With this post I have completed my first year of writing this weekly blog – a blog sharing my journey in walking out the Christian life. As with any trip we take, there are mile markers and rest stops along the way. There are the sights and adventures, good and bad, we didn’t expect, but make the trip more memorable. Eventually, we reach our final destination that makes the trip worth the effort. And always it’s the companions we take on this journey that make it so much more rewarding. So as I reflect on this last year’s journey, I see many of these same characteristics of a trip. I have passed several milestones and taken time to rest, refresh and restore. I’ve taken some detours, but seem to get back to the main path as I stay focused on the destination. But most importantly, it is the One with whom I am traveling that makes the trip worthwhile and bearable. Because of this journey with Him, I am not the same person today as I was 52 weeks ago. Hopefully, those of you who have been following along have experienced similar benefit.
As I look at the postings, I see several themes that seem to keep repeating themselves. For me these are the foundations of my life. They are the rest stops along the way that have refreshed me and kept me from just pulling off the side of the road and abandoning the journey. You can catch a glimpse of these in the categories I use to organize the blog posts, but here are the highlights.
Expectation – I expect God to be present and active in my life. In every moment, every experience, every situation, He is there. The challenge for me is to recognize Him. Sometimes He doesn’t act in the way I think He should, so I miss Him. That doesn’t mean He isn’t there, it just means I need to look for Him in a different way or place.
Acceptance – I have fully embraced His acceptance. I don’t have to perform for Him. I don’t have to earn His love. I don’t have to squirm when I screw up. His acceptance is unconditional. That doesn’t mean that I get to do whatever I want. It means that I want all the more to show Him my gratitude through obedience. That is not burdensome, but joyful.
Grace – Everything I have, everything I receive, everything He does in my life is completely undeserved. To think that He chose me and saved me just because He wanted to brings me to my knees. I can stand in His presence free from guilt and condemnation, not because I am good enough, but because He made it so.
Trust – I know that God isn’t messing with me. I can trust Him to act consistent with His character, which is Good. Whatever comes my way comes from the hand of Good. So, I may not like what is happening, but I know that there is a way through that brings me to a better place. Because of His goodness, I can be free from worry, release my fears and submit my anxiety to the One-Who-Only-Does-Good, then receive the peace that can’t be found anywhere else.
The great thing about this journey is that it is a journey. In other words, many of us get hung up that we aren’t perfect yet, that we still sin, that we are not all we want to be, but the fact is that we are still in progress, we are still moving. I think our Father gives us more latitude than we give ourselves. “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Ps 103:13,14). I am dust and yet He doesn’t give up on me – on us. In fact, He has promised to finish what He started in our lives. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6). What a great relief. He is charge of the entire process. He began it and He will complete it – not me. We are still “becoming”, we are still “being transformed”. It’s an on-going, creative act that God does in our life with the goal of making us look like Christ more and more.
So be encouraged. Establish for yourself those rest stops for your life – you can borrow mine if you wish. Find those places where you can sit with Him and know that all is well. Then let’s journey onward. It only gets better from here.