Good or God?

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We all have things that come into our lives that are good. Some of these things are specifically a part of the call God has placed on our life, other times it’s just something extra. The problem with these “extra good things” is that sometimes they appear to be in God’s will because they are so good, but just because it is a “good thing” does not mean that it is in God’s will for you.

For example, there are so many types of missions trips one can take to all sorts of different countries that are in need of help. There are so many different types of ministries one can be involved with, in and outside of the church. These are all very good things, but we aren’t all called to be involved with every single ministry that enters our path.

Let me share a story with you. Last summer, the summer of 2015, I spent 3 and half months interning with Pastor Carrie. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned so much and grew deeper in my walk with Christ, however, by the end of the summer I was worn out. I knew I needed to do this internship as a requirement for being a ministry major at Malone University. But there were so many other things I signed up to be involve with. On top of the internship, I played bass on the worship team, helped out in youth ministry, worked more than 30 hours a week at a pet store, as well as maintained my social life. On top of that, at the beginning of August, my family and I went on a small vacation. I had also joined the marching band at Malone University and would be moving in at Malone two weeks sooner than expected. This meant that I would need to begin, and finish, shopping for everything that I needed for living in a dorm room, as well as pack everything from home that I planned on taking.

As time went on, the stress increased. I was having a hard time trying to fit all I needed to do into my busy schedule.  My biggest concern was trying to get everything I needed to go to college. There was such a long list of things that I needed to buy. It seemed impossible to get it all done in time.

Through my time in the office with Pastor Carrie, she noticed how stressed out I was getting. Taking the initiative to help me, she wheeled in the big dry erase board, pulled out all her colorful markers and asked me a series of questions. She had me go through my typical weekly schedule, day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute. Once we had this written on the board, she asked me to point out the things that I felt were God’s will for my life. We made a list of those. Next, she wrote down everything else in my schedule that seemed to be good things, but things I didn’t necessarily feel as though they were in God’s will for my life. By the end I knew where she was going with it.

The list of things that I deemed as “good” turned out to be longer than the list of things that I felt God was calling me to do. This, I knew, was a problem. This was also the source of my stress and frustration. As we continued talking about the results we came up with, I became more and more stressed. I really enjoyed doing most of the things on the “good” list. I did not want to give any of them up, but I knew that in order to fully be in the will of God, I needed to manage my time and energy better. The best way of doing that was to cut things out of my schedule.

This wasn’t an easy thing for me to do. In fact, by the end of our discussion I was actually in tears. The stress had boiled over the top and I couldn’t hold it in anymore. Pastor Carrie comforted me with the infamous “Cobbie Corn” and helped me pick the things that would be best to take out of my schedule.

You see, serving in these certain areas of the church seemed like a good idea. But after I got myself involved with too much, I was so stressed out that it began to affect other areas of my life, like my internship with Pastor Carrie. Getting myself involved in too much was a mistake I made. I saw these great opportunities, but decided to jump right in without seeking the Lord first on whether they were right for me or not. It turns out not all of it was and it led to a very burnt out, stressed out, soon-to-be college student. I was too easily deceived by the idea that it was all good and assumed that meant it was God too.

The important thing is that I was able to recognize what all I had gotten myself into with the help of Pastor Carrie. After the evidence was proven true, I did not run from my mistake, but I took ownership of it and then sought out the Lord for help.

These kinds of things are mistakes that we all make. Sometimes it’s a little harder to recognize, or we have to go through a trial because of the mistake, but we cannot hold it over ourselves. We have to remember that God is not holding that mistake against us, so we don’t have to do that either.

After cutting things out of my schedule, my stress levels decreased and I was able to enjoy the rest of my summer. I also had the time to finish my internship with Pastor Carrie on a strong note, as well as do everything I needed to do to prepare for moving to college. To this day I still make mistakes that cause my stress levels to rise and boil over into tears, and Pastor Carrie still comforts me with “Cobbie Corn”, but I know that no matter how big the mistake, God is still bigger and forgives me.

Joshua and the other leaders in the Old Testament also made mistakes like you and I do. Check out Pastor Aaron’s sermon series “Joshua: Courage Unleashed!” to learn how Joshua coped with these mistakes.

Joshua

Friends, mistakes are a part of life. We, as humans, have to accept that we will always make these mistakes too.  However, instead of dwelling on them, we need to lift them up to God, accept His loving grace and forgiveness, and let Him turn our mistakes into victory. We can often be deceived by a “good” thing and lose focus on the “God” things.

Jenny Bushnell,
College Student, Writer, Blogger

Jenny and Cobbie

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