November has been a weird, yet amazingly exhilarating month for me.
I didn’t pick my theme until about a week into the month, which, if anything, enhances the sense of truth to it. From a church retreat to the major whirlwind of embarking on the NaNoWriMo challenge of writing 50,000 words in a month, it’s definitely been an interesting month. I’m excited to write about it.
Continuing on the winding path, walking through life with continued obedience and faithfulness even when our hearts and desires push back, is difficult. Life jerks us back and forth and upside down. But at the same time, there are also always moments of profound beauty.
Of course, my time in the Word has greatly influenced how I reflected this month.
- Isaiah 66
- Jeremiah 1-12
- Romans 5:6-11
- 1 John 1:5-10, 13-14
- 1 Corinthians 10:23-33
- Ephesians 6:10-20
- Proverbs 1-7
I also read some good books this month!
- “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. A good, classic dystopian story about free will. It speaks to how the differences of people in the world contribute to living with conscientiousness, exploring how though free will opens the door to darkness, it also opens the door to incomporable joy.
- “Unseduced and Unshaken” by Rosalie de Rossett and other contributors. This was an incredible book! This collection of essays calls for more time spent in older books, gaining wisdom, and respecting oneself and God enough to live with dignity, modesty, and thoughtfulness.
- “Wishtress” by Nadine Brandes. An intriguing, enjoyable fantasy written by the author of “Romanov”, “Fawkes”, and the “Out of Time” series.
- “unPlanned” by Abby Johnson. This is the story of a former Planned Parenthood director’s journey to becoming pro-life. What I appreciated about her story is that she showed the humanity of the other side while also authentically telling her personal experience.
And now, we move into my journal to see what the Lord has been teaching me.
11/2: “Help me, O LORD, to not only think of Your call on me in context of the future, but also of the here and now. I want to be faithful, fearless, observant, ready and flexible… however, my nature rebels. Oh, God of honor, truth, calling, knowing and deliverance, be my guiding light. Also help me live in the moment. Who I am now builds who I will be, after all.”
11/3: “You have been so good; You are so awesome. And we made messes. We built walls. You created beauty for us to enjoy, and we’ve set it within walls. And we forget the gravity of our mistakes… as You remember such vividly. Help me to remember, Lord. Thank You for the blood of Christ.”
11/6: “Thank You for a wonderful weekend at church retreat to breathe in snowy air, rest in beautiful moments of belonging, let go of grudges, build friendships, let go of lingering victimhood, and ‘feel’ a lot of prayers as I sat in awe of your creation.”
11/7: “You work in mysterious ways… thank You for working in me. You create innumerable opportunities for me to share Your love. Such is not I, but Christ in me. Thank You for taking my faithlessness upon Yourself… for promising to help me heal from it.
I’ve finally decided on a theme for the month, which will be ‘Continue on the winding path’. I’m going through a lot of ups and downs; a lot of thinking about the future and struggling in the now with feelings and passions and ungratefulness and grudges… as well as facing new challenges and horizons. Guide me, Father, as You already have been, though, and I know I’ll be okay.”
11/8: “Lord, help me enjoy where I am right now, as this place is a beautiful thing. Tomorrow will take care of itself, and You will guide me where I must go and to whom I must be with.
My life has been redeemed to new purpose. Thank You for helping me push through and be faithful… and for working even in faithlessness.”
11/10: “I don’t want to be satisfied with past deeds of excellence or sacrifice or accomplishment. I want to continue striving to honor You and do all to Your glory, which means doing my best.”
11/11: “It’s amazing how half-a-page of gratitude can change perspective so quickly. Hallelujah; You are good, the world is still turning even in the midst of minor frustrations.”
11/13: “How can I declare I am delivered when I still believe so many lies? You don’t ask for much; simply trust and obedience. Thank You for grace, and for Christ. Without You I am lost, drifting. My heart has been led astray by my mind. Help me fill my mind with helpful things, otherwise disobedience will continue to run rampant.”
11/14: “All I really ask is that You keep growing me, Sovereign God, as You have been already.”
11/16: “I can be as polite, nice and kind as I want, but without truth I am empty. Help me delight in the truth. To seek it. To love it. To follow and obey it. May it be all I boast in.”
11/18: “My life right now is an ebb and flow of information and understanding. Help me make sense of it all. Help me to slow down, look around, look UP, form healthy habits… live with dignity and restraint, as well as assurance in who You’ve made me to be. I want to live a grounded life, one of contentment and simple beauty and consistent joys through the highs and lows of life. Guide me in that, please.”
11/21: “I seek feeling loved and known and purposeful in following You… but do I seek Your wisdom? Do I search for it like I do the treasures of love and purpose? No. No wonder I’ve felt a little lost-at-sea. Help me be strong. Open my eyes and heart to truly listen to what Your understanding teaches in all of its abundant glory.”
11/24: “Lord, help me really think and ponder about what is right and true. Help me guard my heart and shape my goals with the knowledge You give me, rather than simply relying on gut feelings or intuition. To bring light to a dark world, I must first understand what really feeds the light.”
11/28: “Lord, help me keep awake and alert and discerning of heart, as what You offer is fullness of life. May my life be a testament of disproving and running from other lesser, though alluring, ‘lovers’, and instead developing a heart and mind that fully clings to You. Hallelujah, Lord God. Thank You for loving me in my doubts, fears and worries.”
Walking through life means you’re automatically walking on a winding path. There will automatically be ebbs and flows, hills and valleys in every person’s story. But how one walks this winding path makes all the difference between a life of uprightness and joy, and one of perpetual whiplash.
Think about it. Recently, as briefly mentioned in my journal entries, I went on a church retreat up at Mount Baker. Which meant that we had to scale the mountain, which is a long… long… icy… winding road.
If you don’t let yourself adapt to the winding path, notice I said ‘adapt’, not surrender, then you’ll suffer from constant whiplash.
When you accept that you’re on a winding path, you can then adapt to it; choosing to seek God’s wisdom and adopt His calling to you, and easing the pain of constant whiplash. You can then follow the waves, surmount the hills, shiver in the wind… and be at peace.
Part of my journey this month has been growing my desire for wisdom. Growing my desire to be grounded, dignified, and thirsty for the Lord’s will and understanding. Seeking His wisdom and grounding is a lifelong process. Though that may not seem like it would contribute to the effectiveness of keeping you from whiplash, it absolutely helps! Wisdom is seriously undervalued. Yet I think it would solve so much of our problems.
Purpose is fluid. Changing. But our calling to love God is not. And how do we know how to best love God?
Seeking the knowledge of Him, and how He desires us to think.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to undervalue having a desire for God. It’s just that… such can often be projected as greater than understanding, knowledge and wisdom regarding God. I know that is true in my life. Both must walk hand in hand.
My friend, the ultimatum is, stop living a life of whiplash. Continue on this winding road, yes, but you don’t have to let it jolt you so. Seek God’s wisdom and find yourself living beyond emotional fancies or cultural expectations; and, rather, holding a deeper understanding of His love and kindness, and your place in the world.
A quick update on NaNoWriMo… Next week, stay tuned for a post on what I learned from NaNoWriMo this year.
Happy Thursday, y’all! 🙂