Looking Back

As I’ve been reflecting on 2010 I can’t help but feeling grateful.  This year has been full and fruitful.  In the fall of 2009 I was struggling.  A full time teaching job with a challenging group of students, long nights marking papers and prepping lessons and a slow recovering from our crazy time in Australia left me feeling lifeless.  But something happened in 2010.  Something was renewed.  Something was refreshed.

It’s hard being in the valleys and desserts of life.  Those times when our creativity eludes us and our excitement and energy runs dry.  But God doesn’t ask us to set up camp in the valley, he asks us to walk through it.

Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

Today I want to encourage you that the valley doesn’t last forever.

If you keep moving forward, however slow and with whatever wounds you’ve won along the way, it will end.  One day you will come to the edge of the dessert and nothing but the lush green of opportunity and calling will spread before you.  But be warned, that path will be difficult too – in a different way.

This year I’ve seen so many of my dreams begin to come true.  The birth of a speaking ministry including a professional website, business cards, contacts and new speaking opportunities.  I’ve had the blessing of speaking at retreats, camps and events, meeting amazing new people through it.  I’ve written a book proposal and half of my first manuscript, had a few articles published, attended a Christian writing conference and am now working on an exciting co-write project.  However, there is still so much more I want to see happen.  It’s still an uphill battle and there are times I doubt the path I’m on.

And even as I write this I’m convicted because my goal is not to do more. My goal is not to be more successful in the world.  My goal is not to be published and become well known.

My goal is to know my Savior more intimately.  To hear his voice and never follow the voice of a stranger.

John 10:3-5 “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

He’s after our hearts.

If you hear nothing else from this post today, please hear this.

Jesus is after your heart.

He’s not impressed by our long lists of accomplishments, he wants deep and intimate friendship with us.

Father God, renew our minds today that we may value what you value.  Help us to seek you like the hidden treasure you are, forsaking all else for the reward of knowing you more.  Let us not build our lives, our confidence, our identity on earthly works but on your word and who you say we are.  Amen.

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