Encouraged . . .

Since Christmas Eve, where we shared a wonderful evening with friends focused on the ‘stars’ God has used in our lives, I have been encouraged in my spiritual journey. I am in the process of completely my degree in psychology at Grand Canyon University (GCU) and these last two classes (taken together) have been a challenge and a drain on my ability to function well. I understand why this process is discouraged at GCU, never the less, I can say, I have almost done it, but at great cost. What this has taught me is the idea of balance and how being out of balance is harmful both to myself and my relationships. I am an ‘isolater’ and when I’m overwhelmed, I reach hermit status very quickly. My house falls apart, my work is challenged and in general, I’m unhappy, angry and self-destructive. You would think I would know this about myself by now but apparently any wisdom I have in this area is over run by my need for achievement. (Perhaps that’s a topic for another time.) I often think of this place as a desert experience because my relationship with the Lord is affected in this process as well. Though I think I have been in a desert place in 2014, this ‘desert’ was my own creation. The constant in this created space was God’s faithfulness to expose areas that need his tender care (or in some cases his bulldozer) and to finish the work He has begun in me. That does not mean I have any more answers than before but the result was a paradigm shift for me on Christmas Eve.

December 26th I began reading the book of Matthew, slowly, chunk by chunk. Impressed by the lengths God took to bring his gift of redemption, his son into this world, I was in awe of the movement of God in the processes of time and the stage of characters surrounding Christ’s birth. I began to see how time was and is in God’s control and He is not rushed but strategic in it’s application. James McDonald said this at a conference I attended years ago, “God rules the world with his feet up and does not break a sweat.” I could see God’s hand both globally and personally in the circumstances and relationships involved. This gave me a sense of peace, a spiritual deep breath, as it were, for the circumstance of my own life. It helped me sit back and see that though God is deeply concerned about me personally, I am not the center of his universe. There is much more going on in God’s purview than my life circumstance. That gave me perspective and patience. For neither Mary, Joseph, the shepherds or wise men were ignored in the events surrounding Christ’s birth. All were effected personally and eternally. Finally, because of this wider perspective, I was able to reflect on the guiding ‘stars’ God has used to bring me to this point in my spiritual journey and be grateful. It gave me hope and encouragement as I anticipate more guiding stars in 2015.

So I ask you, as my friend asked me on Christmas eve, What ‘stars’ has God given you to bring you to this point in your walk with Him? Have you thanked Him for his provision? Have you thanked him for his faithfulness to keep His promises to you personally?
Maybe you are just beginning to get a glimpse of a star in your life. What might God be saying to you or where might He be leading? Wait in awe for the star to stand over the place God has for you as it did over the place of Christ’s birth.

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