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Monday, September 19, 2011

All You Need

When Eddie first came home, I realized very quickly that the changing table was going to be my new battleground.  Eddie had short bowel syndrome and therefore had to be changed dozens of times per day.  He would often make a mess in the midst of a diaper change and I would have to clean up and start all over again.  Thankfully, he was my first baby so I did not realize how unusual this circumstance was and had a good spirit and positive attitude about it all.  Still, it was challenging.

So I made my diaper "work station" a place of inspiration.  I hung a bulletin board above the table and filled it with favorite bible verses, quotations, snapshots, anything that would bring me encouragement and inspiration when I looked at it.  Right smack dab in the middle I had a sheet of paper with the following words from John Lennon written on it:  "There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.  It's easy."  For those of you unfamiliar with Beatles lyrics (gasp!), these words of wisdom are from the song "All You Need is Love" and they are some of the truest words ever spoken.

Don't get me wrong; we all have choices.  And some of the options are bad and will end with us in places that God never intended us to be.  When we are living in disobedience, out of line with God's plan for us, we can be in dark, ugly places and it is anything but easy.  But during those times, we are not living in love.  We are not in communication with the One who is by His very nature nothing but all powerful, all encompassing LOVE.

I'm talking about when we actually have our spiritual acts together.  When we are actively seeking God's will for our lives.  When we are in relationship with Him, trusting Him, loving Him, and praying.  Not that we have to be perfect in our walks or that we have to be spending every free moment doing some act of worship or charity.  God knows we aren't going to be perfect; He doesn't expect us to be.  But when we are doing our best.

In those days with Eddie, I was doing my best to love God with all my heart.  I was doing my best to hear His voice and to obey it.  That is, truly, all we need.  If we are in that space, God will take care of us.  Maybe not the way we expected, but we can trust that whether we are having the best day of our lives or exhaustedly trying to get through one of the most difficult situations we have ever faced, we are exactly where we need to be.  And we can relax and rest in Him, no matter what.

When our circumstances get difficult, we say things get hard.  That is actually not accurate.  Things get hard because we start scrambling like crazy to solve the problem in our own power.  We start trying to "fix" everything and the effort is impossible, tiring, and, sadly, fruitless.  This seems like a depressing truth, but, stick with me, it's not.  It's actually the best news in the world.

God can take care of everything.  Period.  Our job in this world is to love Him and love each other.  That doesn't take an exhausting effort; it takes a change of heart.  It means taking our focus off of what we can do and focusing it instead on the One who can do all things.  It means accepting that where we are right now, financially, physically, circumstantially, is where we are meant to be and trusting Him for whatever is next.  It means we can stop exerting all our efforts in pursuit of our "goals."  It means we can kick back, smile, and take it easy.

I'm not encouraging sloth.  God has given you jobs to do.  But if you suddenly lose your day job, you don't have to freak out and try to figure out where/when you are going to get another one.  You have the option of praying, listening to God's direction, and obeying.  If He isn't giving you a clear direction, you can wait until He does.  Really.  It's that easy.

So much of our day to day stress comes from making plans and then having to remake our plans when the original idea doesn't work out.  It comes from projecting into what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, or even next year.  According to God's word, all of that planning and stressing is completely counterproductive and fruitless.  He says in Luke 12:25  "Who of you, by worrying, can add one cubit to His stature?"  We can't make ourselves grow, in height or in years, and we also can't make our bank accounts, our crops, or anything else grow without His grace.

We have a choice.  We can expend countless hours and an unbelievable amount of energy spinning our wheels or we can trust in a God who loves us.  All we need is Him.  He doesn't need our brainstorming, our helpful suggestions, or any effort beyond those that He has guided us to make.  He's really got it all under control.  We could spend our day anxious, discouraged and busy, busy, busy.  Or we could spend our day happy, relaxed and thankful in the presence of a God who loves us and is faithful to provide for every single one of our needs.

At the risk of being redundant:  it really is easy.  God is love and The Beatles were right; love is all you need.  If we will fully devote our selves and our efforts to loving God more perfectly, He will take care of the rest.  We will get so filled up that we will love others by default.  We will hear His calling so clearly that we won't have to fret over any decision or situation.  If we know that where we are, even if it's not exactly where we envisioned ourselves, is exactly where God needs for us to be, we can carry on with a quiet confidence and joyous assurance, knowing that all things are going to work together for our good.

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