I think this is one of my biggest struggles: to not only trust God with the direction of my life, but to be content and to thrive where he places me rather than just survive. It’s a struggle at all times, but it’s especially difficult during trials. Of course, most recently it has been difficult due to deployment.
I hate deployment! That’s understandable, right? My husband is gone, and not only absent from my every day life but placed in a dangerous situation! I have to miss him and fear for his safety, and most of the time I just want to go to sleep and wake up when it’s all over. I don’t want to live through this year of deployment, but I have to, so many times I have this mentality of needing to simply survive. Do what is necessary to make it through another day, and eventually it will all be over.
That’s okay. I mean, eventually I will have survived the year, Hubby will be back, and things can go back to normal. But I don’t think it’s what God wants from me.
Jeremiah 29: A Letter to the Exiles
God’s people had been carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon and were going to remain there in exile for 70 years. Of all the times to justify that survival mentality, you would think this would be a prime example. But God isn’t satisfied with that… God asks for more. I found this passage really speaks to me and where I am with this deployment… Here’s my paraphrasing:
This is what the Lord Almighty says to those He carried into deployment: “Make homes and settle down; plant gardens and work on other projects. Care for your family and friends. Don’t let yourself whither away. Seek peace and prosperity where I’ve placed you… When your time is completed, I will come to you and fulfill my good promises. For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. You will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me with your whole heart and find me, and I will gather you from the places where I have banished you, and bring you back.”
God wants his people to know that he can be worshipped outside of the holy land just as well as inside. He is God over Babylon (deployment) just as much as he is God over Jerusalem. As one commentary says, “Real hope for the people, according to Jeremiah, lay not in some immediate relief from social and communal death, but in living through that experience as faithful people, awaiting the Lord’s ‘future with hope’."
People are watching us, so let’s follow Jesus’ perfect example:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
–Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
Thrive, don’t just survive. Think on God and his goodness and all the good gifts he gives. Run with endurance, don’t let yourself whither. Keep praying and pursuing God. This is how you should live, regardless of where he’s placed you and whether or not you want to be there. This is how you get the most out of life and bring God the most pleasure.
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
–Phillipians 4:4-9 (The Message)
I’m still working on it, but I’m getting better at ridding myself of that survival mentality. It’s about time, since we’re almost five months into this deployment! God is really trying to pound some lessons into me, I think…lol. And I feel like I’m finally ready to start learning rather than burying my head in the ground and waiting for it all to be over. I’m finally ready to hold up my chin and start facing things head-on, with His help. I don’t know if I’m really thriving yet, but I’m doing a little more than just surviving, so I guess that’s good.
Anyway, that’s what I’m working towards, and that’s how I want to go through the rest of this deployment. I want to do more than just survive. So there are my disjointed thoughts for the day.
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