December #jammed: Free Grace.
Day 364: Empty Buckets
“The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5
“What if I never actually surf,” I joked, “It’s a possibility!”
Monday morning Bible study prepares and leads me.
“What if God just wants to teach me something through the process of preparation?”
It’s a possibility. And it wouldn’t be the first time.
I’ve trained for a marathon before, making it through the last training run, but never to the starting line. The pain of injury, embarrassment, and discouragement was miraculously never able to overtake the lessons God laced into those faithful strides and Jesus-partnered miles.
Today’s verse reminds us what our buckets should be full of …Him.
“Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.” Philippians 4:5-6 (VOICE)
It’s hard to keep our “gentle nature” when things are not going our way. There are things we want to be able to do, and when we can’t it’s frustrating. How do we attempt that seemingly impossible smile in the face of defeat?
“The Lord is ever present with us.”
Somehow we forget that He is there in our failed attempts, too. The discouragement we feel when we fail is hard. But that’s not what it looks like from God’s point of view. We get so caught up in what we think it will look like to achieve the task He’s given us, that we forget to throw our timeline.
“Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything.”
How often do we do that? Stop and spin on our heals to pray. That’s not our natural reaction to failure. We limp due to our fractured state, and immediately melt down in self defeat. It can cause us to question everything about our dedication to God.
“Was I just a wimp?”
“Did I just quit …again?”
“Am I a quitter?”
“Maybe …” might be the response. “But I love you anyway, and I’m not worried about it.”
“He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.”
When we set new resolutions and goals every year, none are goals we don’t intend on achieving. If talk to God about our goals before rushing to fill in our brand new planners and calendars, He’s able to readjust our perception of what the deadline should be. A goal could linger on for a long time without a check mark or a line through it …but that doesn’t mean we’re not getting a little closer to it with each passing year.
The key to joy in this life is know that “the Lord is near.” To our victories and our failures. Through our pain and our celebration. Every time we check something off of our bucket list, He adds something else. The point of life isn’t to check everything off and then just sit around and wait to go to heaven. The creator of time is not in the business of wasting any of it.
WE are to be good stewards of our time, not looking forward to nothing left to do …but finding joy in the pursuit of holiness.
Each day He has something for us to do. If we do the best we can to see Him in it and to bring Him along on our daily journey, we’ll never look back and wonder what the purpose for any of it was. We may not understand it …but Jesus died for us to believe in Him …not to be perfect. He’s got that covered.
Father, Praise You for bucket lists, and thank You for growing us through every goal an aspiration You plant in our hearts to achieve. We love You. Forgive for days when we feel like the cross isn’t enough. Bless us to live lives that reflect Your love, and Your Son. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace!
Happy Bucket Listing,
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