I’m at another turning point. Fifty years of living. Nearly twenty-five years of marriage. Twenty-two years of parenting with purpose. Seventeen years of leading, facilitating and teaching in Women’s Ministry. Ten years of cultivating a retreat ministry. Ten years of navigating life with an auto-immune disease. One year until my “nest” empties. Where will my story go from here?
Many Bible figures have been where I now am. An unknown path and choices to make. I would love to sit down with the I listen to them retrospectively discuss their small story in light of God’s magnanimous Story. Consider Paul. No one could dispute his untainted love for God and his unwavering eternal focus. Despite Paul’s numerous obstacles and bends in the road to his life and ministry, he didn’t fret about what would be next. When people looked at Paul, they saw past him and straight through to the impact of Christ’s transforming presence in my life. Why? Because he lived a cross-centered life. Oh, Lord, let it be me.
Why I Am Here
Paul’s sense of urgency and steady encouragement to Timothy to keep his faith anchored in the hope of Christ must have been a lifeline to Timothy, his son in the faith. Paul penned those letters while imprisoned. Timothy was a young pastor. False teachers and godlessness sought to rule the culture in Ephesus. Paul’s eyes weren’t on his own plight but on safeguarding the purity of the church. Behind bars, his life seemed to be going nowhere. Yet, he knew that pouring into those who would take up the torch of faith after he had crossed the threshold of glory would be among his most important accomplishments. He didn’t lose focus of why he was on this earth. Lord, let it be me.
I want to hold fast and not lose any of the spiritual ground God has enabled me to make. It can happen almost imperceptibly and we must be vigilant in safeguarding our souls. Am I helping others not to lose spiritual ground? In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul encourages Timothy to use his spiritual gift. “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” I can’t let uncertainty about my next steps stop me. Saturating my soul with God’s word keeps me ready for the Lord’s next assignment.
Moving Forward with Purpose
A vibrant walk requires vigilant care. I am to do my best to “present myself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Guarding my faith entails non-negotiable time with God to savor His Presence and to examine my life under the lens of God’s Word. Daily.
The Enemy of my Soul would have me believe that nothing has been accomplished up to this point in my life so far and all my potential has been squandered away on lesser things. But that’s a lie. It is a tender spot for me, though. God continues to be where my help comes from and by His power I am able to keep my eyes from fixating on the cultures ideas of a worthwhile life.
Asking myself challenging questions ensures I don’t become stagnant. Have I adopted any habits of the godless Paul lists in Chapter 3? Do I have the appearance of godliness and none of the power (v.5)? Am I always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth (v.7)? The fruit of my walk with the Lord, through God’s grace, shouts “no.” But the idea the answer could be yes is a notion that sends fear rippling throughout my soul if I let it. Do you have thoughts that do that? Those thoughts are fiery darts from the Evil One. Wielding our Shield of Faith with assurance causes us to remember the promises that are ours in Christ Jesus.
I don’t need to fret about where my life will go from here. I know that through the whole of my past and I pray for the entirety of my future, the Lord will continue to stand by me and strengthen me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed (2 Timothy 4:17) in whatever form that may take. That makes me ready for the next step, whatever it is. Oh, to take the time like Paul to breathe hope, truth and wisdom into the spiritual walks of others. Oh, Lord, let it be me.