Updated: May 21
Journeys are interesting things. You can plan and design and have all of your ducks in a row and yet they can change in the blink of an eye.
Knowing this, we have the choice to be adaptable to the things that are thrown our way that may or may not derail this part of the journey. If you have read any of my blog posts the last year or so, you know I am all about choices. God gives us the free will to make choices. He doesn't want us to be robots that He controls. He wants us to willingly go along on the journey and trust that despite the twists and turns the journey takes, He is right beside us as we make the next choice that is put before us.
Recent circumstances in my life have brought me to many choices. It has taken me through bright days and dark days. Thoughts of just who am I and do I even matter in God's eyes float through my sometimes too analytical brain. People may ask, you have these thoughts even though you are a pastor? Well, yes, of course I do! I am as human as the next person. I have much more faith than I have doubts but I have doubts nonetheless.
I am so very blessed to be part of a group of people who get to journey with John Ortberg every day through a devotional he prepares and presents. Currently we are partaking in his "Made to Count" series. This particular series has, more so than the rest this past year, has really made me stop and think about who I am. Who I am in other people's eyes. Who I am in my eyes. And who I am in God's eyes.
Having a life threatening disease causes one to stop and think of these things. It causes us to wonder about our lives and the impact we have made, or have we? How do I know, deep within my own heart, I was made to count as John has been teaching us?
For me, this is where faith overcomes doubt. It is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, in my life. Here is where I can see that for every circumstance, good, bad and ugly, that I have and am currently experiencing, God is using me to be a beacon of light in the lives of others. It is where I can palpably feel the love and care of others in my own life carrying me through difficult times. It is where I can offer wisdom that would be lacking if I had not been a witness to my own experiences to those around me. It is where I can be a lifeline to those seeking to know if they matter. If they count. If they are worthy. If the trudging, drudgery of this time in their lives make a difference at all.
To this, I say, yes, our lives are full of experiences, again good, bad and ugly, that make up our journey. How we travel through and come to the other side depends on us knowing how very much we matter to those around us and to the One who walks alongside us every step of the way. Specifically, right in the beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 1:27, we are told, "So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."
So my question is this, if you and I were created in His image (Imago Dei), how could we possibly not count? If we look at all the moments in our lives when things have not gone the way we would have liked them to and then see where they actually did go, I expect we would see where the path we were led on this journey instead took us to a place where we could then make more of an impact for the benefit of others around us. Think about this.
As with all things, allowing ourselves to be led, even though it may feel like a game of blind man's bluff, is a challenge to our human need for control of everything in our lives, but is the key to knowing who we are, who we were made to be, and how we can continue to count in our personal lives and the lives of others.
My silence these past few weeks has been in large part due to the nature of treatments "taking me out." It did however give me the opportunity to work on my writing. But as it turns out, my second book, which I still hope to publish this year, has taken a turn in my journey as well. What I thought it should be (and in my most non-humble humanness have kept pressing for it to be) and what God wants it to be, it seems are two entirely different things. It is now shaping up to be a small group/life group/Bible study book about finding faith through failure. Not what it started out as and certainly not the direction and path I thought I would ever take because as you know, if you know me or have read book #1, I don't do devotionals...ever. And never say never are the words I hear echoing over and over again in my head. "You count. This is how you need to share with others that they count as well." And so I shall.
Before I give you our poem to reflectively journal with today, I just want to say that if you are looking for a great daily exercise, go to #becomenew.me and join this practice.
"You were made to count,
The truth is Imago Dei,
This is who you are."