The pattern of this world

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IMG_9223Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

I’ve been on vacation this week. It’s my last deep breath before fall hits with new intern applications, recruitment at colleges, and Camp Meeting/Fall Conference in the Czech Republic. I am SO excited about all that this fall holds, and SO thankful for all that God accomplished this past summer. This week away was a perfect time to rest, reflect on all He has done, and to allow Him to prepare my heart for all that is to come.

I began the week in Florida with dad, and I’m ending it in Fort Wayne with my sweet puppy asleep on top of my cold toes. My time with dad in Florida was wonderful! Incredibly hot and humid- but I love hot and humid! We had a sad start to the week as his kitty Zoey was diagnosed with an inoperable stomach tumor and had to be put down. Goodness, it’s crazy how much these sweet pets wiggle their way into our hearts. Makes me hug my Casper a little tighter, knowing how short a time we have together.

I haven’t written in awhile- I feel like I update you pretty regularly with newsletters about how things are with Josiah Venture, and these past few months have felt less like a time of new lessons from God and more like a time of settling in to the changes He’s made in and around me over the past few years. (If you don’t get my newsletters and want to, you can sign up here)

One of the lessons He has been teaching me (and it has been a particularly hard one to learn!) is the idea of resting in Him. I really want to control as many aspects of my life as possible, and when I cannot control things I WORRY. I toss and turn at night worrying about if these uncontrollable aspects of my life (and other people’s lives) will work out ok. I say that I’ve given these things to God- but I worry worry worry about them.

I think God has taken extreme measures to pry my fingers off of things I try to control. I think extreme measures are sometimes necessary for those of us who think we need to help Him run things 🙂

He took away my job in medicine three years ago (can you say “worry”!?!), He sent me to work with the Navajo- with people I didn’t know and in a culture I didn’t understand (but learned to LOVE!), and he made me wait until the VERY LAST MINUTE to provide a job with Josiah Venture.

When I considered working with a mission organization, I told God I would be happy to go wherever He needed me- but to please not ask me to raise support. He asked me to raise support- to essentially become completely financially dependent on Him (which I was before- but thought I had control over!) Then he allowed mom to get cancer- and no amount of worrying and planning on my part could change things for her- or for us.

Last Wednesday I went to church with dad and the lesson was on rest. A portion of the lesson involved the idea of being still before God and letting go of the things that we are worrying about and trying to control. The pastor had us spend some time in silence identifying the things that are keeping us up at night- battles that we are trying to fight that we simply need to let God fight.

I sat in the silence and thought of 3 things that have happened over the past few months that are unresolved, out-of-control things- and I realized I had already given these to God and found rest in Him for the wait.

It might seem like a little thing to you- but when I realized that I didn’t have anything festering away in me – keeping me from peace- it made me smile. It reminded me of the song:

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
and to take him at his word;
just to rest upon his promise,
and to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
just from sin and self to cease;
just from Jesus simply taking
life and rest, and joy and peace.

Life and rest and joy and peace. *smile*

I am so thankful that our God loves us so much that He gives us each exactly what we need to continue to grow in Him. And I’m thankful for the patience He has in teaching us- because I am a slow, and often reluctant learner!

I was thinking this morning about the verse from above in Romans. One of the “patterns of this world” is worry and fear. I see it all over social media- we are worried about the election, the national debt, our jobs (or lack of jobs), our homes, cars, budgets, safety, kids, relationships, health, what people think of us…. We are consumed with worry and fear. But Romans says we should not be conformed to this pattern- but transformed by the renewing of our minds.

I’m no theologian, but it seems to me that when I’m refreshing myself in scripture with story after story of God’s faithfulness that I worry less. I allow God to remind me that He goes before me and that He is all-powerful and all-knowing. He controls rulers of nations- he raises people up and lowers them. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills and still notices how flowers are clothed- so He is aware of me, loves me and will provide for all of my needs.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds for you- or for me- but God is already there. He is able to “work all things together for good” and I don’t know about you- but I want to escape the pattern of this world and accept the life and rest and joy and peace of trusting Him!!!

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