Jan 7, 2014

a story of a new year // an intermission

I am truly enjoying and learning so much from the Goal-Setting series by Lara Casey. If you haven't checked it out, please spend a few minutes perusing her beautiful blog and get inspired for a remarkably blessed and productive 2014. 

Here are the posts of my little journey to creating a vision for 2014. 

I mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: I do not wish to jump into a list of resolutions and goals for this new year without prayerfully and thoughtfully taking time to prepare my heart and mind for what God wants my 2014 to look like. Because, really, He has a different 2014 than what I may envision.
And that is ok . . . It's better than ok . . .  It's just better
{1}

There is nothing wrong with making plans. I love plans. I am the girl who love categorizing, scheduling, organizing, crossing off thing on a to-do list, and planning for what is to come. That's me. But the issue arises when I cling to my own plans with a white-knuckled grip, unwilling to bend to the flow of where the Holy Spirit may be wanting to lead me. And at the root of this attitude of holding a closed-fist is that I do not fully trust God with my plans.

One thing that has helped me trust in God's plan over my own is that He is both sovereign and good. He is perfectly powerful and knows all [sovereign], yet He delights and loves His children [He is good]. I believe this is pivotal for a Christian to understand because if we tend to focus on one attribute and ignore the other, we have a distorted view of God the Father. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present, yet He is not a dictator or micromanager, though sometimes He may be wrongly portrayed as such. He does not twiddle His thumbs, looking down to see whose plans He can thwart just because He can. But if I look only to the attributes relating to His greatness and sovereignty, I would eventually start seeing God as a distant, cold King who is much too lofty and important to bother with a person like me. I would see myself as a pauper in the kingdom of a powerful, notable King.
Yes, God is King and yes, He is powerful. Yes,  He is Creator. 
Yes. Yes. Yes. 
But it doesn't stop there.

God the Father is also full of love and grace. He forgives our debts, binds our wounds, showers us with all we need, gives us joy even in the most difficult circumstances. He rejoices over us and calls us His children. He embraces us in His amazing grace and speaks comfort to our shaky hearts as a Perfect Dad lovin' on His beloved children. He is love.
Yes. Yes. Yes. 
But if we only focus on God as love and grace, we may tend to believe that He has limitations and is too weak to help. We may wrongly see Him as a sappy song-writer that is only good at making us feel special and boost our self-esteem, but useless for anything else. 
but!
When we have a balanced understanding that God the Father is both powerful King and a loving and good Father, then we can fully rest assured in the Father King who is worthy and very able to hold our future in the palm of His hands.  For now, I am no longer a mere pauper peering outside the palace gates. Instead, I am a child of the King living in the presence of the Almighty King. And as a child of a king, I have worth and beauty and can rejoice. I can come unto the King not as a timid stranger but as His beloved child without fear of rejection. Not because of me [because in and of myself, I am but a pauper], but because of the King's presence and claim over me. Because of who He is and because I am His. He is King and He is Father. This is a God worthy of my trust for my past, present, and future!  

Let's pray that as we write down goals and plans for 2014, we may not white-knuckle our way through the year, resisting God's nudging.Yes, plan! Yes, make goals! Prayerfully set out a vision for a new year! But do it with open hands, willing & welcoming God, the King Father, to mold & refashion those plans however He in His perfect sovereignty & perfect love knows is best for you

Let's rest together in the comfort that God is a powerful, sovereign God who also happens to absolutely adore us. When we start to grasp this reality, life changes. This is what has happened to me in the past few years and that is why I cling to this and want to declare it boldly. My life was turned upside down as I realized these truths. For I was the one who saw God as big and powerful, much too powerful to bother with a pauper like me. I understood that God loved us, but could not grasp His love for me, because I saw myself as a minuscule part of the us that barely made it through to the us. It's as if I snuck through illegally and was counted in with everyone else in God loves us, but I figured, He doesn't really love me personally. I was just part of the package. Buy one, get that one geeky four-eyed girl Elena in with the package. But as I realized that the same God I learned about in Sunday school for so many years is the same God that loves me unconditionally. me. unconditionally. Well, that is when things started changing. That is when I started trusting Him on a new level. Because He was not some King to whom I had to prove I was worthy of His attention. No. Instead, I was worthy of His attention because of who He is. He is King and I am His little kid, sometimes annoyingly rambunctious and sometimes trembling in fear. I am an odd one, for sure. But I am His. Oh yes, what joy, I am His! So why wouldn't I want to trust my Perfect Dad with my plans? Why wouldn't I want His opinion on where to live, who to marry, where to work, etc? He is not demanding my surrender. 
He is worthy and trustworthy of my surrender. 

This is not what I had first meant to write about, but it just came out, so who am I to stop it. I will continue onto the next step in the goal-setting series tomorrow. But I am so glad the Holy Spirit pressed a little pause button on setting goals so that I can remember that God is so very capable of being the best author of what my story will look like, specifically the chapter titled, 2014. I hope anyone else who is reading this can find some hope in the words written, not because of who wrote them, but because of who these words are written about. Let Him open up the blank chapter of this new year and write a story that is beyond your wildest dreams. Paragraphs filled with joyful celebrations and exciting experiences. But maybe a few paragraphs filled with sorrow, too painful and deep, you'd like to skip over until the good part begins again. But through it all, yes, through it all, He writes hope, redemption, peace, grace. Let him write.

12 comments:

  1. YES. Everything about this is so filled with truth. This reminds me of a sermon by Judah Smith where he preached on John 1:14 where it says that Jesus is "full of grace AND truth." There's a balance...He is absolutely full of grace. But He is absolutely full of truth. Anyway, as you wrote about God being both sovereign and good, it reminded me of that.

    Thank you for writing this!

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    1. THANK YOU, Samantha!! I think I remember that Judah Smith sermon! I lived in Seattle for two years and attended City Church one of the years, and loved his sermons! The second year I got really involved in another Seattle church called Mars Hill and this idea of sovereign AND good is something I heard over and over, finally laying root in my heart and mind. It's all about the balance. P.S. I loved you January goals and what fires you up! I mentioned it in my comment, but we are SO similar the goals and what fires us up! We can cheer each other on to keep at it!

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  2. This is perfect. So true! I have sometimes struggled to find that balance but it is vital that we remember He is both a Mighty King and a Loving Father. Thank you so much for the reminder.

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    1. I often struggle too, so I was reminding myself too. It is so easy to lean more on one side than the other, and we just don't experience the same peace than when we see Him as He truly is! Thanks so much for stopping by, Kimberly!

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  3. Beautiful! Your a natural writer. Love this. Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Aw, thank you, Samantha! You warmed my heart. You, my dear, are a natural photographer and I love seeing your amazing work through your blog and IG!

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  4. Love, love, LOVE this post!

    This paragraph: "When we have a balanced understanding that God the Father is both powerful King and a loving and good Father, then we can fully rest assured in the Father King who is worthy and very able to hold our future in the palm of His hands. For now, I am no longer a mere pauper peering outside the palace gates. Instead, I am a child of the King living in the presence of the Almighty King. And as a child of a king, I have worth and beauty and can rejoice. I can come unto the King not as a timid stranger but as His beloved child without fear of rejection. Not because of me [because in and of myself, I am but a pauper], but because of the King's presence and claim over me. Because of who He is and because I am His. He is King and He is Father. This is a God worthy of my trust for my past, present, and future!"

    That right there, is amazing!

    Also, this: "He is worthy and trustworthy of my surrender." He most certainly is!

    Great post, friend! :)

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    1. Jess, THANK YOU! God tends to teach me in pictures/metaphors, and this is one that He has so lovingly showed me a few years ago and it stuck . . . maybe because I am a girly-girl at heart and like the idea of being a princess with a tiara and pretty dresses? haha. But really, it just reminds me of the stark difference between being on the outside (like a pauper) versus being under the protection and comfort of His care as his child. What a difference that makes!

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  5. Yes yes yes! I am happy he pressed pause too... but am looking forward to the rest of the series! :)

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    1. Aw, thank you, friend! It is a slow process, but steadily going forth :) I need to add "be more consistent with blogging" on my list of goals!

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Elle Alice