Do we see God?

“Fear has so captivated our minds we don’t even recognize it anymore. It’s just how we think. We live paralyzed, afraid to stand out yet also afraid of being invisible, afraid of something terrible happening yet also afraid something good will never happen. We live afraid of people and we think all of these thoughts are normal. We don’t live seeing God, we live seeing worst-case scenarios.” (Jennie Allen, Chase)

I am involved with a bible study at our church on Tuesday mornings. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the studies I’ve been through thus far. But…this one in particular is not on any focus except MY heart towards God. We are only in it two weeks now, and I’ve already felt compelled to change my heart and attitude on so many levels.

Believing God is real is a great attribute, but believing comes from the heart. Are we living as though we believe what we say, are our actions speaking our truths, are our lives following in harmony with our words? These are hard questions for each of us to ask ourselves. Whether you believe in God or not, contemplate those questions and see if your life is showing a path that is aligned with your heart. We can talk the talk all we want, but when life gets out right difficult, is our talk following our walk? If we believe God is real and that he is with each and every one of us; wouldn’t we live differently? Do we confess an intellectual belief in God or is He real enough to impact our circumstances?

Fear is not something little. Fear is something that impacts us at our core if we will choose to recognize it. Every one of us struggles with fear on some level. Fear of abandonment, fear of finances, wealth, fear of being noticed or unnoticed, fear of accomplishments, fear of not being good enough, fear of fitting in, fear of losing, fear from past circumstances, and fear of failure. This could go on and on. Every one of us has a level of fear within us that may be recognized or may not be, but should be dealt with. This fear can be captivating taking away your life, or it could be less harmful and be the deciding factor for steps you take during the day, week, month and year. You will only get as far as your fear allows you. Fear is hindering us from the things we are meant to accomplish.

We need courage to stand firm in what we know to be true. But fear is so paralyzing that it becomes a massive hurdle to jump over. Our greatest fears and failures tend to be our greatest strengths if we allow them to be. Sometimes we can make God out to be too perplexing. The basis of facing our giants needs to stem from acting in correlation with who God says he is, not who we say God is. This is a big difference. Each day has a task set before us; God has a plan with us each and every single day. Do we realize this, not really? To be honest I do not approach each day in the manner that God would probably wish I would. Most the time, I probably approach the day how I wish to approach it rather than stop and see what God has in store for me. What if we took a minute to just stop for 30 seconds even, and ask God to direct our steps today? God’s plan is so much greater than our plan and often looks very different than how we envisioned. But His plan is so much better and often goes beyond what we imagine, only to make us stop and be thankful.

Do we live protectively over our lives and fear what we may lose. The reality is we could lose everything no matter how hard you protect your things. God ultimately has the power to take things away to put our perspective back on him, or to teach us during the hard times so that we don’t put our possessions above God himself. “Fear is rooted in unbelief, and unbelief is sin.” (Jennie Allen, Chase Study, pg 49) Courage is fundamentally the fight for faith. Going back to our hearts desires. You fight for what you believe every day in some manner or another. We see people every day on television fighting to the very core of themselves proving there isn’t a god. The fight against same sex marriages, abortions, women’s rights, and much more. These people fight to the depths of themselves for something that is temporary. This fight won’t carry us to heaven and gives us a purpose that feels worth fighting for. Being seen in the naked eye for something that is too complex is why fear overtakes. God alone will make us brave and brave for the right things, things that will last eternally. We ultimately become a salve to our fear. That’s a scary thought to me, our mind is so powerful and we get so lost by our own fears we do not know which way is up anymore.

In the blink of an eye our lives begin to pass us by. Our lives grow so quickly, our kids we never had but always wanted are leaving for college, our 30th anniversaries are right around the corner, retirement accounts becoming more in the forefront of our minds, helping parents through hospice and the transition of life where they become a helpless babe again. All of these things are a part of life and are hard, sad, tough and yet so exciting. These stages are great to watch the kids grow and become their own little person, fall in love, have their own babies, but the transition of life starts as a helpless babe and unfortunately takes us right back around to being completely and utterly helpless again.

The media lately has been so full of death. Maybe this isn’t something new, but has caught my attention more recently. My heart is so broken for people who lose a loved one, go through a tragic scenario, and live and lose. These people have no hope, constantly searching their whole lives for purpose and meaning. My heart aches for the emptiness, sadness, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, broken marriages and broken families. These are hard things for me. I have an incredible amount of compassion for these heartaches. I’ve realized the hunt for something greater displays a life of emptiness so clearly through our celebrities; overdose and suicide. It brings life back into perspective; what’s our goal every day? Are we fighting to simply make it through the day, or are we blessed with life that no matter our circumstances we want to glorify God, be a light to friends and family and embrace each day as it was our last. We never live as though this is our last day. How many times do you walk out the door, hang up the phone or drop your kids off at school wishing the conversation ended different? I do often unfortunately, and I long to change this. My attitude is my biggest pitfall. I recognize this but need to not only proactively work on it, but need to change my hearts attitude for this to be an effective change.

I heard once, “our hearts display our true beliefs,” we live as though our hearts believe, not as though our minds believe. Did you catch that? Our hearts speak and display our true beliefs, meanwhile our minds tells us what we want to believe and what we ought to believe but our hearts do not follow. They are different. I’m not suggesting this is an easy fix, I’m working on this daily trying to convince myself I understand I have a poor attitude while the next breath I’m reinforcing my bad attitude. It’s not something we can magically change; it’s something that takes the strength of ourselves leaning on our Heavenly Father to help break our hearts in order that we may see things differently. We can try and try all we want, but I am living proof that it takes more than my sinful, selfish self to truly change the nature that we are all inherently selfish beings. If we weren’t, this topic wouldn’t be so challenging. Dear friends, we are all on this journey together. Let’s embrace the reality that in the midst of beauty we are all selfish and need help and accountability from those around us. Lean on the Lord today and see how your perspective changes. Choose to see God.

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