I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Debbie Ramamoorthy (WITHIN Devotional Writer)
I remember a few months ago hearing that it was exactly 6 months until 2020. And me being me, I immediately started writing down every single goal I wanted to (needed to) accomplish before 2020 arrived. There was excitement, pressure and hopefulness. Then suddenly, one thing after the other started to happen: unexpectedly leaving Ecuador to visit India for a few weeks, followed with moving out of my job, moving into a new job, moving cities, starting life in a new city in Ecuador- moving from the capital city to the Amazon jungle! All happening within a 10-day period-and all of which are just the surface-level stuff! So, remember that list of goals I made? Well, let's just say they needed to be set on the back burner for a few months!
After having the time to come to grips with all the absolute wildness I had been through, I settled with a feeling of discontent and dissatisfaction thinking about the reality that all that I had planned and hoped to accomplish- was sitting there, unaccomplished. I sat in the silence and discomfort of recognizing that little lie that permeates my mind, heart and thoughts whispering that I am not enough. That simple lie that can so quickly take over and make me lose sight of the glorious work that God does and is doing, regardless of the circumstances. I knew that I needed to replace that lie with the simple yet profound truth that there is so much more to me than accomplishing a set of goals. I'm living on the other side of fears, uncertainties and unknowns. And while there are plenty more of those fears, uncertainties and unknowns standing ahead of me- God's power, His incredible delight in me and our beautifully intimate paths, surpass all understanding-including our list of goals!
Immanuel- God with us.
This simple phrase- God with us and within us, is the truth we should live in. And this is what the past few months have shown me. Through all the moves, the changes, and new beginnings God with us is helping each of us grow into exactly who we were always meant to be-a person He delights in. We are daughters He brought into this world with so much purpose! Although there is so much waiting and so many things we are continually waiting to fall into place, we are always growing. We are exactly where our Immanuel God wants us to be. As we continue to let everything fall into place, we should continue to focus on the growth that is happening. There, we are less focused on the things that did not happen. There, we can be focused on the delight our Father is pouring out on us daily and continually.
As we live out the highs and lows of life, the moments of rejoicing and the moments of mourning, the exciting surprises and the painful disappointments- each of these things are means to draw us closer to God and closer to anchoring us in the hope we have in Him. Every single day we live out, we are being refined and strengthened in Him and our confidence in Him grows as He continues to mold us to look more like Him. Suddenly, that list of goals we set on the back burner isn't our focus any more. Rather, the intimacy we find in Christ, our hope in Him and our desire for Him starts to take over.
I am often reminded of Psalm 69 where David is lamenting to God from a place of total despair. In that moment of seeking the Lord we often forget the context for why David is crying out to God. It is following his affair and the internal response and struggle of that affair. I wonder how inadequate and insufficient David felt following the sin he had committed. Yet, he ran to the feet of His father! He knew God was right there with him, sorting through this with him. He understood the idea of Immanuel!
So my encouragement for you is this--when you start to feel like you don't have enough, you aren't enough, you're not where you think you are meant to be, you don't have what it takes or you haven't tackled that to-do list or the goals you set out for yourself, remember who you belong to and who abides in you!
Remember the persistence your heart found in Him the last time you wanted to give up or wanted to allow disappointment to take over. Remember the courage God gave you the last time you were afraid. And then remember how you still have all those things because our Father gives us all that it takes to survive every single day that He has given us on this Earth! He is less concerned with our to-do lists and goals we write out for ourselves and more concerned with our hearts drawing closer to Him. Acknowledge the truth of who He is and the journey you are on and the story God is writing for you.
As you process through your daily, weekly, yearly or even life-ly goals, expectations and unmet goals and unmet expectations- remember everything that has brought you here. And that although every mountain you face may make you weary, you are still holding on to hope. His faithfulness is still very real. And lastly, regardless of whether this is where you want to be or how you want to be, this is exactly where you are meant to be- with our God within us.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Questions to Reflect on: