In honor of my fifty-second birthday season this past week, I re-read some old journals (always an instructive venture). I went back to 2003, as far back as they go on my current computer.
I found the entire year, with the rare exception of an occasional glimmer of peace, to be filled with anxiety, teeth-gritting, knots in the stomach, frustrations, barely-contained impatience. I was worried and stressed about money (not enough), stuff (too much), scheduling (too much to do), homeschooling (too much to teach).
This, in spite of the fact that I was leading a successful homeschool group and reaching out to others, presenting a fairly (I think) confident outward appearance. As much as I wanted to look to Jesus myself, somehow it wasn’t translating to the words I wrote in my journal.
But something fundamental has changed.
What is different? Our financial situation, from a human perspective, looks pretty bleak, maybe as bleak as it has ever been, but, I pondered, why am I not worrying about this? It’s because since 2003 the Lord has taken me to the tops of mountains and to the depths of valleys and shown Himself faithful in every particular. He has fundamentally restructured my thinking.
In the midst of major downsizing, why does it seem so much easier to just get rid of the stuff? The verse from Hebrews 10 that convicted me so greatly back in 1994 (“you received joyfully the destruction of your property, knowing that you have in heaven a better and more enduring substance”) has come closer to being a reality to me.
How is it that I can look at the schedule ahead, all the (really worthwhile) things that I’ve optimistically written in my book to be accomplished in the next few weeks or months, and not feel the familiar old knot in the stomach, the jaw grinding uptightness?
Instead, in all these things, I’m filled with joy. Because God has opened my spiritual eyes in such a way that I see something more clearly that before I saw only dimly. I more clearly see Jesus Christ as all my Riches, all my Substance, the Empowerer of my life, the Guardian of my Soul. These are not just words now. These are reality.
I know this is not me. This is a work of God. I stand in awe and amazement of what He has done in one so stubborn, weak, and failing, and of what He is continuing to do.