Next week marks the two year anniversary of that fateful day when I got demoted instead of promoted. To say I have learned a lot since then would be a gross understatement to the amazing transformation God has done in me.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that there is no destination prior to going home to heaven. There are new seasons and new lands, but the treasure of this life is journeying with God to all the places He has for us. And all the transformative work He wants to do to make you more like your created self, and less like your fallen self is part of our inheritance. Sometimes the journey includes low places. Otherwise known as valleys or deserts. I am still learning to love the journey, especially the low places, more than wish for a destination where I have made it and everything is easy. It is getting easier as I journey.
I also still battle the fleshly tendency, provoked even further by the Enemy, to derive value from my accomplishments and the approval of others. I did so just yesterday in fact. This time about another new season, and another new role, that God is moving me into.
But as I reflect on 2020, with all the hardship this year brought for everyone, I see that God allowed me to go even deeper into some of the truths that I learned in 2019. Where I thought I had made it to the promised land with my new job and the book being published and launching, there was more healing in my heart that needed to be done, and more freedom to be found too. I needed to test these newfound truths in the trials of life, not just the good and easy parts of the path. I needed to learn to dig deep when these truths no longer seemed true anymore so I could get the lessons even further from my head to my heart. And I needed to learn to stand up to the enemy when he tried to make the truths hard to believe. Which was nearly every day.
I had to surrender to God's plan and what He has said again and again throughout 2020 with no positive evidence. In hindsight, I see the whole year was set up to give me hard situations to walk out the truths I had learned.
But here is the great news. Each time I walked it out through something tough, I got the truth deeper in my heart. Each time I battled the enemy I became more aware of the Holy Spirit living in me and the access to the power I have. And each time I leaned into God instead of turning away, I learned more about the God who goes with us wherever we go and the closeness of our relationship grew.
This is the process of transformation. The continuous pruning that God promises to continue in us until the day He calls us home. There is no magic pill to overcome the battle for who we are and our purpose. It is a lifetime battle that is won each day with reliance on the Truth- God's Word- and His never-ending never giving up love and grace for each one of us.
We must keep reading the Truth and applying it to our lives.
In the last chapter of Ephesians, apostle Paul tells us to put on our armor daily for the war that is between the unseen. Then he tells us to pick up our sword which the word of God, and then pray unceasingly. I can attest to this being the only way to living loved and free. To continue to walk in God's love we must stay in a relationship with him. We must talk to Him like we would a spouse in daily, even hourly prayer. And to continue to walk in the Truth we must read it. The world and the Enemy is spewing lies at us every day. The truth is what set us free.
Yes, it seems simple, but yet it is so profoundly true. And so profoundly hard. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to stay above the fray and pray every day? It is because all of hell is against you. But all of heaven is for you too. We can do this. We were wired to do this.
Now that we have rebuilt our identities in Christ, we must walk it out in the broken world. It won't be easy, but it will certainly be easier than trying to be somebody that you are not.
Knowing you are loved and free is awesome, and freedom, well that is worth dying for. That is why He did.
Lord, we want to continue to live in our newfound identities as your beloved children, freed to be all that you have created and called us to be. But it is hard. Help us to overcome our enemy's attempts to take us out. Help us stay close to you in prayer and to read your Word every day so that we can live the Truth. Give us your grade and surround us with love when we fail so we can get back up again. We thank you for your never-ending, never giving up love. Help us to live loved every day. In Jesus name, Amen.