The Struggle to Keep a Godward Focus

Lara Casey posted this on her IG account yesterday and it had me thinking. While she was specifically speaking to the context of business, what she shares has been my greatest struggle as a believer in so many areas of my life.

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Not growing up in a Christian home, I learned to take care of myself early on. To say that my family was dysfunctional would be an understatement. I spent my childhood and early teen years focused on building a life that looked nothing like the one I came from.One where I was the boss, in charge of my own destiny. I was focused, smart and willing to do whatever it took.

Then, God saved me.

He plucked me out of true darkness and began conforming me to His image. So much changed drastically and quickly, but there were some deep places in my flesh that remained. They were hungry for comfort, stability, notoriety, and success. I learned to mask those desires on the outside, but they continued as driving forces in everything I did, and still do. They inform my work, my parenting, my role in marriage and virtually every other aspect of my life.

I know in a heady kind of way who I am in Christ and what that should look like. My knowledge of who God is, and the need to invest in eternal things, is not lacking. But, that’s just knowledge.

My anchor in Christ is not as deep as my knowledge of God is wide.  

This striving and busyness that Laura describe above, truly is tiring and frustrating. It is like squeezing a handful of sand so as not to lose any, only to watch it all trickle slowly through your clenched fist.

My flesh still rears its ugly head compelling me to hustle and work, and make things happen. It yells at me to be a better parent, wife, teacher, and overall better Christian. I live my life with a sense of urgency and hurry instead of in a resting, active peace.

I do believe that God designed me uniquely and on purpose. He gifted me with a childhood that made me a scrappy fighter. He gave me big ideas, dreams and a “let’s try” attitude. He educated me through intelligent, thinking people, both inside and outside of the church. He places me exactly where He wants me, because where ever I am, there is a need for the light of the gospel. He has redeemed so many broken pieces of my past.

The depths of my sinful heart never cease to both surprise and sadden me. At the same time, the expanse of His grace never seems to end. I long for a heart like David’s when He says, “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere”, or like Moses who “…considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt”. My mind knows of the truth found in these verses, and a small piece of my heart feels the weight of them. But, if I am being honest, this isn’t always my default, my natural disposition, or the true direction of my heart. I am easily drawn to the world and its promise of comfort, ease, more, better, faster, and shinier.

Lara’s post got me thinking. Thinking about grace, and striving, and seeking to live a life that truly honors God. A life that desires to be with the Father, to walk in obedience to His calling and to do more than build something that will ultimately have no eternal value.

God’s grace has brought me so far, that at times I feel as though I couldn’t have possibly been the girl I know I used to be. But, this streak that lies so deep within me, often takes me by surprise. My heart is truly prone to wander, but His Spirit never lets me get too far. His Word, His people, and His presence draw me back into focus. I know He has already done a great work in my life, and know that He will continue that work until it is complete.

God plucked me straight out of true darkness and set my feet on His path. I sometimes get sidetracked, following down rabbit trails that lead me nowhere. But, my good Shepherd always brings me back.

I am thankful for His grace, the work of Christ and the restoration He grants believers.

I am thankful that we no longer have to walk in accordance to the patterns of our flesh and that we can joyfully walk in obedience to His calling.

I am thankful that we can have families, businesses and day to day interactions, using every ounce of who we are, to bring Him glory.

I am thankful that, as a believer, there is no rabbit trail that will ever bring us to our destination or completely out of the hands of God.

I am thankful that we have an eternity that is truly worth investing in.

I am thankful for a new heart, new identity and power in Christ.

I am thankful for His Word, that is truly a lamp for us, guiding our steps to live and serve and honor Him.

But mostly, I am thankful for a good, patient gracious Father. One who does not allow us to find lasting satisfaction in the temporary, but offers us full relationship with Himself, where satisfaction for all eternity is found.

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