“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,” II Timothy 1:9 (NIV)
I’ve spoken in the past that when God wants to get my attention, He uses several different ways to speak the same message to me. This past summer, while pressing in to hear God’s voice, my Father shared another truth that He wanted to remind me about. This one focused on being myself.
Every January our family prays and fasts, dedicating the whole year to God and refocusing our priorities. Each January since starting our journey toward fulfilling His purpose in our lives, God has given me a goal. Many times it was the number of books He wanted me to publish, sometimes it was a specific book He wanted me to publish and other times it was other things centered around fulfilling His purpose. January 2016 found me without a goal given by God. I didn’t hear a number, I didn’t hear a specific book, I didn’t hear anything really in regard to my writing journey. So… I thought I might have just missed the connection and created a goal for myself. It was one that God had given in prior years and seemed doable.
I also decided that maybe I needed to reengage in guest blogging and reached out to see which ones would be willing to let me write regularly. I received the information but then it sat in my inbox, waiting until I had time to respond, which still hasn’t happened eight months later.
In addition, sometime in the spring, I heard God remind me of what my priorities needed to be: Him first, then my husband, then my children followed by job/ministry, extended family and friends. He was very clear that if I had to choose between spending time with friends or my children, I needed to keep my children the higher priority. I thought about it and realized that too many times when asked to do something, I would say “yes” and think, “It’s just this once, my family will understand,” and then have nothing left to give them, physically or emotionally. God opened my eyes to show me it happened more than “just this once” and it was something I needed to change now, not wait until it was too late. My family needed to know that they were my priority, not last on my list.
A few months later, I felt a stirring on my heart that maybe, just maybe God was telling me I’m in a season where my family needs to be a bigger priority than fulfilling His purpose in the community. I wanted confirmation from Him that if I chose to obey in this area, to an extent laying down my passion now, that He would give it back to me even bigger later, when my kids were older and parenting wasn’t so hands on. However, while I felt the stirring that I needed to lay it down at least partially, I never felt the second half of the promise I wanted to hear. I never heard confirmation that God would give it back. However, I couldn’t deny that I felt God telling me I needed to let go of my goals and instead listen closer to what His goals were for me in this season with my writing.
Come back next time and I will show you how God took all these pieces of conversation and showed me some truths that I could hold on to, some truths that I hope will encourage you in whatever journey God currently has you on.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016