Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9
Twenty seventeen was the year that taught me what joyful confidence in the Lord truly meant to me. It was the year that taught me the meaning of those two words separately too! Confidence and joy were my two words from two thousand seventeen. I learned confidence solely and completely from the Lord. Confidence in knowing He created my rare and different heart on purpose for a purpose. Twenty seventeen taught me that my joy can only come from confidence in the Lord.
Joy is the word that I honestly believe that God placed upon my life to be my word until I am joined with Him in Heaven. However, it took me a while to be able to explain when people would ask me why I choose joy.
That was until last year, twenty seventeen.
I had many seasons in twenty seventeen. I had both hill and valley moments. There were moments when I wondered if I was just going to go through months of valleys. I questioned if I was ever going to see the mountaintop. I learned what joy meant in the moments when I wanted “out,” when I wanted to know the “whys” to my questions, and when I wanted to substitute “my right now” for my “what is next.”
I found my God-confidence in the messy and mundane, which turned into my biggest message and season of intimacy with the Lord. Before I closed the book on twenty seventeen I came face to face with truly bringing those two words, confidence and joy, into the new year of two thousand eighteen.
I had a coworker say to me, “You are almost too nice,” when I had a meeting with a couple of my coworkers. I have always been accepting of positive constructive criticism. However, that stung...a lot. I know that is what constructive criticism does sometimes, stings. Yet, “you are almost too nice” is not a comment I would think needs to be addressed and fixed. What I pray and hope for both you and me is that we not allow others’ perceptions to be louder than God’s voice of truth.
You see, for many years I would question and seek out God sometimes in tears. I would beg Him to tell me why I feel like I am different. Why am I soft spoken but quirky, Lord? Why am I joyful and bubbly all the time, Lord? I remember God telling me, “Lauren, you have My love and My heart. Do not quit or back down.”
Yet, I realized those questions were planted by the enemy because God showed me He wants our different and joyful hearts. I have entered two thousand eighteen with refusing to try to be someone else’s definition of enough because Jesus Christ is more than enough for me. He is my definition of enough. Will you join me in choosing to sprinkle kindness like confetti this year to those that may be intimidated by our confidence in the Lord?
1. Do you ever have moments when you just feel like you just do not fit in? Almost to the point where you do feel like the Froot Loop in the world full of Cheerios? If you said yes, then please write on a piece of paper how the world can benefit from your heart. Some examples may be volunteering, serving, using certain spiritual gifts or highlighting a certain fruit of the Spirit.
2. Did you write down at least two things? Okay, good. Now, looking at what you wrote down, can’t you see how someone with your heart is needed in this world? You are enough for God. You are needed. Rest in that.
Dear Lord, thank You for paying our price. Thank You for taking our name, shame, and sin and exchanging it for freedom in You. Freedom from guilt, living up to someone else’s definition of enough, worldly desires and pleasures that are placed upon us at such an early age. Thank You for being more than enough for us. Just like Chris Tomlin's song Enough says, “You satisfy us with Your love, and all we have in You is more than enough.” Thank You for being our definition of enough, Lord. Amen.
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