Thursday, December 29, 2011

a verse a day.

Getting away from the craziness of school and just being at home with nothing much to do always brings about a lot of time to think and reflect on where my life is at and where I'm headed.

This semester was one unlike those of freshman year. JMU was familiar territory, I knew everyone I was living with, I was already involved in things around campus, I had my same job, it was all things I had seen and done before. I came in to the semester fired up after an amazing summer and so much personal growth, but that feeling faded with time.

I got to this point of just feeling so stuck in every area of my life. Everything was fine, but nothing was really pushing me to be more or do more. I had no real motivation or inspiration.

Meeting with various friends and mentors, I started realizing a lot about the situation that I was in. Vianne and I came up with several analogies that described it all perfectly. After I dumped my sad story on her, she had such insightful advice to offer me.

She said that until this current point in my life, I've always been on the defensive, trying to overcome big obstacles that were in my path. Moving from Arizona to Richmond during high school, dealing with drama with friends, getting out of a bad relationship, trying to find a good church family, struggling with my health and my body, etc. There was always a very big, very tangible thing that I needed to work through, and in doing so, I would make progress and grow and learn a lot and take steps forward.

But where I'm at now, there are no real obstacles in my way. I've worked through all the big things in my past, I've gone through counseling to learn how to deal with my struggles, I've found groups I belong to that hold me accountable. I'm at this place in my life where I need to be on the offensive. There's nothing in my way, it's just up to me to take steps into the unknown and to step out in faith that God will lead me and guide me through it.

Once she said this, I realized a different analogy that was just as true. It's like I had been in this desert, suffering in the heat, exhausted and defeated. There's a fresh spring of cool water just up ahead of where I'm laying. I see it, I know it's there, I know it offers me comfort and joy and can bring me back to life, but I'm too lazy and unmotivated to move towards it.

I've had a rough journey, I'm finally over everything, but I'm just choosing to stand still instead of make an effort to move forward into the life God is offering me.

Realizing where I was at wasn't easy, and it wasn't pleasant. I kept mulling over everything we had talked about, angry at myself for being so lukewarm and so complacent, yet not quite angry enough to still do anything about it. I felt like since I had identified where I was it, that was enough progress for now. I still wasn't feeling any desire to move.

And then I met with Katie Gill. She's seen me at my weakest and lowest points and cared for me and supported me through one of the biggest adventures of my life. I told her what Vianne and I had talked about and explained that I was feeling stuck in my faith, and she asked me straight up why I hadn't done anything about it. It was exactly the push I needed to move out of where I'd been and make the move I'd been resisting for so long.

Had she and I met a few weeks earlier, I wouldn't have taken it the same way, but I was ready and just needed someone to challenge me and wake me up. She told me how she had made a promise with God to read a verse a day and reflect on it. It didn't seem like much as she was talking about it, but I figured that was good. I hadn't been doing anything in my quiet times with God, so a verse a day was something I could handle, and I decided it would be a good place to start from.

And so, the verse a day pact with God began. I knew after talking to Katie that this had to be something I committed to God first and foremost.

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." -Proverbs 16:3

I knew myself well enough to know that on my own, I would fail soon after I started. So I talked to God about it, I wrote it down, and I started in Psalms.

"Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck." -Psalms 69:1

I decided not to go straight through a book, but to instead skip around, getting in to all areas of the Bible, even books I had never read before.

And I found God there, waiting for me with open arms and no judgment.

In just a few lines a day, I began realizing God was tugging at my heart and vying for my attention in ways I hadn't really been aware of before. Every verse seemed to tell me the same thing- follow Christ with your whole heart, and you will find life. There is no life apart from Him.

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." -Colossians 1:17

"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." -1 Corinthians 15:58

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." -John 8:12

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." -Psalms 119:105

Just one verse every day, and I'm discovering God in a whole new way. His truths abound in His word, there is application for my life in every verse, and He is always with us. Reading through these verses during the Christmas season has been even richer, as the promise that He is Immanuel, God with us, is even more beautiful and real with the world rejoicing in the birth of our Savior.

I'm moving forward. I'm sick of being lukewarm, and I'm trusting God that He has plans for my future, even though I can't see them or control them. I know that Love is here. I know that God is with me. I know that by committing my plan to the Lord, He will be present and He will open my eyes to pieces of His glory every day. I know when I show up, He shows up in mighty ways.

I never knew that one tiny verse a day would bring such big growth.


Anonymous said...

LOVE. Thanks for the inspiration. The Lord is using you to change people's lives more than you know.

Rachel Dawson said...

Thank you so much! That's awesome to hear :) I wish I knew who wrote this!

Barb Welchlin said...

How strange... I had lunch with Krystal & Karen Wickens yesterday & had mentioned that I was on FB with you & that you had a blog & were such in insightful writer, but you hadn't posted for a while & that I missed it - & here you are again. (smile)

I so understand your reflections today... feeling stuck. I've found that when I've hit that place through the years, it's been my fear of the unknown that has stalled me. It's wonderful that you have such wise mentors & friends to prompt your thoughts & action. Thank you for sharing your journey & enlightenment, as you have reminded me that I need to return to my daily feeding in The Word... God has so much to share with us if we just pick up a Bible & read.

You are such a wonderful young woman Rachel, who has the courage to do & the determination to never give up. Blessings will continue to flow your way abundantly.

Mrs. Welchlin