I had a little trouble getting to bed last night - so I spent some time in prayer. I had spent the day at a dear friend's wedding - it was beautiful. Even though it was uncharacteristically cold for a Southern California day, it was a blessing to watch two people enter into an incredibly serious and joyful stage in their lives.
As I began to pray, a scene from the wedding flashed in my head - the couple's first dance. As I was watching them, I thought about where they both are in life - she's on her second job, he's fairly established in his, they both are going to be living in a house - they're adults. Then it hit me as I was praying - I'm an adult. I am on my second job, I have my Master's degree, I live in an apartment that actually looks like it's occupied by people who know what they're doing...my life has started. That then took me to the thought of Jill - a mentor and friend of mine - and I remembered sitting in her car as she and her soon-to-be husband Keith were beginning to move things into what would soon be their home. She was the same age as I am now. My life has started.
God used these scenes to reveal something that I had been praying for - a release of this idol of finding "the one". He revealed this expectation I've had - and the wound is still healing from last night, so it's a little hard to write about this. I had this belief - this expectation - that life started once I found a man - a partner. That all of this - my church, my job, my friends - all of this was a part of a "pre-life season" that would come to an end or be complete once that man came into my life. Once I was able to put words to this last night, I started crying. First, mourning that the dream I had in my heart/the understanding I had was not my reality. Second, repenting that I was clinging on to this dream more than I have been clinging to the Lord or even rejoicing in the blessings that He's provided. And third, giving thanks that the life of mine that has started is one that is beyond full.
A few weeks ago, my pastor spoke on the passage in John 2 where Jesus turns over the tables in the temple. In the sermon, "Obey" , Trevor talks about how Jesus identifies things in our lives that cannot remain if we are to grow closer to Him. He asked to think about the last thing that God had identified in our lives - or the one that He was revealing now and surrender it. Initially, I couldn't identify what that "thing" was. But I know myself better than that - so I kept praying. It was obvious that it had something to do with relationships. It's something I think about and have been really emotionally exhausted by - but I couldn't figure out how or what part of this to give over.
Three weeks later, God showed me. I have held on to this dream so tightly and more tightly than my relationship with Jesus. I am saddened by how many times I have pushed time with the Lord aside when the potential of relationship has presented itself. But I am also beyond grateful that He has revealed this expectation that I've had and has mourned its death with me - and is going to work something new within my heart. His promise is to do that.
Over the past few years, the passage in John when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead has been one I keep coming back to. Jesus very well could have showed up and healed Lazarus from the illness he was suffering. Mary and Martha had asked for that. But He didn't. He showed up after Lazarus had died and he mourned with Mary and Martha in their loss. Jesus wept with them. He weeps with us, but He, in His sovereign grace and love knows that what we need to see Him breathe new life into what has died - breathe His life into what has died - for us to experience more of Him.
So, what is the expectation your holding on to? Are you waiting for life to start at the arrival of a certain person or event? Or have you faced the beautiful reality that the blessings and reality surrounding you right this minute are the life that God has purposed you for. Holding on to those dreams more than our relationship with Him keep us from experiencing life in its fullness.
What will it take for you to see that your life has started?