I have been standing on the verse Jer 29:11 (NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." From the first time that Stellan over at MckMama's blog (http://www.mycharmingkids.net/) was hospitalized, that verse has become increasingly important to me. It transformed from words on a page into a promise that God was speaking directly to me. I have been reminded of this verse daily for the past few weeks as I toddle along in my new walk with God. When things get tough, when I doubt, when I don't want to give, when I don't want to love, when I don't want to change, when I just don't feel like it anymore, God quietly reminds me of this verse, and His voice is always so sweet. It makes me melt. It makes me love Him even more.
God is always gentle with me, unless I need a swift kick. When I refuse to listen to Him, he puts the words in someone else's mouth. As I'm carrying on a conversation with a friend or family member, and sometimes even a complete stranger, God's words will come seemingly barreling out of someones mouth, forcing me to hear them. It is always in that moment that I realize how childish I was behaving by trying to ignore God's prodding. His ways are not always ways that I can understand. Sometimes, all I really feel like doing is being angry and sour, but it is in those times that I can truly honor God by going against the grain, doing what I don't feel like doing.
You see, loving and honoring God is not about our feelings. This morning, my boss at the bank came over to me before we opened and gave me a card. She said to me, before handing me the card, "I really do hope you find what it is you are looking for, happiness, whatever..." She paused here, and I could tell she was a little emotionally uncomfortable. When she continued, she really surprised me.
She continued, "Sometimes the world is really cruel, and not everyone understands how cruel it can be."
I started to tear up because I knew she was trying to console me. She is being completely honest in hoping that I can find happiness past the death of my mom, but what I worry is that my boss has yet to find that happiness past the death of her husband over a decade ago. I worry that she cannot let go of him and that is why she occasionally lashes out at her co-workers. I worry she won't allow herself to let go for fear of how different her life might be.
As I started to tear up, though, it seemed as though she was visibly uncomfortable, so she wrapped things up quickly and gave me my card. As she walked away, I was thinking, "She really must not trust her emotions."
In reality, though, how many of us trust our emotions? We trust them when it is convenient for us, like the times we really want to be down on ourselves and embrace the funk of sadness, but then other times when we truly feel happy for what seems like no reason, we question it. We don't trust the judgement of our own emotions all the time. At other times, when we simply don't feel like being nice to people, we make excuses for why we are in a bad mood, and we make those excuses to God, expecting to get out of our "work" for the day.
If we want to offer God true praise, though, if we really want to honor Him, those are the best moments to do so. When you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, when you just feel sad and empty, when you want the world to leave you alone, you will truly prove to God that you trust Him if you follow his lead even when you don't feel like it.
So, today, I offer that challenge out. I know God tests me in this area on a daily basis, and I'm curious to see what differences you will notice in your life today.