I’ve never been much of an Old Testament gal. :::gasp::: I’m getting better as my relationship with God grows, but I’m really in love with the second half of the book, not so much the first. Maybe it’s all the wrath and war and killing and such. I’m more of a happy, clappy, love your neighbor kinda girl.
Most of the time.
That said, when I sat down to write this post about “direction” I was led to the book of Isaiah. God said:
I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.
~ Isaiah 48:17-18
In the beginning of this year I committed to God that I would listen and follow his lead. You see, if I’m honest, I haven’t been a good listener for the past almost decade. Until then I’m allowing myself immaturity points.
My “one word” for 2016 was Joy. If you know me personally, I wasn’t (in my opinion) the most joyous person to be around the past few years. I’ve been swimming in a lot of self-pity, martyrism (my word) and, to be blunt, crappiness. I’ve been kinda crappy. Too much happened for me to digest and sometimes I was just really crap.
Which brings me to Joy. The beginning of the year I prayed a prayer to God to show me what joy is. I don’t mean like, ha-ha, I’m belly-laughing joy. I mean the kind of joy you keep even when you have no good reason to be joyous. The kind of fulfilled joy that I have only had through my experience with God. That’s not to say that I wake up and have unicorns and rainbows dancing around in an imaginary merry-go-round over my head. It’s a joy that gives me peace that no matter what, or who, happens to me, I am loved and cared for by an amazing, grace-filled God.
I believe God put a direction in my heart three years ago. In January of 2013, I made my first batch of caramel apples. Stay with me here, there’s a point. Until that time I had never made caramel and caramel apples were not my go to dessert, I assure you. But I found myself with this weird, crazy, strange, out of the blue idea. So I went with it. Then I gave in to my depression and quit making apples, like right away. The first and second time I made those apples it took me near 10 hours to make about 20 apples. And they were not that great. A few months later I made them again. Took another few months off for self-pity. More apples and a break for depression. And the cycle went on until last September.
If you have read me before you know I prayed a prayer in September. It was multi-layered, but God has so obviously answered me that I cannot ignore His direction.
I’m divorced. I really have no money. Haven’t had an out of home job since October 2000. So when God put this crazy idea in my head, I really fought it because, well… how? How, God, am I going to do this? I’ve tried 25 other things and failed or quit them. Why caramel apples?
I’m still in awe.
I’m in awe because since I asked HIM for direction and since I started actually listening to HIS directions, my life feels like someone else’s.
Someone I would probably like. Someone who prayed a simple prayer and has had the door of opportunity opened again and again. Every single time I go to God and say “now what?”, he answers. In just four months of praying about joy, God has shown me what joy means. Not because I have something I didn’t before. God’s been here the whole time. But because I stopped arguing and listened to His spirit nudging me in the direction he wants me to go.
I’ve realized that what I had been praying about those years while in darkness have come to fruition. There are the most amazing people in my life. Friends that encourage and support this craziness. I pause and look at the people I’m blessed to have in my life and I’m in awe that God loves me this much.
All throughout the Old Testament, God is begging people to notice him. He is begging you to notice Him so he can bless your life with Joy. I imagine him sitting in heaven, waiting for me to notice, probably head on his hand, shaking his head because I just wouldn’t take the direction. I’m so glad He is a patient God. His direction has turned out to be the best direction I’ve ever been given.
There’s a song I really love, the words of the refrain go like this:
You are my life, may You be lifted high
There is no other like Jesus Christ
You are my story, You’re my everything
You are my glory, my God, and my King
You are my rock, and You never change
He doesn’t change and He is always there.
Waiting for us to ask for direction. Ask Him, go ahead.
A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. ~ Proverbs 16:9
Can I pray for you? Comment below 🙂