How are you ending this year?
2020 has brought many challenges for most of us, would you agree?
Here at YWAM Adelaide, we’ve faced disruption of plans, financial struggles, the canceling of schools and programs, and for some of our staff, the loss of family members, amongst other personal challenges.
Thankfully, what we experienced through this year is not what we are experiencing as it all comes to a close. We’d like to share with you how we’ve been able to turn the tables around when circumstances tried to knock us down.
Feeling Overwhelmed vs Being in Awe & Wonder
Simply put, where you fix your eyes will determine if you’re going to be anxious or hopeful.
We’ve discovered this year that placing our focus on our circumstances only brought a sense of despair and overwhelmed us, the shocking reality that there wasn’t much we could possibly do to make things better. Very quickly our day became driven by our challenges and not by the still small voice, even though He was speaking all along.
We found ourselves striving to try to produce breakthrough other than believing and actively engaging with it. The result of this was frustration and discouragement but even in the midst of it all, we saw Jesus.
As our focus started shifting away from our challenges and our eyes became fixed on Him everything changed. The feeling of being overwhelmed was slowly being replaced by awe and wonder until there was nothing else but Him.
Our frustrations gave way to new hope, our discouragement replaced by excitement, our anxious fears now covered in His peace.
No longer were we overwhelmed by our circumstances, but overwhelmed with love, that filled our hearts with gratitude.
Worry vs Gratitude
We’ve experienced our fair share of worries this year, haven’t you?
The number of uncertainties and changes that were thrown at us brought a lot of questions.
What if we can’t…? What if it doesn’t work? What if it’s too much?
If your ‘’what ifs’’ lead you to lean on your own understanding they are probably coming from a place of worry and it will cause you to try to find the answers within yourself.
Our worries don’t question God’s ability to come through as much as they question His heart towards us.
It’s not ‘’can God do it?’’ but ‘’Will He at all?’’
We don’t doubt his capability, we doubt his character; but when we know his heart and believe He is faithful, worry gives way to gratitude.
We experienced that first hand as we set aside the whole month of November to intentionally be grateful, remembering His goodness and faithfulness towards us in the past and present. This has brought us to a new place of trust where we no longer dwell in the ‘’what ifs’’ but we delight ourselves in His steadfastness, as He invites us to give up our need for control.
Control vs Surrender
A while ago we went on a camping trip and one of the guys in our team decided to go for a swim at the beach. As he was swimming, he found himself caught in a riptide; he tried over and over to get back to shore, struggling against the current, but the harder he tried the more tired he got and the less control he had. It came to a point where he just stopped trying.
Thankfully there was a surfer headed back to his car who noticed what was happening.
He ran back into the water and was able to bring our friend back to safety.
When somebody is being rescued from drowning, they can become their own enemy by simply trying to save themselves.
Their desperation to stay above water can put themselves and the rescuer in extreme danger.
It comes to a point where you just need to let go of the illusion of control and to realize that in this ‘’ocean’’ called life it can seem like you have it all together and everything is going well until you find yourself in a riptide and you have to choose if you’re going to live from a place of control or a place of surrender.
Things will not always go the way we planned and we may do more harm trying to make it work than trusting God to work all things together for our good.
Entering His Rest
We were created to live life from a place of rest, yet so often we give in to striving so that we can prove ourselves.
in Matthew 11 Jesus says:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
We find true freedom in realizing that there’s no amount of good works that will ever make us right with God; Jesus is it and to enter His rest is to submit to the reality that He has done it all. There’s no need for you to prove yourself, so just let Him love you and live from that place.
When we fix our eyes on Jesus our hearts are filled with gratitude, we can trust His love for us, we can rest in Him.
We hope this encourages you in your journey and that you’ll be able to see the goodness of God throughout 2020.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.