My husband and I lead and host a college and young adult small group for our church at our house every Tuesday night. It is one of my favorite nights of the week because I love opening up our home and spending time in fellowship with those that come. What I love even more is that our home is being opened for others to come and freely talk about Jesus. It is creating opportunity for us to come alongside each other and grow in our faith walks amidst different seasons of life, to have challenging and encouraging discussion, and to ultimately glorify the Lord in it all. Right now, we are all going through Mark Batterson’s 40 Day prayer devotion, Draw the Circle. We each do the devotion on our own during the week, and then come together every Tuesday night to discuss what our journey’s have been like and how God is moving in our lives through this prayer walk. It has been a truly amazing thing to hear all of the different stories of how God is answering prayers and moving so powerfully in people’s lives. Most of the people that attend this small group each week see each other again at least 2 more times a week outside of Tuesday nights. Usually at church. It has been so encouraging to see how we have all come together to hold each other accountable, and how our conversations often start and revolve around how we are doing with our 40 day prayer challenge.
At our house, we have a little reading corner in between 2 big windows in our family room. That is where I have “drawn my circle” every morning from 7:00-7:30 (and sometimes later when the Spirit is really moving and speaking) to read and pray. I wake up, take a shower, get dressed, make my coffee, and go sit in our new chairs in the quiet, cute little corner. I love it. I like to read the devotion for that day first, pray, and then just sit in silence with my eyes closed and hands opened toward Jesus. In those silent moments, I listen for God to speak. I have tried to be more intentional about not just talking to God, saying Amen, and going about the rest of my morning, but allowing time for Him to speak back to me. I want to allow time for a conversation, time to hear from God. Some mornings, I don’t get anything. And more often than not, God answers me in different ways throughout my days. However, a few days ago I was listening and I just heard Him speaking over and over again, “Allow Me. I know what you need. Allow Me.”
I felt an incredible sense of peace after hearing these words, and found myself wondering what they meant and how they applied to my life. I was right in the middle of a stressful week working on a huge research paper for my grad class, and all I could think or worry about was getting that paper done. I was exhausted, and really did not feel like I had the energy to wake up early each morning and do a quiet time with the Lord, let alone do a full day’s work everyday and work on a research paper. I heard this whisper from God in His still, small, voice, right in the middle of my weakness. It seems silly that God would speak to me when I am dealing with something as trivial as stress from work, lack of sleep, and homework. I mean there are much more pressing problems and needs going on in the world right? Why would He pay attention to my small problem, and be intentional about speaking into it? Why did He choose to meet me there, of all places?
The next day, during my prayer time in the morning, I realized why. God is such a personal God, which is so incredible, isn’t it? I was praying the next morning and found myself on this tangent, trying to find enough words and the right words to praise God for how He created each of us so uniquely. He knows us better than anyone else. He even knows us better than ourselves. He understands exactly who we are, how we were created, how we function, how we are designed and wired, and exactly what we need. God knew what I needed that day. He knew what I needed that week. And He knows what I need everyday moving forward.
We often take for granted who we are. We don’t love ourselves. We compare ourselves to others. We want to look a different way. We want what we don’t have. Sometimes, we wish we were someone else, or we strive to be like someone else that we admire. But when God told me that He knew what I needed, He revealed to me how wonderfully specific He has made me. No one else can be me. If I wasn’t me, my husband would not have me as a wife, I wouldn’t be the daughter and sister that I am. I wouldn’t be a friend, a co-worker, a leader, or a mentor. I wouldn’t be me. No one else would be me. There would be nothing where I am. Isn’t that crazy to think about? Yes my husband could be married to someone else, or my parents could have had another daughter, but those people wouldn’t be me. God doesn’t make us all alike because He doesn’t want us to be easily substituted. I am sure you have heard the phrase “those are big shoes to fill” before you step into a role that someone had before you. God didn’t create us to fill other people’s shoes. He doesn’t want us to substitute in for someone else to be and do exactly who they were and what they did. We each have something to offer. God doesn’t hold us to any expectations to be “as good” as someone else. We are our own good. We are children of God that each bring different things to the plate. No one else can bring the same things you bring or that I bring. God knows the depths of who we are and He loves every part of those depths. He sees us in ways that we don’t see ourselves, and is always working and moving according to what He knows we need. How amazing is that?
When God spoke, He was asking me to Allow Him. To depend on Him rather than on myself. To trust Him because He knows what I need better than I know what I need. God reaches us in the seemingly silly small problems (and the big problems) because He wants us to utterly depend on Him each and everyday. He doesn’t often give us a clear image of the plan He has for us for the rest of our lives. He gives us what we need to get through each day, to take each step. And with each step we take, we allow Him to move. We are dependent on Him to move and to provide, and we take the step. We trust, and act in faith, bravery, courage, and obedience. And then He reveals the next step. Exactly what we need when we need it.
Can I encourage you today? If you are struggling with your identity, finding yourself constantly spiraling into comparison, and not satisfied in who you are, circle that in prayer. It is so important that we know our identity in Christ. Knowing that and believing that, opens the door for us to see ourselves as God sees us. When we know who we are in Jesus, we are able to be the best versions of ourselves and fulfill the purpose God has specifically designed for each of us as He intended. We walk in confidence, and understand that we are awesome too because we are children of God. Just because God is working in someone else’s life in a different way than He is working in yours, doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. Rejoice with others in God’s blessing and provision in their lives. Rejoice with others in God’s blessing and provision in YOUR life, even if it looks different than what you thought you wanted or it looks different than what someone else has.
Depend on Jesus, and depend on Him to intercede on your behalf. He knows who you are. He believes in the plans He has just for you. He knows exactly what you need. All He asks is that we allow Him.
“Let God be as original with other people as He is with you.” -Oswald Chambers