In the last six years since I accepted Christ and began following him, my life and WHO I AM has changed dramatically. I am not just talking about getting married seven months ago and forming a new ministry — those are two dreams God has put on my heart — I’m talking about seeking God and becoming who God intends for me to be. It is the transformation process that is the miracle; the dreams and prayers he answers along the way are added blessings! This is an ongoing transformation process and, praise God, he’s not done with me yet! The beauty of going on this dream adventure with God is that he is never done with you. But in order to follow those God-sized dreams, a few things needed to happen for me . . I needed to be transformed.
I have had many tender desires in my life, but some were bigger, deeper, and more vulnerable than others. For most of my life, my most tender desire was that I would not be alone in this world — that God would have designed me for a relationship, for marriage. I spent most of my life seeking the solution for my loneliness on my own, trying to fill that hole with anything I could get my hands on . . . mostly food, sometimes alcohol, sometimes physical intimacy with men. My seeking in the wrong places led to low self-esteem, because every single time my seeking failed to fill that void. I didn’t realize until I came to know Jesus in 2008 that I could never fill that hole on my own because it is a God-sized hole. If fact, God placed that void in each of us in order to draw us to him. It is our own weaknesses and lack that draw us to God because we need him, his strength and his abundance, to thrive in this life.
Acts 17:27 (NIV) God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
What are you lacking in your life? What is the hole that you keep trying to fill unsuccessfully?
In order to become “A Dreamer,” you first need to become “A Seeker.” You are already a seeker of something; even today you are seeking something to fill the voids in your life. Have you tried seeking God first? I grew up Catholic out of a sense of heritage — for me, it wasn’t about a relationship with God; it was about obligation for us in my family. Long story short, I had a bad experience with a priest shortly after I had my son. Over time, I became very cynical about Christians in general. In fact, my friends and I made fun of Christians with fun nicknames; my favorite being “Feisty Christ-y” (that one still makes me giggle.) Everyone in my immediate circle questioned and had varying opinions about God, but no one I knew seemed to have the absolute truth about God.
In 2007, I hired Pam Nelson as my assistant. Pam is a strong and gentle believer. She wore peace like a garment and was rooted in her faith. Deep down, I thought Christians were dumb, close-minded, and brain washed, but Pam was different (she was also the only one I’d ever really gotten close to). She believed that truth was not relative — that truth was knowable and absolute. I didn’t know Jesus, but I knew I wanted that peace. I was stubborn and, ironically, close-minded, so even though I was seeking this peace I refused to surrender my life. And even after I understood the logic of Jesus, I didn’t accept that he was my savior. I was scared of the pull I felt from Jesus and scared of giving up control to this unknown God. So instead I rebelled and made some really bad choices (specifically in men). That is when I hit bottom and decided in late 2008 to read the novel The Shack — which, for me, was the analogy I needed to understand the Trinity and God’s unconditional love. On November 17, 2008, I accepted Christ, felt the waves of love wash over me, and made a vow to allow Christ to change my life.
It turns out that even though I judged Christians, I really did not know God, Jesus, or the Truth. I based my opinions on the fervant and cynical judgments of others. Why was I so willing to accept their criticism and half-baked opinions of God but unwilling to seek the truth for myself? In retrospect, seeking the truth when it comes to God is counter-cultural. When I accepted Christ, I decided to really seek out and learn who he says he is. Not who others say he is but what the Bible says about who he is.
Think about someone you trust. You trust them because you know them and you know they have your best interests in mind. When someone breaks your trust, one of your first thoughts is usually, “I didn’t know them as well as I thought I did.” Most people don’t trust God, but they’ve also never bothered to get to know him for themselves. They trust other people’s opinions about God but they don’t seek to know him for themselves. As a result, they don’t understand that God is good! We make bad choices and blame him for the consequences. Others hurt us and we blame him for allowing it. However, God can and will work all things — all consequences — out for good. In the Bible, God promises that if you seek him earnestly, he will be found. If you seek, you shall find him.
Deut. 4:29 (NIV) But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
What do you think would happen if you started by becoming a Seeker of God instead of the other things you listed above?
If you don’t trust God, it may be because you have never truly sought him out. And before you think this is just a problem that non-believers or new believers have, I assure you this problem everyone encounters. I am amazed at how God can answer incredible prayers in my life and within days I am already acting as if I don’t know and trust him with my life. I am a fickle-minded human. When things in my life get really off-track, I can look back and realize that I am not spending enough (or any) time seeking him. In fact, as I write this I am convicted because there are areas of my life where I am not trusting God. Ironically, those areas are usually the same areas where our most tender desires reside. For me, right now, my most tender desire is to be pregnant and for my husband Dale and I to have a healthy baby. Because I’m not fully trusting God in this area, my anxiety about it is high. But before I tackle the issue of trusting him in that area, I need to ask myself if I’m spending enough time seeking to know him, his character, and his will for my life. I know I am not . . .so first, I know that I need to become “A Seeker” again.
There are many ways to seek God, but the best way to gain access to him and his character is through his Word:
Hebrews 13:8 (ESV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
2 Peter 3:9 (ESV) The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
1 John 1:5 (ESV) This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
Matthew 6:26 (ESV) Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they
Isaiah 41:10 (ESV) Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
1. God promises that if you seek him, you will find him, and yet many people don’t take the time to find (and really know) God. Why do you think people don’t seek God for themselves?
2. Do you trust God in general? Do you trust God with every area of your life? If your answer is no, list the areas where you’re not trusting God.
3. As you read the verses above, list three things you can learn about God from these verses.
4. Which verse speaks to you today and why?
ACTION Challenges for this week:
1. Some time this week as you find yourself seeking something (food, alcohol, gossip, shopping, or anything to fill that hole inside of you), turn to read a verse from God’s Word or spend a few minutes praying instead. Just do it once and see how it feels.
2. Read the Gospel of John. If you’ve never read anything in the Bible before, this is a great place to start. Even if you have been reading the Bible for years, the book of John explains God’s LOVE and that is the basis we all need to begin again to TRUST.
3. If you grew up in a legalistic religion that discouraged your questioning and encouraged you to earn your way to Heaven through being “good enough,” I urge you to watch this video sermon by Andy Stanley called “Good Enough.”