But Kaleb has his own ideas this year.
“Do we have to eat at the party?” he asked me yesterday.
A little thrown off by the question, I probed, “You don’t want to eat at your birthday party?"
"No, not this time," he stated matter-of-factly.
So I asked, "Why not?”
He answered my question by asking another question.
“Well, can I open presents before we eat?"
When he made that unique request, his dark brown eyes opened wider. Right away, Kaleb perked up and appeared suddenly excited. "Because, if we can do that, then I would want to eat!”
I laughed aloud, totally amused.
I understood exactly what he was trying to do.
My mind went back to how unamused Kaleb was with everything leading up to the gift-giving phase of his birthday celebration last year. The poor guy was basically biding his time, hoping we would hurry along and get to the only thing that mattered: presents!
Everything else was a waste of his precious time.
Kaleb is hilarious.
But think about it. Don’t we all feel that way sometimes?
I mean, we want what we want and we want it right now, don't we?
Everything in us desires to fast forward through life and get to the part where we get everything we hope for, and no longer have to wait for our prayers to be granted.
The hunger for it rests in the hearts of children and adults alike. We don’t outgrow our cravings for the rapid fulfillment of the dreams and deep yearnings of our souls. This is completely natural, albeit carnal.
Because of it, we have trouble enjoying the journey of life at times.
The milestones lose their magnificence. The gestures of goodness, everyday kindness and the great mercy God shows toward us, get largely overlooked.
We don't mean to do it, but there are periods when we just get plain old consumed with the vision of our ideal circumstances. Our grand ideas of the way things have to be before we’ll be content overtake us.
Our intent is not to be carnal-minded, but our wants get the best of us.
We feel like we must have our way, which is why it grows difficult to take pleasure in the good small things, leading up to what we view as the great big things.
But God almost never gives us exactly what we pray for the moment we pray for it.
We feel ready to receive it, but often, our hearts are fixed upon our selfish passions and not His will. We haven't yet gotten to the point where our focus is right.
James 4:3 NIV says it this way: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
By their very nature, they are things that appeal to our longings, give us a sense of peace, comfort, stability and even hope. But they are only temporary fillers.
The real fulfillment and joy we seek comes not from the pursuit of pleasure, but from the pursuit of purpose.
What the Lord is interested in developing in us has nothing to do with our shallow nature that says, “God, give me this so I will feel good.”
He wants to build our spiritual nature that says, “Even if this doesn’t feel good, I know it’s working for my good—to mold me into the person You want me to be. So I’ll take it.”
Friend, this is what your journey has been about all along.
This is why you have been going through.
God has been working out of you all the things that will hinder you from walking into your land of promise.
You had to wait so you could learn patience.
You had to be brought low so you could learn humility.
You had to be wounded so you could learn compassion.
You had to face hardship so you could learn contentment in every circumstance.
You had to be stripped so you could learn to seek comfort in His presence and not His presents.
God has been refining you and building your character in the valley, so you will have all it takes to be sustained at the high altitude of the mountaintop.
In essence, you had to lose everything but God to learn that you can live without everything but God.
Now that you know that the all-sufficient One is your source, you are in the right mind frame to receive what has been predestined for you.
Before you went through this valley, you were different, more you-centered.
But now that you have allowed the process to work in and for you, you are better, more God-focused. You just want His will.
That’s exactly where you need to be for where God is taking you next.
As Psalm 119:71 NASB says—which is what I’m stirring into your cup of inspiration—“It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, your understanding will be opened. You will see that through the afflictions, struggles and difficulties, God was preparing You to walk in accordance with His will.
Nothing you have gone through was designed to destroy you, but to build you into a vessel of honor--ready, willing and able to be used by God to do great things.
Now that you’re ready, watch the doors begin to open. Watch how God elevates you and gives you the testimony of Psalm 40:2 NIV: “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”
Everything you’ve been through was all leading up to this new thing God is doing in your life.
Now let’s pray.
God, what I have been through has been hard. I thought it would break me down, but You sustained me by Your grace. Thank You for reminding me that You allowed it all for my good, to build character in me and equip me for the next season of blessings I am entering into. I'm ready! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
If you need prayer, don't hesitate to request it. I would be honored to stand in faith with you. I know that prayer works. CLICK HERE to learn how to submit your prayer request.