Living Redeemed pt II

As 2016 drew to a close I thought I would write a post on how the “Live Redeemed” idea I wrote about in January of 2016 worked out. It was going to be upbeat, encouraging, and all about the greatness that was 2016.

It’s funny the difference a week can have.

2016 ended on a high, 2017 started on a not as big of one. I was fresh off the Christmastime high with seeing far away family, eating delicious food, and enjoying wonderful company of friends. I felt like I had grown in my job, over the year – confidence wise and in knowledge. I was blessed with numerous serving opportunities at church doing what I love and am passionate about. To cap it all off, I paid off my car in less than 2 years (which if you know me you know that that was a huge goal I had set for myself to achieve-and if you don’t you do now!).

Then 2017 started and I realized a couple things I thought were going to be fine and were proceeding correctly were not what I thought. After being depressed for a full 24 hours, it hit me that while I had been working through living my life for Christ, I had found comfort in other things instead of finding it in Him. I was comforted when things were working out and going “my way” because (obviously) that must mean that things are going the way He wants them to go. But when a tiny glitch formed in my plans, I was completely thrown off.

In my afore mentioned post, I talked about not quite knowing how “living redeemed” would work, but I thought it would have to do with A. getting up and actually doing stuff aka living (which, to be fair, I did do this year!) and B. allowing my life (and all the parts of it) to be redeemed from darkness into light (by allowing God to speak into them and considering him in things/decisions).

What I found out is that once you start doing a lot of A it’s kind of hard to remember to keep B in the forefront of your mind. I also found out in (mostly) one crushing blow that while I had been trying to do this, I had slipped into my typical-Christy-ness of over planning and trying to control everything again.

Was I really listening to what God was calling me to do, or was I filling in the awkward moments of my life trying to pretend I knew what was going on?

I think for a while there it was the latter. I was saying the first, but living the second. And it’s got me thinking (shocker, I know) about how I can better listen, be attuned to His callings, and live a God-honouring life. Here’s what I got:

  1. Actually spend time with him. How many times do I prioritize other things? How many times have I hit the snooze button instead of just getting up 10 minutes earlier? (I’m not answering that)
  2. Build in rhythms to my life that allow me to focus on making God-honouring decisions – like planning my week/month and making time to stop and reflect. Setting intentional time aside to LISTEN and plan
  3. Constantly remind myself that I’m following HIS lead, not mine
  4. Say yes to when he calls, but remember that doesn’t mean saying yes to everything that happens to come up in life (i.e. God doesn’t call me to burn out, so I shouldn’t do that…and sometimes opportunities aren’t meant to be taken)
  5. Keep living! Keep doing things and embracing where he has me. That’s how I started this journey and I don’t want to stop moving forward on it.

What are ways you remain open to God’s promptings in your life? How do you make sure he’s at the centre of all you do? I would love to hear about it!

Live Redeemed

I haven’t blogged in over a year, which is fitting as I usually blog when I’m inspired to do so, and this was an uninspiring  year + a few months with some of the hardest, crippling moments of my life. It wasn’t all doom and gloom though because I had some pretty sweet moments too – like graduating! *insert London Tipton clap* Yay me!

Highs and lows aside, it was a year where I tried very hard to achieve some goals (and failed), and went through a massive transition which I’m only now getting used to (note: graduation & life after). It is also a year where I let a lot of not the best habits (exercise? what is exercise?) slip into my life with the excuse “I’ll fix/do that after I graduate” (spoiler: they have not been eradicated yet).

And so I found myself mid-December, doing one of my favourite things to do at Christmas time, reading Christmas letters from all of my parents’ friends. I mostly do this because I know who their kids are, but I also like hearing about what God has done in the lives of people I don’t know. This year my mom was telling me about who wrote one of the letters I was reading. She described her as someone who believed that we were all redeemed children of God, and that even in the midst of sins and difficult times we should live like we are redeemed.

Boom. New Year’s Resolution.

Ok, it took a little more thought and a few weeks before I reached that point. Let me break it down:

Live

The dictionary definitions I looked up for this basically said it meant you weren’t dead. Which is true. But I’m taking it a step further to point out that living requires one to live; which means you have to get up and do things instead of giving into the temptation that is Netflix, or whatever vice you have that occupies your time. (Not that we don’t need breaks, I full endorse sabbaths and breaks, and believe we were created to need them (see Leviticus 23:3 & Leviticus 25), though it may look different today than it did then).

Redeemed

When I think of redeemed, I think of three things: Jesus, Ruth, and Hosea (Francine Rivers may or may not have had an influence on the latter). Hosea with Gomer, and Ruth with Boaz, display for us in a very physical and tangible way, what Jesus does for us, which is a more conceptual thing (though his physical death was as tangible as it gets). “Redeemed” is defined:

1. to gain or regain possession of something in exchange for something else
2. literally translates from latin to “buy back”

Hosea bought Gomer out of prostitution into a different life (see Hosea), Boaz raised Ruth up from being an outcast to a member of society with worth (see Ruth), and Jesus paid for our salvation with his life, death, and resurrection (see the Gospels/the Bible). We were bought out of our sin, and brought into the light (Colossians 1:13).

Living Redeemed

I like how John says it (Chapter 10):

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Jesus came that we could live our lives abundantly. To have more than we need in it. So that covers LIVING, and I think to do it redeemed is to give the life we are living back to the one who gave it to us. This crosses into the familiar territory of allowing God to redeem and restore (the entirety of) our lives. AKA the sanctification process. There are a lot of parts of my life that I haven’t allowed to be redeemed. But if I am redeemed, then all of me is redeemed and the life I live should reflect that.

Living Redeemed isn’t something I expect to start and succeed at right away. In fact, I don’t fully understand what it will look like. What I do know (and have been reminded of many times already) is that I cannot do this redeemed thing without God. It requires me to admit and accept that I am a sinner. I did not redeem myself, and I cannot redeem any part of my life either. However, in him I am redeemed and by him I can live abundantly.

This resolution isn’t about doing a 180 and suddenly being perfect. It’s about facing what I’ve been running from, falling in the dirt, and getting back up again. It’s a resolution I’m going to fail at, but that I, by grace, get to keep trying at, knowing that one day I will be fully restored to live with my redeemer forever.