Monday, October 10, 2016

Joy Unexpected


"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)


My life has become one of unexpected joy. God has been showing me that He can offer abundance and richness in the seasons I try to avoid or escape. The seasons I thought would be my most miserable and draining times in life have surprisingly been some of the best and most fulfilling.

That's God's character though. He loves surprises. He's unpredictable. He makes the weak strong and the foolish wise. His ways are upside down. And I cannot express to you how thankful I am that my ways are not His ways.

If I had it my way, my life would look a lot different than it does now. I would not be the person I am today. And I would not be doing what I'm doing. And I'm pretty sure my life would suck. To put it in the simplest terms possible.

If I had it my way, I never would have gone to Young Life. And this crazy awesome life would have never been a thing. I never would have gone to club and experienced the open armed love of Jesus for people who have no interest in Him. I never would have gone to weekend camp and seen a tangible relationship with God. I never would have gone to summer camp and experienced the depth of my sin or the depth of the love of a God who loves sinners. If I had it my way, I never would have met God. And my life would not look like it does now.

If I had it my way, my life would have looked perfect after becoming a Christian. I would have memorized the Bible and never sinned. If I had it my way, I would not have struggled as much as I did with the sin I could not let go of. If I had it my way, I would not have encountered the God of universe intimately and personally and I would not know Him as well as I do today. If I had it my way, I would not be as strong as I am.

If I had it my way, I would not have majored in Biology Education in college. I avoided science like it was the plague my freshman year. If I had it my way, I would have majored in Social Studies Education. And I would have missed out on learning about the complexity life holds. If I had it my way, I never would have seen the purpose my life carries just in the fact that I exist. Psalm 139 would have never become as real and tangible to me as it is now. If I had it my way, I may not have been here.

If I had it my way, I would not be a runner. I used to hate running. If I had it my way, I never would have heard the story that changed the trajectory of my life. I would not have joined a running group at my church. And I would not have crossed the finish line back in 2014. If I had it my way, I never would have met one of my best friends. In fact, I probably would not have met most of the friends I have now. If I had it my way, I never would have seen all the beautiful sights I've seen on my runs. If I had it my way, I'd still be running for all the wrong reasons. And I would still hate it.

If I had it my way, I would not have been a leader. If I had it my way, I'd still be timid and shy. And too afraid to voice my opinion or to take a stance. If I had it my way, I would not have the confidence I have now. And I would not be as bold or as comfortable as I am in my interactions with people. If I had it my way, I would have never volunteered to take a position in front of anybody. Ever. I look forward to it now.

If I had it my way, I never would have moved in with complete strangers. If I had it my way, I would have chosen comfort over obedience. I would not have experienced the faithfulness and providence of the Lord. If I had it my way, I never would have witnessed the beautiful interwoven intention that exists in our life stories. If I had it my way, I never would have experienced strangers becoming friends becoming family. I would have missed out on a community that works to serve and love each other in sacrificial ways. If I had it my way, I would have never seen the awesome reward that risk can hold.

If I had it my way, I would not be student teaching at Cooper High School. If I had it my way, I would not be student teaching at all. I tried to find a way out last year. Out of the three options I was given, student teaching was the best one. So I applied. If I had it my way, I would have been placed at five other schools before Cooper. I put Cooper down as a last resort choice. And that's where I ended up. I was somewhat disappointed to find that Cooper was my placement. If I had it my way, I would not have been placed with one of the best teachers I've met. And I may not have seen the heart of a teacher that deeply cares. If I had it my way, I would have never changed my mind about teaching.

If I had it my way, my life would not be as rich and full as it is now. If I had it my way, I would not have the deep deep friendships I have now. If I had it my way, I would not be who I am today.

But I didn't have it my way. I had it God's ways.

And I'm thankful my ways are not God's ways. My ways would have never changed me. My ways would have kept me safe and comfortable. My ways are stagnant.

But God's ways... God's ways change people. God's ways turn things upside down. While God's ways may be scary or risky, they're definitely always worth it. God's ways are vibrant and alive.

Thank goodness God's ways are not my ways.

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