“And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.” I Kings 8:61 (NIV)
I’ve talked a lot about surrender and what that means lately. I’ve also shared that my family and I have been praying for something specific for the past six years, and believing and hoping and having faith God is getting ready to answer that prayer in a very big and mighty way.
While I still believe God is going to show up and answer that prayer, He decided to take what He taught me in Spoken from the Heart: Journey of Complete Surrender, Day 19, “Hating it with the Right Attitude”, and taking that lesson to the next level.
I have been wrong, with my focus and with my attitude. While I was waiting for God’s answer, believing He was going to change my circumstances, I lived differently. More with the mindset of having suitcases packed and ready at the door instead of taking up residence and “blooming where God has me planted now.”
My Father reminded me I did the same thing earlier in my life. My sister and her family had a chance to relocate to another state for a job when I was in my young 20s. I was invited to come along and due to circumstances, readily agreed. While I was part of the unpacking process and fixed up my room and settled in, I never “unpacked my suitcase” mentally. I was of the mindset that my living with them was a short layover and soon I would be married and living in my own house, starting a family with my husband, etc.
Because of that mindset, I was miserable. I didn’t allow myself to get too comfortable because I felt in transition; yet, I didn’t have a boyfriend so I wasn’t transitioning into anything. My mental suitcases were packed with nowhere to go.
Someone recommended a book for me to read and it completely changed my focus. I decided to put down roots and embrace my singlehood, not knowing how long God planned this season, but choosing to trust His timing was perfect. My sister and I had a great time redecorating my room (I had never decorated it in the three years I’d lived with them, not even put anything on the walls), buying furniture and making it mine.
Two months later, God introduced me to my now-husband through my sister and his best friend (they worked together). Two years later we married. I’m so grateful God changed my mindset before I met my husband and I lived those two years I had left in my sister’s home making memories and enjoying belonging instead of continuing to live with a suitcase packed.
God reminded me that’s what I’ve been doing with this situation our family has been in for the past six years. Living out of a suitcase gets old. Living with a mindset that you’re in transition for years is exhausting. People are meant to belong, and I missed that important lesson because I felt having faith meant living ready to go.
God has shifted my mindset this week. I’m still completed surrendered to His plan, maybe even more so. I know God has a plan and that involves Him and a miracle. However, until He decides to show that miracle, my job is to continue to be connected to those around me. To find the blessings and the lessons in the place God has placed me now. To enjoy friendships, connections, live life with purpose and more importantly, with joy.
Truth is, when I live out of a suitcase too long I get grumpy. And God showed me very lovingly this week my testimony lately has been showing how long I’ve lived out of a suitcase. When I die, I don’t want to stand before God and hear about how I missed out on opportunities He gave me “during the suitcase phase.” But more importantly, I don’t want to hear Him tell me how many people I discouraged or pointed to a wrong description of God because I walked around complaining, grumpy, and discouraged due to my suitcase mindset.
I asked for forgiveness this week. I told God I now understood what it meant to live fully surrendered, believing He was going to work the miracle we have been praying for, and how necessary it was to unpack the suitcase and embrace the life He is giving me to enjoy now.
You want to know the best part? Joy is returning. I didn’t think I would have joy when nothing has changed if one were to look at my circumstances. But joy has returned because my thinking has changed … and that truly makes all the difference in the world.
I know God is going to move situations in our lives and when He does it will be amazing. But you know the best part? Nothing has changed in our situation and I can still say my life is pretty amazing, now that I’m all in!
© Cheri Swalwell 2019