Inspiration, Encouragement & Instructions
". . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
As I age, which contrary to what culture tends to withhold admiration for, has some perks. Honestly, though, staying young may appeal because there seems to be more energy available to a body less worn out by time. And, on certain days, casting off the responsibilities that have come with “seasoning” sounds like an invitation to return to freedom and carefree days.
And yet, there is this perspective shift that comes as one's experiences with God, others and circumstances increase. Patterns emerge, insight is gained, a certain level of "giving up" on things that just don't seem quite as important takes place. And most startling is that the more I learn the less I think I know. This is humbling and refining. Perhaps most importantly, this growing older business continues to drive me back time and time again to setting my anchor in the word of God, found in the Bible.
If someone had told me how many hard and weighty decisions one would be required to make prior to my children turning 15, I perhaps would have made a different choice about the number of children God was allowed to gift us. Seriously, the time I have spent in tears over the potential impact of the ways we guide our kids in just their education and extracurricular activities is beyond what I ever imagined. The decisions just continue to seem bigger, deeper and LESS CLEAR as we go.
But here is what I have found: the Bible really does have all the answers. Maybe not with a specific step by step S.M.A.R.T. goal kind of way, but time and time again I have found the peace and insight to take just the next step, even if I can't see the entire plan. As of late, it has been the book of Proverbs that has been most instrumental in my ability to move forward in decisions with confidence and trust in God. At first glance many of these short verses seem confusing or not applicable.
However, I have made a habit of reading and re-reading, looking at the contrasts and metaphors to see the principles and patterns that are guiding the instructions of them. And to my delight, I have seen that even the book's name is a hint at the way to wisdom. Pro (forward, for) Verbs (actions). The author is helping us see what actions will move us forward (toward wise living), and which actions will move us forward in the opposite direction.
Which also means that to learn to live wisely requires action. (As well as assessments of our past actions.) If we want to see God's plan, we will need to be pro-active in what we are moving toward. And pro-active in what we are moving away from. Once I noticed this pattern of "verbs" in Proverbs, I began to look at the book in an entirely different way. I began to be able to see how the words did apply, how the instructions are relevant and how the Holy Spirit works to make the words of old living and active and able to guide.
But had aging not come with such hard decisions, or if my life thus far made up of fewer days, I am not sure I would have come to such a strong reliance on the word of God as my anchor.
When you need direction for (pro) action (verb), sit awhile with the book of Proverbs. Take an aerial view of the problem or decision you are facing, look at it from a conceptual level, and then go look for the same kinds of concepts and contrasts in the words of Scripture. Dig in, work at understanding the contrast and metaphors, probing to see how they may be speaking to your situation through the similarities your find. And CRY OUT to the Lord to help you move in the direction of wisdom, trusting that he has your every step forward in His hands.
So this getting older bit, my body doesn’t like it some days, but I will say the gaining of perspective and the learning that comes with the experiences that challenge my mind and faith, they are a definite perk. Not so much because of an increase in knowledge or confidence, but the increase in trust that I have in who God is and who I am not. I have an increasing level of hope and faith in His voice and ability to direct my steps. I am learning to really, actually live like I know I am not in charge, and that has made my walk lighter and enabled me to allow my hope and dreams to gently nestle in the cleft of His mighty rock of protection.
Her family and friends know her as, Jaci. She is the wife of a pastor, a mom of four, writing and communications education instructor, a visionary and an avid runner. As a firm believer in the power and effectiveness of the body of Christ united together to live out the Great Commission, she holds fast to this verse, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Of equal importance to her are these words, "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
Posts in the Run for Your Life, series: