Putting Down Roots and Overflowing With Thankfulness

Monday, October 8

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. - Colossians 2:6-7

I love how God can make His Word so uniquely personal through the working of the Spirit. I have found more and more that as I study the passages each day with my Good Morning Girls group we all see each verse a little differently. I have learned so much from the amazing girls in my group, and when I truly allow myself to focus on God's Word and listen for the Spirit's guidance, I find that every verse is full of truth for my life. We are working our way through the book of Colossians, and I could blog for months about what I have learned so far probably. Unfortunately, finding computer time just isn't that easy! When I finished my quiet time today, though, I knew I needed to do some writing. After all, for me writing is as much about processing my thoughts as it is about sharing them!

So, for some time now I have been struggling with loneliness and a lack of community here in my small town. I have talked here before about how my recovery from postpartum anxiety and depression have left me feeling out of place. I feel like I am starting over in many ways, yet in reality we have lived here for 4 years now. Those years have been devoted first to my extended family, and then to my little family of three. Now, here I am... 4 years later and still feeling like a stranger.

During the past year especially, I have seen how God has used this time of isolation to really work in my life. He has taught me to say no, and to listen to Him even when it is hard to do. I have learned so much about myself, and my relationship with my Heavenly Father has definitely filled my heart with love that cannot be denied. Recently I felt that God was leading me to finally step outside of my home to serve Him in new ways, and I have loved that challenge! I have found a growing sense of community in our church, and feel so at home working with teenagers again. Yet still I have had the feeling that I was missing something. I would see my online friends talk about play dates and parties, and wonder if I would ever have that again.

So, how does all of this relate to the verses above? I promise I am getting there! You see, for weeks now I have been trying so hard to be more social. I have been making an effort to put myself out there, and be the one that approaches people instead of waiting for an invitation. I kept thinking about this blog post and trying to step outside my comfort zone. And let me tell you, stepping outside my comfort zone left me incredibly uncomfortable... big shock, huh? I started doubting myself even more... wondering if I had said the right thing or tried too hard. Worrying that I looked like a fool more than a friend. Ugh. God kept trying to remind me of key lessons I have learned this year about Him being my reputation manager, and having a plan for me. Yet I continued to worry that there was something wrong with me. Why was I so alone?

So finally, that bring me to today. As I read the words of Colossians 2:7, I realized that my thankfulness had not exactly been overflowing lately. I have been so focused on what I think I need that I have failed to recognize how my real needs have been provided for! I have failed to recognize the amazing blessing of the congregation we have made out church family. I have focused so much on trying to find girlfriends that I have missed the beauty of different kinds of relationships that are being built. I have also taken for granted the amazing friends I have all over the world. I get so wrapped up sometimes in wanting my life to look "normal" that I forget that my life is uniquely mine. I may not get to sit down for a cup of coffee with my best friend each week, but I do get to have the love and support of truly amazing women every day.

I have found myself thinking about Paul a lot as I read his letter to the Colossians. This letter, as well as several others, was written from the solitude of prison. And to be honest, I get the impression that even when Paul wasn't in prison he probably wasn't the most popular guy or the life of the party. Yet he was able to impact countless lives for the glory of God! He was able to genuinely love people, even if he couldn't see them in person. He was able to care deeply enough to share some tough love and truth that wasn't easy to hear. He truly let God use him just as he was, instead of pretending to be someone else. He was content in every circumstance, instead of wanting things he didn't need (well, as much as any human is capable of all these things! He wasn't perfect of course...).

It is so common to hear people talk about putting down roots in a community. In fact those very words have gone through my mind at times when I feel like a social failure. I worry that waiting so long to put down roots here means I will never fit in. Yet Colossians 2:6 reminds me that I am to be rooted in Christ! I can't ever really put down roots here on earth, because this is not my home! While I absolutely believe fellowship is important, I need to stop focusing so much on the picture in my head of what it should look like. I need to focus on what I have been given already, sink my roots even deeper into the rock of Christ, and let Him show me His perfect plan for me. Perhaps those plans include some local friends, but maybe not. I need to be okay with either outcome, and have faith in the fact that God knows me better than I know myself and He knows exactly what I need.  After all, He has blessed me with all of you!

So that is where I am this morning. Obviously I could not have fit all of that in an instagram caption (although I am definitely quite verbose there as well), but it was a message I needed to share. I look forward to continuing to grow and learn as we continue this study, and thank God daily for the amazing gals going through it with me! Yes, I wish we could all meet in person, but I am definitely overflowing with thankfulness that we have been brought together here! Have a beautiful day, friends.

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