Last night, in a post barre-fitness class endorphin haze, I leisurely strolled through the isles of a local grocery shop. It wasn't until a neighboring customer approached me in front of the coffee creamer selection to comment that, "they're all bad for you," that I snapped out of the daze. I realized, as I was standing there, appearing to be contemplating which coffee creamer to purchase, I was actually in deep debate over much more meaningful matters. I also then remembered that I usually drink my coffee black, anyway.
It seems like these days we are flooded with more decisions to make than ever, because we have more options than ever. From which products to buy to which foods to eat, from how we spend our free time to the music we listen to, from which job to take to which city to live in, and from who we befriend to who we marry. The list goes on and on. I wonder if our brains were even ever wired to work this way, deciding among a surplus of options each and every day.
Recently, a friend told me that her husband was offered a new job in a new city. They had already moved only a few short months ago, they have a two year old, and a relocation would be a big move for them if he accepts. I think in situations like these, those "big life" changes, it is often too easy to say, "Oh, do what makes you happy!" or to bluntly weigh the pros and cons. Of course, we should take somewhat of a practical approach to making big decisions... but some other part of me is always seeking something more. When faced with a big decision, I find that I look for inexplainable signs, small coincidences, and impossible to ignore recurrences to shed some light upon the path of the right direction to take.
Of course, many would argue that those coincidences are just that- purely coincidences of chance, and certainly not some divine message. But in my life, I have seen and felt too many of these remarkable synchronicities to not pay attention. I also know, though, that whatever we believe we are being led to do, God's word through scripture is the determining filter.
I desperately want to follow God's will in and through my life. While His word doesn't always give us the specifics as to what to do or where to go, I know that as long as I am earnestly and fullheartedly seeking His will and pursuing His glory, I will be nourished with the peace of knowing that He is in control of my circumstances, in the end. It is in that promise that every tough decision is made pliable.
Settling. The word comes up in conversation, but with it come a variety of connotations. What is settling anyway? Is it necessarily a bad thing?
People often think of settling as just going along with something that isn't ideal. This happens for many reasons, such as impatience, lack of willingness to work hard or make a change, or fear that the future holds nothing "better."
We "settle" for partners that are just good enough, homes that are just okay, and for jobs that we don't love. But then again, doesn't God call us to be content in all circumstances (Philippians 4:12) and to recognize that everything in our lives is a gift from God (John 17:7)?
If the dictionary definition of settling means to resolve or reach an agreement about a problem, or to adopt a more steady or secure lifestyle, settling doesn't really seem like such a bad thing in the end.
Maybe settling for something or someone simply means to stop looking for flaws and to stop trying to find something that's wrong with the picture. Maybe it is realizing that every path will have adversity, and the real reward is in working through that. Every relationship will have challenges to overcome. No person or job or home or thing is perfect, so perhaps when we "settle", or resolve to something, we are simply choosing to love with grateful hearts. Maybe to settle means to choose contentment and to resolve to work hard on nurturing and investing into what one has, instead of always wondering if something better lies around the corner.
Interesting article about a biblical approach to settling:
Earlier this week, I had two concepts that were weighing on my heart. I had full intentions of posting them here today. I had pre-jotted them out in my journal, backed them up with scripture, and even had quotes from other authors to elaborate. However, as I opened up my laptop and started typing, I felt a tug to share a different experience instead.
Sometimes in life, this change in direction happens on a larger scale. We come into situations and circumstances, fully prepared with talking points and intentions, cozy on our shores, and then we find ourselves in the midst of it all, completely out at sea.
We find that we have drifted away from our plans and comfort zones, and while it can seem overwhelming, often, it is okay. Sometimes, even, it is better than okay.
Often, it is part of God's plan, even when we don't understand.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts."
As we live out our lives seeking God's will for us, we often find ourselves pleasantly surprised by what God has in store for us.
At this very moment, here I sit in a hotel room by the ocean shore, contemplating what God has ahead of me. Over the past year or so of my life, God has been pressing into my heart a vision for my future and guiding my paths. As the year has gone on, I feel myself approaching closer and closer to the materialization of these things- things I have been praying for and desiring in my heart for many months before. And that, my friends, is terrifying!
This morning, I prepared for the beloved Devoted women's conference. As we are all encouraged to do, I came with expectation: the expectation to hear a new revelation from God. As I drove here bright and early on this windy March morning, I could feel my own insecurities pushing me to ask God to reveal that perhaps my current path was wrong. Surely, I thought I had misheard his direction and was making a mistake. Surely, He has something different in store for me; something less abundant, because that would be much less intimidating.
But this afternoon, as I was gathered with hundreds of women in God's house, I felt God again and again telling me quite the opposite. My heart was convicted and convinced that everything I have been believing God for IS in fact happening in my life and that I am in deed on the right path, walking with God, and fulfilling his purposes and plans for my life.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."
So, the next time you find yourself out in the midst of the ocean, far from the shore, and in way over your head, realize that God might be steering your sails in a new direction. And, when you're on that course and a dream feels too big for you to handle on your own, remember who is in your boat.
"Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”"