"I need someone to color this calendar," I inquired to two rowdy boys that did not appear to be paying any attention to me.
I was four days into homeschooling them and still attempting to find a way to volley two kids in different grades with different subjects to review. I had just read through the 4th grader's history lesson and knew that I would need to assist him through this activity. So, I needed something to distract the first-grader when I remembered the calendar that still needed coloring.
Before I could finish the question, the hand of the little one, who I had wrongly assumed did not hear me, shot up in the air, while his face turned upward to look solemnly at me, begging with his round blue eyes for me to choose him. I swallowed back a giggle while my heart swelled with love and joy for this little boy and the teaching job I had not known I wanted. I picked him, of course, and he was overjoyed.
Through this crazy and often overwhelming experience of homeschooling my children, while still working my corporate job, I have come to know that God really does know me better than I know myself, and I am so oddly grateful for these crazy times.
I am grateful because it is not a question in my mind anymore that God knows my heart and desires to give me a better life than I would build for myself chasing worldly success. As my heart has been freed from proving myself, securing my own life, and the need to be in control of the plan, I have been able to see what my heart truly desires; to pour into my kiddos and follow God with my whole life. These desires have always been there, but I had buried them, attempting to meet my own needs with my job and therefore putting my job above everything else.
But in this crazy new season, God has given me no choice. Round two spikes in COVID have shuttered our schools and sent the kids back home for who knows how long. I was ready this time, however. God had been preparing my heart and the action plan ever since school began again in August. I had been praying about a Christian homeschool program and how I could manage all of this in my day. I had been longing to teach them and practicing putting reasonable expectations around work to free up some time to do so. I was ready that Tuesday in early November when we got the twelve-hour notice from the school district. Ready in my heart and practical application.
It was easy to see that God had been strategically aligning everything to get both my heart and my circumstances ready for the job I had not known would fill the buried desires in my heart. Yes, God is that good, so I am thankful, even for the hardships I have faced this year. God has used them to free me and realign me to the better life He has for me.
Through these crazy times, I have learned that seeking the Kingdom of God is really about seeking God first with our hearts and motivations. It is not only a command to give our time and resources to God, but also to realign our hearts to God and remove worldly motivations that enslave us. If our hearts' motivations are to attempt to meet our own needs, we will fall into the enemy's deadly traps and become slaves to worldly ways and success measures. But if we believe that God is for us and seek Him first, He will give us the true desires of our heart and meet our basic needs. As we give Him our lives, including our heart's desires, we find the glorious life Jesus died to give us. For that, we can be truly grateful. In fact, we can be oddly grateful in seasons that tear down our norms and force us to see our motivations and seek to realign them back to God. After all, there is nothing like some hard times to show us where our motivations truly lie.
I know now that my motivation to prove that I am awesome with my job was blocking where my real joy is found. The wrong motivation was blocking me from the life I really wanted. I would never have been free to pour into my kids and follow God with my whole life if God had not allowed me to walk through the motivation illuminating hardship of my new job and the wild 2020. So yes, this Thanksgiving, I can honestly say I am more thankful than any Thanksgiving before. I am oddly thankful for this past year's hardship because God has used it to free me for the better life He has for me.
My prayer is that you find the good that God is bringing in your life this hard season as well. He is for you and desires nothing more than to give you the better life He has planned for you, even if that means tearing down wrong motivations in your heart through hard times. Take it from me it's worth it. You may just find the job you did not know you wanted.
Happy odd Thanksgiving from my heart to yours.
Let's Pray: Father, thank you for being so good to us. Better to us than even are to ourselves. Reveal to us our motivations and help us remove any that have our hearts enslaved to things that do not bring us joy and peace. Help us to believe that as we give our hearts and lives to you that you will give us what we are truly longing for. Thank you for being so good to us. May we be grateful regardless of where we are in the process knowing without a doubt you are making all things good for those who follow you. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Be Freed to Be Who God Created You to Be
There is no greater freedom than knowing who God created you to be and that you are free to be that. In, You Are Loved and Free: A Guided Journey to Winning the Battle for Your Identity, I walk through the tearing down the lies and rebuilding my identity journey. My prayer is that what God taught me through that time becomes a journey for you to embark on with God and find that you truly are Loved & Free.