“He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” Ephesians 2:10 MSG
I closed the door of my minivan and turned around to make sure my girls had buckled up. My eyes fell to the mess all over the floor of the car and my mind shifted back to the verse we had just studied a few minutes earlier. What was the work God had gotten ready for me to do, and was I doing it? I definitely wasn’t keeping my van clean, and I wondered if that was on God’s list of jobs for me! Duh, right?
Well, if it was on God’s list, why was I having so much trouble getting around to it? Why was I struggling day in and day out at this mom gig and feeling like I was spinning on a hamster’s wheel, never moving forward? I was never getting around to the dreams God had planted in my heart, or the passions that made me feel alive, and I was sad about it.
Part of the bible study that day included drawing the garden you wanted your life to grow into. At the moment I felt like I was scattering seeds everyday at the last minute all over the place, hoping none of the crops I was growing would starve. Then I was watering a big spray all over the place, trusting God to grow all the things I was working on, because I was overwhelmed. Sometimes, I would yell at the crops (kids) for not growing (maturing) on their own. I was super frustrated. So I asked God to help.
He helped me envision the life I want to look back on one day: a beautiful, abundant garden that He had planned, which I would simply be obedient to help nourish. I saw a few rows of crops to tend to, and I saw myself smiling, spreading seed and watering those rows and those rows only. I was no longer scattering seed (my time, energy, love, and attention) all over the place on a whim. I was confident in this vision that I was doing the work God had prepared in advance for me, which he speaks about in Ephesians 2:10.
How did this look in real life?
This looked like the word NO. I just said no. That’s right, the same phrase we learned in the DARE to keep a kid off drugs program can be applied here! My certain rows of crops needed attention first, and if I couldn’t get nourished by my Father and pour out his nourishment onto my rows of crops (my husband, kids, and home) then I wasn’t coming to what you were inviting me to.
This also looked like the word INTENTIONAL. This is a hard word for a self professed Jesus hippie to act out. How can you be Spirit led and intentional? Isn’t that irony at it’s best? I’ve learned, our Master Creator had a plan for everything, and that I can too. (My plan will not look typed out and Excel prepared, it is scribbled in my journal during quiet time and on a notepad and for me, that works)!
It looked like the word BOLD. I asked God what he wanted me to focus on, heard him, wrote it down, and walked in bold obedience. I didn’t ask anyone but him. (I did talk to my husband about things because the same God speaks to both of us and I knew he would confirm things through him, plus I am a firm believer God desires oneness in marriage). Once I had my husband’s support and encouragement, I didn’t ask for anyone else’s. I boldly walked forward with God.
One dream I wanted to pursue was writing. This year I finally had the time since I was focused. I wrote three bible studies and published over 100 blog posts in 2016! I give all credit to God. It was his work he had prepared in advance for me to do. After I got quiet and intentional before him, it became possible, because this was the season he ordained me to start down the path of writing. I had tried before, when my kids were younger, and I had quit very quickly, frustrated because I was rushing the process, running before Jesus and his timing.
Today in the Refocused Study, I revisited this verse, this time in the Amplified Bible:
“For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” Ephesians 2:10 AMP
I wrote out my dreams again for the year ahead. (DREAM BIG)!
Then the Lord gave me this passage to focus on as I move on to make goals to walk down these paths with him – to “live the good life which he prearranged and made ready for me.”
Doing Your Best for God
“So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. Pass on what you heard from me—the whole congregation saying Amen!—to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce. Think it over. God will make it all plain.” 2 Timothy 2:1-7 MSG
Look at that last part: It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce.
Question: At the end of this year, where do you want to see the most produce? The lush, big fruit God has produced through his work in your life? For me, it’s my relationship with the Lord, my marriage, motherhood, and writing; with writing coming after all of those.
Goals: Make your goals specific to these areas of your life. How will you invest time, love and care to the rows of crops in your garden which you want to become the most fruitful? How will this look in daily life? How will you be this diligent farmer?
Pray: As Paul wrote to Timothy, his words in the ESV state:
“7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
Think it over, God will make it all PLAIN.
Sisters, cling to this word from His Word. Ask God to make PLAIN what he wants you to focus on this year. It is all his work. We are just joining him in it! We don’t want to miss the very best plans God prepared in advance for us before he breathed life into our lungs! His plans are the best plans. Pray and ask God and he will make plain the paths before us for the road ahead. We will obediently take one step after another with him to walk in these plans.
Lord, I pray over my sisters reading this post. I pray they will seek you and you will make it all PLAIN. Help them see your masterpiece when they look in the mirror. Help them hear your voice about dreams you’re stirring in their hearts. Help them make a plan that puts you first and keeps the most important parts of their lives blooming and beautiful as they walk forward to pursue any dreams with you. Above all else, make their relationship with you paramount over any desire in their hearts. We thank you for inviting us to work with you to advance your kingdom. We pray that through us, others will be reminded of the masterpieces they are. For your glory Jesus, Amen.
I wrote a blog post on Day 4 & 5 of Refocused Bible Study.
I’d love to hear what you envision your abundant garden to look like at the end of this year, your dreams & or goals!