seemed like a really sound way to be reminded of all the ways God is faithful and how He truly is Enough. So, I did some research, found the Bible reading plan I wanted to use, transferred January’s reading into my faith journal where my plan was to keep track of reading, my prayers and gratitude, as well as write Sunday sermon notes and a little reflection at the end of every week. It all seemed so simple.
Until January 4th hit. There was nothing special about that particular day. I just didn’t read. No big deal…I can make that up easily on the 5th. Oops…..well…. Now it’s January 12, I have 9 days of reading to do and listen…I do NOT have time for that!
Less than 2 weeks in and I’d already failed miserably. Again.
In fact, the only part of my faith journal that I’ve managed to be consistent with up to now is keeping my sermon notes. For some reason, finding – or rather making – the time to sit down and read my Bible for 15-20 minutes a day has been impossibly difficult. So much so, that here we are nearly done with February and I’m still working on finishing January’s reading. Oy vey.
Give Lent a Chance
But…yesterday marked the first day of Lent. Now, I’m not a Catholic and have never been very big on the kinds of traditional observances of our more liturgical brethren, but this year I attended our church’s Ash Wednesday service and decided to give Lent a try while I reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made on my behalf so that I could know God intimately and eternally.
Once again, I found myself in the shower whining to God about what to give up for Lent. (God probably wishes I didn’t shower so much as I seem to get very needy then). I went through a litany of things I could give up: TV time. No. Soda. Nope. Listening to podcasts. What??? Social Media. Uh-uh. The list went on and on and my heels dug in.
Finally, after days of praying and considering, I landed on the thing. I’m giving up my time.
What does that even mean?
Giving Up and Gaining More
I’ll tell ya. It means that instead of jumping right into work before I’ve even gotten dressed (working from home is a blessing and a curse), or rather than watching YouTube for an hour while I cross stitch because that’s my therapy or any of the other million distractions I can find, I am devoting 40 minutes for 40 days over to God.
Here’s what that looks like for me: Given that my work mostly keeps me in front of a computer all day, I am lacing up my sneakers, grabbing my earbuds and phone and taking a stroll through our neighborhood while I listen to an audio Bible app. Three birds; one stone. I get physical exercise, God’s word seeps into my heart, and I might…might…even get caught up on my Bible reading plan.
If I want to fully understand what it means for me to be enough and more importantly what it means for God to be enough, I have to spend time hearing from God. I have to see the myriad ways He has been enough to millions of people before me, how His faithfulness is certain and that no matter what storms life may throw at me, God is a safe refuge for me to trust in.
What about You? Is there anything you’ve decided to let go of during this season of Lent? What about your resolutions? Are you keeping them? Tell me how I can pray for you – I’d be honored to lift you up before our God.
Joy in the midst of suffering. That’s what David, as the Psalmist, shows us time and time again. When all is going well, David sings his praises to the Lord. When he is feeling pressed by his enemies, He cries out to God reminding himself of God’s promises and His faithfulness to deliver.
Whether you are on the mountain-top of life or feeling crushed by the weight of the world, you have a great defender, a God who will respond to your cries and be glorified in your praise.
When was the last time you cried out to God with the awareness of your own shortcomings and sins? Have you ever just let it all out? God knows your heart, he knows your deeds, but have YOU actually owned up to your own transgressions?
Follow David’s example. Time and again, David acknowledges his own sins and time and again, he asks for forgiveness and courage to live with integrity. The only way we move closer to God is by renouncing our sin and setting our sights on the grace of Jesus at the cross, where all those sins were washed away in one final sacrificial gift.
God doesn’t want to hold your sin over your head to condemn you. He wants you to address it so that he can transform your heart into one that beats in rhythm with his.
King David knew a thing or two about fear and finding security and comfort God. Even as a young shepherd boy he had to protect his flock from predators.
Listen in this week as David shares one of his most beloved poems, speaking from a place of personal understanding. Be encouraged by the promise of God that He has you safely guarded and will love you tenderly through the trials.
Feeling discouraged, downtrodden, conspired against? Even kings feel that way. Listen in as King David, the man after God’s own heart shares his heart with God. Listen to the prophetic song that David writes in Psalm 22 and take courage that God is for you. The battles may seem overwhelming, but the war has been won.
It’s time to take a few minutes to rest and reflect on God’s provision. Even in the storms of life, when we are hard-pressed, feel alone and defeated, we have a Refuge in Jesus. He is an immovable force, unshakable and unbreakable. He is for His people and passionate about pursuing our hearts, even into the darkest corners.