Tuesday, March 22, 2011

God's will?

The purpose of this blog is two-fold.

I'm doing the Relentless Acts of Justice through World Vision for lent this year. This week we are called to be vulnerable. As part of my challenge to myself, I've decided to share something with whoever reads this. Something personal.

Something that, exposed, will make me feel vulnerable.

In my time with the Lord yesterday, reflecting on the goals I've set for myself this lenten season, I realized something. I have always had a deep desire to be in the will of God. I've claimed that as the object of my ambition time and again, and yet... it dawned on me. I don't want to be in God's will because I want His best in my life. My desire isn't spurred on by the hope for utmost glory to God. No... no. My desire to be in God's will is out of fear. Fear that otherwise, I'll miss something. Fear that not being in His will means that my life won't be as "happy" as it could be.


When I realized this, I broke down. For the past month or so, I've felt very poor in spirit... which is something I'd been praying for, but what that feeling brings with it is more than I bargained for. Nonetheless, I've been humbled time and again, and even when I don't feel like pursuing God, even when I want to give up, I can look and see Him, every single step of the way. Loving me even though I'm a failure. Pursuing me even when there is nothing desirable about me.

And still, is my desire for Him actually hiding a desire for ME? I hope that isn't true, but I know that sometimes, it is. I should want to be in God's will, each moment, each breath, not because of what good it brings me, but because of the way it will glorify God.

So, about three hours after I had this come-to-Jesus, I get an email from a woman at Brook Hills. I applied about a month ago for an internship with this church, a position I wanted very badly. Turns out, they never received my application and have already made their selections.


I burst into tears and for five minutes just sat in my chair, sweaty from my run, feeling sorry for myself. But then I realized something. I triple-checked the address before I mailed it, and I put extra postage, just in case. There is NO reason that my application shouldn't have made it to Birmingham, right where it belonged.

Except that it didn't belong.

How often do we pray for signs of God's will and then miss every flashing light along the way? If this isn't a clear indicator, I'm not sure what else is. All along, I've been praying that God would close doors and open others, so I would know for certain what His will is. How gracious of Him?!

This isn't God saying, "Nope, sorry, Leigh... better luck next time." Rather, it's Him gently whispering, "Beloved, trust me. I have plans for your life so much better than your own. Allow me to glorify myself in you, and then you will truly live." It's silly, but I have to remind myself often that God does love me. I think sometimes in my mind I try to make God human, and so I expect Him to stop loving me when I mess up. But God is GOD. Therefore His love is perfect. Therefore nothing I do or don't do will make Him love me more or less. Therefore He never stops seeking to perfect the work He has begun in me... no matter my flaws. Just because I've fallen short of Him by obeying selfishly doesn't mean He's throwing in the towel.

Even more, I'm cognizant of the fact that God is omnipotent AND omnipresent. He's all-powerful, always present. Not just in OUR present, but all places at all times. Therefore, He doesn't just know the future - He's there. And He sees everything I don't, on a much grander scale than I could ever fathom. His sovereignty is so far-reaching... to the ends of the earth and the depths of my heart. My sorry little outline of the life I think I want pales in comparison to the role God has me playing in His story. So a turn I don't understand from my point of view is perfect on God's map.

It reminds me of the verse, Romans 8:28:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Notice it doesn't stop after "good" but goes on to say, "for those who are called according to his purpose." Yes, things work out for our good, but what is that anyway? Our good is our fulfillment, our abundant living (John 10:10) and that comes when we are fulfilling the purpose of God - ultimately, making Him famous.

Where I am now is a place of total humility, recognizing that God's plan is divine and mine is not, His will is sovereign and mine is not, my life is His, not my own. And I've just got to keep learning, by the power of the Holy Spirit, how to live out this faith that I profess, minute by minute and day by day.

God, you are all-powerful, almighty, gracious and wrathful. You hold all things together and you work all things for good. Please give me a teachable heart, that I might learn to follow you not out of fear but out of joy. Joy that you have chosen me to play a small role in the great story of your renown. I love you.


  1. Darling thank you for these words, they are anointed, I am praying for you.

  2. ahh leigh...so awesome. thank you so very much for the challenge and encouragement.