Look Upward - Words of Encouragement3
by Meredith Buford
Rarely are you prepared for any season of life and the detours it may hold. The book I’m currently reading titled Detours, by Tony Evans, states: “God works through detours to bring about His blessing. They are necessary for any improvements to take place on the paths we travel.” If detours in life don’t go against today’s “worldly view” than I don’t know what does.
As a young child, your daily walks are engulfed with friends, activities, the battle of self-image, identity, and making the decision to either follow the crowd, or step out to be the leader. Be encouraged young one, and look upward. There is no blueprint for life, but there is a God who sees your struggle and bears it with you, and there is a God who sees your joys and rejoices in those with you, too. Seek him with all your heart. Lean into who you are in Christ and take heart in knowing that he has already overcome the world for you, so you don’t have to (in the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. - John 16:33).
Fast forward to the years of college and marriage. You’re pressured with career choices, financial decisions, following the traditions of your family verses the ones of your spouse, all while constantly trying to get to the “next best thing” to either prove you’re a successful adult, or so the world will know you’re a successful adult. What pressure. Is there a medal of success that we desire to put around our necks? How is success defined, where do we find it, and how do we grasp it? Be encouraged young one, and look upward. We have a God who tells us our identity is in Him and in Him alone. That no matter how hard we work towards something, it is His grace alone that carries us and sustains us. Guard your hearts, be diligent in loving one another, and surround yourself with a community of believers who can walk alongside you and encourage you to keep your eyes focused on Jesus.
Parenthood. It either came with great surprise and a flood of emotions, or an overwhelming amount of desperation and prayer for the Lord to fulfill the desires of your heart. Once you’re here and in the thick of it, your anxious thoughts set in. Will they fit in or stand out? Will they love the Lord or love the world? Will they be humble or proud? Am I doing a good job, or am I slacking? You quickly realize that the decisions you make are shaping the people they are becoming. What pressure. Be encouraged dear one, and look upward. We have a God who says “come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” In the world of meal prepping, pinteresting plans, and constant comparison… anchor yourself in His truth. Fight for balance and margin. Say no to things that may not be your “best yes” and then rest in confidence, knowing that the Lord is guiding and directing you each step of the way. It’s beautiful, but messy… just in case no one has told you yet. :)
Empty nesters. I am not there yet, but I imagine it is a time where you’re loving on grandchildren, traveling, enjoying one-on-one time with your spouse, and using much of your time and energy to pour into others. I also imagine that it’s a transitioning time from the hustle and bustle of raising kids, traveling to and from activities, and balancing the feelings of “being needed” on such a constant basis… to maybe not as often as you would like. Look upward, your wisdom is needed, your input is valued, and our God is still actively working in you and through you.
In conclusion, it’s important to know during difficult seasons and detours in life, that God doesn’t pick the path of least resistance for those he loves. His strategies seldom make sense, but they are for our good and designed to draw our hearts to His. He wants to accomplish His purpose that involves much more than just us personally. So, take heart, look upward, and be encouraged in knowing that “for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)