Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Process That Has Been 2014

Reading Philippians 1:6 sparked me to reflect on everything God has done this past year, and look forward to what He's going to do in my life in 2015!

Philippians 1:6 - And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

(From my Life Application Bible Footnotes -- Do you sometimes feel as though you aren't making progress in your spiritual life?  When God starts a project, he completes it!  God will help you grow in grace until he has completed his work in your life.  When you are discouraged, remember that God won't give up on you.  He promises to finish the work he has begun.  When you feel incomplete, unfinished, or distressed by your shortcomings, remember God's promise and provision.  Don't let your present condition rob you of the joy of knowing Christ or keep you from growing closer to him.)

Reflecting on this past year, I'm thankful for all of the changes in my life and I am confident that through all of it, God has continued to do a work in me, making me more like Jesus.

  • Leading BridgeWay through Interim - I learned to listen to the Holy Spirit's leading in a deeper way.  I learned to listen to others better.  I became more patient.  I got better at encouraging others.  I learned to just be comfortable with being me at all times.  And I learned all kinds of other leadership stuff.
  • Making the Decision to go to Medford - Anytime you put yourself out there to take a step of faith knowing you are doing exactly what God is calling you to do...yeah...you're gonna grow from that step.
  • Watching Chris Sacrifice His Career for Our Call - I've never been so humbled in my life.  Chris willingly laid down his position at his job, his life, in order for us to obey and do what God was calling us to do.  He did it with so much quite strength and poise that I couldn't help but be humbled and overwhelmed by it.
  • Moving to Medford - I don't think I've ever prayed so hard in my whole life, we fasted and prayed about the sale of our home, we encountered one obstacle after another leaving it beyond clear that "God sold our home".  I've never felt so exhausted spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally ever before.  I am so thankful for those at BridgeWay who sacrificed their time and dollar to send us off well.  God used the church and some time spent with family to rejuvenate us to be able to go.  They sent us off and commissioned us well.  We also clung to the later part of Isaiah 40 where it reminds us that we serve a God who is bigger than anything we face and that He is our source of strength.  I've learned to lean in heavy on that strength and know I'm not even close to the person I used to be.  I used to freak out and worry over the dumbest things.  And now it's like the big stuff doesn't rattle me...or at least like it used to.  I know where my help comes from, where my strength comes from, and there's a quiet confidence, joy, and optimism that comes from that.   
  • Studying Optimism - Speaking of optimism, it's actually been a personal study habit of mine lately.  As I do my devotional time, I've become attuned to stop and pay attention to words like joy, hope, looking ahead, and optimism.  Did you know Jesus was a wild optimist?  Did you know his disciples were wild optimists?  By nature and personality I'm more of skeptic than is healthy for me as a leader and follower of Christ for that matter.  So, I've been on about a 6 month journey of choosing optimism and being attuned to when I'm being skeptical.  I have a feeling I'm going to be on that journey for quite a while.  But I'm finding joy in the process.

I'm sure there are many more attitudes, words, and behaviors that'll surface over the next year that are not yet like Jesus.  I do realize God's work in me is yet to be completed.  Yet I look to this next year with joy and anticipation.  Leaning in towards every challenge ahead.  Knowing if for nothing else, God will use those challenges to make me more like Jesus.  Looking forward to 2015!