Higher Than the Mire
By Laura Bagby
I had been living under a black cloud of fear and anxiety, feeling
morose and melancholy. Instead of experiencing peaceful rest each night, I had
been lying wide awake, my mind swirling with thoughts of my current job responsibilities,
my future goals, my finances, my family's health, and my single status. Inevitably,
I woke up exhausted and found that I couldn't remember the last time I had really
enjoyed myself, the last time I had spread an uninhibited smile across my face.
I was too busy beating up on myself.
Realizing that something had to change, I began to pray. But though I was
communicating my troubles to the Lord and trying to meditate on Scriptures
about not worrying and giving Him my burdens, somehow I couldn't release my
grip on my life so that God could do His work. And here I was working for
a Christian ministry, surrounded by other Christians, faithfully going to
church on Sundays. Something was really wrong. Aren't Christians supposed
to be joyful? Aren't we supposed to be relaxed knowing that God loves us and
He is meeting our needs? I knew the answer was yes, so why wasn't this God
thing working for me?
Then the answer came to me. I realized I was stuck in the mire of life because
I was striving. Now, it is one thing to accomplish goals. Goals are good.
We need goals in life. Goals provide us with vision, without which the Bible
explains we perish. It isn't always what we do that is a problem, but rather
the reason we do it that can eat away at us. God wants us moving, but He wants
us moving toward Him, not moving toward pleasing others or even trying to
win His approval.
I couldn't drop the ball, I couldn't say no, because I feared that to do
so would mean losing approval from those who had meant the most to me. I was
waiting for the proverbial pat on the back from the Lord, even while panicking
to keep all plates spinning. Ridiculous, right? I should have recalled that
I already had God's favor because of Christ. Instead of resting in His grace,
I was striving under the law -- something that God never intended me to do.
It was time to come back into the presence of the Lord. I decided to do something
that I am ashamed to admit I had not done for awhile: read His Word believing
that God really had something for me, that God really was going to accomplish
His purposes in my life.
The Bible says that the Word is sharper than a double-edged sword. It can
accomplish much because it is life giving. I was willing to take the chance
again, although, to be honest, I wasn't sure it would make a difference. After
all, reading the Bible wasn't going to make my current responsibilities magically
disappear. And I guessed God wouldn't necessarily get me out of the circumstances
that had made me fearful either. So what was the point? And yet I was drawn
to Him again.
There are times in life when you re-evaluate and say, 'Is this God stuff
really true? I know it is true for my co-workers, because I see them renewed
and I see miracles in my friends and neighbors. But the real question here
is the belief that a relationship with the Ever Living God could make a drastic
difference in MY life. Could God give ME the peace I had been lacking for
I was willing to bank on it, so I picked up that Bible with just a smidgen
of faith. I didn't read a lot. I didn't set aside hours and hours of time
with the Lord. I didn't do in-depth Bible studies. All I did was set about
ten minutes aside to read a little from one of Paul's letters, mostly from
Romans. The remaining time I spent in prayer, saying, 'Lord, give me peace.
Help me to stop striving. Help me not to be driven by approval.' I then trusted
that God heard me and would answer my prayers.
And believe it or not, I noticed a change in me even after such a short time.
Every day I found that I wanted to talk to God and hear what He had to say
more than I did the day before. And I found that I was sleeping more soundly
at night. God comforted my heart. My circumstances didn't change drastically,
but I felt better about me. Instead of feeling condemnation for what I hadn't
done, I felt His acceptance because of what Christ did in me.
Christ died once and for all for my sins, and I trust in His name to save
me. Instead of taking everything in my life so seriously, I am letting God
take it and help me see that life isn't so hard after all.
There is another thing that I have learned, and it has to do with destiny.
I used to think that destiny was something that happened to you at some later
point in your life. I liked to think of it as that eureka moment when your
life's purpose was announced with trumpet blare and streamers and you were
finally at one with the King of the universe. But this is not the case. As
I thought about the life of Jesus and His ministry, it was almost like God
asked me, "When do you think the destiny of My Son began?" And then the answer
came to me. It wasn't what I usually thought. Normally, I would say, "Well,
when Jesus got baptized in the Holy Spirit and began His ministry." This time
I realized it was at His birth. Jesus began His destiny at conception. Wow!
I never really thought about it before, but it was obvious now.
We are no different. Destiny isn't something out there in the far future.
It is already in process. Your destiny is everything in life that God redeems
and every step that you take by faith as you follow Him, whether it seems
grandiose or not. And that is comforting to someone like me who tends to strain
for what lies ahead.
Be at peace that Your Savior is shaping you, that He is marking your steps.
He knows where the path diverges, and He knows every fork in the road. And
if you get troubled or bogged down in your day to day life, as I often do,
take time out to spend with Him. You will find the peace that was missing.
He will renew your strength and your joy. His mercies will be new for you
Can God change your life?
God has made it possible for you to know Him and experience an amazing change in your own life.
Discover how you can find peace with God.
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