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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

Faith Markers

What are your markers of faith from 2018? Where did God teach you something about Himself or something about you?

I’ve been thinking about those questions as I finish my first full New Year to New Year in Georgia. It’s been a big move, a start-over move, an all-things-new move. I’ve taken time to process what I’ve learned and found the lessons I need to apply as I move into a New Year. I am always caught in the tension between knowing and doing. I want this year to synchronize them better.

I can’t point to one circumstance or moment of discovery. These are lessons that simmered and are just now coming to full boil. I share them as my accountability step, giving God full permission to bring them before me again and again so that they become as much a part of me as breathing.

1. When I believe that God’s best trumps my best thought, goal, or idea; I let go of what I have called “best.”

The problem is how much time it takes to let go of what I think is best. My best idea pales before God’s best. I know that; I really do. But I want God to give me “brownie points” for trying hard when, in truth, I only tried my way.

Proverbs 16:1 reminds me that “We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God’s hands.” (TLB) I’m tired of giving myself to plans that don’t work. I want to more quickly discern when my plan isn’t working and listen more, wait longer, and obey quickly.

2. God’s unfailing love fills my emptiest moments when I stop expecting a circumstance or relationship to fill them better.

This is where I play the if-only card. If only you understood, you would be kinder or more accepting or more of anything I need in the moment. Any if-only, self-made requirement is a weak substitute for how God wants to fill some emptiness in a season of change. It is the meaning of spiritual growth to let a new empty place become a receptacle for God to fill. As Psalm 107:9 reminds me: “He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” God fills; that’s His modus operandi, His MO. I need to be less afraid of some new emptiness because it becomes a good place for God to fill.

3. God’s new reorders my life rhythms and routines to become the raw material I need to find His blessings and answers.

While new is something good and exhilarating, all-new can be daunting and overwhelming. God’s all-new requires new directions, new perspective, and new habits. Try to do the same old thing the same old way and you get exactly that—the same old. God is a patient life coach. He wants me to know that His new is the answer I am looking for. He wants me to know that whatever His new changes or removes; it is to bring something better. Waiting develops patience. Patience develops discernment. Discernment brings wisdom. Wisdom brings contentment. Nothing I do on my own takes me that far!

With these faith lessons, these Ebenezers, these stones of help; I move into 2019 more sure than ever of God’s unfailing love and life-building new. I don’t want to run ahead of either.

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