Not Without Pain But With Purpose

I'd like to share some words I wrote a few days ago. It's something that God is teaching me. And I know this is going to sound backwards, but I want to share the way He is confirming these thoughts first.

Today, I was once again able to go to church. For the most part, I understood little of what was said. It was all in French, after all. But as I sat in church worshiping with other Believers, I had this thought:

"No, I can't understand what is being taught or sung (to be fair they did sing two songs I know, but in French). But worship isn't about me and what I get out of it. Worship is about God and what I put into it."

Now, here is the blog post I wrote several days ago.

I should be going to sleep right now. I've been in two straight days of 6 hour classes - don't worry I get a lunch break - and I have another class tomorrow. And those of you who know me know that sleep is a treasured thing for me. But I'm not going to sleep right now.

I told you a few posts ago in my first update from France that God has been teaching me a lot. Well, I'm still learning. He is taking concepts that I've learned all my life and asking me to really put them into practice. Not just say I believe them, but live out my belief.

Today, I was having a pity party for myself. I finally - two weeks after I arrived - got around to making a budget. And my tiny little travel budget didn't come anywhere close to the cost of going to some of the places I'd like to visit.

So here I was, frustrated, knowing that I really don't have options to change the situation. I was talking to my Dad, pretty much wallowing in pity, when I was reminded that maybe that's not what I'm here for. God just kind of placed that thought on my heart. I kept saying that I was coming to Europe to be a witness and to serve God, but was I living like it?

When I got off the phone, I told God "OK, I'm listening. Will you speak?"

He answered through the words of Beth Moore's Breaking Free Day by Day: A Year of Walking in Liberty. Let me share with you the entry for January 23:

"We make life so much more complicated when we think life is "all about us." The rest of the world never cooperates. No one else got the memo. When we see ourselves as the center of the universe, we live in constant frustration because the rest of creation refuses to revolve around us. Life vastly simplifies, and satisfaction greatly amplifies, when we begin to realize our awesome roles. God is God. From our perspective, it's all about Him. He is the center of the universe. We seek to please Him. He seeks to perfect us - and life works. Not without pain, but definitely with purpose."

The verse for today was Isiah 46:9: "For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and no one is like Me."

I desperately needed this reminder that none of this - France, life, this year - none of it is about me. It's about Him.

I'd still really like to travel Europe. I want to see Rome. I want to go to Bath, England. I'd love to spend time at the Mediterranean Sea. It would be awesome to view the Northern Lights. The list goes on. If God chooses to bless me with that ability, then I will consider myself blessed. He is an awesome God who loves His children, and sometimes He chooses to give us amazing opportunities out of the abundance of that love. But if I don't get to do any of those things and I still serve God, then this year will be worth it.

Will it be my vision of my European year? No. It will be God's vision of His servant's year in Europe.

Honestly, I know this is something I will struggle with because I'm still struggling with it now. I'll probably need to come back to this post often; but it's here, a physical reminder of what God is teaching me.

I want to be able to look back on this year and say that, "No, it was not with out 'pain'. It had it's frustrating moments - like spending half a night in the hospital or not getting to do everything I dreamed of doing. But it had purpose: God's purpose."

There's a little bit of my heart, raw and real. Struggling but seeking. What has God been teaching you lately?


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