We are that river
There’s a river that God’s in the midst of. It’s so influential that even the streams coming from it refresh the distant lands they touch. It’s a holy place, that river. It houses the most High. We, the children of God, are that river. He is in the midst of us, living through us, and imparting His strength so that we can rest in Him and not live broken.
When we flow freely, unencumbered by life’s debris, when God pulses through our very being, His light shines from us like streams branching off from a river. Even the seemingly small things we do prompted by God encourage others to believe. They’re touched by Him through us, often without us even being aware.
Let God guide your journey
Entrusting our lives to God and His will allows Him to guide us through riverbanks He’s already carved. Some appear good, some appear bad. Following through on His nudges often leads to witnessing things that could only have come from One who knows all. For these experiences we praise and worship Him. However, sometimes that revelation comes later. Hold tight.
Difficulties place us where God needs us
When we endure difficulties of which others judge and condemn us, rather than lash out, stand confident. God is in control still. He positions us where He needs us to be. There’s no need to defend. Don’t allow these seemingly bad situations to hinder His work. Fight the urge to complain or attack in response. Wait in quiet trust. Keep your eyes on Him, and watch God reveal His purposes. In this way we’re able to offer an example of the pure power of God.
Resist angrily giving back what is being done to you. Restrain from seeking vengeance. God does so in His time and to a degree that serves His purposes, furthering His will. Let Him repay evil for what evil has done. It’s not your job. Let that freedom penetrate and enjoy the weight lifted.
Relax in the flow of God’s will.
Rest, relax in the flow of His will. Sink in, and don’t worry about what you may or may not accomplish. He provides abundantly what’s needed. Resting in Him renews our Spirit as we continue to grow closer and more in love with Him. Allow fully His Spirit to fill and flow through you. Relationship with Him is the most important thing of life.
There’s a river that God’s in the midst of. Be that river, trusting and filled so much that streams of His presence branch off from you, offering refreshment to others.
Is friendship essential to the soul? Essential, as a word, indicates something that is vital, fundamental, a lifeblood, or a necessity. Does this describe what a friend is or should be to us? I dare say we put too much value in creation and things of this earth, including people such as our friends.
When we value someone to the degree that they are a necessity or a crucial need in our lives, we’ve placed them higher than they should be. With a demand so strong, we risk hindering both our life and that of those we cling so tightly to.
What is the purpose of friendship, what part do we play as a friend, and what is our friend’s role in our life? Are we able to heal them when they’re hurting? Can we protect them when tragedy strikes? Do we keep guard when enemies threaten? Are we peacemakers when life overwhelms? Strength, wisdom, peace, hope, and encouragement are all sought from friends or expected of us by others. However, all of these are not, or should not be, our functions in life.
We’ll be sorely disappointed if we cling to another person and expect them to fulfill a role for us they’re not meant to. They cannot meet all of our needs. By letting our unfulfilled expectations be known, expectations that cannot fully be achieved by anyone, we impose the impression of failure on our friends, inflicting disappointment on them.
When we try to be the best friend, offering advice, giving guidance, and trying to be what we think others would want of us, we fall short, struggle to keep up the façade, and find ourselves stressed out and anxious. We can’t possibly be all to all or even all to one other person. It’s exhausting and leads to unhappiness in ourselves and our friendships.
Imagine if we treated friendships as freedom, allowing someone a safe place to simply be. We should listen without judgement or offering opinion. God’s whisper of direction can then be heard by our friend. We should treat friendships as an extension of ourselves by being present to uplift and pray with one another in times of rejoicing or struggle. Where two or more are gathered together praising the Lord a sacred space is created.
Friendships, true and unconditional in nature, I believe, are blessings from God, rather than essential to the soul. They offer dimension to our lives. They enrich the basics of living. Friends bring a layer to our humanity that feeds our personalities, challenges our comfort zones, and should keep us focused on God.
Don’t let friendships become exhausting.
God, however, is the One who is essential to our soul. He is our Creator, and He formed us with a need for a deep intimate connection with Him. We feel best, perform best, are healthiest in mind and soul when we live life as one with Him. It is God who should be our confidante, comforter, protector, and the source of our strength. These qualities of His are supernatural and become very powerful in the lives of His children.
As a friend, be there to encourage your friend to keep God, first and foremost, at their center no matter how difficult the circumstances. Be there to allow a safe place to vent. Not so that you can advise, but to let them hear their own voice and sense God’s response. We should rejoice together as God gives direction and praise God together as He comforts and imparts His peace during times of difficulty.
When we are that kind of friend, we grow in our own relationship with God. By directing others to the One who is essential to the soul, we are being fed as well. Our soul is filled to overflowing, and our friends benefit by that which overflows from our being, that is God. So, are friends essential to the soul? No, but a good friend will direct you to Him who is. Though we all want to be of value to someone, it takes a strong person to step aside and let God have that rightful place. He is essential to your soul.
“Thanks for your advice, but I’ll do just fine learning from my own mistakes.” If I didn’t say them out loud, those words were screaming in my head. My mother had shared another story from her past meant to enlighten and encourage me to skip the same mistakes she’d made. She was parenting, but much like most teenagers, I was quite brilliant. I didn’t need direction from anyone else, especially my mother.
Well, here I am thirty-ish years later in the same situation with my own children. “I really think you’ll notice the difference if you eat better,” I’d said. Instantly the eye-roll and irritation emanating from my young adult daughter was felt, if not seen. It’s much the same response I get from all my children when I offer advice from the many life-lessons I’ve learned. I shrug and pray for the patience to be quiet…now and the next time I want to offer my thoughts. Which reminds me of the serenity prayer I quoted in my video message: Sons and Daughters of the King, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.”
Can we change those we love? Should we try to change them? How much energy, worry, and control should we exert on the decisions of those we care for? Over the course of my child-rearing years, I’ve learned that we, as parents, aren’t really in control. I’ve realized that we can’t fulfill any promise to keep our children safe from harm. It’s clear that many influences occur in our children’s lives that either we’re unaware of or painfully wish had never happened.
During my early parenting years, God spoke to my heart. He was present, offering peace and easing my mind. His strength gave aid to my defeated soul. He offered wisdom and direction, clarifying my role in my children’s lives. You see, God is the only One who is in control. He is the Creator, and these children are His. He does allow bad things to happen. We (you and I) grow, learn, and change largely based on the struggles we face and endure. Our children are no different. If He has intentions that my children experience things I strive for them to avoid, He has His reasons. His will never fails.
Struggling to control a child’s direction and filling with anxiety when they don’t listen wastes energy, causes faith to falter, and fills us with stress. Looking at life’s circumstances through a belief in God and His will, even for our children, allows us freedom. We gain the ability to let go and entrust them to Him.
That doesn’t mean that we stop parenting. However, remaining constantly in communication with God, seeking His wisdom, and trusting His will allows two things to happen: 1) We are comforted when things don’t go the way we’d hoped, and 2) Our children see us in peace during moments where chaos is expected or present. It is a quiet visual of relationship for others to witness, rather than ranting that these difficult times or bad choices are not what we or God would want. When we keep our eyes on God, we step out of being a factor in or source of the chaos itself and become a vessel of peace.
We can relate to our children. After all, we often sense God’s direction in our lives and respond much like an adolescent to a parent, “I’ll do just fine, Lord, learning from my own mistakes.” As you know, life would be so much easier if we’d heed God’s advice. Let me encourage you to come close to God and grow in that relationship. His direction may, at times, be difficult, but the beauty of what He is creating is worth it, and the peace He imparts on the journey gives us strength to endure.
Watch what God can do in your child’s life. When we co-parent with Him, we experience peace in the midst of chaos. Witness the difference that peace in your own parenting can make for those in your life. Though some things take time to change, you can be sure that when you entrust your children to Him, He’ll do a great job. Be a quiet but powerful force of faith in your child’s corner. They will benefit!