In January 2008 Matthew West released the song, The Motions. Little did he know when he wrote that song that it would change the course of my life and become a bookmark in my story. From the very first time I heard the words my heart was convicted and my prayers changed.
The song began with....
"This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life
I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?"
Quickly this song became the rhythm of my heart. I woke up each day and as I drove my kids to school it played on repeat. The words became a prayer that I repeatedly prayed. I wanted God to do something in me. I wanted a work done in my life because I wasn’t content with the complacent life I was living.
At this particular stage in my life I was dealing with a lot of different things. I had been in an unhealthy and unsafe marriage for 13 years. I was surrounded by a lot of superficial relationships. My life was lacking true community and a safe place to go for help. I was at a place where I knew something had to be different. I knew God wanted His best for me and I knew that my current situation had to change and so I began to pray.
I was uncertain as to what would come next but I knew it was going to be hard. I recognized then that by asking God to do a work in my life meant there would be a battle ahead. Nothing could have prepared me for what was in store. I had no clue the roller coaster ride I was about to embark on but as I sit back today on this New Year’s Eve and look at the road that I traveled I am ever so thankful God heard my prayer. He knew I no longer wanted to live a restless life. And I prayed hard to get out of that complacent state I found myself. And as I prayed i added that my life going forward never become complacent again.
Unfortunately life takes turns and things happen and we fall into situations that we don’t see coming. I had prayed and prayed that my life not become complacent but I am sad to say that I let it happen again.
Now deep down I don’t think I recognized my life had become complacent. Instead, I think that after a few years of some severe storms I finally found myself on top of the mountain experiencing peace and victory. The problem is that I became too comfortable on top of that mountain. I liked my life the way that it was. My kids were good. My marriage was good. I had a good community and a safe place to land. I was involved in my church and life was moving at a leisurely pace. I was so comfortable. But though life was good, something within me had become restless again. I felt unsettled. Maybe I knew I had settled into a rut. I wasn’t being challenged. My faith wasn’t growing. I needed an awakening. But I didn't know I needed an Awakening.
Now I can tell you that I did not ask for an awakening like I had done 10 years earlier but it happened. I think this was one of those moments where my restlessness was my own doing because I was standing in the way of myself. As I now look back I know that God knew it was time for me to wake up. He knew I didn’t want to stay in the place of complacency. He created me, and because He created me He knows the deepest desires of my heart. And He knows that my desire is to follow Him and to live a life that is consumed by Him. But in those days that’s not how I was living. And so tragedy entered and the waves began to move.
Almost 10 years ago I specifically cried out to God and said, “Move in me. Do what needs to be done to draw me closer to you.” However 2 1/2 years ago I wasn’t asking for that. But God knew that I was in the way of myself. My complacency had allowed me to settle in and get comfortable with life. I no longer focused solely on Him because I had become less reliant on Him to get through my day. But God knew that if I stayed settled and bunkered down that I would truly suffer later from a lack of His touch in my life. This meant that He allowed suffering to enter so that devastation wouldn’t drown me because a false sense of security that can come from living a comfortable life is leaps and bounds worse than going through the process of suffering.
Because God loves us and wants our best He knows we have to go through the fire. This fire looks different for everyone but it means moments of disappointment and hurt. It means pain and unmet expectations. God allows these moments of suffering so that we learn how to be fully reliant on Him and draw closer to Him.
And because I had forgotten how to be fully reliant on Him and life had gotten too easy, He knew I needed a wake up call.
It’s much like training for a marathon. If we want to win the race we can’t lay on the couch all day. We have to get up and move. We half to exercise as a way to gain physical strength. And it is much the same way spiritually. We have to be poured into circumstances that might be difficult so that we can gain spiritual strength. Because it’s in the moments of our disappointments and difficult times that transformation occurs where our minds begin to think more biblically, we process those things around us through Truth more instinctively, and we learn to trust God more completely. During this process we have to get rid of things such as fear, complacency, weakness and hopelessness because those things lead to the thinking as the world thinks. Scripture tells us that to think like the world will lead to death. It will lead to the death of hope, the death of peace and the death of joy. But if we think like Jesus then new life is breathed into us and His peace will flow through us (Roman's 8:5-6).
Making that first move off the couch is not always fun nor is it at the top of our list of things to do. Much like moments of disappointment and pain are not something we would willingly ask for. But being uncomfortable and allowing life to become chaotic for a time may be the only hope we have in truly knowing what God wants us to see and His way of teaching us to solely trust in Him no matter what we face. We are called to be like Jesus. And through His suffering He became more and more aligned with God and less and less with the ways in which humanity dealt with circumstances and suffering.
If you want to know God’s will, God’s perspective and the good God has in store for you then you simply have to ask. And when you ask and invite Him into your circumstances He is faithful to answer. He will pour into your circumstances things such as strength, peace, courage and the ability to overcome. He will pour into your circumstances whatever is needed to help you grow in those areas and He will infuse you with the very things you have asked of Him. And it is good to desire these things because they cause maturity within us and though the process that must be completed in order to acquire these attributes may not always feel good at the time they will lead to good things because you’ll be living out the very best of what God has planned for you.
So as we enter into a new year ask yourself, "What is my life missing? What would God have of me in 2019?"
As you start off the new year invite God into your story. The ride may be bumpy and a little bit scary but it will forever change your life and the way you walk ith Jesus!