I realized sometime at the beginning of Junior High School that to be successful (as defined by myself a 14 year old boy at the time) there were certain things required for success. I was determined I would be, do, or have those things. It seemed that with those characteristics people would like you, want, you or forgive you. I noticed that people including myself made allowances for indiscretions, made a fuss over even the simplest of accomplishments, and would do almost anything to be a part of this elite group. These are the things I decided I must have, “To be tall, have great hair, and incredibly handsome”. It is my personal observation I failed to accomplish even one of those critically important goals for success LOL.
As I now have a better view of the past (some 40 years later) it seems a bit humorous and sad all at the same time, to realize how much time and effort was put into a desire with so little return on investment. I would like to say that my adult life has been filled with avoiding some of those same choices, but anyone knows that’s not so. I now understand that it is sometimes necessary to struggle through what I want, only to realize what I wanted so much, was of no value.
As human beings we some how choose to listen to those ongoing appeals or messages that all we need to be_______ is ________. Just like what seemed to matter at 14 has not served me well at 54. When the focus is on self, it is a never ending search for fulfillment, completion, or satisfaction. Living requires a destination, somewhere to be, something to do, something to accomplish outside of self. A place a cause or goal, something to be a part of. A focus, or commitment, a purpose, and a meaningful direction.
It takes commitment and determination to set aside self and follow. To follow is not comfortable, or popular. It often means setting aside “those things” that are familiar. In Priscilla Shirers book “And We Are Changed Encounters with a Transforming God” Moody Publishers 2003 (as I have stated before one of my absolute favorites). Chapter 7 Page 91-104 The Danger of Distractions she puts a face on ‘those things”. The chapter ends with:
“When we meet with God, the things that used to be important to us should become dim and meaningless in the presence of One so grand. His will for us should always supersede what we desire for ourselves. The will of God is the only place where we can discover true freedom in this life. This means that our priorities must be changed. We must not let anything get in the way of our focus on what the lord asks us to do.”
In 2002 after having a MRI I was told I had a brain tumor and would require major surgery (I will share more at a later date). I was staying with my Mother for several days in case there were side effects from the medication they had given me prior to surgery. I had been praying and reading my Bible over several days for comfort and peace prior to the day of the surgery. The morning of, I had to get up at 3:00am to be at the hospital by 6:00am. After getting myself ready I sat down for a few minutes to read my Bible.
I was admittedly fearful of the outcome and had never faced anything like that in my life. After looking and reading over the same scriptures in Psalms numerous times this one just jumped out. It grabbed my attention like never before. It still speaks to me personally ever time I read it and reminds me that God loves me and where my joy, happiness, and fullness of life exist, in His presence!
A good outcome, a redirected focus, away from the familiar, and more on Him.
1:Keep and protect me, O God, for in You I have found refuge, and in You do I put my trust and hide myself.
2: I say to the Lord, You are my Lord I have no good beside or beyond You.
3: As for the godly (the saints) who are in the land, they are the excellent, the noble, and the glorious, in whom is all my delight.
4: Their sorrows shall be multiplied who choose another god. Their drink offerings of blood will I not offer or take their names upon my lips.
5: The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion, mu cup; You hold and maintain my lot.
6: The lines are fallen for me in pleasant places; yes I have a good heritage
7: I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel yes my heart instructs me in the night seasons (times of trouble).
8: I have set the Lord continually before me because he is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
9: Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory (my inner self) rejoices my body to shall rest and confidently dwell in safety
10: For You will not abandon me to Sheol (the place of the dead), neither will You suffer Your holy one to see corruption (Acts 13:35).
11: You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Acts 2:25-28, 31.)
May God bless your life as you pursue him! May Gods love and kindness direct you as we are renewed and strengthened as he does a new thing in our lives, the journey to our new life is on foot, led by the Spirit and Gods Word, to serve Him, and others.