I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. John 12:24-25
Legs dangling a few feet over the bubbling creek, I sat on the bridge at the end of one of my favorite mountain bike trails, letting the Truth God was gently speaking wash over my soul. God had given me the vision of writing and speaking for Him, but I had been attempting to fill in all the details on my own. It had been another challenging week, and I was at the end of my rope. So, I did the only thing I know that works for me again and again. I went on a bike ride to pedal out my anxious energy and lament to God. When I was ready to listen, He pointed out that my discouragement was due to not receiving my way on what doors would open and the timing of how the plan would unfold.
Guess what? He was right. Everything I was lamenting was my idea of how everything should go. It was my plan that was not going my way.
Stressful and time-consuming issues filled my days at my new job. I did not feel more naturally equipped for this role as I had assumed I would. Instead, I felt like an imposter, daily on the brink of being found out. I knew nothing and could not seem to figure out what I was supposed to be doing, let alone becoming proficient in the role. Honestly, I thought God called me to this new job because it would be easier, freeing up time for me to write and promote the book. But, seven months in, that notion was laughable at best.
Oh, how my human heart desires to be in control. I want to make the plan, so I know the plan and can manipulate the plan however I see fit. Then I want God to bless my plan because it seems like such a good plan. But His plan is always best.
I could see now that God had a whole other plan. A plan to prepare my heart and build my faith while He opened doors for me. Where I wanted only open doors, He wanted further healing in my heart. After all, these were things I would need for the new calling in the future. Things that only purification and hardship could produce in my life. Things that meant the way were a far cry from the easy peasy plan I would have chosen.
The truth is I had agreed to follow Jesus in radical faith, but instead of continuing to follow each day with that same surrender mindset, I made a detailed plan of how it should look and when it should happen. In other words, I stopped following and started leading. And then, when it did not go my way, I started getting discouraged and frustrated. Doubt crept in, followed by exhaustion from striving in my limited effort.
There was only one cure. I needed to re-surrender by letting that detailed plan die. I had to let go of every notion of how I thought my life and new calling should go while continuing to believe God about the long-range plan. The bridge to where I wanted to go was to learn to give in to God daily while keeping the vision in front of me.
Jesus tells us that to find the good life, the one that God has preplanned and desires to give us; we must lose our lives. We must die to the way we think life should go to gain the life we truly want. The way of Jesus is dying to be resurrected. For many of us, this will not look like leaving our bodies to go to heaven; it will look like letting the vision we have of the way our lives should go and allowing God to have it all. It will mean complete surrender- all the details- so that God can use all of our days.
God cannot use the days we won't give Him because He gave us free will. The one thing we are in control of is our choice to follow Him daily or not. From experience, choosing not to follow is like shooting yourself in the foot. Only Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
To follow, we must believe that God's plan is always best. We must believe that He has a plan and a purpose for every moment of our days and that every detail is highly strategic. That hardship we are facing could be just the training we need for the next step. But that does not make it not hard. Dying to ourselves to follow Jesus is no easy thing. God knows this and, He gives us a new day every day to start again. That is amazing grace.
Lets's Pray: Father, you are the good father. You lead us on the path that is best for us. Help us to surrender to your way, believing that the life that you have planned for us is so much better than the way we would choose. Today we choose to lay down our life and follow you. In Jesus's name, Amen.
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Have you struggled with feeling good enough or measuring up for what seems like forever? Me too. It is no wonder. We live in a world of measures and strife. But Jesus said that He has a better way. He came so we could know the truth and be set free.
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