In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Friday, December 31, 2010

What's God up to?

As I'm here for a few moment on New Year's Eve, I'm thinking about the change in perspective that has come about for me this year.

In the past I've been a person who always had a plan, really into goal setting. While I still find that there's something to be appreciated about the mentality, I've loosened up a lot. It's like I told a friend recently, I've come to the place where I'm much less invested in praying and striving for my specific outcomes. Repeatedly I've seen that God works in ways that I would have never figured, does things that surprise me. Yet His ways are always ultimately best (even though I can't always see this at the time). It's as if I've come to be more interested to trying to figure out what God is doing, and to join in with His work. I find myself asking - what's God up to?

I'm like everybody else, I've got some trying situations in my life. One of my sisters is a paranoid schizophrenic who refuses to take medication and who frequently mis perceives situtations and make corresponding bad decisions that put her in danger or make life difficult. My other sister lives with my mother and does not treat my mother right, and is extremely irresponsible with money so I'm constantly needing to help them out financially; I have concerns for my neice in that whole situation. My middle son appears spiritually uninterested. My youngest son seems to seek to spend the least amount of time possible around me, as if my very presence is a source of annoyance. I'm working at a job where I'm coming to admire, like, and appreciate the people with whom I work, but that is beneath my abilities, credentials, and training. The job also pays significantly less than I've made in any position in the past ten years and involves a long commute which I do not relish. Yet I know that God says in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has a plan for my life, a plan to give me a hope and a future.

Repeatedly in the past I've seen God take situations that seemed wretched or hopeless, in my own life or in the lives of others, and bring good outcomes. I'm reminded of a verse in Ephesians 3:20 that says that God is able to do beyond what I can even imagine. So as I look at these difficult situations in my life, I approach this new year expectantly, interested to see how God is going to work in these situations. I also desire to learn to pray more (more effectively, frequently...I'm not sure exactly how to say it...only just that I want more in my life with regard to prayer). I want to be able to hear His voice better and to have my way of thinking to change to come more into line with His way of thinking. I want to see more of His power manifest in my life. These are the things I'm looking to for this upcoming year.

What about you, what's on your heart as you approach 2011?


Michelle said...

No matter how difficult things seem to us...God has a way of workign them out for our good.

My heart for 2011 is to do more than survive the arrival of baby #3 but to THRIVE and to be an image of grace to my family.

John Cowart said...

Hi Tracy,
I haven't been able to comment recently but I do read your postings.
Your second paragraph here gives a concise summary of what you've been saying all year long and I appreciate what you've been going through. You may not be aware of it but your trials give a great example of Christian faith in reality. It's all worth it--if not to you, then to your readers.

Happy New Year.

Tracy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracy said...

One of the things I've really enjoyed about the internet is the being able to read the thoughts of others, people who haven't written books necessarily (or who, like you John, have written books but who I can talk with more real time), just regular people. I've also appreciated the people I've met who I never could have otherwise, people's who's thoughts have influenced my life - like you Michelle and John.

I'm believing with you Michelle that you are going to THRIVE this year (and I'm looking forward to reading about it).

Thanks so much John; that's really all I aim to be is a real person with a real faith. God is so good and His blessings are so abudnant, that even in the trying times there is still all the good stuff if I'll just let myself see and enjoy it.

JPaula said...

Gosh, I'm not sure where to begin. I can say I completely understand where you're coming from. I have a 22 year old son who basically doesn't do anything except play video games, I've been single for over 10 years and I still don't have my own home, BUT I went back to college last year and my education has been a tough undertaking, but every step is a smooth step-grants, good grades and acceptance to 3 CSUs. AND my youngest son started his first year at City college and loves it.

There are 2 things that I've learned this year: 1) not to be in a hurry for life to happen. BE STILL. 2) Accept God's direction-His plans may not match ours, but his are better.

Mike said...

It's in my heart to pray more and apply what I've memorized to my life so that i might be more obedient. "Faith, which comes by consuming (reading, hearing, speaking) God's Word, without deeds (action and obedience) is dead faith." That's my 2011 motto.

David-FireAndGrace said...

Wow - you do have a lot going on. Happy New Year.

What God is doing is FAR more important than what I am doing.

I work hard to cultivate my relationship with the Lord. I have been praying more (and asking for less), listening to more meditative music, and dispensing with things that I either don't know what He wants me to do about, or have no eternal value.

Family is a tough one - so many bad choices. I work on the relationship part, and have stopped trying to fix everyone. I find ways to enjoy them in spite of what they are doing. I had a brother that constantly had me do web site work for him... I thought I was helping him, but it just reduced his bottom-line and allowed him to stay in a sub-par job.

I have to say that I received a prophetic word about my job and the particular season I am in, and as much I was fighting to get out, God assured me that change was coming. The result: no more striving and trying to figure out what is best for David.

2011 brings the start of a training school that has been on my heart for over 10 years. My wife works hard and feels like we are not making progress towards our financial goals (economy has been brutal), so we are working on a new plan. I have been praying for my family, and my wife has returned to church, and my 20-somethings have also started to attend again, albeit irregularly.

Although I read the Bible 6 or 7 days a week, I have started a daily reading routine using the Message.

2011 is only exciting because of where I am at with God.

Tracy said...

Paula - As always, I realate to you. Even though there's the tough stuff, there's the good stuff God is doing. I'm so glad you chose to go back to school; I've always seen you as a high school English teacher. You love literature and you love and already minister to high school kids - what a fit!

Mike - So rightly said! I also want to grow in knowledge & experience but you're so spot on, none of that means anything if it is not real in our lives, our relationships, how we live and treat people.

David - Adore your take on not trying to fix people but choosing to enjoy them right where they're at. I'm excited for you in the training school that's been on your heart for so long that's finally coming to fulfillment. It's encouraging to me to read about your dear ones who're coming back to church with you, gives me hope for my middle son. God is so good to give you a Word to encourage you in your work situation!

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