A few years ago, I jumped on a plane, settled in, got comfortable, enjoyed the inflight snack and savoured the time to read whatever good book was in my hands at the time. Then came the announcement from the flight-crew, “We’re approaching Destination X and will soon begin our descent. Please return to your seats, fasten your seatbelts…’
Around the flight deck, nervous looks appeared on passenger’s faces. They searched for clues… tried not to panic… wondered if perhaps they’d misheard the announcement. Yes, that’s right, we weren’t headed to Destination X, but rather Destination Y. The looks of confusion were well-founded. This was not the place we were supposed to be landing!
This story feels somewhat reminiscent of my entire adult life. I had one plan, and it seems God had another. I thought things would go one way, and He led me down an entirely different path. I expected to be married with children by the time I was thirty, and instead I’ve hit forty and I remain single and childless. This was definitely not what I had in mind…
Society sells us the idea of reaching a destination, more so than embracing a journey. Oftentimes, we mark life’s success according to whether we’ve reached particular milestones… Marriage. Tick. Children. Tick. Career. Tick. Owning a home. Tick. Financial security. Tick. An instagram worthy social life. Tick.
Tick… tick… tick… Ticks of achievement. Ticking of time. How successful have I been as the years have ticked by in my life? Have I reached these ‘key destinations’ and done so in a timely manner?
Interestingly enough, the timelines and stories of biblical characters turn society’s ideas about fulfilment on their head. The journey God took these men, women and children on, rarely matched their own plans. Yet, if we could sit down with them over a cuppa and ask them to tell us their stories, I’d imagine they’d each say something about the goodness of God in leading them in ways they’d never have chosen for themselves.
As Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life],
But the LORD directs his steps and establishes them” (Amplified Version).
According to the Word, living a life of purpose means giving ourselves fully to the journey of coming to know Christ, fall in love with and become like Him and recognising that our final destination is heaven (and thus we live our lives with an eternal perspective). These two facets, intertwined, are beautiful, precious and valuable beyond measure.
God desires to know us intimately AND to bless us (in His right timing) with good gifts (both in this life and the one to come), not just one OR the other.
GEMS IN THE JOURNEY
I’ve learnt that waiting seasons can be fertile soil for us to grow our relationship with Him, and to become equipped for what is to come. Over the next few months, I’m going to share six gems I’ve discovered in my journey with Jesus:
- Who God is
- Who we are
- How to grow our character
- How to love others as Christ does
- What our destiny is
- How to trust God and His timing
I pray that, just as I have, you too will encounter Christ in special ways on your journey. xx
So, let’s get started…
WHO IS GOD?
When I think of my knowledge of God right this minute, it feels like I’ve scooped up a bucket of water from the sea. I know so little. Yet also, I know so much more than I once did – when ‘a drop in the ocean’ was perhaps the best way to describe it.
Knowing who God is, is so important! It shapes our understanding of Him, His Word, His character and His love. Coming to know Him fully is a lifetime pursuit – and such a worthy one at that.
Knowing who God is, is not about head knowledge but experience. I’ve found our heavenly Father to be such a gentleman and so generous, when I ask Him to show me more of who He is. So, as you read on, I encourage you to do so in a prayerful manner – ask Him to reveal Himself to you – to show Himself to be these things in your life and your world. I know He will! Matthew 7:7-11 tells us so!
If one particular characteristic stands out to you, perhaps you might like to dwell there awhile – write out some scriptures and put them on your mirror or as the screensaver on your phone. Lean in to hear what He has to say to you. Watch and see Him demonstrate this part of Himself to you. Journal your gratitude for how he shows Himself to you. Savour those special times of intimacy with Him. Enjoy Him, just as you’d enjoy getting to know a special friend – that is, after all, what God is to us.
This is not an exhaustive list, but simply a few thoughts to get us started.
- Kind and good (Zephaniah 3:17, Psalm 34:8).
- Loving and gracious (1 John 4:8, 16, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-5, Jeremiah 31:3).
- Our provider (Matthew 6:26, Psalm 139:5).
- Our refuge and help (Nahum 1:7, Isaiah 41:13).
- Forgiving and He does not hold a grudge (Psalm 86:5, 1 John 1:9 and Hebrews 8:12).
- A trainer in godliness, through gentleness, patience and justice (Hebrews 12:6, Proverbs 3:12, 2 Peter 3:9).
- A faithful, promise keeper (Deuteronomy 7:9, 1 John 1:9, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, Hebrews 10:23).
- The One who delivers us from our fears and stills storms, draws near, comforts and encourages (Deuteronomy 31:8, Exodus 33:14 and 14:13, Psalm 91:4-6, Mark 4:35-41, 2 Corinthians 1:3).
- A way maker, where there seems no way (Romans 8:28, Luke 18:27).
- Wise (Colossians 2:2-3, Isaiah 40:13 and 55:8-9, Ecclesiastes 2:26, James 1:5).
God is our everything!
(Listen to, ‘King of My Heart’ by Steffany Gretzinger, for beautiful lyrics that declare this truth)
A little aside…
The greatest relationship any of us will ever have is the one we have with the triune God (our heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit). Another of the closest relationships we might have as Christian women, is the one we have with our earthly husbands.
I’ve discovered something interesting during my years as a single: the characteristics that I’m encouraged to find in a husband are in fact those that are found perfectly in Christ. That might sound obvious, however I feel that we often overlook the simple truth, and we unnecessarily complicate things.
I’ve come to realise that as I understand the incredible truth of who my God is, I’ll naturally see those things in my future husband (whether they’re traits he is exhibiting, or those that God is still shaping in Him). What’s more… this perspective will give me grace to encourage and support my husband to grow into the man God has created him to be. Having a true knowledge of God will lead me to find my satisfaction in Him, rather than expecting my husband to fulfil all my needs (Psalm 91:16, Psalm 103:1-5 and 107:9).
“Man was created by God, and is so insufficient to be God”
(Jackie Hill Perry speaking in Session Five at the IF:Gathering 2022. I highly recommend accessing this session which speaks strongly into idolatry, from Exodus 32).
Women, at times, create idols of their husbands by placing their ‘functional trust’ in them, rather than having full trust in God – for example, they expect their man to be their provider, rather than the Lord. This is not right.
We need to guard our expectations well – we cannot expect a man to be what only God can be for us. This is unrealistic and unfair on him – it places pressure on him, and ultimately will lead to brokenness in our relationship. (The same can also be said in reverse – if a man expects a woman to be ‘his all’, he’ll end up disappointed)
Similarly, we’ll miss out on the depth of intimacy that is available to us in our relationship with God, if we don’t give Him first place in our life.
The healthiest way to approach relationships is to correctly know who God is and who we are (ourselves and others), and to keep the Lord and man in their rightful place in our lives. (Next time I write, I’ll share about Who We Are…)
Oh, in case you were wondering… that flight I mentioned earlier had a happy ending. A few moments after the initial announcement, our fears were relieved when the pilot made a second one, he’d made a mistake and yes we were in fact approaching Destination Y. Phew!
Just as we could trust our pilot that day, we can trust God and the journey He is taking us on! As we come to know Who He Is, we learn that He is so trustworthy!
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (various translations)
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