In Trials on
9 April, 2013

Painful pivots

Female hand holding a pen and writing a plan in a planner

~

My life was full, rich, sweet, wonderful, and filled with expectations for greater things. Everything seemed to be going just as I had planned it to go. First A happened, then B, and before I knew it, if all continued to go smoothly, C would happen. And I would emerge successful, triumphant and finally complete and happy. And I was so close to getting what I wanted. It was within my reach and my grasp.

Or so I had thought.

But I am not the author of my life. I learned so the hard way. I learned that you cannot control your circumstances, even with a detailed to-do list and endless hours of strategizing. You cannot completely plan out the future {Proverbs 19:21}. That’s because the unexpected can happen.

The unexpected does happen.

And when it does, it often bursts forth like a lion chasing after its prey. Or like an unforecasted bout of rain accompanied by rolling thunder and flashes of lightning.

You get the phone call you had never wanted to get. It produces a deafening crash.

And just like that your knees give out. You fall to the ground in complete desperation.

Things did not go as I had planned. And when I fell, I was offered a choice: stay there and turn to despair, or offer up my life, my plans and my future to the One who wrote every day of my life’s story before I was even conceived {Psalm 139}.

Life may have seemed happy before this, but deep down I was struggling. It was a constant tug-of-war. Keep the power? Surrender the power? Give God a little control? Take a little back and then some more? Little did I know God was already in control.

And there I suddenly was, reaching out in what felt like utter darkness. I finally stopped fighting for my own way. So I grabbed His outstretched arm. I worshipped Him. I thanked Him for the fall.

And then I got up.

And God was not only my anchor in the storm; He was my pivot, too.

piv·ot [piv-uht] n. – any thing or person on which something or someone functions or depends vitally: He is the pivot of my life.

Some teachers will offer you fleeting promises—they write New York Times Best-Selling books that will instruct you how to live the best life now, and how to make every day a Friday. But I can assure you, that’s not what God wants for us.

God wants our worship. He wants our surrender. He wants our lives to be living, breathing glorifications of Himself. {1 Corinthians 10:31}

He doesn’t want us to be satisfied with the pleasures of the world {Romans 12:2}. He just wants us—imperfect, beautiful, surrendered us.

Will we trust Him? Will we allow Him to write our stories? Will we quit throwing tantrums and demanding our own way?

Will we let the storm come, accept it and even be thankful for it {James 1}? Will we grow? Will we be teachable?

Or will we live like God is the means to an end? Will we settle for temporary happiness and continue to chase after the pleasures of this world?

Lasting joy > temporary happiness.

Lasting joy comes from Christ, who paid the penalty for our sins on the Cross. Bleeding, dying, tortured, mocked, pricked by thorns, pierced by nails and crying out to the Father, His flesh must have turned raw from the beating.

It was a grotesque image, but it was indeed the most beautiful picture ever painted.

It was a picture of grace….because He died in our place.

What could be better than accepting His scars, even when the carpets of our comfort are swept away from underneath us, and the thunder shakes the foundations on which we’ve built our lives?

Jesus Christ knows our pain because He experienced the deepest of pains {Hebrews 2:9-10}. And because He experienced that pain in dying for us, we are given hope {John 3:16}.

But we must die to ourselves and our fleshly desires in order to be reborn in Him. We must repent.

piv·ot [piv-uht] v. – the act of turning on (or as if on) a pivot

Pivoting is painful because Christ experienced pain. His brutal death paved the way to turn our lives around as if we were on a pivot–to rotate us 180 degrees by forgiving our sins and offering us the gift of salvation.

Pivoting is painful because we will experience pain, too. Being a Christian doesn’t mean our lives will ever be easy {1 Peter 4:12}. But will you trust God and allow Him to redirect your steps, even in the darkness? Will you choose hope? Or will you continue to scrape your knees and refuse the hand He freely offers to pick you back up?

Will you let God be your pivot, and will you let Him pivot you?

Jen

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2 Comments

  • Unshakable Hope

    “Things did not go as I had planned. And when I fell, I was offered a choice: stay there and turn to despair, or offer up my life, my plans and my future to the One who wrote every day of my life’s story before I was even conceived {Psalm 139}.”
    It really is a choice, isn’t it, Jennifer? I found this to be true also; not choosing the latter is to choose the former.
    Great post!

    9 April, 2013 at 12:16 pm Reply
  • Jeremy

    You’ve got amazing insight and maturity, Jen. I have no idea how I came across your blog, but it speaks to me. I can really relate to how having things not go as planned can really shake us, at least temporarily, and that threatens to undermine our confidence in God; the mindset of, “if He really has a plan for me, how could he let ______ happen?!” But you’re right. Trusting in God requires us to invest all that we have in Him, and it requires setting our relationship with Him above all else. I love the idea of Him being our “pivot”‘; a point in which we place all of our weight and are thereby turned toward a more life-giving direction, the direction of lasting joy over temporary happiness. I’m 29, and I’m still learning this, daily, in challenging ways. Keep doing what you’re doing with this blog. It’s apparent that God is really using you through it. Cheers.

    15 April, 2013 at 12:35 am Reply
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