This Is Not the Finish Line

I sat down beside him and pulled him close. As I wrapped my arms around him, huge tears began to roll down his cheeks. My heart ached as he leaned in and quietly began to sob. What could have possibly happened to my youngest to hurt him so deeply? And then, the words began to tumble out in between his sobs. He had tried so hard. He had practiced and practiced but, despite his hard work, he still wasn’t good enough. It didn’t take long for me to remember that today he had had gym class. And today was the day that the entire class would be timed on how fast they could run. Today was the day that the two fastest boys and the two fastest girls would be chosen, to represent their class during track and field day, which was to be held in just a few weeks. 

Now, my boy knows that he isn’t one of the fastest boys in his class. Two of his best friends always beat him. No, my boy hadn’t set his sights on being chosen to actually run in the race. His goal . . . was to serve as an alternate. More than anything else, he wanted to be chosen as an alternate. An alternate is the one who is called upon to run if the need arises. And  that . . .  was his dream. It’s been his dream for the past three years. But, today . . . he got beat, and my heart broke for him. 

My heart broke further as he then went on to ask me if I thought he was good at anything. I pulled him closer and spent the next few minutes reminding him of the many ways he is gifted, the many ways he is special, and that God created him perfectly just as he is. As I finished speaking truth into his little heart, he threw his arms around me, and said, “I love you, mom.” And in that moment, I heard God tell me, “This! This is your ‘Best Yes’. This time you just spent pouring truth into his heart . . .  it was one of the  assignments I had for you today. Taking the time to speak into him as only a mama can . . . it was part of your purpose for today. This was a ‘Best Yes’”

“Best Yes” assignments. God has them for each and every one of us. But, can I ask you something? Do you ever find it difficult to see the assignments He has for you? Are you like me and wish that God would make it just a bit easier to see His plan? Sometimes I wish that He would just post signs that read “Meghan, go this way” or “Meghan, do this.” Or, perhaps, He could just send Jesus right back down here to lead me by the hand. It doesn’t quite work that way, does it? It isn’t always that easy to see where God is leading us. But, there are a few things that we can do, to help us see the “Best Yes” assignments He has for us more clearly. 

First, be present. To be present is to be available or to be in a particular place.  To be present is to completely focus your attention on either the person you are with or the task that is at hand. I recently read an article, “8 Ways to Be Present” by Tom Stuart, leader of Ignited2Pray Ministries, that expanded on this definition. He said, “Being present requires a focused engagement of every aspect of our being including the physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual.” Being present is turning our focus away from those things in this world that can distract us: those things that can keep us from seeing the assignments God has for us. It’s turning our focus away from those things and towards God and His presence in our lives.  To be fully present, is to do as Psalms tells us. It says to,

“Shut up . . . Shut off . . . Shut out . . . and in the silence . . . sense God: connect!”  Psalm 46:10 (STREET)

We need to shut up. Now, I know as women that we have like 20,000 words we need to get out in a day. But, when it comes to the conversations we are having with God, we need to do less talking and more listening. So often, I find myself telling God that He needs to do this or He needs to do that. So often, I find myself acting as though I am the one in control of a situation. Guess what? News Flash! I’m not. I am not in control. God is. We need to spend more time quieting our own voices so that we can better hear His. We need to shut up.

Shut off. In his article, Tom Stuart talks about how we live in a world where the technology is getting more sophisticated by the day. Technology not only makes our lives easier, but it can help us to multitask more efficiently.  And as a mom, we feel that having the ability to multitask is essential, right? However, he makes one point that is worth mentioning. The very same technology that we feel makes our lives easier is the very same technology that easily distracts us and demands our presence. Think about that for a moment. How distracting is technology for you? Think about your phone for example. How often do you check it? I always have mine with me, and if I can’t locate it, I admit that I start to panic just a bit. I’ll also admit to you that I have answered it in the middle of eating dinner with my family, and I have replied to emails or returned a quick text as one of my kids was talking to me.  Technology: though it can make our lives easier,  it’s turning our focus away from the people or tasks that need our attention. It’s distracting us, and it’s demanding our presence. Set some limits for yourself, and shut it off.

Next, we need to shut out. Just like technology can so easily distract me, so can the opinions and the expectations of this world: opinions and expectations that are rarely truthful. It’s important that we learn to shut out what the world says and focus instead on the truth we find in God’s Word. It’s His truth that gives us freedom. In the book of John, Jesus says,

“If you hear My voice and abide in My word, you are truly My disciples;  you will know the truth, and that truth will give you freedom.”

John 8:31-32 (VOICE)

It’s His truth that gives us freedom, not what the world tries to speak into our hearts. We need to shut out the world and open our hearts to hear His Truth.  

After we shut up, shut off, and shut out, we then can sense God’s presence and truly connect with Him. With our focus solely on Him, it will be easier to discern which of those assignments before us are ours. With our focus on Him, the path that we are to take will be more clear. Being fully present in His presence, we will following His leading. And, as we following His leading, we will be fulfilling the purposes He has for us. We will be living out our Best Yes. 

Another way we can see our “Best Yes” assignments more clearly is to pay attention.  Like I mentioned before, there are times that I wish God would very directly point out the direction He would like me to go. But, think about this. What if He already is? What if He has been clearly pointing where I am to go, and I’m not seeing it simply because I’m failing to pay attention? What if my “Best Yes” assignments are right before me, but I’m too busy doing life to see them? 

Lysa Terkeurst says, “We will have a very hard time paying attention to (our) Best Yes (assignments) if we live lives that are completely spent. Instead, why not completely spend yourself on the assignments that are yours, those moments you shouldn’t dare miss, the calling that pulses in your soul, the love you and only you can offer?” 

What it we intentionally chose to cut back on our commitments: the commitments we make for ourselves and for our kids? What if we chose to put down our phones, turn off our tv and spent quality time with those people we love? What if we spent our days doing those things that really matter? What if we dared to explore that spark God placed deep within our souls? What if we dared to ask God to open our eyes to the brokenness that surrounds us? How different would our lives look?

In Colossians, Paul says,

“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.”

Colossians 3:2 (MSG)

We are living in a world that is broken and hurting. What is it that God wants you to do?Think about it. What is it that God wants you to do?  Sometimes we get our minds fixed into a way of thinking that Lysa Terkeurst calls a fixed mind-set. We see our abilities, our talents, our skills, our relationships, and our intelligence as limited and lacking. We feel that where we are today is where we always will be. We feel . . . stuck. But, God doesn’t want us to remain stuck. He wants us to have a growth mind-set. He wants us to see our abilities, our talents, our skills, our relationships, and our intelligence with potential. He wants us to see ourselves like He does: as beautiful, unique, and created with purpose.

Where we are today is only our starting place. It is not our finish line. God has a precious plan for your life. He cannot be limited in what He does, and if He choses to use you, He will. Have the courage to take that first step in the plan He has for you. Have the courage to be engulfed by that fire that He set ablaze in your soul. 

I’ll close with these words from Lysa. “Indeed, in God’s plan, you and I have a part to play. If we know it and believe it, we’ll live it. We’ll live our lives making decisions with the Best Yes as our filter. We’ll be a grand display of God’s Word lived out. Out undistracted love will make our faith ring true. Our wisdom will help us make decision that will still be good tomorrow. And we’ll be alive and present for all of it. Now let’s go and live the Best Yes life.” 

The “Best Yes” life. Live it. Live the life to which God has called you. That fire within you . . .  find it. Find Your Fire, tend to it, and let it shine brightly. May it shine so brightly that others can’t help, but see Jesus when they look at you. 

 

 

References:

Biblegateway. www.biblegateway.com. Accessed 30 Apr. 2019.

“8 Ways to Be Present.” Stuart, Tom. Ignited2Pray Ministries. https://tomstuart.org/2012/01/04/8-ways-to-be-present/. Accessed 30 Apr. 2019. 

Terkeurst, Lysa. The Best Yes, Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. Nashville, Nelson Books, 2014.

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