…no, not a box of chocolates; although, you really don’t know what you’re going to get. But last night I gleaned some wisdom from a Hallmark Christmas movie. I’ve been watching a lot of these (along with Lifetime) during my Christmas break (such a productive member of society).
But last night as I was watching Mistletoe Over Manhattan, I learned that life is like a snow globe.
Sometimes, life gets turned upside down and things are just plain CRAZY. You can’t control where things go, what’s going to happen next, maybe even your emotions. But eventually, the crazy settles and things are picture perfect, beautiful, and right again.
Honestly, this past semester has felt more crazy and upside down than still and beautiful. I’ve been busy, stressed, and a little anxious. I guess this comes with being a senior in college, taking 17 hours, having 3 jobs (although I didn’t work too many hours this past semester), and being just a little involved on campus; then you add in family and friends and life in general. Whew! It’s been one heck of a semester. Being still has never really been my strong suit. It’s times like this past semester when things are ieakfnewklshdngjvkhsnmd (that’s the best way to describe it, the way it’s felt) that I should be more intentional with my time with the Lord. Instead, however, I far too often have fun little “Oh! Woe is me!!!” parties. LAME. When something goes wrong, I tend to think about all the things I’ve done wrong, all the ways I’m “that girl” and how that’s my problem, all the things I said I shouldn’t. I also tend to slap myself on the wrist because I waste so much time not being in the Word and instead doing dumb, frivolous stuff. Do you know how much precious time I waste with pity parties and complaining that I waste time?? Too much. Too much, my friend. How embarrassing. How unfortunate.
I’m graduating in May and, with that, have been getting that wonderful and lovely question that every soon-to-be graduate grows to despise: so, what’s next? I keep thinking I have it all together. But then something changes. And it turns out, I don’t have it all together. Let’s be honest: I don’t really have anything “all together” (but what fun would that be anyways?). So I’ll have a plan and then I won’t and then I’ll have another plan and then the Lord is like, “OH HEY! That’s what you thought. Look. Look what else is out there. Look what I have to teach you.” And I’m like, “Oh Lord, I love what you have to teach me, but change–even a change of plans–throws me way off” (It’s like the Ben Rector song “She Is”–“She doesn’t like anything that she can’t change, and she can’t change”). So with all this back and forth in the midst of being asked a hundred times of day what’s next in my life, there’s a little bit of anxiousness…a little bit of crazy. I will say this: I am SO excited about what’s in store. I know that the Lord has a perfect plan for me. I know that He goes before me, preparing and paving the way. I know that He knows better than myself what’s best for me.
Through this time of anticipation and crazy I have been so incredibly encouraged by how intentional the Lord is. I’ll be stressed or worried or lonely and come across a Scripture or remember a song lyric that is just what I need to hear and remember at that time. Below are some of these words that have helped me; maybe they’ll touch you as well.
“Mary was frightened and Joseph was disappointed, but there was room for both of them in God’s plan.” Aren’t we all oftentimes frightened and disappointed? I know I am. Instead of that discouraging us and causing us to shrink back from God, it should spur us forward. We need to remember “When God wants to change the world he often does it through the least likely people,” and “Sometimes God goes to a lot of trouble to include those whom we would exclude.” Think back to David and remember that man judges by the outside, but God looks at the heart. Don’t ever let others make you feel inferior!
“God’s promises can take a very long time coming. It takes faith, hope and patience to believe they will be fulfilled.” And I complain about having to wait a couple of MONTHS to know what I’m supposed to be doing in my life! What about Abraham? What about SO many followers of God that had to wait so long to find out where to go and what to do. Oh how I need to be more diligent in praying for patience!
Speaking of patience…
“But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.” Psalm 69:13 The Lord is outside of our time, He knows what and when works best.
“And letthe peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15
“Do not be anxious about anything,but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
A note on these verses from Philippians…
“…it is not Roman soldiers who guard believers [you could insert anything here–friends, family, bosses, peers…]–it is the peace of God Almighty. Because God is sovereign and in control, Christians can entrust all their difficulties to him, who rules over all creation and who is wise and loving in all his ways.”
“Purge mewith hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall bewhiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:7-12
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?…No, in all these things we are more thanconquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31, 35, 37-39 It’s a love that can never, ever be taken away!
For the heartache that comes with life…
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Both verses are Proverbs 4:23; the first is the ESV, the second is the more popular NIV version. I think these verses are important to remember not just when a guy/girl hurts you like they normally are used but also when you become discouraged and hurt by other’s words; when things get hard and you feel like the “snow in your snow globe” is never going to settle.
Today at Brookwood, Dr. Barnette spoke on Isaiah 35:1-10. Verses 3 and 4 really stuck out to me:
“Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.'”
We should continually be reminding those around us of the strength and peace found in the Lord. No matter how crazy things get, we, as believers, are certain of a hope and joy that creates an amazing Peace that can be found nowhere else. This verse is also a reminder to us, that “God will come with vengeance.” Oh, I love that diction! He is a force to be reckoned with, that no one can take down or win against (see the verses from Romans 8–who can stand against us?).
I know this season is a busy one, one that, for some, causes more heartache and stress than joy and celebration. But let’s remember that, even though life gets crazy and complicated, we are guaranteed something so much greater. This is not our home. This is not the end-all, be-all. When something goes wrong, remember the joy that is to come, remember that Christ has already overcome the world. Think of the “bad things” that happen as chances to make yourself small, and Jesus great.