Faith

Pursuing God, On My Terms Or His? {Guest Post}

 Today I am blessed to share with you an encouraging guest post from the beautiful Jennifer Camp. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Jennifer a little better as we share comments and encouragement on each others blogs. Jennifer sees and hears God in such a rich and beautiful way, I have no doubt you will be blessed as I am when you read her words here today. 

 

 

What does it look like to pursue God? What does it take to lay down my agenda and lean into the Father, with an open, unselfish heart?

 

I am not pursuing Him at all if my motives, my reasons for doing what I do, are not aligned with His heart.

 

No matter how “Godly” I look to the world, no matter what acts of service I perform {or think I am performing}, I am not loving Him if I have my own interests in mind first. I have to ask myself if I am doing this for Him, or for me. Often, I am more motivated to bring myself glory than Him.

 

Lord, come for me. Let Your will be done, not mine.

There is nothing He doesn’t ask me to lay down. There is nothing I can hold on to and say is “mine”. What are my motives in doing what I do? Even my personality, my approach to life, as John Eldredge points out in Walking with God, has a motive. What motivates my every thought, my every action? Am I allowing God to be in me fully? How much room do I give Him to work in me?

I look at my life and see that so much of what I do is motivated by my wanting to control my surroundings, pursue my agenda, do what want to do. As an introvert, I relish time alone. It energizes me. And writing is a vehicle for reaching out to Him, helping me process His words in me. But, if I am honest, I also love writing because it is something that I do when things are quiet, just God and I– and ideally, without distractions.

My attitude towards distractions shows the essence of my heart. Often, when something is happening around me that is essentially inconvenient to me, that is taking me away from what I want to be doing at the time, I may think of it as an annoyance, a bother to be dealt with so I can return to what I think I am really supposed to be doing.

Whispers from the enemy want me to believe that I know what is best for me rather than God. {I am writing for God, right? I am doing this with Him, right? So, don’t bother me! I have more important things to do!}

If I feel chaos swirling around me or I feel tired and overwhelmed, I don’t always run to the Father, but try to deal with the situation on my own.  In the past, being alone, withdrawing, withholding love, was the ugly coping mechanism I would use for helping myself feel more control of a situation I didn’t like.

 

And the reality of my actions, the heart that this reveals, makes me shudder.

Our Father has good things for each of us to do, wonderful works prepared for us in advance (Ephesians 2:10). I don’t want to take a good thing He has for me — such as my writing and my enjoyment of solitude — and control it. I don’t want to take something with the potential to be beautiful, something He has put on my heart to do, and twist it to make it look like what I want it to because it feels more comfortable or convenient for me.

All potential beauty withers then, and dies.

Sadly, in my attempt to control things, I separate myself from my Father.  But the reality is that without Him, I can do nothing.

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15: 1-5).

Father, come for me here. My fighting for control is not where peace resides. This is not what is true. Let me not take Your goodness, Your love, the beautiful moments you offer to trust You and lean on You, and throw them away. You give me Your words in me; now help me to follow.

Friends, can you hear Him speak?

My child, breathe deeply, I am here. I am never far away, something for you to attain if you reach hard enough. I am constant.

My love, I did not make you to dart around frantic, like the bird looking desperately for food. I always provide what you need. You are on solid ground with Me.  You are anxious because you do not trust what I have for you, that what I put before you is good! You are where I have placed you.

And where I place you is no mistake. Where I invite you is My plan. So, your plan or Mine? Peace or anxiety? Trust or disregard for My will? Faith or faithlessness? The journey of life — in Life with Me — or darkness, doubt, and despair?

 In the places where I ask to be invited in, I bring restoration there.   I am in you — but you have the feet, the arms, the hands, the heart that is open or closed to Me, within you. I do not push My way in. But I never stop speaking to you, for I am in you. Recognize My voice, child. Your heart is not silent.

Are you open to hearing His voice, friends?  How might you struggle with letting Him in, fully, knowing He has you, and surrendering all control?

Jennifer Camp, voice finder and the wife of a heart warrior, in N. California, mothers three children and leads My Girls, in her home on Monday mornings. She writes at her blog, You Are My Girls, where she writes to remember the truth of her identity in the Father’s eyes and to encourage other women to remember, too. Come on over to connect with her at You Are My Girls Community, on Facebook, or at twitter, JenniferCamp1.

 

0 thoughts on “Pursuing God, On My Terms Or His? {Guest Post}

  1. So beautiful… you both in one place. I love your heart’s desire — desire to be pure in your pursuit of God, Jennifer. I love how you share your words — His words with us.

    Kris… you are such a tremendous blessing to the body of Christ… so humble to share your space 🙂

    I am so looking forward to seeing how God continues to use you both for His high purpose on this earth, to bring Him glory!

    Reply
    1. Michele-Lyn, Yes, I just love Kris’ heart, her beautiful heart for community and her openness to Him. So grateful to be pursuing Him, with you two beautiful women. We each help each other see. Love to you both ~ Jennifer

      Reply
      1. alwaysalleluia

        So thankful for YOU and teh words God whispers to your heart, the way you translate His love for us, His girls humbles and blesses me often. Thank you for honoring me with your sweet encouragement in this space. I am forever grateful.

        Reply
    2. alwaysalleluia

      Michele-Lyn,
      Jennifer’s words are timely and important aren’t they? I am struggling with this very issue these days and I have read and re-read this post and each time it sinks a little deeper in, and His light shines a little brighter on the darkness of my life. I am grateful for you both, who bless me with how you model Christ.

      Reply
  2. this is beautiful, like you Jennifer. And such a good reminder for me. The thing I love about writing the most is the time I spend with Him, hearing him speak to me about things rolling around in my mind. But when things get hectic and I try to make that happen for the sake of writing, it just feels empty. Two lovely hearts in one place today, it speaks of community, real community.

    Reply
    1. alwaysalleluia

      Thanks for stopping by, Shelly. Jennifer so often writes the exact truths I need to hear–only God can ordain that kind of “coincidence”. Thankful always for how you encourage and uplift us all, Shelly. Bless you, sister-friend.

      Reply
    2. That’s what I love the most, too. A treasured place, with Him. And He reminds me to hold it loosely, as I forget that it is only in my trusting of Him that I can find Him anyway. Writing — His words in me — comes from the freedom of being with Him, not in what I try to create, on my own. Thank you so much for your beautiful heart and loving words, Shelly. So grateful for you. And yes, so grateful to be here, with beautiful Kris, today.

      Reply
  3. Jennifer, we truly are kindred…it’s like you read my journal entry from two nights ago, used it as a medium and painted a brilliant masterpiece. What vision you have.

    Our Father the vinedresser…I like that.

    I’ve been in such a whirlwind as of late I can’t even seem to form sentences. What my heart is feeling and how God is helping me come undone I can’t seem to put into words.
    But these words here, help me regain some focus.
    Striving with you, friend. To lay it all down. . .

    Hugs to you, Kris — thanks for being an example of His community!

    Reply
    1. Nikki, I can completely relate to feeling all tangled up . . . and yes, words sometimes are so difficult to find when they are instruments to measure the swells and aches of a heart. I need to be constantly asking, what are you doing, Father? {Although I don’t do this . . . but I want to be asking Him this, more and more, trusting Him more and leaning less and less on me!} For then I trust, in my asking, that He will help me see — and, if He desires, give me words, too, to help me articulate the way.

      Thank you so much for your beautiful vulnerability and thoughtfulness, Nikki. Your words are a tremendous blessing. Grateful for you, friend.

      Reply
  4. Ro elliott

    Oh jennifer…lovely..lovely…the bent of all woman…to control our surrounding…I love how you are always pressing into His heart…not his hands…His heart. and isn’t that where freedom truly comes…from knowing His love…His deep beautiful love. Until I really found this…I could not trust…if I can’t trust than i have to control and this is a viscous cycle. Only true peace is found in that abiding trust…with our vinedresser. Love your heart sweet lady…you both bless me~

    Reply
    1. Oh, Ro, you undo me here. Yes, this is where freedom is! Only in knowing His “deep beautiful love”. Yes!! Amen! I completely agree with you, friend that we, as women, dig deep into our own reserves to try to control when we don’t know who He is and who we are in Him. Yes, the beginning of trust — knowing His love — is freedom. Wow. Thank you. Bless you, sister.

      Reply
  5. So beautiful, Jennifer and I struggle with the same desires- solitude, time to dig deep internally, quiet- and while I know God created me that way, He also created me for community and service. Seeking a balance that pleases Him is my ultimate goal.

    Reply
    1. Christine, yes, me too. There is nothing like partnering with Him, trusting that, however He calls us to work side by side with Him, that that is where we are meant to be. Love your heart of surrender and pursuit of Him, His amazing and beautiful plan. I share your desire for balance: while I often crave solitude, I should add that it is community around me, friends He gathers up for me to live life alongside and love, that further strengthens me and helps me be the girl He already sees in me and has designed for me to be. We each see more of that heart He has given us when we serve — hearts wide open — and love. Amazing how He loves us! Bless you!

      Reply
  6. I just adore your heart Jennifer…a woman after, His heart. Thank you for your honesty and confession and showering and bathing us in His Word–in this post and others. Again God used you to confirm what He has been teaching me about being content in the role/place He has placed me. He has recently asked me to give up some things/positions I felt would leave me lonely for friends but He keeps telling me to Trust Him and the righteous will walk by their faith and not by sight…we walk keeping our eyes fixed on the Author and Perfecter of faith…I walk alongside you my sister praying for you and your beautiful family. i love you.

    Reply
    1. Arcelia, oh, you encourage me! Thank you, sweet sister. Your faith blesses me — your heart for Him and your loving words always making me smile. Love to you and His richest blessings,
      Jennifer

      Reply
  7. Just recently, God had to remind me that I am not God as I tried to persuade Him that clearly I knew best in this situation. And He reminded me the lesson I learned last August — that I do not and that everything the enemy means for harm He means for good. And so, like you, I am surrendering control…

    Reply
  8. soulstops

    Thank you for your words and for praying for me today, and for listening … You helped me to hear Him…love you 🙂

    Reply
  9. Theresa Miller

    Oh, I can relate to much of this! Oh, those distractions…but, yes! Are they telling me what I really should be doing? Thank you for this challenge and opportunity to evaluate how I am pursuing God.

    Reply
  10. You nailed one of my enduring battles! As a fellow introvert it is my automatic response to become irritated by interruptions of ‘my’ times of peace and quiet. Learning they are actually God’s times and He can bring whoever or whatever He likes into them is a lesson He has to teach me often!

    Reply
    1. I am in constant training to hold all that He gives freely — loosely — and, while I know, truly, it is so good, I can often push back, trying to own my plan, first. I am challenged here, and you encourage me, Mike, with your sharing. Thank you!
      Gratefully, Jennifer

      Reply
  11. Michelle R. Rogers

    I can definitely relate with the inconvenience issue.
    “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps 51:10 NASB)

    Reply

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