How do you make the day an intentional day, a day where you are intentional joyful and Jesus focused? At the end of the day what makes you classify it as a day that was joyful and Jesus focused.
I have been wrestling with this question. I am beginning to learn the answer and live out what I am learning, I am far from there though. One of the things I have had to wrestle with is what paralyzes me from being intentional. Routine, purpose and journey play a significant part in making the choice to be intentional, so its frustrating when I run into a roadblock and I struggle to recognize it. The glasses are fogged up – I need them to be wiped clean so I can view clearly.
Clarity began with hearing a sermon a verse I have read before but it has taken on a much deeper meaning than ever before. In Luke 7:23 it says “And blessed is he who is not offended because of me.” (NKJV) As the pastor unpacked this verse a little bit, the point was made that Jesus did not want us to fall away, to be offended because of what happens in our life. When trouble comes, and we know that it will – James tells us that clearly when he speaks that we are to count it all joy when trials come our way (James 1:2). Life will not be easy at times, it will get difficult – the question is what will we do with it when it happens. I realized very quickly as I heard the sermon that I did not want my heart to grow hard in the midst of the hurt nor for me to lean away, avoiding it but rather to trust Jesus and to keep walking.
Clarity continued when I sat down and had coffee with a new friend. I had an opportunity to share part of my story. I found myself talking about what I was learning about forgiveness and a light bulb moment I had recently had. As I shared and afterwords I realized with stark clarity that I had allowed myself to be convinced to remain in a prison cell of my pain. That God had opened the door and wanted me to walk in freedom but the enemy wanted me to stay imprisoned. If he could keep me in the prison cell than I would miss out on what God was dong in my life to its fullest and experience joy as I should. As I wrestled and came to some conclusions about what God was asking me to do, I began to feel more and more freedom begin to be released in my heart. The roadblock was not completely removed but it was close.
The final pieces of the roadblock in my way turned out to be related to some fears and lies I was believing. When I walk with Jesus and let Him lead the way, I have learned that He tends to show me things and / or have me deal with certain areas of my life not in my time frame but in His. He knows best when I am ready to work with Him on it, or when I have the tools needed to be able to do my part in overcoming it. One of the tools that God used was a book called “Simplify” by Bill Hybel; this book in conjunction with reading my bible and working to follow Jesus were instrumental in removing the final pieces of the roadblock. In one of his chapters, Bill talks about fears and forgiveness. The forgiveness chapter had helped me process a forgiveness piece and give myself grace concerning the hurt I had experienced. The fear chapter was riveting – riveting because I arrogantly would have said I was not being paralyzed by any fears; they had all been dealt with. I was wrong, and as I prayed and sought to follow Jesus He revealed the fears and the lies I had been believing that were in the way. Here is what I learned as I let God open my eyes.
One of the first things I had to recognize was the truth – I am moving forward; the Enemy would have me think that I am not moving forward. If He can convince me that I am not in forward motion then I can sit and go in circles. I am not in the same place I was yesterday, a month ago or a year ago. I am choosing to follow Jesus.
Truth – lets look at the fear. Fear wanted me to believe that too much time has passed on me developing my passions for kingdom use. Fear wanted me to believe that my character is not ready for these passions to be rekindled. Truth says that God gave me these passions, these gifts, and if I keep my eyes on Him, if I listen and obey, if I walk with Him that He will use me. He will develop them and in His timing, His way they will be used as HE wants for His Glory. My job is to obey and listen. To trust and push fear out the window and follow.
Fear wanted to cripple my confidence. The enemy has blinded me from seeing clearly. My hurt had played into the lies I had been fed. I had chose to believe something I heard and discount other things said and not allow Jesus to be the final say on the matter. The result was me being guarded and cautious. Not trusting and not walking fully as God wanted me to be walking.
The taste of freedom is sweet. Refreshing. Renewing. To be released from the hold of fear, hurt, and lies over the spirit is powerful. Perspective changed.
God chose to allow me to experience what I have during my life. I have faith, trust, hope and believe that HE knows what He is doing. He has allowed me to have my unique experiences so that I can relate to others, so that I can grow, and so that He can heal and receive all the glory.
Monday morning rolled around and joy filled my heart. Confidence about what my next steps should be filled me. Excitement over what God has in store bubbles out.
Having an intentional Jesus focused & joy filled day happens when we rest, trust and believe in Jesus, when we follow Him, and when HE has His way with us. Routine, purpose and journey are three key words that I am learning impact my ability to choose to have these kind of days and not just now and then.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17
New King James Version Bible, Copyright 1996 Holman Bible Publishers and 1982 Thomas Nelson