Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Faith in Dust: Detour

Faith in Dust: Detour: Have you ever been driving down the freeway enjoying the sunshine, maybe your favorite song is on the radio, and then traffic starts to slow...


Have you ever been driving down the freeway enjoying the sunshine, maybe your favorite song is on the radio, and then traffic starts to slow down? The next thing you know you have come to a complete standstill and your traffic app is telling you to take a detour, but you can't decide if you would rather sit in the traffic or take a chance on the detour. You are safe on the freeway. You know the way and you aren't in that big of a hurry to get where you are going, but you know the detour is the smart move and you do have obligations at your destination.

You decide to be listen to the traffic app and take the detour, only to find the way it's taking you is difficult and stressful. You are stressed to the max now. Anxiety level is at its highest and panic mode is getting ready to set in because now you are in unfamiliar territory. After what seems like forever you reach your destination. As you share the details of your journey, you reflect on the emotions you experienced on this detour, yet suddenly you start to see the beauty that surrounded you during the detour that you didn't see as you were driving through it.

Sound more familiar than you would like to admit? We encounter detours in our lives more times than we are comfortable with, but do we sit still where we are comfortable or do we take the detour? The detour is unknown and could be quite stressful, yet the detour can have beauty too.

When we are obedient to God we tend to encounter detours in our lives that help us to grow and be refined, but we must be willing to take them in order to grow. I experienced a recent detour and I can say without a doubt it was one of the most difficult detours I have had in a while, but one of the most rewarding. When we are walking through a detour it usually means we didn't choose this path in our lives.

 Google defines a detour as a long or roundabout route that is taken to avoid something or to visit somewhere along the way. My detour seems like a long route and it was truly taken to avoid something painful, but God had other intentions:) He used my detour to help refine me and remove my insecurities and self-doubt. I didn't even realize these impurities existed because I was avoiding the detour at all cost.

I sit back now and smile at how God maneuvered my detour. I went willingly but didn't realize it was a detour until I was smack in the middle of it. Yet through the process, I was able to self-reflect and spend countless hours talking to God about what He needed me to see. I was stressed beyond belief, felt some days were too difficult to bear and felt anxiety closing in on me. Day after day God revealed Himself in the scripture, devotions, sermons, and my prayer warriors. I stumbled many days, doubted His plan was the best, and honestly wanted to turn around and go back to where I was before the detour entered my life. That was NOT God's plan and he patiently waited on me to listen to Him.

I sat at a women's gathering recently listening to our speaker tell us to concentrate on now, not what we fully don't know about now, but just concentrate on now. Another words, don't question everything, just live in the moment. We have to praise God in the middle of our brokenness and then we witness the power of God when we are in the valley. God is not waiting in our strength, He's waiting on our surrender. I learned I had to surrender and stand firm in Him, not in my knowledge, but trusting His. I learned we can't go back because then we make things worse.

Detours usually aren't planned and even when they are the process isn't always easy, pretty, or admirable, yet when we step back and reflect on the view we realize the lessons were priceless. Just like the Bible speaks of the process of refining gold, God uses detours to refine us just like the gold. The process is difficult and painful but the impurities are skimmed off and we are purer in Him.

Don't avoid the detour, it might just be God's way of helping you skim off more impurities:) Praying for you my friend. Don't give up on God and don't think he's left you stranded on the side of the road. He is driving:) Just sit back and let Him guide you on the path. I promise the difficulty and pain will be worth it if you trust in Him one day you will know the full story.

"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Faith or Fear?

Can we have faith, yet fear? Can we trust God, yet fear life? Can we be obedient in Christ, yet still fear? I have struggled with all of these questions and probably a hundred more in the past few weeks. Why am I fearful? What am I fearful of? Why? What? How? Questions, then answers, yet no peace in sight. I KNOW God has a plan for my life, but why am I so fearful? Isaiah 41:10 says, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

I have laid awake at night begging God to help me with these questions. I have dug into His word. I have listened to sermons, read devotions and Bible Studies, and prayed without ceasing. I am mentally and physically exhausted, but I know my God is with me. He is carrying me through this storm, and I am snuggling into Him and trusting Him. No one loves fear, no one embraces fear, but we all experience it. Joshua 1:9 says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

 Fear is of the devil!! Yet, as humans, we give in to those voices, the enemy! I know I'm not alone out there. I have heard many of you voice your fears, post them on social media. You know the ones, right? You aren't good enough. You will never escape your past. You don't deserve happiness. You aren't pretty enough, skinny enough, rich enough, happy enough, have the best job, best house, best life. The list of fears and insecurities could go on and on forever because we place all these pressures on ourselves, allow our own insecurities to overcome us, and try to compare ourselves to others. Why? Why can't we just believe we are good enough and our past is our past, and we DO deserve happiness!!? We ARE beautiful! Our bodies are perfect in God's eyes! God provides for our needs! We can be happy! We can have the best life!

Guess what? If any of the things aren't the way we want them to be its OUR job to make them wonderful!! We can't sit around, compare, and sulk then expect things to change. Change is NEVER easy, but in order to grow, we MUST change. We must press in and be patient and listen to God. When we are prompted to move, we must be obedient and move. Ugh, I say that and know God is prompting me for more change and my flesh side just wants to go hide and cower, but my spiritual side knows the change will make me stronger and more equipped to serve Him.

I am by no means an expert on this topic, but I do feel like I should be. I think part of the process is learning and being a willing student. I am not perfect, but when someone asks me how I push through I have one word, God. I DON'T push through, He carries me, but I am willing and obedient to His will, no matter how painful or heartbreaking. I know His plan for me is much greater than mine. We can choose to cower, give into the enemy, live a life of flesh or we can stand tall, dive into His word, and tell the enemy to GET LOST!! We all have choices!!

Will you choose fear or faith? I know I choose faith every time and I will fight through fear with scripture and Godly people surrounding me and encouraging me! I pray you will do the same. My friend the walk can be brutal at times, but oh the outcome! I can feel the peace when I let myself feel the love God has for me. I become giddy! When I allow His love to pour over me I remember fear is a big fat liar and faith in the foundation that will give me peace and joy. We are all works in progress, but what beauty we gain when we are willing to walk through the fires to become more like Him.

I would love for you to leave a comment. I would love to pray for you! The comments section has been a pain. I pray I will receive what you send but know either way I am praying blessings of faith and no fear on each and every one of you!