Philippians 3:13b* challenges us -“[it is my one aspiration]; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…”
So how are you reaching out to what lies ahead? What exactly are you straining forward to do?
Perhaps this is one of the great challenges for Empty Nesters. We’ve raised our families and some of us have retired. We can spend the rest of our lives just bumbling about, or choose to discover where we fit best! I’m not necessarily talking about wild and crazy, expensive things. Rather, just an acknowledgment of activities that would give us pleasure. In addition, God doesn’t stop using women when their children leave the nest. There is always a church ministry with a need that fits each person’s talents.
Some of those items may already be on our minds. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I am working on one of those projects right now. At least 40 years ago I purchased a blank needlepoint purse. I finished the lower half, with an L (for LaForce) in white, and then began working on the navy background. Not long after I began working full time, followed by raising 3 children, and working full-time again. I would put the purse away every time a holiday came, in favor of cross-stitching decorations and making gifts. Eventually, it worked its way to the bottom of the stitchery box, where it spent several decades. Lo, these many years have passed, and I have a new determination to finish the project and begin using it in next 10 days. In part, I need a new summer purse, and realized it would be more cost-effective to finish the ancient one I already started.
We need to couple those activities that may already be on our minds, with God’s guidance.
Psalm 37:4* says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.”
Have you ever prayed, asking God to help you recognize the desires He has for you? Generally speaking, He doesn’t immediately give you a list of 3 or 4 things. However, as time passes you begin to sense He is giving you, or confirming, a desire He plans to fulfill. During those experiences, I have thought everything from, “I have always wanted to do that”, to “Lord, I can hardly believe You’re telling me this”. However, I have always been thrilled when the desires become reality.
These are the type of communications that I usually keep close to my heart. Once I have God’s direction, I don’t need anyone giving their opinion. Also, if the wait for the desire to be fulfilled will be long, it keeps people from asking a lot of bothersome questions.
It is critical to ask God to show us if there is anything we need to do in preparation for whatever He has told us. Sometimes He seems silent and we quietly wait. Other times, He gives specific guidelines. In my life they have always been very doable and practical, often relating to cleaning, organizing, or otherwise preparing.
As I close this blog it is with a prayer that each of you who reads this will become strongly aware of the desires that God has put in your heart. What a joyful day it will be when they come to fruition.
*Classic Amplified Bible