Am I moving forward with purpose, or am I timidly resting in fear?
I was listening to the radio this morning when I heard the hosts talking about what people are doing in the midst of less busyness and more uncertainty. The gist of the segment was to use our time wisely, specifically this time, and move forward with new direction and purpose. I don’t entirely disagree with this thought or notion. I don’t believe they meant picking up a new hobby or making travel plans for next year. Even still, lately the subject of time and making plans has rubbed me the wrong way. You see, I had a lot of plans. One might say that I am a natural planner. I love to make lists and it gives me satisfaction checking each item off. I’m not rigid, flexibility is key. But if I’ve learned anything in 2020 it is that plans change.
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 2:13-17
Personally, our family’s plans have drastically and painfully changed this year. The entire globe has also faced much uncertainty and a shift in plans. The question that remains is, “now what”? I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know what it will be like to miss my daughter for the remainder of my years on earth. I don’t know how to joyfully welcome the arrival of a new daughter, while still grieving the loss of another daughter. I don’t know how to handle birthdays and anniversaries of death. I also don’t know how society should slowly reopen. I don’t know how to fix the economy. I don’t know the best way to keep communities healthy, while trying to resume “normal” life. But I do know the One who knows it all and this is what He has to say….
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:25-27
The Lord has ordained our days (Psalm 139:16). Who am I to think that I can add one single hour to this life. While Coronavirus has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands, my daughter did not die from Coronavirus. My constant attention, prayer and planning did not add a single hour to her life. Her days were ordained by God Almighty. In some ways this truth could be the cause of anxiety and fear. I could live my life holed up in my home and put my surviving children in a metaphorical bubble, but even that would not add hours to our ordained days. I mentioned in another post (you can read here Out of Control) that I believe fear and anxiety are a result of feeling out of control. The truth is, we have never been in control. So if I am not to live in fear and I am not to make grand plans, what am I supposed to do? I’m supposed to live with purpose.
Who am I to think that I can add one single hour to this life.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, He has given us a purpose. We ask our children different catechism questions every night before bed. One of the questions is “How and why did God create us?” Without missing a beat they respond with the truth. “He created us male and female, in His own image, to glorify Him.” That’s it. That’s our ultimate purpose, to glorify God. Image bearers of God Almighty spanning the globe. Except not every person knows the Lord. So He gave us another mission. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
God has not given us a spirit of fear, He has given us a purpose.
You have a purpose. I have a purpose. Every single person created on this earth has a purpose, but are we fulfilling it? Lately, this has been a challenge to me personally. Am I moving forward with purpose, or am I timidly resting in fear? I still struggle with anxiety, especially now. There are topics of conversation that cause me to bristle. The sound of sirens raise my heart rate, along with other unsettling circumstances or situations. That is a product of shock and a traumatic experience. There is grace for that. I’m not trying to minimize my own experience or the traumatic experiences of others. If you truly struggle with anxiety, fear or depression, please seek out professional help. There are godly men and women trained to help you. There are therapies, medications and resources for you. So while I don’t seek to minimize, I am saying that God is bigger than our hurts, fears and anxiety. He is our refuge and source of wisdom.
Living with purpose does not mean throwing caution to the wind and playing in traffic. It means seeking wisdom from the Father and consulting Godly, Biblically based advice. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 So the question I ask myself is am I living in fear of the world, or in fear of the Lord? Do I respect, honor and trust God enough with the remainder of my days to faithfully fulfill my purpose? Or am I cowering to circumstances and situations that I have no control over, minimizing the very things I have been called to do?
Planning is not inherently a sin. I still have a calendar and I still make to-do lists. It’s a part of my God given personality. I can honor God with proper planning or I can grieve and ignore Him while plotting my future to the point that He is planned out of it. Have I left enough margin in my schedule to trust Him, to let God work, to live by faith? Personally, I don’t want to waste what time I might have left of my life. Whether it be 60 more minutes or 60 more years. I want to live in light of eternity and trust the Lord in all things.
Never be afraid to trust an unknown future, to a known God.Corrie Ten Boom