Encouragement · Gratitude · In Life · In the Bible · Religion

My Own “Land for Which I Did Not Labor”

“I have given you a land for which you did not labor, & cities which you did not build, & you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards & olive groves which you did not plant. Now, therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in serenity & in truth, & put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river ofย Egypt. Serve the Lord!” – Joshua 24:13-14

This is a passage of scripture I (& probably many others) have overlooked before. As I read it this time, though, it screamed to my heart from the page. Just as God spoke these words as the Israelites had come out of a long, difficult journey & began settling into their promised land, so He is speaking them to my heart as He brings me into a whole new season of life.

As many of you know, the past few years for me have been full of stress. They have been overwhelming & tumultuous. Last year, though, I switched careers- I switched from the education field to finance. I never in my life thought this would happen, but God tends to surprise people who have plans made for themselves. God has given me a heart to encourage & teach people & I thought it was supposed to be used through public education. But through teaching & many other circumstances my heart became buried under the rubble of disillusionment & broken dreams. My career change has given me time, space, & rest to reflect, recover & heal from the things that have damaged me over the years. And let me be clear- I in no way blame education for my pain & struggles- there were so many other things going on, my heart was relying on itself rather than God, & it was already damaged going into it. My soul was already struggling, I just couldn’t see it. God has used so many things to break me of myself & my ideas/opinions, to open my eyes & lead me where He wanted me to be. Over the past 6 months I feel like God has awakened something in me that has not felt alive in almost a decade. When I left education I had no clue how I could ever use my teacher-heart again, my heart that seeks to lift & build people up to a better place. God, though, has brought me to a place where my heart is burning with passion for life & for people. He has wakened a spirit & life in my soul that I haven’t felt in ages & I feel like God has opened my eyes to what He wants me to do.

“Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.” -Isaiah 43:19 NKJV

In this place, He has given me a vantage point of my life which I was not able to see before. He has brought me through paralyzing anxiety & severe depression. He has dragged me through difficult & terrifying financial situations, (some of which I still face, just with a new set of eyes). He has carried me through crises of faith. But all of these things He has done with a purpose- to bring me to my knees, to reliance on Him, & to something so much better than I ever could have planned for myself.

You see, I have been like the Israelites on the other side of the river & in Egypt- constantly wavering & forgetting, crying out to Him but then turning & worshiping other gods. No, I have not worshiped sphinxes or gods with multiple arms- but I have been worshiping myself, my abilities, & financial security. He has shattered all of that. As I look back I see that God has brought me to a place of reliance on Him, a place where everything I have has been given to me even though I never could have earned or deserved it myself. The things I used to look at with pride in myself I now look at & see how God has worked decades in advance to provide. I now see them as things He has provided but that He could also take away at any moment…they’re now reminders that HE must be enough…nothing & no one else. I look & have such gratitude in my heart that He, the Creator of the universe, provided- physical, emotional, financial, & spiritual things- that I never could have provided for myself & that are meant to be used as tools for His glory rather than my own. My eyes have been shifted from myself & my broken pride to Him & His incredible grace, mercy, & provision.

So, all of these things laid before me- my home, my time, my thoughts, my finances, & my heart- they are all the land for which I did not labor or deserve but have been given to me. The question He poses to me is what will I do with them? Will I be like the Israelites? When, once I settle in & get “fat & happy”, will I turn from Him again & back to my old ways, or will I use what He has given me for His glory?

And so, that brings me to the purpose of this blog. In the past I have wanted to use it as a way to express myself & my opinions, but not really with any clear goal in mind. God has made His purpose clear: I am to use my experiences & the lessons He has taught me to lift up & encourage others, to use the teacher-heart He gave me to impact far & wide, & ultimately to point people to Him.

Nothing I write in this blog is meant to glorify myself or the things I have been given, but to point you to Him. So, anything you see here, I pray it will be to God’s glory & your encouragement. I hope you will join me. I am excited for this new chapter & to see what God will do through you.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” -II Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

Be blessed, friends.

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