For those of you new to My Story Monday, click to get caught up on...my story.
There seems to be a theme weaving in and around my life with stitches of boldness these last few months and in a more delicate pattern over many years. Have you ever pondered what would make God happy? I mean really questioned what it is you are supposed to do to honor Him above all else with your life? I don't mean reading the Bible and obeying His laws, although that pleases Him. He does desire obedience above sacrifice. (1 Samuel 15:22 "To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.")
What I mean is do you long to honor Him with your whole life? I do. Very, very badly. So when I began to understand that I could hear his voice in college, I began to wander a little. Trusting in his sovereignty and yet, knowing that I chose Texas A&M to follow a boy are really hard to reconcile. Wanting so desperately to fit in with the crowd and yet, distinctly realizing I'd been called to live separately caused me great anxiety. I had not ever consulted God about my decisions. I had simply prayed that God would bless what I wanted.
Because I had not specifically, seriously consulted God about these decisions in my life...my college, my major, my living arrangements, my friends, my activities, etc. I fell into a trap of thinking that God's plan was not being accomplished in my life.
I reverted. I wanted to go back and get a do-over. I did in many ways. I even left college for a semester to seek Him more clearly. Some of my friends and family thought I was having a nervous-breakdown. I had to know. Just had to know that it was God leading me. Not just me. Remember I am a recovering perfectionist.
"Knowing in part" was driving me crazy. (1 Corinthians 13:12 "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part...") Releasing control of anything is a very hard thing. Especially for most women. I am one of those. I wanted to control even hearing from God! When I didn't hear, I froze. I was convinced that if God didn't tell me exactly what to do that He would never bless me or worse punish me. I know this is foolish but it was at the root of what I thought.
My parents were extremely over-protective. I wasn't allowed to make very many choices on my own. I wasn't allowed to drive through stoplights on my way to school. Imagine. Looking back I think it was probably more dangerous to drive through all those neighborhood school zones than to speed down the highway! I had a 10:00 curfew that increased to 10:30 and stayed there throughout college.
I had to work to have spending money but then I was afraid to spend it because I didn't want to make a poor choice. I could choose one camp each summer. In my early years, it was always church camp. I am so thankful my church sent elementary schoolers to camp each summer! But in high school the choice wasn't as clear or as easy. I had to attend dance camp to be on the team all year so one week of church camp fell by the wayside. I began looking back and wondering why I made those decisions, regret and fear had such tight holds on me. It was so difficult to commit to anything...or anyone. Relationships ended, paths changed and the doubting hounded me. Although my parents loved me, I was terrified of losing their approval.
I can see now how their over-protectiveness did protect me in lots of ways but I can also see how it paralyzed me in many others. Making any decision was dreadfully hard. I doubted and second-guessed myself unceasingly. This transferred to how I heard God's voice. I heard it...or didn't I? This personal game of see-saw left me drained emotionally, physically and spiritually all the time.
I was exhausted all the time from fighting the inner battle of trying to win God's approval. I didn't just want to do the good thing, I wanted to do the best thing. I now know that this desire alone pleased God in a big way. I also know that trying to win something I already possessed was utter foolishness.
How I wish I'd been able to overcome my feelings with the truth of His Word. How I wish I'd realized that God is so much more interested in the state of my heart than my major. How I wish I'd know that God is happiest when we are just running toward Him.
I know now that God's way in my life cannot go unrealized. My purpose and calling are irrevocable. It may look way different than I think. It may happen way later than I think. It may take on a twisting and turning that surprises everyone...but God is not surprised. What God says, goes. It may come about the long way but His plans and purposes will not be thwarted. They will come to pass. Are you believing this today? I am.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future...Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 29:11 & 33:3