Today I was spending some time during lunch catching up on one of my favorite blogs - Fit This Girl - and I was excited to see her reference one of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29:11.
"For I know the plans I have for you", says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
However... unlike almost every other time I've seen or referenced that verse, Mary went on to cite the next two verses. Reading the three verses together for some reason struck me, and I have not been able to stop thinking of them as one entity since:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me." (Jeremiah 29:11-13, NLT)
God has a GOOD plan. God wants to hear us. God wants us to find Him.
Let's play with that arrangement a bit: God wants us to find Him. He has a GOOD plan for us. He wants to hear us.
Let's take this one step further: God wants ME to find Him. He has a GOOD plan for ME. He wants to hear ME.
He loves each and every one of us, He wants us to know that He wants nothing but the best - the VERY BEST - for each of us. His plans for us ARE those very best. But He wants to hear the deepest desires of our souls; maybe those stirrings we are feeling are ones that He has placed here. Maybe they are ones He wants us to push past so that we can see the even BETTER things that He has in store. Maybe - because He has given us free will - what's on our hearts fits into His plan and He hadn't considered it yet. God changes His mind sometimes, so we need to talk to Him.
He has told us that He will listen - right there, in Jeremiah 29:12.
But... He cannot listen if we do not seek Him out. With all of our heart. ALL of our heart.
Not that fraction of our heart that we set aside for Him to hear during desperate prayers. Not that portion of ourselves that we give in to worship during Sunday mornings in the church rows.
ALL of our heart. In the good times. In the indifferent times. In order for Him to hear us, we need to find Him. We need to seek Him out with ALL of our heart, ALL of the time.
So what gets in the way? If He has GOOD plans for us, if He wants to hear us - what stops us from seeking out God?
Fast forward to a couple of hours later. Max Lucado offered this bit of insight via Twitter:
Big EGO= Edging God Out. Small EGO= Exalting God Only.
Thanks, Max, for offering some insight into the answer to my question.
What stops us from seeking out God? Our lack of willingness to rely on Him.
If we seek out God with all of our hearts, it's admitting that we cannot do it alone. In a world and a culture where self-reliance is not only the norm but is encouraged as a strong character trait, admitting that we cannot achieve greatness on our own - admitting that greatness is not necessarily ours for the establishing, but rather is part of God's plans for us - can be seen as a sign of weakness.
I argue that it takes more courage to step forward and admit that you need help or cannot do something alone than it does to stay in your place and try to do everything yourself.
If we shrink our egos - we will open ourselves up to allow someone to help.
If we shrink our egos - we will become more willing to admit that God's plan is better than our own.
If we shrink our egos - we will find more room for the courage to seek Him out.
When we seek Him out wholeheartedly - He will listen. He will guide. And His plan for our lives will be played out in big, giant, amazing ways that we never could have imagined on our own.
If only we would take the step to shrink our egos and let in the courage to see Him - imagine what He could do with each of our lives in this crazy, broken world.
Let's take the steps to work to shrink our egos.