Take out the “don’t” and you’ve pretty much got me the past few days.
It always shocks me how much more likely I am to doubt God’s voice rather than to call out Satan on his attacks…
I’m more ready to question God’s truth than question Satan’s lie.
The past few days, I’ve consistently doubted whether I really followed God’s leading or if I just labeled it as that. For those of you who don’t know, I’m currently in California for a preceptorship. When I made the decision to come here, I had to simultaneously make the decision NOT to go to another program. I had to decide to raise money to fly by myself and be in an intensive program with a group of strangers…which meant turning down a paid research opportunity that would have allowed me to live with my brother in my beloved Texas. And after reading a chapter about trusting God and following the Holy Spirit’s leading, I felt God prompting my heart. He asked me to trust Him and make decisions that will make me more like Him.
Like many things in life: easier said than done. I ended up making 2 very uncomfortable decisions that weekend…both of which I had total peace about at the time because I knew those decisions were made in obedience.
Fast forward to now, when I’m living out the “consequences” of one of those decisions. Let me start by saying: God had totally confirmed He wanted me here. I knew it in my heart and I had peace and He provided abundantly. I didn’t think I’d come close to raising enough funds and I HATE asking people for money. But I asked and God provided through so many generous people. Yet that fact has had me feeling unusually down and so burdened since I got here.
Instead of rejoicing that God provided above and beyond, I’ve almost felt guilty. I feel this burden to make every day worth that money…and then I feel guilty when the day doesn’t seem extraordinary enough. Today, after sharing this with one of my roommates, I finally had my eyes opened to the truth: Satan was turning God’s blessing into guilt. And I was embracing his lies. By believing lies, I was ignoring the truths. So no more lies for today. It’s time for some truth:
1) God brought me here. People didn’t give money just because of me–they gave money because they want to advance the Kingdom of God…and want to help me do the same through this program.
2) God’s abundant blessing should not bring guilt and burdens…it should bring me to my knees in awe of His goodness.
3) My idea of a successful day needs to line up with God’s idea. The fact that the program has barely started and I’ve already shared the gospel with patients–and even had the joy of watching one put his trust in Jesus–is such an amazing blessing. Instead of being overwhelmed with doubts about whether he’ll get plugged into a church or fade out, I need to be praising God that He used me to share His love.
4) Jesus sees each person as precious. I thought I understood this truth. But my attitude has shown me that I still have so much to learn about His love. I’ve been waking up each morning fret with guilt that I didn’t make enough of an impact the day before–that I didn’t do enough to to be worthy of how much people donated. But Jesus paid the ultimate price–His life–to allow us to personally know God. And yet I don’t think think that it’s “enough” that one more lost sheep heard about the Great Shepherd. My head was obsessing over the 99…Jesus’ heart is for that 1. If nothing else gets accomplished, at least 1 man now trusts in Jesus. If Jesus considered him to be worth dying for, then I think I need to realize he’s worth infinitely more than the donations I received. Those of you who donated: your money has already had an eternal impact. Thank you.
5) Jesus sees me as precious. He loves me. He values me. How often I need to preach the gospel to myself, lest I forget. I keep finding myself tearing up as I share the gospel with patients or hear the gospel being shared with patients. Because this gospel is the best news of my life. I am so unconditionally loved by a holy God that He sent Jesus to die on my behalf. He sent Jesus to pay the death penalty that I deserve. What amazing grace and unfathomable mercy. I hope I never lose my wonder over this. The King of Kings sees my imperfections and insecurities and insufficiencies and welcomes me with open arms. He tells me I am loved, I am redeemed, I am precious. The God who once said His name is “I am who I am” has changed everything that I am. He has given me new life. It doesn’t matter who’s prettier or funnier or smarter or better–because the God of the universe sees me as precious. So much joy is found in the loving embrace of my Heavenly Father.
God’s grace in my life today:
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service.”
-1 Timothy 1:12