You are not your choices.

I work with young children, ages 2-7, as a behavior and mental health therapist. I have one little client who was telling me about how bad of a kid he is. I was trying to explain to his little 3 year old mind that he is not a bad kid, but his choices were bad. His 3 year old brain didn’t comprehend.

And then today I realized, neither did mine, for myself. I have been upset lately about the consequences of my living a selfish life. These regrets about living for myself and ignoring God’s plan had gotten me down, had made me feel so unworthy of God’s continued pursuit of me. I mean, it is true – I am so unworthy. BUT! Just because I have made bad choices I am not bad. As a redeemed follower of Christ, I know that my decisions hold weight in my life but they do not define my life.

So it’s hard for a 3 year old to understand that he is not a bad kid because he makes bad choices – his heart is good and he is kind, but he messes up. And so do I, a 26 year old woman. But thankfully, I am also a follower of Christ which means my mistakes and choices post-salvation also don’t dictate where I’ll spend eternity.

Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice.

god

faith, dreams, and plans [inthewordwednesday]

I love Sarah Young’s book, Jesus Calling. Yesterday was an especially needed blessing for me to read before starting my day, as I woke pondering my plans and wrestling with giving them over to God for that day. It is a constant battle for me to give over my plans for the day, let alone my life, to God. Read what Sarah Wrote (emphasis mine):

I am working on your behalf. Bring Me all your concerns, including your dreams. Talk with Me about everything, letting the Light of My Presence shine on your hopes and plans. Spend time allowing My Light to infuse your dreams with life, gradually transforming them into reality. This is a very practical way of collaborating with Me. I, the Creator of the universe, have deigned to create with you. Do not try to hurry this process. If you want to work with Me, you have to accept My time frame. Hurry is not in My nature. Abraham and Sarah had to wait many years for the fulfillment of My promise, a son. How their long wait intensified their enjoyment of the child! Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.” [Dec 11]

And Hebrews 1:11:

faith faith2

 

(source)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. [ESV]

Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see. [God’s Word Translation]

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. [The Message]

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. [NIV]

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. [NLT]

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. [Amplified version]

 

faith

In the Word Wednesday

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “That is the first commandment, the entire gospel. ‘Fear God’—instead of the many things which you fear.” This is a dangerous statement. How can we fear the God who identifies Himself as love? That throws many of our ideas about who God is into question. We know there is a call to fear the God of love, but we don’t know what to do with it. Our understanding of love doesn’t mesh with our understanding of fear, and so our understanding of God suffers.

This paragraph in the article, Why Fear is Essential to Faith, in Relevant Magazine (online) by Casey Hobbs really struck me. I so often battle with accepting that God is not just full of grace, but is also a very just God. It’s easy for me to praise Him for His justice when I’m wanting a karma-like-punishment for someone who hurt me. When it comes to justice in light of my own shortcomings and sins, however, I’m short of words to praise Him for being just.

My human brain cannot wrap itself around the vast differences, and yet the simplicity of likeness, of these two characteristics of my God. They seem such polar opposites, yet in some ways I find them so similar, love and justice.

I’m still marinating on all of this. But, I am so thankful for those like Casey, who cause me to think a little deeper, mid-week.

Read more from Casey Hobbs, here.

Read more from Relevant Magazine, here.