As I was having my quiet time this morning (so necessary for maintaining balance), I had a full circle moment.
Four years ago, Albert Tate was a guest speaker at Fellowship Memphis and gave a sermon entitled, “Sabbath Rest.” Let me back up, four years ago I was church hopping with some friends because none of us were regularly attending church at the time, or at least I wasn’t, and we thought it would be something fun to do. I had grown up in “the church” like all good Southerners do but had since fallen off the bandwagon. My Christian walk was pretty much non-existent, but my material or worldly life was going quite well. I had a good paying job for a single person living in the cost-friendly city of Memphis, enjoyed a range of employer perks, was able to shop every weekend (watches were my weakness), and was well known in the social circles I was part of. So I had a little bit of money and a little bit of status. All in all pretty successful from an outsider looking in perspective.
Inside, however, I knew that the lifestyle I was living was not really me and not for me.
That Sunday as Albert was preaching, I felt my spirit stir. No, stir is too tame. I felt convicted. He spoke about how we often want to comport who God is to coincide with what we want and a worldly lifestyle, and how we relegate God to a passenger as we drive ourselves along this life; how due to our need for control we can miss out on what God has for us; how we don’t know how to rest in or rely on God’s work and instead want to maintain control.
See, around this time God had given me directions on my next step, but I didn’t want to take them just yet. I wanted to prepare myself for what God had directed me to do. I wanted to make arrangements before I committed to His word. Despite being well versed in the stories of Bible characters like Moses, Sarah, Jonah, and many others and how God will anoint you where you are (or as the colloquialism goes, He doesn’t call the qualified but qualifies the called), I still wanted to put God in the passenger side as I drove the car and chose the route. Yes, it was all about me, my time, my plan, my life.
This morning as the sun was streaming through the blinds and I was sitting in the quiet of the day I was finally able to identify this feeling that has been present lately, a feeling of serenity. Life is not perfect, but I feel an immense sense of peace. The need to chase a high or be adorned in the latest material goods is gone. The days are no longer hectic, confused, or rushed.
The other day my boyfriend said, “You notice how we plan differently. I plan for the long term and never the short term. You plan for the short term and not long term.” And I thought about that, and it’s true. How ironic! I used to be all about the long term plan, and now here I am, not without one, but definitely not obsessive about it either. I have an idea of where I would like to be career-wise, but I also realize that those directions can change. In the short term, I know what needs to be done to pursue those goals and I do so but I am able to pursue them without the obsessive and unhealthy grasping and centering these objectives and successes as central to who I am or my self-worth.
The difference in this all is that I know who makes the plan – God – and I know who will ensure the plan’s success – God. Instead of feeling so burdened to make the plan and make it work, I am finally resting in God’s work.