By: Kelly Arena
My dog Maddy is lying contentedly next to me, snoring. She’s completely at peace with the world and everyone in it (except for the skateboarder and UPS truck). We have loved owning Maddy for three years. She transformed from a terrified rescue dog, to a pet who is completely confident in my love for her; secure in the home where she’s enjoyed and well cared for.
I envy my dog.
I envy my dog because I am completely confident in the love and care God has for me, and yet, some days I am terrified of this overwhelming world and some of the people it contains.
Although God has given me the security of belonging to Him as a daughter of His Kingdom, I question what that looks like. Unlike my dog, there are times when I don’t just curl up and lay completely at peace with my Master.
The longer I’ve known Jesus, the more acutely I’m aware of my own sin. God has shown me more than enough grace and love for me to feel secure and confident in Him. But sometimes, I want more.
It’s silly, really. I’m the kind of person who, with every new and potentially life-altering situation, wants God to give me a neon sign. He does not often choose to be that clear, but I keep hoping and I keep thinking about that possibility. What’s worse is that I feel like seeing this neon sign would make me feel completely secure and confident. But that puts my confidence in things and situations; not in God.
Sometimes I get distracted by the here and now. I get bogged down by my circumstances. My heart gets entangled with things that I really, really want. What I’ve noticed is that the things that I want aren’t in themselves bad and desiring these things isn’t bad. But as Matthew 6:33 says, “…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
I need to re-channel my thinking because the things that matter the most are things that will last. My relationship with Jesus, and telling others about Jesus must be my priority. My life’s focus must be telling others about Jesus, doing Kingdom work, and thinking with a Kingdom mindset.
God does care about the desires of my heart. He does care that I worry and feel insecure sometimes. He does care that I have a hard time trusting Him, and living as contentedly with Him as my dog is with me. But God cares too much about my heart and my spiritual well-being to give me quick fixes and easy answers.
This is where Quiet Time comes in. Matthew 6:21 explains, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” God gives me something truly better than a neon sign: He gives me a relationship with Him. He’s always near, but it’s up to me to spend time with Him. I shouldn’t just go to God to get a quick fix to my problem, or the answer of what path I should take when I approach a fork in the road. I need to go to God because of Who He is, not because of what He does. I want Jesus to be my treasure.
Hebrews chapter 11 describes people in the Bible who trusted God and had tremendous faith. Their faith was stronger than their circumstances, and their circumstances didn’t hinder their faith. I need to continue to learn 2 Corinthians 5:7, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”
I want to use these moments as an opportunity to draw close to Jesus instead of whining and wanting more of the tangible things. I want the desire of my heart to be sitting at the feet of my Master, completely and perfectly content with only Him. If I allow Jesus to be bigger than my circumstances, I know my priorities are in line with His will. God also loves us too much for us to just sit down and do nothing for His glory. He gave us His Word to read, to ponder, and to meditate upon. Psalm 119:105 says it well: “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”
When my dog Maddy isn’t sleeping soundly by my side, she’s always close at hand and usually follows my every move. It’s somehow instinctive in her. The desire of my heart is to be like that with Jesus. His Word is light. The closer I follow, the stronger our bond will be, and the clearer my path.
We were made for close fellowship with God. No matter what season of life I am in, I want to walk in the abundant life Jesus desires for me.
God took Kelly from being a little girl in speech therapy, to someone who desires to write passionately and speak boldly for the glory of God. In the midst of various trials including living in chronic pain, Kelly chooses to find her joy in the Lord and trust that God has a good and perfect plan. Kelly now resides in Fayetteville, NC as an Army wife to her life-long friend, Jarrett, along with their two dogs Maddy and Radar.