Like many of us do, when I went away to college, I struggled with my faith and my convictions. I didn’t regularly attend church, I didn’t commit to reading my Bible, and I only managed to squeeze in a quick prayer when I REALLY needed it. I’m ashamed that I put God on the back burner of my life. I thought I was in control, and I thought I was doing a pretty good job of managing my life. Well, we all know how great that’s been going.
Over the past two years, I have felt convicted. I knew I needed to get back to church, to begin devoting more quiet time, and to make an effort on my relationship with God. I’m proud to say that I have now began regularly attending church, and reading the Word more than just Sunday mornings. And I’m so glad I have my priorities straight again.
Recently I have heard of Annie F. Downs, and her book, “100 Days to Brave.” I knew that this daily devotional would help me to find my fire in my faith again, so when I found it on sale at Target this past Saturday, I had to have it. I almost waited to start the journey to bravery until April 1, I thought that would make more sense- but something told me to start Sunday, so I did. Now before I get into the meat of today’s post I want to preface you with this- the timeline is important, it may look like I’m writing in a diary, but for you to read and understand the power of this post, I need you to know the timeline.
Day 1 of “100 Days to Brave” is pretty run of the mill, introductory to the devotional. The overarching theme of this day is simply that you are brave for even beginning this journey. And I thought, alright cool- this is going to be a good way to digest the Word and get motivated all in one. (I’ll give a full run down after my 100 days have reached its end.)
That night, Jordan Dooley (the amazing Jesus Warrior and voice behind of Soul Scripts) posted a video on Instagram about Romans 8:28, a verse I memorized time and time again throughout school and youth group. And she spoke about HIS purpose, and the weight that we can lift off of our shoulders from trying to find our purpose. Our purpose is His, we don’t control it. I needed to hear that, but it was late, so it didn’t resonate with me to the fullest extreme, at that time…
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 (ESV)
March 5: Morning Devotional
Day 2 on my 100 day journey to bravery took place while my dogs played outside and I drank my coffee. Downs based Day 2 on 2 Timothy 1:8-9. Again, this passage reminds us that we have NOTHING to do with God’s purpose, it is by His will and His grace that we live our lives. I read that, and didn’t fully digest what I was reading. Clearly I was missing a very important message, but with the dogs going crazy and job application deadlines, I didn’t fully evaluate the words I had just read.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace.
2 Timothy 1:9-8 (ESV)
March 5: Lunch Reading
I don’t typically read books for fun. I used to, but college got in the way of being able to read for the fun of it. This year, I have time to, so I began reading Emily Ley’s “Grace not Perfection.” The overarching theme of the book is to find joy in the simple things, to give up control of the chaos, and to move on when life isn’t perfect rather than dwell on the imperfections. It is a powerful read, I highly suggest it.
So yesterday while eating my lunch, I pick up where I left off weeks before- Chapter 5. Now Emily doesn’t start her chapters the same each time, she opens with quotes or Bible verses, whichever is relevant for that chapter. Chapter 5’s opening remarks contained Proverbs 19:21. The moment I read that verse, it hit me, God had been trying to remind me of His purpose for my life for 2 days straight. I couldn’t even finish the chapter, I was truly swept away- God had been trying to get a message across to me for 2 days and I kept brushing it off.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)
God’s Purpose for Our Lives
We are mere humans with all of these plans we think we are supposed to be following, and when they don’t pan out, we get frustrated with ourselves. All 3 of these passages of Scripture highlight that while we may have many plans, and those plans may fail, there is hope because God’s purpose for us will prevail. In order to allow that to happen, we need to be patient and understand that whatever happens, when it happens, is going to be far greater than anything we could have planned on our own.
I hear you God
All of those inspirational ladies wrote (or spoke) of God’s purpose at different times, only for me to stumble across them, and find myself swept away by the power of Christ. There was no clearer way I could’ve truly understood that the purpose of my life, my plans, aren’t mine to make- its by God’s purpose.
I mean WOW right? The Lord spoke to me yesterday and instantaneously I experienced a feeling of peace and comfort about my life and my future. I was fired up about the power of Christ, His assurance of my future, and all of my worries and frustrations of my job search were swept away. I am at complete peace with where I’m at right now and comforted in my future because I have been reminded of His will for my life.
The Lord spoke to me on the second day of me incorporating a daily devotional. I repeat SECOND day. Imagine all of the things we miss when we don’t give God the time He deserves. All of the things I’ve missed over the years? I don’t want to think about it. Now these devotionals are 5 minutes. In that short time frame, over the course of 2 days, my life has been changed. I have the peace I had long been searching for, but never found because I didn’t look in the one place that mattered.
I am truly in awe of the work and convictions that are happening in my life the more focus I put on worshipping Christ. He is all knowing, all powerful, and the only one who can truly know what my future holds. Why did I ever doubt Him?
I hope that my testimony of returning back to a life of dedication and devotional will inspire you to pick up a Bible today, a devotional, anything. It’s truly amazing what simply 5 minutes a day can do in your life. Please share my story of trusting God’s purpose with anyone you feel may need to hear it this rainy Tuesday.