'You are a child of God.' We worship at church, hear all about it in sermons, and know with our hearts that we are children of God, but what does it really mean? And what does it entail for us in the long run?
Lately I've been inspired by and have re-discovered the power of what it truly is to be a 'child of God' and what our inheritance looks like as children of God.
I am a woman of reason, and I need to be able to identify the why, the how, and the what of almost everything. This is both a strength and a weakness for all the obvious reasons that come to mind, however, it is a strength to have a yearning for answers.
When I do not know the how, the why, or the what of something, that uncertainty is a place for the devil to attack and creates a place for that doubt to grow.
I have been victim of this many times before, as we all have, but there are a few things that I have now set in place for myself to keep the devil out of my mind and heart whilst I face uncertain times.
Worry and doubt
There is no peace in the world like knowing that God has everything under control. We don't often want to relinquish control, but it is a necessary step in receiving the blessings of God and being an obedient child of God.
The last few months have been, in all honesty, a challenge. I have had to deal with big changes in life, adjust to things not working out the way I had hoped and prayed, and to remain hopeful in the promises of God.
Sometimes I feel like the biggest challenges aren't necessarily when I am going through the tough times, but remaining hopeful for better days to come, and remembering that God is still on the throne.
Each challenge I face presents new and intricate details of things that I need to take captive and talk to God about.
The Bible says in Matthew chapter six verses 25–27, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"
We are not called to worry, but instead, to trust our Creator in all things.
Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
My life has been full of disappointments, challenges, and uncontrollable situations; moments at which I started to develop and build strong boundaries in my life to protect myself from having to deal with any more of them.
Although boundaries are good, I realised that some of my well-intentioned boundaries had turned into walls, and as such, I had created a heart of stone towards certain things.
I was told by a loved one that if I continued to hold these boundaries too high, I would eventually become closed off to the blessings God has for me, and I would be blinded by the 'what if's' rather than the 'what could be's'. I can honestly say I have felt that blockage of blessings, and that is entirely my fault, not God's.
God calls us to live in hope for the future, not worry or sit in a barricade of walls built up by personal trauma or disappointments and tough experiences.
Psalm chapter 112 verse seven says, "He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord."
Even when we receive bad news, if our heart is strong in the Lord and we cling onto the promises of God, be obedient, and remain steadfast in our faith, we will never lose hope. God then becomes more inclined to bless us because we have been faithful.
Deuteronomy chapter 28 verses one to six says, "And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out."
Financial worries are relevant, situational worries are relevant, concerns and doubts are all relevant, but we cannot remain in this frame of mind, or we may lose our trust and hope in the promises of God.
I would prefer to be hopeful in God and receive nothing, than lose hope and faithfulness and remain in my own strength.
Our own understanding
God's plans far outweigh even our wildest imagination, and they are always better than what we could ever pray for. Our understanding is very limited in the great scheme of things.
When we hold on tightly to a dream, idea, goal, or expectation, it is hard to admit to ourselves that we may have held on too tightly. These things are never ours to hold onto. We dream it up, give it to God, and let Him guide us to where that dream is meant to lead us.
Have you ever tried to retrieve something from a toddler's hand? There is no grip stronger than a determined little child who wants to hold onto that stolen handful of food. As soon as you retrieve it, what do they do? They cry because they wanted what they had in their hand so badly. What they don't realise is when they release what they were holding onto into their parents' hand, they often get something better — like their own bowl of food.
We as adults are exactly the same. Sometimes the children of God still act like children, and that is okay, we are all guilty of that. The important thing is to realise that our plans may fail, but God is the one who ultimately in control.
Sometimes our own understanding consists of questioning why God has 'failed us'. But He has never failed us, and He most certainly won't start now.
Proverbs chapter three verse five says, 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.'
When we blame God or question Him and/or His faithfulness to us, it is actually a realisation of disappointment that we have with ourselves that we are choosing to project onto God.
God is always there leading us, speaking to us, and guiding us, but it is up to us whether we allow Him to move in our lives, or not.
He is always faithful; we just need to take the first step and get rid of the doubt in our lives and let God direct our paths the way He intended it. Go in faith and be at peace. All will be well.