“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future’.” — Jeremiah 29:11
I was swimming in the gulf on Sanibel Island, Florida yesterday…ah, definitely my happy place. And I found myself feeling a little stressed. Stressed?! How is that possible when you’re swimming in warm blue water off a pristine beach on a sunny day in Florida? I was thinking about all I had to do for work. And then I finally heard from within (or perhaps from God), just relax, savor the moment, how can you not be happy in your happy place?
And it suddenly struck me. Instead of asking God, “what do You want from me?” I should be asking, “what do You want for me?”
I’ve been editing a book recently titled, God’s Got This by Lee Merrick. (Look for it to come out soon!) It’s a walk through the Bible and it basically reveals that God truly has had, does have, and always will have, a plan for his chosen people…which include you and I if we are willing to take part in it! And all we need to do is get out of our own way and show up each day, with each new sunrise, asking to do His will. He’s got us covered, provides all we need. But sometimes we forget, letting things like stress get in the way.
Stress…it is definitely not of God and I’m sure an attack from the enemy. Sometimes a sneak attack, hitting when we are not prepared, ready to seep into our soul and steal our self-esteem, our peace, our joy. I was suffering from a lot of stress a year ago when I was having a confidence crisis. I was doubting myself, comparing myself to other authors, speakers and writing coaches whom I thought were more successful than me…not a great place for me to be. There are always people more successful and less successful than we are. It really doesn’t matter. All we need to do is please God, do His will, follow His plan. I now know doubts are from the devil but I let them creep in and blur my vision for a time. I started to feel a whole lot of anxiety, becoming a workaholic. I realized, after talking to a trusted counselor, that I needed to find and maintain balance, re-order my priorities, seek God’s will anew…and that all work and no play made Michele a very dull (and unhappy) girl.
I started making more time in the morning every day to read the Bible, meditate on God’s Word, write a gratitude list, and ask God to help me to do His will, sometimes making specific requests for His help. I regained my sense of purpose, my balance, and got my confidence back, along with more moments of peace and joy. Yes, life still happens. And so do stressors. But I realized something else lately. God wants us to be happy. He wants us to be fulfilled. He told us (in His Word, the Bible) that we should not be anxious, to ask and we shall receive, He wants us to have peace and joy.
So what is His plan, you ask? Well, I believe it’s unique for each of us…ever-growing, ever-changing as we grow and change. Sometimes we’re not entirely sure. So we try our best to sit still with God, to ask, to trust that he will help us figure it out. But we really can’t go wrong because, as St. Paul tells us in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Ask yourself, what if your biggest dreams line up with God’s dreams for you? Wouldn’t that be something? Well, who put those dreams on your heart? He did!
Yet confidence doesn’t mean complacency either. As I near “retirement” age I realize it’s important, now more than ever, to continue to seek and fulfill God’s plan and purpose for me each day. But for now, here in Florida, I will make sure I carve out a little time for sun and swimming when I can!
Dear Lord, I pray that with each new day, you lead us to know your will and your plan for us, and help us find peace and joy knowing that you know what’s best and want the very best for each of your chosen ones. Amen!