Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beautiful Things

All this pain...I wonder if I’ll ever find my way....I wonder if my life could really change at all...

I know it's been a long time since I've written on here, and let me assure you, A LOT has happened in that time. This year has brought about so many challenges in my spiritual life, I don't even know where to begin. If I were to try to relay it all here, I don't think I could fit it in this post, so suffice to say that God has been doing some serious revamping in my heart. Starting with the Discipleship Training School program this Spring, then going through the EMT class this summer, and now finding myself attending Calvary Bible College this Fall - it's just been one crazy ride. 

All this earth....Could all that is lost ever be found....Could a garden come up from this ground at all....

Recently God has been revealing some issues in my heart that I hadn't realized were hindering me in my relationship with Him. I didn't see it happening, but over the last few years I've become extremely goal-driven and over-determined in my approach to life. True, I was leaning on God for a lot of things, but underneath it all was a drive to succeed and be matter what it took. I was finding fulfillment in overcoming challenges, and without meaning to I started putting more weight on what I needed to accomplish in life than on what my Lord and Savior wanted to work in me. Or maybe it wasn't even that as much as it was that I was making a plan and asking God to bless it, instead of truly asking God what His plan was for my life (there is a huge difference). I think most of this was due to the increasing demands of my own desire to "make it" in Fire/EMS (a very competitive field to get into), and some of it was just my own natural inclination to be busy and always accomplishing something. Whatever it was, it brought me to a place that I had no business going as a child of God. Without realizing it, I made personal accomplishment (i.e. becoming a firefighter) an idol in my life. No, I didn't go outside and find a block of wood to carve in the image of a firetruck to bow down to, but when we let something consume our thought-life and start making it top priority, this is idolatry. Plain and simple idolatry. 

So why am I writing all of this? I'm writing this because I feel the need to point out that it's entirely possible to be in love with the Lord and think you're seeking Him, yet be totally blind to an area of sin in your life. It's possible to pray daily, read His Word, and still hold something back...even without meaning to! Up until about two weeks ago, I didn't realize that this was a problem in my life. I thought I had given it all up to God and surrendered my desires to Him...but in my heart I've still been back on that truck, lights and sirens flashing...I've still been pushing myself, searching for fulfillment in personal strength... 

You make beautiful things....You make beautiful things out of the dust....You make beautiful things....You make beautiful things out of us....

The wall finally came down this last week. Through a series of instances, seemingly coincidental (but I know that with God, nothing is coincidental)... in my classes, chuck tracks, sunday night chapels, a simple morning jog....God finally broke through. I don't know how I suppressed Him for so long on this issue, but finally He forced the wall down and I just had to be real with Him. I was finally able to confess that I have been selfish in my pursuits. Even while I have genuinely wanted His best for me, I wasn't entirely willing to give up what I thought was best. And I'm not going to say I'm completely past it, either. I'm still struggling, but through it all I know that in Christ I have victory, and even if everything around me falls apart...He is my Rock. My Salvation. My Everlasting Hope. In Him and through Him I have life eternal, and that's better than any temporal thing here on earth. 

All around....Hope is springing up from this old ground....Out of chaos life is being found in You....

It's not to say that I won't continue in EMS someday. I might. It's not to say that I won't set goals to accomplish in the future. It's very possible that I will. But may those things never again take the place of my blessed Savior. I am learning what it means to truly love Him more and more every day, to make Him my first priority from the moment I wake to the moment I lay down to sleep. It is taking sacrifice, but for the One who gave everything for can I not do the same? 
It's proving painful, but for the One who endured insurmountable pain, what is my present suffering compared to His? 
It's destroying my pride, but for One who humbled Himself enough to become a mere man and take on the sins of the can I not fall face down and worship Him with my life? 

You make beautiful things....You make beautiful things out of the dust....You make beautiful things....You make beautiful things out of us....

Pray for me if you think of me. I need it. I'm learning that when I pray for God to do a work in my life, He will do just that. It may not be what I was expecting, but He is working. It may not be what I "want," but He is teaching me to let go of my desires and to cling to His. I thankful for His patience. His mercy. His grace. That He even considers blows my mind. God forgive me. I am Yours and only Yours. 

You make me new, You are making me new....You make me new, You are making me new....

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; 
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me, 
and lead me in the way everlasting." 
-Psalm 139:23-24

(Lyrics by Gungor from song "Beautiful Things") 


  1. Even though you are in a different state, I am still blessed by you, Ju!

  2. I do not think there is anything wrong in wanting to succeed and do your best in everything you undertake, so long as you give God the credit for your accomplishment. Maybe it is different for other people, but in doing my best and succeeding in what I attempt, I grow closer to God, and such accomplishments help me in whatever work He sets before me. But I do know what you mean in getting overly zealous in accomplishing something and replacing God with that. I will certainly remember you in my prayers, and I am glad that you are finding such renewed strength in the Lord.

  3. Thanks guys - I appreciate the comments!

    To Mara: I agree, there definitely isn't anything wrong with doing our best in life and striving to do whatever it is God has gifted us with. The only reason I posted about this specifically is because right now I'm not sure what God has gifted me with/called me I think it's been sinful to just strive for the sake of striving in my life. I really feel that God just wants me to wait on Him right now and make sure I have my identity in Him FIRST, because I was trying to find my identity in something else. And whenever He does confirm what He wants me to do, I plan to do it 100% while also zealously seeking Him 100%. It's gonna be awesome! I'm seriously excited....and I'm thankful for the season I am in right now too, because it's leading me there.