Stumbling across many opinions seems to be the basis of my day to day interactions. These non-requested emotional statements seem to impact my perception. I find it interesting the different things I come across. How often I do not think twice about the opportunities that are presented in front of me to grow or wonder if God is trying to talk to me in some way. Kelly Needham had an excellent quote from a self-made devotion in her blog that said:
“God is all around us, trying to speak to us. But so often, we rarely hear
because we are too caught up in our day‐to‐day activities. We aren't looking for Him and listening to Him. But when we begin looking for Him and keeping our eye out for Him, He shows up all over the place”.
I have been guilty of not looking for God in my daily activities. I have been more sensitive to the opinions of others than I have been to the Holy Spirit. I have been failing to realize that these opinions of others, which seem so valid, do not have an eternal perspective. So why value their judgments which are based on emotions? Too often I have encountered the “I feel like” or the “I don’t think”. So I decided to take a look into my heart. Why do I value these opinions so much anyway?
These past few weeks, God has started to show me the importance of introspection. I found that I have always liked things crystal clear in my life. I am the queen of orderly plans, which God loves to shake up. I feel the most secure in my plans when others compliment on how awesome and logical they sound. I hold tight to these opinions and confirmations because they bring a feeling of security. In reality, they are all just worthless because none of them are from God. In result, I become guilty of trusting in my plans more than God.
I am very grateful for God’s promise that He will complete the work in us until the day Christ returns (Phil 1:6). My perspective very seldom is eternal; therefore these plans deserve to be shaken. It is the Holy Spirit’s great work of removing things that cloud my view of Jesus. My plans definitely can serve the “clouding” purpose. Through the suffering and not getting my way, I have found that God knows best. Even when I cannot see “how” things will turn out or understand “why” I am going through something. Romans 5 explains the process that suffering brings us through with excellence:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Through these verses it is awesome to see the work that God does in us through suffering. I have always thought of suffering strictly something physical. I have no idea why, but through an inductive bible study God really showed me that there is more to suffering. Suffering is not getting what you would untimely desire in that moment. If you value your job and you feel as though you need it to survive, and then you are fired, then that is suffering. When I looked at suffering in this manner, I found that many things in my life fall under this category. I have valued my sport, track and field, highly in the past. My biggest desire has been to run a 2:12 or faster in the 800 meter dash. I have always felt like I am in the physical shape to do so, however year after year it has not come to pass.
In these times of disappointment and not obtaining what I want, I have come to see how valueless such a desire is. I have wanted so much to run this time to give myself worth, but my worth should come from God’s word. It took me a long time to realize this and I am still striving to fully embrace my identity in Christ.
In our suffering, like my example given above, we either have the option to continue to pursue Christ or to give up. Sometimes suffering is more difficult. In my life, the hardest time of my life was when I lost my 11 year old brother a few years ago. I found him in the closet. I was devastated, hurt, and I was so shocked I didn't cry for days. I didn't know how to because the pain was so severe. I had a choice to follow God or to turn my back away from Him. I chose Christ. This is the endurance Paul is talking about in Romans 5:3. Through the choice of choosing to continue to follow after Christ, we see how valuable Christ is. We see how he is the only thing that matters. This is the change in our character. Our ultimate desire becomes to have more of Christ and we hope (which in this case means that we desire it more than anything else) of the Glory of God.
I can honestly say that sufferings are just a reminder that this is not my home. My hope is to be with God in His glory for eternity. To know that my hope will not put me to shame is an awesome promise! Therefore, my plans, my situations, and my losses, I choose to submit them all to God and trust in Him. Instead of constantly consuming the opinions of others, which lack eternal perspective and the unwavering love of God.