Drive or Driven?

There’s a world of difference between drive and being driven. My life has been one of being driven. Driven to succeed, driven to mend, driven to be good, driven to do good, driven to find answers. I lost my drive in the process of being driven…….

There’s nothing wrong with having drive, but there is something inherently wrong with being driven. Drive is a good thing. Encyclopedia.com defines drive as an”energizing force directed towards a particular goal or objective. Drives may be innate (physiological) or acquired (learned).” Simply put, we are born with some drives and we learn others. I believe, with some exceptions, it is our learned drives that cause the problems.

Being driven is defined as “motivated by or having a compulsive quality or need” according to Google. Need drives, and I go along for the ride. Nowhere has this been more evident than in my desire to serve God. I was driven by that need for forty-two years and found myself at the bottom of a huge pile of ashes when my need and I finally crashed. Being driven ends badly and the wreck that results is never pleasant. I’m just thankful my heart is still in one piece!

God is a god of restoration Who waits for me to come to Him. I first came to Him in 1964 when I realized He loved me. Knowing that brought me out of the deep darkness in which I was drowning. It was great to be on dry land, but I was in no condition to be driving. Instead of relying on His love to lead, I did what I did best. I did! I was driven to do and was determined to show God how much I loved Him by doing and doing and doing.

After forty-two years of doing, I finally came to a place of stopping that was more about giving up than resting. I reveled in the emptiness for almost a year before I was drawn to a little church across the street from my new apartment. God bid me to check it out because He knew I needed a community, and He knew the peace I was trying to create on my own was there if I would trust His love to lead and not fall back into old patterns.

After nine months of healing worship, I was ready to become part of the work of the body of believers God placed in my path. It wasn’t the first church I ever joined, but it was the first one where I didn’t feel driven to do so. I was drawn to the love they had for God and one another, and I was drawn to the work they were doing in the community.

I was driven into the desert in 1964 because I needed a desert. It took forty-two years for me to learn the lessons God had for me there. It took Israel almost as long, so I don’t feel bad about my time there. In fact, I cherish all that brought me to this place of peace.

Love is the innate, energizing, driving force I now feel, and it is bringing the sweet peace and holiness I need to move on to all God has in store. Levity is important when it comes to love and to drive. I hope to remember that as I move forward. God reminded me that being driven is part of the process of learning to drive a car, and the same is true for hearts.

 

 

 

Love + Grace = Peace

Love is the first step in finding peace. As incomprehensible as God’s love is, it is the beginning of everything and must be the place from which my heart starts its journey toward peace. Grace enters into the journey in the life of Christ. God became one of us and extended grace to a world in need of connection.

Grace became the glue that connected God’s love and the Holy Spirit’s peace in our hearts. Christ made that connection possible when He died and rose from the grave in the most amazing plan ever. Grace is more than amazing; it is more than any word we have in our vocabularies. It is what brings love and peace together. Just as the Trinity are three and one, so are love, grace and peace beautifully connected. They do not exist apart from one another, but they are three separate entities.

I don’t pretend to understand the Trinity, but I feel Its effect upon my life. I can’t define love, grace, or peace; but I know what they do to my heart. I cannot imagine life without the love of God, the grace of Christ, or the peace of the Holy Spirit. I know when my heart is out of balance it is because I allow other than love, grace, and peace to be present in it. Love, grace, and peace will step aside when hate, lust, or discord enter in. They will not share or force their way into my heart’s space.

The beauty of love, grace, and peace is that they create a beautiful harmony that cannot be found anywhere except in a heart tuned to them. Hearts can find love and peace for brief periods, but without the grace Christ offers, it is only a temporary possession that dissipates quickly and must be sought over and over again. Christ’s grace provides a sweet Comforter in the Holy Spirit who coexists with me. There is a world of difference between possessing and coexisting, and as big a difference between the peace I can find on my own and the peace Christ’s grace brings. The peace of the Holy Spirit is like having a beautiful friend who hears my heart and never leaves my side. Peace that possesses is a temporary high that feels good for a moment and then goes away.

My peace is disrupted when I allow my desires to override God’s will. God is all powerful, but He will not force His love, His Son’s grace, or His Spirit’s peace upon anyone. He knows I must experience discord occasionally to appreciate the difference His peace offers. Last week, I got carried away with my selfish wants and found myself floundering and flustered. I know prayer is the path to peace, so I did a lot of praying. What happened is what always happens when I get tired of spinning out of control and ask God to help. He extended love and grace, and I surrendered to His peace.

There is no verse more comforting to me than the sweet simple words of Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NASB)

I suppose I will veer off the path of peace as long as I live, but it comforts my heart greatly to know that peace is only a prayer away. Now, if I can only get better at praying a little faster each time 🙂

God’s Ways Lead to Peace

Psalm 25:4-5 is my prayer this morning. The psalm is a sweet source of comfort when I am confused or troubled. Like The Lord’s Prayer, it takes the focus from my worries to His ways. That brings the peace I seek.

Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.

My sleep has been fitful this week, and I know many others share my restlessness. I’ve come to see the time I awake in the wee hours of the morning as a time of prayer. This morning was especially powerful as I felt God’s presence and peace fill my heart as I acknowledged my weakness and His strength.

I try to fix things, and I feel better when I know specifically what to do. As I’m getting closer to God, I’m finding I must let go of my old habits and embrace a new way of living, loving, and praying. It isn’t easy, but Psalm 25 helps me see myself as a student and not a teacher. God is a master teacher, but I’m not an ideal student much of the time. My goal in the coming year is to become a better student. It is what being a disciple is all about. If I am to be Christ’s disciple, I must be willing, open, and obedient.  I must also be willing to trust Him and change my way of doing things.

Trust is at the heart of learning, but I often lean on my own understanding rather than trusting God. I know I am making progress when I see how silly my ways are. That is a great indication that learning is taking place.  Learning changes my mind and my heart, and my life is different as a result. When I live and love in God’s way, I realize the futility of my way. It’s like getting a dishwasher or washing machine after doing dishes and laundry by hand. Can you imagine going back to hand washing dishes and laundry?

I don’t long for the days when clothing was washed in a creek and hung on a line. God used that image to show me the difference between His ways and mine. I waste a lot of time running around in circles when I simply need to be still. To become the disciple He needs for me to be, I must believe His ways are higher than mine. Isaiah 55:9 says it simply and beautifully.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.” 

The Holy Spirit helps me with perspective. If I find myself tossing, turning, or running in circles, I look to God’s Word and find balance and peace. It’s much easier to give up my ways when I remember His ways lead to peace, and that’s my desired destination:)