I have been deeply encouraged this past month in my walk with the Lord and in trusting where he has placed me. I have been feeling discontent for a long time now, I felt like I was going nowhere and was achieving nothing. This has been my constant prayer to the Lord, I wanted to understand why nothing seemed to be working out. I lay this before the Lord last Thursday night just before I went to bed. The next morning, the first video I watched spoke directly into my heart over this matter. I am going to link the video at the end of the blog, and I would highly recommend giving it a watch. It helped me to realise I was judging all my success off what the world calls success instead of comparing it to what God has called me to do. It helped me to realise everything I was doing now is purposeful. The blogs, ministry within the church and growing in my relationship with the Lord. It is all coming together to make sure God is given the glory and is being used to help people grow within their faith.
After watching this video, I have been taking time to reflect on how purposeful the last few months have been. I want to take time to share some of what I have been learning this year and I hope it will be an encouragement for us all, that our life is not being wasted if we are stepping into what God has called us to. It may not look like we are striving in what the world would call us to be doing but when we are walking faithfully and obediently with the Lord, there are blessings along the way.
Let us begin with the word of God and something the Lord revealed to me a few months ago. It was brought to the forefront of my mind as I talked with a friend, who was struggling with a decision on continuing to pursue something or in surrendering more for the Lord’s glory. In (Luke 5v1-11) we see Jesus get into the boat of Simon (Peter) to teach a large crowd. Then he asks Peter to throw the net over the side of the boat into the deep water for a catch. Simon is apprehensive about this because he has spent the whole night trying to get a catch but because Jesus tells him, he does. This leads to an enormous catch which led to the nets beginning to break. This was an incredible success for Simon’s profession, it would have brought in a lot of profit. Instead of celebrating this success, he falls to the feet of Jesus and asks for him to go away for he was a sinful man.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. (Luke5v10-11). Jesus had given the success which they had initially wanted. Instead of taking that success, Simon chose to leave it behind and step into the new calling, which Jesus had placed over his life. Like Simon, we can gain instant success or fame. We can even use the name of Jesus to get it but sometimes we are called to leave all our success and hopes down and step into uncertainty.
When we walk with Jesus, there will be hardship along the path. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16v33). We all have to make the choice, is it worth it to deny our security in worldly pleasures and foundations and choose to follow Jesus? To follow Jesus will lead to a lot of uncertainty because you are choosing to walk by faith and not by sight. Choosing to be rejected by people you know and do not know because you are not living in a way that is within the normal societal demands. This is truly what I have been learning this year, laying down more of me to gain more of Christ. I do not always get it right, but these are some of the things the Lord has been teaching me and guiding me in.
Firstly, I have been learning to be dependent on the Lord’s provision. This year after a few weeks of temp work I have not managed to secure a job. It was a huge hit for me, because as the months rolled on, I felt like such a failure. My prayers were turning into the need for a job, for that security and success. I have been someone dependent on making my own money so that I have security and can put it towards my needs and worldly pleasures. It led to a need to become more serious with my money as I still had bills to pay. In the past I have not always been the wisest with money, it was something I had to learn to be disciplined in. As I continued on without being able to get work, I started to focus on what God had placed in my hand. Firstly, it was my blog and secondly, it was the heart he has giving me for ministry; especially to see people grow and walk closer with Jesus. I started to focus on working with what I had and while I was not earning money while working, I was working on things that were purposeful. Learning to be dependent on the Lord, is learning that he provides at just the right time. Sometimes it is truly in beautiful ways. When the Lord provides, it is all for his glory and I could not be more thankful. I am thankful to see the community grow through this blog, especially in the past few months it has been a huge testament to God’s faithfulness.
Secondly, but still within the topic of dependency was losing my need for people’s attention and approval. Which is something I have been feeling convicted about for a while now but is something I have come to peace with. This issue was bad because I would instantly feel rejected or alone when people would not reply to my messages for days. I know this issue is attached to friendships in the past and how people chose to use me. When I was seeing this emerge in new friendships it brought a lot of anxiety. What has helped is learning to let go of that dependency to be accepted and knowing the difference between a close friend and someone who is mutual of just an acquaintance. It is learning to have boundaries within my own life, not being someone who gives all that I am to people who are not close-knit friends and would not have my interests at heart. It has been incredible to see how the Lord has worked in this area with me. I used to fear rejection immensely and sometimes it does come up to bite, but it does not have the power it used to. It has brought me closer to the Lord and has led to my identity being further built up in the Lord’s promises and truth over my life.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8v28)_
Overall, I have been learning the importance of laying down my life so I can walk with the Lord. I needed this time to realise how much I could lay down and life would carry on going. I needed to know what to let go of. There was little gain in putting all my hope in the security of worldly foundations. To leave behind and let go of anything which I thought was an absolute was a painful journey because I was deeply attached to it. In letting go it has allowed me to embrace a different way of living. Where I truly try to seek God in everything and to lay down my concerns and my worries at the feet of Jesus. As I have been learning and growing through this season, the blogs have come to reflect the process. It has been amazing to see how timely they were, impacting people who were going through similar struggles.
In laying down dreams and desires, does not mean I have become blank. I still have my personality, my characteristics, and my passions. The way I want to use them is not to glorify myself and to gain the approval of others, instead to glorify God. I do not always get it right, but I know that even in my brokenness there is nothing that can separate me from the love of God. There is nothing I can do to earn my salvation, Jesus paid it all so I could be free, and repentance leads to redemption.
It is still a process; I am incredibly thankful for these past few months and especially the grace of God. It truly has been so liberating even in all the mess of emotions. I would never say this year has been wasted because God has moved in such incredible ways through my life and I have seen how he has been so faithful through the lives of those around me. It was certainly not the year I expected but it was a year God showed up in incredible ways within my life.
I want to finish by praying for each of your reading this blog, especially if something has struck a chord while reading this.
Father, thank you for all your sons and daughters who are here right now. Thank you that you have placed them in a place in which you are able to move through their lives even within all the difficulties they face. Thank you, Father, you are constantly pruning them and transforming them into the people you have called them to be. May they not be afraid of the process and not afraid of leaving stuff behind. For what you have called them to, may not be easy but it will be better for them and for others in the long run. May they learn to cast far from them all the things that do not glorify you, not in their own strength but by your strength. May they know redemption and grace from you, as they walk closer with you and grow deeper in their love for you. May they constantly be faithful and obedient in all you call them to. For your name and your glory, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Message- I will be taking a three-week break and will be back in the final week of August. It will give me time to rest and grow and to come back with a fresher perspective. I will be working on an Instagram page, exclusively for this blog where I hope we will be able to come together as a community and interact with each other. It will be a place of prayer, of God’s truth, and of encouragement. May you take time to rest, to process your thoughts and have time with our Father. I am sending a lot of love to you and I am excited for what God has planned for the next few months. God bless, love Victoria. Xx
P.S. Here some books which have helped me through this season.
- The Bible
- Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller
- Wild and Free, Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan
- Scattered Servants, Alan Scott