I thought today I could share a small devotional over some things I've been thinking about. I hope this is encouraging to you!
"A good person brings good things out of the good stored up in their heart, and an evil person brings evil things out of the evil stored up in their heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
I've been thinking about what seems to reside in my heart most often and a lot of it has to do with myself. My natural state seems to be about making sure I feel secure and in control. Which means I'm more often concerned with what's going on with me most of the time. And that leads to worries, fears, and frustrations in my heart and flowing out of my mouth. I realize that worrying about myself isn't producing good fruit.
I've been praying for God to show me how to rely on him instead. To give him my security, control, reputation and emotions so that I am free to join him in his work in the world. I'm asking him to produce good fruit in me and to help me be obedient to him.
What flows out of your heart?
Along these lines, I've also been reflecting on God as a good father. God is not a micromanager or or an impatient teacher. He doesn't seem to want to rush me or make me feel bad for not getting everything right. Instead, he's patient with me. He sees me as a whole person, not just looking at my weaknesses, but sees my strengths, weaknesses, personality, and quirks all together. Like a good dad, he doesn't try to make me what he expects me to be but he equips me to flourish.
So often I find myself believing that God is like I tend to be - scared to be out of control. I start to believe that he is as critical of me as I am of me. And I believe that he's frustrated with my progress. The more I do ministry, the more I see how much I have to learn. But that doesn't mean God is frustrated with me. That'd be like being mad at a toddler as they're learning to walk and they fall down. I'm learning he loves me as I am and is ready to teach me more of how he leads people. When I miss the mark, God is right there to help me stand again.
In what ways do you make God in your own image?
So many times I find myself in the midst of some problem and I desperately start trying to find the solution, any solution. But when I find a solution, I quit looking to God for help; I've got my game plan and I don't need to question it. That very resolution closes the conversation with God. What if God wants me the stay in the tension a little longer? To sit with the unknown and keep the conversation with him open a little more? That seems to be more along the lines of surrendering and practicing humility. If God is a good father, then he'd probably much rather have that kind of relationship with me.
How do you seek resolution over quality time with God?
My thoughts are still sort of a jumble as I think through these things and reflect on where God seems to be leading me. But I trust him to be shaping me in his own timing, and not to be impatient with me.
We've been heating up community building and doing different events outside now that the weather is nice. We knew getting people connected outside of their small groups was going to be a challenge this semester. We don't have any regular large group meetings and a lot of people don't realize the scope and rootedness of our community. That makes it hard for us to cast a vision for our work on campus sometimes. So, we've been encouraging people to plan hangouts and we're doing a couple of events to help people meet others.
Along those lines, we did a Social Justice Questions & Response with some deep thinkers in our community. If you didn't know, Denton is a hot spot for people to really get on board with various social justice movements. We took time to answer questions on what it looks like for a Christian to care about the people and world around them while not blindly subscribing to what culture says is true. This was very thought provoking. Something that stood out to me was that we are called to love the Lord with our heart, mind, soul, and strength. But sometimes when we try to figure out what God cares about and follow suit, we only use our minds. We don't love God's people with our hearts because we're trying to figure out the politics, the exact perfect way to walk through the tensions we see and experience. What would it look like for us to fully commit to fully love the people God sends us to with our minds, hearts, souls, and strength?
I hope y'all are well! Let me know if there's any way I can be praying for you. Love y'all!