So after spending the majority of this week at the beach with my family, I have discovered that something about the beach always seems to bring so much clarity when it comes to my relationship with God. When I went on Women’s Beach Retreat with Cornerstone in March, I came back with answers to so many of the difficult questions I was asking at the time. When that happened to me again during this trip, I was essentially lost for words at the way God chooses to reveal Himself. It is just absolutely perfect- there’s no other way to put it. Before I get into it all, here are a few fun pictures from our trip:
Now, I realize that it’s starting to sound like the only times I gain perspective on God’s calling for my life are when I’m on relaxing vacations, but that’s not the case. I know that we have to seek His purpose each and every day, and often times it’s in our darkest moments that we find ourselves really clinging to Him. I don’t need to go to the beach to “find” God, because He is everywhere. With that being said, however, I do love times like this when it feels as though the only thing on my mind is the Lord and I get to truly think about how He’s working in my life.
I’m just going to be honest about this- ever since I’ve come home for the summer, I’ve been struggling with a very selfish mindset. And yes, I wrote a blog post in which I said that we should not see summer as a time to serve only ourselves… which is exactly what I’ve been doing. Right before the school year ended, I had several important decisions that I needed to make and I just wasn’t sure how God was calling me to address them. During this time, I remembered this verse:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7
I posted it in my room and on my desktop so that I would constantly remember that as long as I’m praying to God about these problems, He would guide my heart and my mind to lead me to the decision that would honor Him most. And even though that time in my life should have been extremely stressful and overwhelming for me, it became a time of peace and trust and it was amazing to see what can happen when I let the Holy Spirit guide my thoughts.
Simple logic would point me straight to the fact that if I followed this method time and time again, I would get the same results: God would come through, because He never fails. But somehow, in this twisted mindset that I have, I pull away from that full trust over and over again. I think it’s because when God blesses me with an answer to my prayers, I start to think that I’ve got it all under control. I “let” God get me through that period of time in which I was unsure about life, but now that everything has become stable, I don’t need His counsel anymore. Who do I think I am?
As I was reflecting on all of this during the (very long) trip to the beach, the song “Indescribable” by Chris Tomlin came on my iPod. One lyric really stuck out to me: “You see the depths of my heart, and you love me the same.” How blessed am I to serve a God who loves me even when I turn away from Him? Who brings me back to Him and answers my desperate prayers even when I fail to follow through? I really am at a loss for words as to how we should respond to this type of love. Think about all of the sin that is in our hearts- God knows it all. And He loves us the same.
And over the next few days while I was getting sunburnt on the beach, I thought about why I would ever try to get through this life on my own. I really struggle to understand what it is about our hearts that leads us to desire wordly treasures when so much more awaits us. I’m never going to have all of the answers, but I do know this: whatever it is that gives me enough comfort to separate me from God, I don’t want it. There are a lot of great things in this life, but when we put them at the forefront of our minds and allow them to take the place of the One who sacrificed everything, we are getting it all wrong. At first it scared me to think of everything that I would lose if God took it away from me when it caused separation, but what should be even scarier is the fact that I allowed it to trump the importance of serving God in the first place.
So for those of you who may be struggling with the “summer mindset” as much as I am, I think we should take comfort in knowing that He knows our every thought and our selfish desires and still loves us the same. And once we begin to reflect on that, we’ll have no choice but to respond by completely honoring Him and allowing him to guard our hearts and minds the way we should have been all along. He is so good.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” -Psalm 139:23-24
With all of the lessons I obtained on vacation this week, would it be so wrong to assume that God is probably calling me to live a relaxed life on the beach for the rest of my days? …probably. But it’s a nice thought. :)
Oh, and one more thing: my next blog post will be about a book I just read called Erasing Hell by Francis Chan. I feel that so much has been placed on my heart for me to write about this topic, so I just ask that you pray for the Lord to take over as I work on this next post, because nothing I say on my own concerning this topic will suffice. I would really appreciate it- thanks guys!