Saturday, October 13, 2012

Nothing Else Will Do

Life is not always what we had hoped for. It can disappoint us and leave us feeling discouraged and hopeless. However, I can make the choice to be all I can be, despite my circumstances.

Last week, I felt frustrated with how my life has turned out thus far. I feel like I am not doing anything constructive in my relationships and my ministry. I was mulling over my frustrations in my head while driving and listening to Jesus Culture, when a song came on that really spoke to me. The lyrics say "My soul longs for you, nothing else will do." I got to thinking about the man singing those lyrics, Chris Qualia, and the life he lives. He is an incredible songwriter and musician. He has a very successful music career and ministry. He has an incredible wife and beautiful daughter. He lives in an amazing place and attends one of the best churches. He has everything I could ever hope for in life. Yet, he sings those lyrics and means it.

I sat there baffled. His soul longs for God. Nothing else will do. Not his marriage. Not his children. Not his ministry. Not his church. Not his home. Not his success. Nothing else will do. I realized in that moment that God was calling me to long after him, and that nothing else in my life will do. Even if I have the perfect life, my soul will still be longing after God. That is where joy, and peace, and happiness and fulfillment are found. It's not found in anything else. This doesn't mean I shouldn't still care for and tend to those other things, God wants me to be responsible for the things he has entrusted to my care, but it means that the state of those things in life does not determine my level of satisfaction. If I am fulfilled in God everything could be perfect or it could be a disaster and yet my heart would be full.

The next part of the song says "...and I believe you will come like the rain." When the rain comes, everything soaks it up and is saturated with the rainwater. In the same way, as my soul longs after God, he will not just give me a glassful of himself, but rather he will come like the rain, covering me, filling me, saturating me. Nothing else in life can do that. Nothing else can stimulate all of the senses, emotions, thoughts, and spiritual realm like the coming of Gods presence can. That is why He needs to be my only focus and my only desire. That is the way to a full and content life.

Tonight I began to reflect on certain relationships in my life that are heading in the wrong direction. I could choose to react in a way that lashes back at pain and frustration. However, I know deep down inside that no matter my reaction, there is nothing I can do to change anyone else or their behavior. If I respond in love and kindness, it has no effect. If I respond with bitterness and sarcasm, it has no effect. If I react with rage and hatred, it has no effect. My actions will never shape another persons behavior.

Knowing this, I know that what is most important in my life is walking in faith righteous before God. God cannot bless sinful behavior. He won't bless some one else's behavior, nor will He bless my sinful reaction to it. What He does bless is walking in love. "But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (Matthew 5:44 KJV)" If God is calling me to go the extra mile for people who are my enemies, how much more is he calling me to do for friends and family, even if they make poor choices and unintentionally do things which hurt me.

In light of that, I am making the choice to "be the better person." I know it won't make any difference whatsoever in what they do, but it makes a difference to me that I walk in a righteous manner before God. If I focus on seeking after him, I will be fulfilled, regardless of what is going on in my life. Not that it will be easy, and I know I will have to make the choice again and again to humble myself and be kind in the face of cruelty, but in the end, I know it will be worth enduring. God sees, and God has experienced what I am going through, and worse. He is my strength and my support, especially when he is asking me to do something that is so difficult.

I will not look to be satisfied by whether or not my actions make a difference in another person's life. Rather I will sow good seed in faith that God will bless me in return, regardless of the choices others make, and then be on the lookout for his favor to be poured out in my life.

I am so grateful that God takes the time to show me things that I can change about me so I don't become so entrenched in only seeing the faults of others. I am grateful that He has freed me from anger so I can walk in joy and peace, even when others don't. I am choosing to embrace the season I am in right now, and do all I can to glorify God with the life I have been given.