We’re on vacation and thoroughly enjoying ourselves in Georgia and Florida. We were able to visit the Georgia Aquarium, and oh, I can’t wait to show you the pics! I was skeptical about what I might—or might not—see for the exorbitant price, but it was worth every penny.
This week’s “I Am” meditation required me to think about my response to life when it doesn’t work as I planned. Though I’ve not had the opportunity to experience rejection in ministry, I do have a testimony about life working differently than I’ve planned. Here are the questions:
I am going to present to you a little acrostic to begin our discussion today. What is your latest NLIP? (Not Like I Planned?)
How did you react to your NLIP? Are you still upset about it? Happy about it? Baffled by it? Explain.
Have you ever attempted to step into an area of ministry and found your desire rejected? Did this cause you to question God and yourself? Perhaps distrust what you perceived to be your calling?
Do you harbor any bitterness towards any individual or situation which you believe waylaid your best laid plans?
Have you had a life experience or trial that left you with a shaken faith because it ended in an NLIP? Please share if you feel free.
Based on Moses’ response of faith to his own rejection, how will you re-evaluate your own experiences or look at future ones differently if a NLIP presents itself?
At our church’s leadership conference, one of our associate pastors began to talk about writing a vision and making it plain. We were all challenged to list our goals in various areas, and I was so excited about stretching myself, even in the financial area. I was well on my way toward meeting my goal (but tired and worn out from working too much and neglecting my calling and ministry), when I mistakenly violated a work-related rule. To make a long story short, I was without contracts for six months. It was a harsh penalty, I thought, and I was bitter and angry. Also, in all my “Christian cockiness,” I had the nerve to get excited about God’s revenge on the people whom I felt had wronged me. It amazes me how we can convolute a situation to fit our version of justice and then have the nerve to pull Jesus into it.
If you notice a certain piece of my testimony, I spoke of prospering financially, but starving my ministry. Once I began to refocus on my ministry, I actually came to a point of being thankful that I wasn’t working. My ministry grew in unprecedented leaps and bounds, I grew tremendously through ministry to others, and slowly but surely, all that I felt I was losing was restored. It didn’t shake my faith (though years earlier it would have), but actually increased it. I am more and more convinced that the Lord will gently, and sometimes not so gently, remove those things that distract us from serving Him and His kingdom. Also, this removal, this pruning, is for our good, that we may trust Him to watch over every single aspect of our lives.
People often say to each other as a way of closing, “Take care of yourself.” The more I grow in Christ, the less I use, or even like, this phrase. He knows everything I have need of. I’ll let Him take care of me, and if it doesn’t happen like I planned, so much the better.