I can still see myself sitting at the kitchen table in my pajamas as a teen. After everyone had gone to bed, and the house was quiet, I wrote. I wrote a lot of things in a journal questioning my purpose. I suppose you could say I was talking to God on those pages. I may have even written “Dear God” at the top of some of those rants.
Even still today, I ask God daily to show me my purpose, how I can best walk this journey of faith with him close. These words of Paul really resonate with me today, and I feel a kindred spirit with him and how he sees his own journey.
Do you ever feel like you’re the only one that doesn’t have it all together? I know lots of women who confess on social media they are simply a “hot mess” struggling to pull it all together to be a positive influence on their families and in the workplace. Why do we all feel it necessary to put on a good show for the rest of the world? Isn’t it better to just be ourselves, comfortable in our own skin, thankful for what God has provided?
One of my favorite sayings we used often in our Celebrate Recovery ministry over the years was, “God never wastes a hurt.” Think about that one for a moment. God can use everything we experience and make something good out of it. Paul is alluding to this in this passage when he gives credit to how his less than desirable circumstances have helped him spread the Good News!
Imagine Paul just prayed this prayer for you. Paul was asking God to provide these things for his friends. Even if Paul didn’t particularly have you in mind, all these years later let me direct this prayer to you. I’ll use Paul’s words because they are just that good. And timely.
Am I the only one that feels overwhelmed when I turn on the news? I’ve started getting my news from a Christian source that has already sifted through all the noise of the media to pick the stories that seem to be most fact-filled. As a writer, it’s hard to admit that other writers (journalists) are seemingly being manipulated by society to write with a certain slant or bias. Have you noticed that the same stories sound different depending on who is telling the story?
You may or may not know that Philippians is one of my favorite books. As I grow deeper in my faith, I realize that I look forward to the day when I can be friends with Paul like the Philippians were. They had a deeper relationship than most because of the faith they share. When we can find friends who share a similar faith focus, that’s golden!
If you want to get a little more about the background of what’s happening, I wrote on a similar passage in Philippians five years ago. Here’s a link to that blog post if you’re curious.
Where do you look when you need a little encouragement? This portion of Paul’s letter to the Philippians gives them exactly that so they don’t lose heart. It takes work to be positive amidst struggle, ridicule, and, for the Philippian church, to be new Christians living among Jews who thought they were crazy.
We may take some of the same kind of heat for our own faith. I think that’s why we often keep our mouths shut when the opposite is more appropriate for the situation. We worry about what people will think of us. We worry we won’t have the right words to say. We certainly don’t want to ever do anything to bring shame to Jesus with our blunders.