A Future of Right Nows

College. Dorm life. Midterms. Final exams. Ramen noodles. Roommates. Caffeine.

I don’t know what word pictures the term “college” conjures up for you. For most of us, they hold both good and bad memories.

While most of us would not eliminate it from our timelines completely, most of us would never want to repeat them.

I really wish I could. I am a completely different person now than I was back then. My view of life was extremely limited and fairly self-centered. There are only a handful of people that I chose wisely to invest in.

I look back at those years with bittersweetness. Without college, I wouldn’t be who I am today. But if I could go back today and do it all over, life would be very different for me and everyone else around me. I don’t mean that I would’ve screwed my grades or dated around or gone mattress surfing (…more often…). I mean I would’ve treated people differently because I now have a different view of myself. When you view yourself as a respectable person, you find that you treat others with more respect. When you let Christ define who you are, you become all things to all people, not just letting the in crowd define you.

So much time is spent trying to a) determine whether we’re in the crowd and b) how disposable we are to the crowd and c) how we’re going to keep high rank in the crowd.
With Jesus, no time is wasted because you already know what He thinks of you and that’s all that matters to you.

I am at this weird stage of life: kind of like the college between “high school and family life”/ “marriage and career life”. I feel young but don’t feel like I belong in the teeny- bopper crowd (although I love them dearly!). I don’t feel old, either. And there just aren’t a lot of people in my category- married and being bugged to DEATH about when they’re going to start popping babiess out. There aren’t a lot of people who are content where they are.

I know I’m usually not.

I don’t know what stage you’re in, or whether you feel content in your calling or not. Or maybe you’re like me and you’re wondering what the heck your calling is.

One of my favorite people from college is getting married tonight. I’m not at the wedding, but I wish I could be with everything in me. Obviously it was not God’s will for me to go… maybe I was spared a wreck. Or spared a jealousy marathon (at a beautiful Pinterest wedding where I was sure to covet every centerpiece.) (I know this to be fact because of those dadburn personalized hashtags on Instagram.) But the truth is, I was still pouting about it. Majorly. I knew all the popular people from college would be there… and I wanted to reunite with them. I wanted to be them. Most of all, I wanted them to know that I am a different person now than I was 5 years ago. I wanted to redeem my college years. To loosen up and have a good time. To make memories without holding back. Or holding a demerit slip.

I really think they would maybe like me now.

I got in the Word and God reminded me of David… the one no one noticed. He was so busy serving out in the field that his own family practically forgot about him. And it says that David stood among his brothers as he was anointed. It reminds me of Psalm 23. While we know that his brothers weren’t enemies per se, it is clear in the next chapter that they are clearly not fond of David being chosen. And I feel their pain. I have often been the older brother who can’t believe I haven’t been chosen for something that my girlfriend was chosen for. I wanted to be the one to do that! Why did God give HER that calling? Didn’t He think I was capable of that? And then other times, I ask, When am I going to get picked to do something AWESOME? Everytime I look around, someone else is indisposable, doing major things for the Kingdom. When is it my turn?

The truth is, I want to do something big for the Kingdom. Truly not for the recognition, but because I want my blip of existence to make a difference in the world. And most days, it doesn’t seem like I’m affecting anyone’s life. I want to be a “faith girl” –and glorify God by living a crazy life that even those who don’t believe won’t be able to deny.

You, too?

Notice these words in 1 Samuel 16:13. “And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on (emphasis mine.)

Hey, you? Your turn is coming. But in the meantime, we have to be faithful in the fields. Whatever that may look like. Your field may be a cubicle or a grocery cart or a crib. It might be sending cards to shut-ins or playing cards at the nursing home or fixing cars for widows. But no matter where you find yourself, be all there. Right now. Be thankful IN it. Even if you don’t like it. Even if you wish you were somewhere else or someone else. Because one of these days, it will be your day. And then, you might wish that you had used your in-between time more wisely.

I assure you David didn’t. He named those sheep even though he knew they wouldn’t live forever. And he loved nature and the sunshine and the rest in the shade. He had some wild adventures with bears and lions. And he wasn’t trying to fit in. He was himself and he was happy with who he was. And he was ready for whatever God had for him. Instead of wishing his time away, he enjoyed the moment. He enjoyed it so much because he didn’t ask any of his brothers to sub for him when there was a party in town.

His party.

This. This is what I pray. To be so consumed with right now that back then is a faint memory and up ahead is a future full of “right now”s.

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My Kind of Camping

Psalm 34: 7

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”

When you feel like you haven’t ever belonged and it takes almost nothing for you to get pushed back into that category? When loneliness creeps in and you’re afraid that life will never get easier? When you feel the pull of worldly pleasures and it tells you it will never let up? When you believe that loving people will always come back to haunt and hurt you?

The truth is, we all need a Deliverer.

I used to think deliverance was for people with addictions, bad marriages, abusive relationships. But it’s also for people with sin. And we believe the lie that we don’t struggle with that. Really.

Trust me, as long as we are here on this planet, we will always need to be delivered from something.

“Delivers: pull off, strip, depart, equip (for fight), present, strengthen, offer, plunder, rescue, withdraw (from a crowd, as in Hosea 5:6).

Do these definitions of “deliver” seem odd to you? I have to admit that most of those words are not the first ones to come to mind when I think of that word. Sometimes, God’s deliverance could look like anything but deliverance??

Pull off? Strip away? Depart?? Withdraw? How could that possibly be a rescue?

Superman is supposed to show up and save the day. Not go on vacation to the Bahamas.

Consider this. Maybe God will pull off a habit that has leeched itself to you so you can further meet your calling. He might strip a friendship from your life that He knows would harm you longterm. He might bring deliverance from jealousy or hurt by withdrawing you from a crowd. He may tell our resources to depart until He is all we have left. He may offer an alternate route or another opinion so the path becomes more clear. He may plunder the enemy without us lifting a finger. Or not.

He may graciously equip us for the battle instead of removing the battle. 

He may present new opportunities or new ventures. New facts. Ideas. Dreams.

And sometimes, the only deliverance we need is to know that He is present. And oh, what a deliverance that is!! All it takes is awareness of the Presence of our Daddy that saves us from ourselves, from the need for vindication, retaliation, or approval.

He is all you need. Your cure for loneliness. Your approval fix. Your Highest pleasure. Your belonging.

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”