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Plans: A to Z

My children have taught me so much. I have learned what it is like to have unconditional love, unwavering faith, complete forgiveness, joy over the smallest things, and boundless energy. I have also witnessed absolute selfishness, rash behavior, rage, and broken little hearts.

It is so interesting to me that as adults, most of us have lost the first set of attributes, yet maintained or even added to the latter list. When is the last time you can say you have marveled over a ladybug for an hour, giggled about the same thing 50 times in a row, and looked at someone without one ounce of judgement? Or counted on someone catching you as you leapt through the air towards them?

When guided with a firm hand and tender heart through the fits, selfishness, and tears, children can continue to maintain the beautiful spirits they were born with. They look to us for comfort, guidance, encouragement, approval, and love.

I tell my children that God knows every mistake I’ve made and each and every flaw I have, and yet when he looks at me, he doesn’t really see it. He loves me the same, no matter what. It is like when one of my kids paints a beautiful picture for me. I could logically look at it and pick out a number of faults. There is imperfection in the picture, yet when I look at it, all I see is perfection and love. From them, through the picture. But there is the desire for approval; is this pleasing to you? Did this bring you joy?

This is what God is for us. He is a firm hand and tender heart through our selfishness, rage, bad choices, and tantrums. Sure, he must at times feel disappointed in our behavior, but loves us none the less. He is also our greatest encourager and supporter. Just like the painting our child presents to us, he is pleased with our best efforts. And ever patient with our less than stellar performance.

So what happens when we feel we have let God down? Do we let him down? Or are we letting ourselves down? Maybe you have done your very best and it doesn’t work out the way you thought it should have. Maybe we even heard a call from God in a certain direction. Is there such thing as dropping the ball on God? Possibly. Perhaps you tripped and sprained your ankle in the game. Your team didn’t go on to win. His plan didn’t quite work out. Or so you think.

I think what matters most to God is what you do with that failure. Every experience we encounter in life poses opportunity to learn. So will you assess your mistake and enter it in the “what not to do again column,” or will you put it under the heading of “I failed God, and now he must not like me”? God’s plan is to always do what is best for you. But you have to trust. That he always approves of you, and you are JOY to him, even in disappointing times.

We always have consequences to face for our choices, good or bad. No matter what, though, God will always use our situation for his glory, if we will allow it. So the choice we have is to carry the burden of guilt or shame around, or to put it on the pile of life’s junk he likes to collect at his feet. (At least that is where I put mine)! Do we then allow that burden to be replaced with trust that he will always see us through? We may end up at his plan Z for our life, but he will soon turn that to our new plan A, if we let him.

It’s having faith like a child; that no matter what, your best interest is in mind. So go paint your best picture for God. Play your best game. And even if you smear the paint or drop the ball, he is still standing there cheering you on. Work with the unexpected mistakes and get your butt back into the game. He has already forgotten your failure. Shouldn’t you?

-Erika

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About Erika Barrett

Endlessly curious and a strange mix of too simple and way too complicated, I'm in awe of the beauty and glory this life offers, celebrate resourcefulness and finding simplicity in life. I am a certifying LifeCoach, specializing in helping others find a way forward towards crafting a life of joyful purpose. I'm also Masters Level Practictioner of Splankna Therapy, which is a mind-body-spirit therapy model. I'm a currently single mama to three beautiful souls, and I love to be outside, adventuring and exploring, laughing, playing in the water and hugging those around me. I'm a believer that life is rich when we become aware of the little moments placed before us and embrace them fully-the joy, sorrow, beauty, love and pain. Life is too short to be so serious, yet there is so much devastating brokenness all around us that feels crushing. My writing is about a journey into wholeness and restoration. For me, you and those around us. So won't you join me in diving into our experiences and hearts? Feel free to share a thought or many, and please, please, love those you're with.

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