Becoming steadfast in the chaos
Hearing God in the Garden: A summer blog series
I had the privilege of recently being at a conference with an amazing group of women. As women, we tend to inquire about the interest of the ones around us. What do you do for a living? Are you married? Do you have children? What are your hobbies, etc., etc., etc? On one particular day, I had a conversation with one of these women and when asked what I like to do in my free time, I listed a few of my interests, one of which was gardening. She laughed a little, told me a story about her first garden, and ended up admitting that she gave it up because it was just too much work. As I walked back to my hotel room that night, that comment was still ringing in my ears. “I would do it if it just wasn’t so much work.”
So let me just be totally transparent with you –gardening is a lot of work. It takes time, attention, and patience. And again, in total honesty –I am not overflowing with any of those in my life. So why do I dedicate so much energy to gardening? Quite simply, I enjoy it, it matters to me, and it is an important aspect of my life.
As you are reading this, I want you to think of one thing –just one, that you enjoy doing. Maybe it is jogging or exercising. Maybe it is reading or writing. Maybe it is painting or creating. Next, I want to ask you this: once you commit to a workout, reading a book, writing a story, painting a picture, or creating a project –what wills you to finish it? If you are like me, you finish because it’s the beginning, middle, and end that brings some sort of satisfaction or fulfillment to your day. It takes commitment, consistency, and perseverance.
I will tell you that my favorite stage of gardening is the beginning. It is so fresh and new. The weeds have not popped up their ugly little heads, the plants are perfectly positioned in the right spot, and the harmful elements of the seasons have not influenced them. And honestly, I am filled with excitement for the end result. But what happens when my garden does not go as planned? What happens when the storms knock it down? What happens when I walk out one morning to find that, overnight, the green worm has destroyed my tomatoes (for all of you who have planted tomatoes, you know what I am talking about)? Am I just dedicated to my garden when its produce is flawless? No! Why not? Because it is important to me.
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
Steadfast –immovable –always abounding. I love this so much! I looked up the definition of steadfast from the Miriam Webster dictionary. Steadfast is defined as firmly fixed in place, not subject to change, and firm in belief and determination. It does not however say that we are immovable if situations are optimal and abounding when life goes the way we expect it to. Sisters, it says that we are FIRMLY FIXED IN PLACE AND NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
Our dedication to Christ should be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding. Just like the garden, there are outside elements that just take their toll on us. Work becomes unrewarding, friendships become exhausting, family becomes disappointing, and situations become heartbreaking. But God…HE is our safe place. He is the one that never fails us. He is the one that meets us smack dab in the middle of our pain, hurt, and brokenness. Friends, He is your portion.
“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24
I love the first word of this sentence… only. In all honestly, I cannot pretend to know every unfortunate circumstance that you find yourself in today. Goodness…. life is just gifting them in abundance. But what I can tell you with full assurance is that regardless of the place you find yourself in today –God is your portion, and He is absolutely, 100% enough. So, what do we do with that? We serve him faithfully with all our hearts! This broken world that we live in will guarantee us a plethora of harmful elements, weeds, and ugly little green worms that are determined to destroy our fruit, it’s just inevitable. But God –He is enough. He is our sustainer, our comforter, our peace, our protection, our friend, and most importantly our Savior and Redeemer.
1. Are you struggling with the devastation of the broken world around you?
2. Do you feel defeated by the elements that surround you?
3. Have you tried to find fulfillment first in the world instead of the God of the Universe?
4. Are you steadfast in your walk with Christ?
My hope today is to offer you clarity and encouragement. Your answer to the last question above is the determinant. It’s the answer to it all. But even if you tell me that yes, you are steadfast in your walk with Christ, unfortunately, I cannot promise you that the sadness of this world will not coexist with your surroundings. But what I can promise you is that Christ is still there waiting for you with open arms. For the ones that answered no, I pray that what follows helps and encourages you. We will never be able to control all of the many variables that come and go throughout our days, but we can introduce the constant. By that, I mean that we become steadfast in our walk. Regardless of what is going on around us –we seek Him and His plan for our lives daily. We give Him the first and the best of everything that we have. And lastly, we surrender our lives completely to HIM.
You see, my love for my garden does not change just because there is work involved or time that needs to be invested to make it worthwhile. How can we say that we love someone or something, but then say that we do not have time for it in our days? We make time for what matters the most –plain and simple. Christ deserves our first and our best even on our worst days. And in return for the giving of our time to Him, He meets us there with peace, promise and security.
My passion also does not change because that little green worm brought about destruction. That little green worm just made me more determined to find ways to bind out the enemy. If you find yourself amidst tragedy and heartache today, let your Father fight for you. Lay down at the feet of the One who loves you so much that He gave up His life for yours. If you are lost on where to start, here are some practical ways to drown out the sadness that is hindering you.
Before your feet hit the floor in the morning, surrender your day to Christ…. every single day.
Start your day off by studying your Bible.
Pray without ceasing
Surround yourselves with people that can offer healthy support and encouragement to you.
This week, the daily readings will focus on being steadfast in your walk with God.
If you have questions or things that you don't understand, please email them to me and I will add them to the Q&A section. I can't promise you that I will have all of the answers, but I can promise I will do my best to find them if I don't have them.
Growing in God
Would you like a tool to encourage your growth in God? Check out my newly released 12-month spiritual disciplines book/journal. This journal will give you a brief understanding of 8 tangible spiritual disciplines as well as give you a space to implement these disciplines into your daily walk with God.