About Encouragement for Today

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.

Celebrating When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned - Encouragement for Today - December 29, 2016

Bekah Jane Pogue

December 29, 2016
Celebrating When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned
BEKAH JANE POGUE

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

I was the girl who got by with planning, a.k.a. controlling.

I hosted. Invited. Decorated and opened my homes to friends and strangers. Yet I mistook intimacy with God as my responsibility. Like a party I was in charge of orchestrating. Do you know this feeling?

Try harder. Be peppier. Keep smiling. Keep giving. Keep controlling.

Go. Encourage. Perform.

Maybe along the way my faith will go as planned, too.

Deep in my soul, I wanted to release myself to an authentic relationship with my Creator. To allow God Himself to be the inviter, the host, the planner, but I wasn’t quite sure how to let go. Can someone please tell me how I can know God to be real in the middle of moves, job changes, mommy meltdowns and busyness? Is there such a thing as responding and celebrating with an everyday faith?

Vibrant faith, I assumed, was for people in full-time ministry. You know, the super-spiritual: those who have a Master of Divinity degree, or go to Israel in their spare time or tell supermarket strangers about Jesus. Bless. I somehow couldn’t erase the childhood illusion of faith being compared to running through the daisies with Jesus, donned in an eyelet dress. I’m sorry, but this gal just can’t pull off eyelet dresses these days.

Tell me, how does faith fit in with bills and cancer and feeling too much? How does God manifest through social media, the routine and loneliness? For the kind of people like me, who have kids who whine, a marriage that demands work and crazy passionate dreams? Is there space for that type of faith?

Then suddenly, my life shifted. My sweet dad had a stroke, and seven days later he passed away.

I was numb. Unable to muster up energy to control, let alone do anything else.

But his passing became the freeing catalyst to notice how Jesus is more authentic than I’d ever experienced. As I stepped into the pain of loss, into foggy weeks of numbness and standing outside of my body, I recognized self-made habits I’d built around control.

Sitting outside on our weathered patio bench, for the first time, I simply was. I didn’t do. I only existed. I’m done, God, I cried. I have nothing to give anyone, especially You.

These feeble confessions changed my dependency on control. I released all my people-pleaser, perfection-aspiring goals, the to-do lists and faces I strove to make happy, and I got real down-and-dirty with my Lord. Getting real with God saved my life. He drew me into safe corners I hadn’t known were tangible. Into foreign spaces I’d ignored all my life. Suddenly I was keenly aware that every pain, relationship and detour is an invitation to see God’s genuine heart in the middle of it.

This is where choosing “Real” began for me. Before, I tried to will circumstances into submission, but now I’m opting to celebrate a dependent faith relationship in the middle of the unexpected.

Do you desire to see how present Jesus is in real-life circumstances? Are you exhausted from putting on your big girl panties, being strong, pep talking or reciting, “Let’s do this!”? Do you hope to see how God has a beautiful plan in the mess, in the scary, in the unknown, in the tears and in not feeling enough?

My new agenda is holding my hands open and asking, “God, help me not miss You today. However You invite.”

I’m finding this open-handed way of living is more abundant and peace-offering than anything I can create. And I pray you, too, want to put down the party-planning faith perspective and join me as together we opt to experience a genuine right-here-in-the-middle-of real-life Jesus.

Dear God, thank You for inviting me into an intimately real relationship with You today. Right here. In the messes and unknowns and relationships. Help me notice Your invitations in the tiny, grand and unplanned moments. Thank You for displaying Your peace where I want to control. I praise You for revealing Yourself in out-of-the-box, personal ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
When we recognize how God surprises us by using our greatest pains and detours to draw us to a beautiful dependence on Him, freedom and peace replace control and worry. If you’re finding life isn’t going as planned and desperately want to experience how real life connects with faith, Bekah Jane Pogue invites you to enjoy Choosing REAL’s book trailer here and order Choosing REAL here.

CONNECT:
Bekah would love to connect with you at bekahpogue.com.

Enter to WIN a copy of Choosing Real: An Invitation to Celebrate When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned by Bekah Pogue. In celebration of this book, Bekah's publisher is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, January 2, 2017.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What if life doesn’t have to be a ginormous party you are responsible for planning, but an invitation to see how God’s manifestations can exceed your expectations? How will you choose to respond and celebrate how Real He truly is?

© 2016 by Bekah Jane Pogue. All rights reserved.

>Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Barbour Publishing for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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