2018, it’s here.
Has it sunk in yet for you?
Wait no longer for a new year; long no more for a fresh start.
The calendar is completely reset.
You have the potential to set new goals for yourself: spiritually, relationally, emotionally, physically, and communally.
I am sure there are many goals and ideas of what this year will be like. It’s beyond easy, and tempting, to assume our timing is best for when we will reach our goals like getting that promotion or getting that particular GPA for that scholarship; however, in this New Year we can easily get frustrated with God when things don’t seem to be going the way we expect. When God seems to be stringing us along without bringing us anywhere, it can seem like He isn't on the job. We can truly feel like everything is upside down and creating a Yew Near instead of a New Year.
This year is absolutely yours for the taking.
So, what will you do with it?
2017… boy it was a rollercoaster ride in its entirety.
Along the way this verse has truly served as God’s call for me back into why trials exist.
Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process with glory just around the corner. So, if you find life difficult because you are doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust Him. He knows what He’s doing and he’ll keep on doing it.
1 Peter 4:12-19 (MSG)
2017 held a lot for me; God had many things planned for me and that is evident in my mind now as 2018 is here.
In 2017, I got accepted to Berry College. I finished up my last semester as a North Forsyth Raider and graduated. I attended my orientation for Berry and injured my back. I moved out of my house and left everything I have ever known for Rome, for Berry College. I began my first semester of college, which I have spoken very little about.
God surely, without any doubts in my mind, put me under fire this past semester. I know He isn’t done and I know He has more refining for me next semester and in the years to come; however, August through the first of December were truly some of the craziest months I have experienced in quite some time.
August dumped me right into an entirely new set of surroundings. I was not the least bit familiar with Rome, even though I had been there multiple times. I knew Berry’s campus like the back of my hand but I truly did not know it as well as I thought I did. All at once, like thousands of other new college students, I had to adjust to living away from everything I grew comfortable with at home, live without my pets, live with a roommate, navigate the workload that Berry College places on students, make friends, attempt to find a church, have fun adventures, stay healthy, and study.
Sitting here right now I am wondering how we are able to do any of these things; I am wondering how college freshmen do this all at once. This is so many things to do all at once.
Needless to say I was definitely Martha this entire semester. I wasn’t Mary, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. This semester I felt like I was doing a lot of seeking for the Lord’s face and not a whole lot of finding and this was a result of me being fixated on the wrong things.
I didn’t understand why I seemingly wasn’t making friends. I didn’t understand why my back had to be injured. I didn’t understand why the Lord wasn’t moving in my life and I didn’t get why I couldn’t come up with words to write posts for my blog. I wasn’t finding a church, a place I could call home.
Seemingly everything in my life was making me question, “God… are you even there?”.
My eyes were fixed on my frustrations with Jesus instead of being fixed on Jesus.
This changes things, friends.
When we take our eyes off Jesus, when our eyes are not fixed on the Pioneer of our Faith, everything changes. And literally, I mean everything.
It's so easy to assume that God isn’t on the job just because He isn’t working within our timing.
And that’s the whole thing.
Our timing is one toxic, terrible, and faith disorienting thing.
Jesus’ timing is one freeing, beautiful, and intentional thing.
They are polar opposites, both acting in different ways, both changing our lives, and both altering our focus.
Here’s what happens when we fix our eyes on our timing: we become consumed. We become consumed in what we want, in what we think is best for ourselves, in what we think God is and isn’t capable of.
We get really distracted on all of the wrong things. We don’t see what God is up to because we are blinded. We put God in this little 4x4 box, thinking that He is incapable of giving us the desires of our heart, which He declares He will in Psalm 37:4.
When we fix our eyes on Jesus' timing -truly trusting all He has promised- everything becomes clear.
So, here I am telling you to trust God's timing and know that it's flawless.
But what do we do when we are waiting for God to take our craziness and reveal holiness?
What do we do when we are waiting on Jesus' timing? In this New Year when we are praying to the Lord to reveal His plans or path for our lives and he is being stagnant, what are we to do? What are we to do when we are waiting on Jesus and it feels like none of our goals for 2018 are being met? What do we do when it just feels like a Yew Near in our faith and in our lives?
If you call out to Him, He will draw near to you. He hears your cries and He knows that you are hurting. If you feel like you are praying and there is nobody on the receiving end, remember that He hears you. It just may not be time for Him to answer your call yet; however we have to remember to wait patiently, wait expectantly. We may be waiting on Him a while but I promise your wait is not in vain.
But me, I'm not giving up. I'm sticking around to see what God will do. I'm waiting for God to make things right. I'm counting on God to listen to me.
Micah 7:7 (MSG)
And while God hears your cries, He may respond in ways you weren't anticipating; however, you need to hope for Jesus to move. When you pray, you should pray boldly and not halfheartedly. If you don't believe with your whole heart that Jesus is going to move and anticipate it, who knows if He will. You should be ready for Him to do whatever He thinks is best for you despite what you may think is best for you. If you aren't patient, the best way to practice is by waiting. If you aren't the most selfless person, the best way to practice is to give up the plans you think are best for you and take on your cross daily. When we lay our requests before Jesus, whatever they may be, it is only by our faith that we wait and expect for God to deliver on what He promised.
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
Psalm 5:3 (NIV)
Martha put her hopes into things that would ultimately disappoint her: housework, cooking, preparations. She passed her time fretting and neglecting Jesus. She neglected to put her hope into things that truly would last her an eternity. I imagine she was lonely and empty when she passed away. If you have no idea what I am referencing, you can read my post about Martha and Mary here; we hope that a friend, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, mentor, drug, activity, etc. can fix the hole in our hearts and give us hope. But all these things are earthly and they will ultimately let us all down at some point in our lives. Jesus will never fail. He will never let us down. We can wait on the Lord knowing full well that no matter how dark things are, soon the light will come rushing through the doors. We can only go to one place during the dark times to receive reassurance and that my friends is to the light… the light of Jesus. Hope in His name alone. Live in Him alone, trusting that the most beautiful things are yet to come.
I seriously wonder how many times I have heard this one before in my spiritual walk but it’s so true nevertheless; we have to trust Jesus if we are going to be successful at all. We have to know that we do not have the answers and we are not in charge. This is the whole point of this post.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)
I discussed this earlier on in my post with a verse from 1 Peter. Review it above and remember that when you are unclear on God's timing With this verse as proof… see 1 Peter 4:12-19 again. Everything you experience while waiting for God to reveal His plans for you, while waiting on His timing, is a refining process. Glory is just around the corner if you are patient, praying in affliction, and being thankful for the blessings you have presently. You are growing stronger through all of the challenges. I know it. Jesus is making you stronger, a better reflection of Him, by refining you with fire.
For years I have struggled with finding a strong definition of what faith truly is until about three weeks ago I was listening to one of Andy Stanley's sermons at church.
He said, "faith is confidence that God is and will do all He promised to do."
This really struck me because I had never heard faith described this way. There is so much truth in this truth. Our faith is really having the spiritual maturity to surrender your concerns and desires to the Lord. From there, it's all trusting that He will deliver.
Faith is not some magical power of force. Faith is not some mathematical formula. Faith is not magic or hocus pocus. Faith is not a code we try and crack like we used to do on a friends locker in middle school.
Faith is simply confidence. That's trusting that His timing is perfect and fixing your eyes on Him will help you see this.
In Jeremiah 29:11, the Lord says He knows the plans He has for us. He promises that they will give us hope and a future.
I don’t know about you but anyone who promises me that they have plans for me that will give me hope in a darkening world and a future in a crazy world, I want to follow them and their precious timing.
But I know what you're all probably thinking. You're thinking, "Cassidy... it's not that simple. Faith isn't just wanting to... it's actually doing it."
And I know that. It’s not all cookies and cake.
It’s hard work. It's actually getting up and doing what God asks of you when He asks. Faith was never promised to be easy like most everything in life.
We have to be willing to work hard knowing full well that we are not in charge. And we have got to be willing to lift our lives up in utter and complete surrender saying, “Jesus… if you are willing you can.”
If not, the likelihood of Him moving much in your life seems small to me; however, if you have enough patience and faith in the Lord to say that then I bet your bottom dollar that He will. He will say, “you believed I could and so I will.”
We can’t pretend that we have all of the answers. We can’t pretend we know a thing about tomorrow. It’s commanded that we don’t walk around claiming that we know what’s in store for us.
Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow; you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.
Proverbs 27:1 (MSG)
I don’t even know what I had for dinner two nights ago and here I go trying to predict what tomorrow will look like. I have no idea. And I can take comfort in the fact that I am not in charge! I wouldn’t want to be in charge of my own life. I can take comfort in the fact that even when everything is going horribly wrong in my life that there is one person who knows all the right answers, all the right moves, and all the right steps.
He made promises, people! And if I know anything about God it’s this: He will not back down! Once He has promised His people something extraordinary, He isn’t going to bow out. He isn’t going to go back on His word. No syllable He speaks is empty or void.
His. Timing. Is. Flawless.
He's the clock. He's in charge of what happens and doesn't happen in our lives. He is in charge of every breath. He is in charge. His timing is flawless.
This week, will you find ways to remind yourself of this? Write it somewhere, remind someone you love of this, pray for Jesus to remind you that His timing is superior.
Leave a comment below sharing how you are going to remind yourself this week that Jesus' timing is flawless.
And remember that God’s love should never be something we wonder about. It’s always present. 100% of the time.
And if His love is something we never have to doubt, then we should never doubt His flawless timing even when it feels like we are living in a Yew Near.
Sometimes, we just aren’t ready. We don’t feel like we have all the necessary tools in our toolboxes or our ducks in the proper row. We have so many doubts clouding our judgement and making us believe that we are unable to do what we have to do. We doubt ourselves and ultimately God.
Humans. Are we naturally compassionate or selfish? Arguably, we are selfish and have thrived in a society of "me, me, me," for generations; the narcissism never seems to end. But, is this behavior really behavior helping us thrive spiritually? Is this the way God desires for us as a Church to live, always wrapped up in ourselves? If you open His word, there you find an answer to this question and I discuss it in this weeks post.