About a week and a half ago, I needed something to quiet my brain before going to sleep, so I picked up my ipad and started reading Beth's Believing God. I didn't have high expectations, or really any expectations at all. I've never heard of this particular book of hers, and didn't even bother to read what it was about. It was completely orchestrated by God that I picked up this particular book though. I'm not exaggerating when I say that about 10 minutes into it, I had highlighted almost every sentence.
It is exactly what I needed to hear.
(I don't want to paraphrase or misrepresent anything that she has written, so know that these are my own thoughts on the book. I think God has a powerful message in this book, and I would never want to plant ideas in someone's head that God didn't intend to put there.)
I've always been a person who believes in God...to me, there was just no bones about it. It is what it is. God is real. The end. Period. At about 16, I started to understand that there was much more to God than just him being real and me going to church. There was a relationship there. The *cough*cough*sixteen*cough*cough years that have followed have had their ups and downs. There are times I felt extremely close to God and times I felt extremely far away. There's a particular year and a half at college that was just about the closest I've ever felt to God. There have been a lot of times that I look back and think, "I wish I still had that."
I think I've always blamed it on "life" and growing up that things changed, but it all honesty it's me. The one thing I did back then that made all the difference is that I spent consistent, alone, undistracted time with God...which is totally easy to do when you're 20, in college, not married, and kid-less. It got harder as I got a job, got married, and had Em, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. The past several years, I have spent time with God...even good, quality, enlightening time with Him. But if I am being completely honest, it's been hit and miss at best. There's been nothing consistent about it. A lot of times there's been nothing alone or undistracted about it. If I want the active, faithful relationship I once had, I have to do the active, faithful things I once did.**
Beth has 5 statements of faith she talks about in the book. These cut me to the core! They are exactly what I need because they are exactly what I tend to struggle with.
1. God is who he says he is. (healer, redeemer, father, friend, faithful, honorable, it goes on and on)
2. God can do what he says he can do. (NOTHING is impossible for Him.)
3. I am who God says I am. (loved, cherished, chosen, fearfully and wonderfully made)
4. I can do ALL things through Christ. (ALLLLL THINGS.)
5. God's word is alive and active in me. (For this to be true, I have to be in the word consistently).
Those are such great reminders to battle those sneaky little doubts and questions that creep in so easily.
Beth asks you do to a time of "consecration." It's just a certain amount of time that you chose (based on prayer) to really focus on God and pursue that relationship. I settled on 40 days. For the next 40 days, I will be consistently alone and undistracted with God for some part of my day. I will journal what He's doing. I will be in scripture-deeply-daily. I will expect God to move mightily, and believe Him no matter what. I will not just believe IN him, but I will BELIEVE HIM.
One of the things Beth asks you to do is wear a blue cord around your right wrist to remind you of your commitment, so here I am. Day one. Blue cord on. Heart ready. Will you pray for Justin and I though the next 40 days? We have some questions up in the air about decisions for our little family, and while I am hoping those are the things God will move on, it's ok if it's not. Pray for us to have clarity, determination, and open hearts.
**Please do not think that I am saying you must do things in order to earn God's favor. God is not about doing all the right things. He's about faith and mercy in spite of our shortcomings. However, I do know for myself, that spending consistent time praying and being in his word deepens my relationship with him.