Lord, in Psalms it says You delight in us. As I grow in my walk with You, I delight in You more and more. I remembered this bible study I went to in college on taking up our crosses. At the time, I laid down what I thought was holding me back from walking with You. Now, I realize, I was still holding onto soooo much more. At the time, I wrote down four things: material possessions, priorities, validation/approval from others, and financial security.
Well, I got a hard lesson in number one with my house fire last July. I got to watch as everything I had got thrown out or boxed up for storage.
At the time I wrote the list, I was finishing up college, and organizing my tasks and responsibilities was much needed to graduate. I had deadlines and things to complete and still craved that time with You, Lord. I thrive with organization, but I still find gaps in my day where I didn’t schedule something so it’s wasted time. Some wasted time is good for relaxation, but when there’s 168 hours in a week and work only covers 40, that leaves 128 hours. In college, it was easy to fill my time from being so involved in my sorority and other organizations, switching back and forth between two towns and two churches, community service, classes, study hours, work, and so much more. Then I moved back and I just had work. I had 128 empty hours that I never had before. So, I read a lot when I first got done with school. Then I got more involved in church. Then I started reaching out to friends more. Then I started grad school. Because let’s be honest, I love learning. I love school. I love growing. I don’t want to remain stagnant. I want to continue pushing myself and moving forward in the direction You send me, Father. I don’t want my feet to get lazy, I wanna keep running where You send me.
Number three was the hardest to learn. Some days, I still seek validation. Some days, when I don’t get it, it still wrecks me. I am a people pleaser. Which also leaves me open to deception and highlights my naivety. I look for the good so desperately, I miss warning signs sometimes. But, as I grow my gift of discernment, I am learning to trust You, God, not my own understanding. I’m learning to think of me less and You more.
I don’t like to talk about number four. It’s a sore subject that leaves me full of pride sometimes. I’ve started tithing again. I’m trying to get things paid off, but at the same time, I also took out loans for grad school, so obvi I still have things to learn here. What I have learned is to look at You, and not the water underneath me. When I step out of the boat, trusting the myself or trusting the water is always gonna let me drown. Psalms also says that true safety only comes from You, God.
Those church ladies that go around saying “a Psalm a day, keeps the devil away,” were not playing.
In the study, we learned that we have to deny ourselves, in order to serve You. If we do not deny ourselves, there will be a day when You deny us. We wrote down these things on a piece of paper and then set them down in a pile on the floor when we were ready. Then we picked up a literal wooden cross to represent taking up our crosses. She told us about absolute surrender and how our lives look like a cross stitch. How we see the back, where it’s all messed up colors and bundles of yarn. But, You, Abba Father, see the front and all it’s perfection.
In Luke 9, You tell us that our cross will become a crown one day. In Luke 9, You tell us that we must follow You. What I didn’t realize at the time is that I was still holding onto all my sin, all my baggage, all my pride, all my past, all my shame, all my guilt, all my trauma, all the messy stuff. All the stuff I didn’t want to admit happened or admit was even real enough to deal with.
We were asked what do we delight in about You. My answer is still the same. Your timing and Your faithfulness.
So, here is my prayer today. Thank you for the cross. Thank you for doing the heavy lifting. Thank you for unpacking my baggage, one item at a time, as I was ready. Thank you for grace and patience and healing and forgiveness. Thank you for unending love and mercy. Thank you for taking my punishment. Thank you for taking my place on the cross. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of bringing everything to the cross. Thank you for allowing me to leave it there and not have to carry the burden of it anymore. Thank you for allowing me to pick up the cross instead of my burdens. Thank you for teaching me to follow you. Thank you for seeing the perfection in me, when all I see is mess. Thank you for your timing and for continued growth. Thank you for your faithfulness and for never leaving me or giving up on me. Thank you for delighting in me. Thank you for loving me relentlessly. Thank you for seeking me. Thank you for allowing me to have absolute surrender. Thank you for your word. Thank you for all you have taught me and continue to teach me. Thank you for teaching me things in whole new ways. I pray that you keep changing me to handle the things I’m walking through. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.