Celebrating Our God-Given Design
Right now it’s 8am and I’ve been up since approximately 5:30am. Approximately because even though early morning is my absolute favourite time of the day, I still hit snooze and roll around in bed saying “Hi God … zzz” for a round or two. Eventually I get up and make coffee at 5:45/6ish. My morning routine could be more streamlined (2020 goal!) but right now I think it’s working for the most part because I still get the charge I need for the day. Enough sleep and two mugs of coffee help but morning prayer is my real source of strength.
Even if I’ve read my Bible and journalled … if I haven’t really prayed my heart out, I feel like ‘build up’ (for lack of a prettier word) starts to accumulate. Prayer, especially writing out my prayers, sorts out what’s going on in my heart … both good and bad. It helps me understand where I’m at and ask God to move in specific areas. But I think it also opens my heart up to a place where I’m very open to whatever it is that he wants to say and do in my life. (Today I prayed a lot. I just counted 11 pages of journalled prayers aha. Thanks for spending time with me, God.) Though we might feel like we’re just one person sometimes, we can be effective for God if we follow his plan. I believe he’s so happy when we want to know his purpose for us and serve it out, and that he will guide us, give us strategies to lead us deeper into his will for our lives.
So what are some ways we can celebrate our God-given design?
1) Spend as much time with God as you can
The more we pray, read the Bible, meditate on scripture (even worship song lyrics), serve, the more we understand God’s nature. Our God is good, almighty, perfect in love. He loves being in relationship with his children and wants to spend time with those who love him as well as draw close those that do not yet know him. In understanding God’s heart, our own hearts change to be more like his. Which puts us in a great position to grow in our God-given design.
2) Let God lead
To be honest, I wanted to post this in the morning. I started writing at 8am and had until 8:25am or so before I’d need to start getting ready for work. A bit short, especially since I wanted to add scripture and notes from a sermon I watched yesterday. But I felt God ask me to worship instead and finish writing later. To which I responded by praying he would give me a supernaturally productive morning so I could do it all - write, make notes, gather scripture, choose a graphic and post … all by 8:25am! And afterwards I could spend my commute listening to worship songs and worshiping him. Then I heard:
“It’s not your timing. It’s my timing.”
Ahh… yes. Sorry, God. All this to say the more we spend time with God, the more sensitive we will be to his direction and redirection. (And I finished writing later at 6:30pm :)
3) Pray bold prayers
God’s been encouraging me to pray bold prayers for awhile now. Yesterday I was reminded of this as I watched Part 14 of Transformation Church’s Crazy Faith series. Guest Pastor Craig Groeschel spoke on Gazy Faith and encouraged us to hold on to God’s promises and not settle. And he reminded us that if God met all of our expectations, he’d never have the chance to exceed them. So lovely, so true.
While our God is the God of miracles, of multiplication, of endless mightiness … he first and foremost is our GOD. Let’s remember James 4:2-3 and remember to honour God when we’re praying bold prayers.
You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:2-3)
When we’re walking in God’s plan for our lives, living out our God-given design and praying bold prayers accordingly … that’s the stuff.
4) Claim God’s promises
Thank God for the Bible because it’s full of so much hope, isn’t it? A few months ago, I was listening to a Joyce Meyer sermon and she said there are 5,000 promises in the Bible (or something like that). I’m trying to find a reference now and can’t … found another that says there are 3,000 … but regardless, God in his goodness wants and has planned to give us so many things. This year, my church has done series on the fruits of the Spirit and is currently going through one on the gifts of the Spirit. And I’m up there almost every altar call because if God wants to give these things, you bet I want to have them! I want to be the best version of who God has designed me to be. And in having these gifts / promises, we can learn to be more like him and serve him better.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
5) Believe in your heart
The older I get, the more I understand Ecclesiastes 3. There truly seems to be a season for every activity under the heavens (v. 1).
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. (v. 2-8)
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. (v. 11)
Sometimes it’s not easy to hold onto hope and faith in God’s plan for our lives. Things might seem to take forever, or implode out of nowhere, and we can get sad and confused, apathetic and hardened, or just lost. I used to avoid feeling difficult things deeply ... then I found myself in a situation that was literally my worst nightmare come true, down to very specific details I’d prayed against. And through it … I learned to run to God, open up my whole heart, and ask him to please heal it in his perfect way. I think the turning point happened at an early morning prayer meeting. I was crying out to God and felt him give me an image of a battered heart: damaged, bleeding, darkened, wounded. And he asked me if I really, truly believed that he could make my heart fresh, pink and new again? And I realized … maybe I wasn’t there yet but I wanted to be. And step by step, I took God’s hand and he showed me just how trustworthy he is. If you’re not at this stage or haven’t had this experience yet, please believe God can and will do it for you too. Your design is still perfect as is his plan.
Let’s honour God by trusting he is who he says he is. We CAN believe with our whole hearts that God has made us uniquely and has the most satisfying plan for our lives. Then we can enjoy the waiting! And learn to appreciate every day no matter the season. Step by step, he’ll reveal more and more, and one day we’ll see the masterpiece he was creating all along.