I have to smile every time that I think I’m in control of my own life. Just when I start to worry about when my next work project will come in, it does. When I think that I’ve got my latest life strategy planned out, a situation arises that changes it. I believe that God has guided my life all along but I failed to see it until my career ended suddenly. When I started looking back over my life and began writing my yet unfinished book, I could see the patterns emerge. I’ve been “retired” from my dream of being in the fire service for just over 6 years and I never could have imagined the journey I’ve been on. I certainly did not plan any of it and every time I try to plan or worry about a plan, God reminds me that He is charting the course.
My experiences in these past six years have been unimaginable. I’ve met incredible people from all walks of life. As a Councilmember, I’ve been invited to be part of a special group that meets monthly to discuss development, investing and economic conditions in the metropolitan Phoenix area. This group really influences what happens in our region; the connections are amazing. I had a conversation with a few people looking to connect an outside property owner who “only needed $5 million” with an investor; it was unreal. I continue to work with the US Army on Homeland Defense initiatives and have become friends with very special people. We will fly to Texas in a couple of months to celebrate one of my “new” friend’s retirement. Not to mention the conversations that I’ve had with General Officers and their staffs. I never planned any of this. My work as a local government consultant continues to take me across the country and into the lives of people who want to do the best they can for their residents. All of these things came to be because I stopped worrying about being in control of my plan and let God show me the way.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States and that got me thinking about what I’m thankful for. More importantly, it also reaffirmed how I got to where I am. A friend (Andy) who I only work with a few weeks of the year on military assignments sent me a text message that he was thankful for our friendship and being able to work together. I never would have met Andy if I was in control of the planning in my life. We all desire to know what lies ahead and to influence those circumstances. Completely letting go is hard. We are human and being in control is one of the things that separates us from the animal kingdom.
We can still make our plans, have our dreams and establish targets for achievements; this is the freewill that God gave to us. The verse for this week reminds us that God will establish the steps of getting there. I am planning for a long life that ends with my being thankful for a great family and a satisfying life. The truth is that if my life ended today because it was in God’s plan, my life would end with my plan being fulfilled. Sure, it may not have been very long but I achieve what I hoped I would. I am thankful for that and mindful that it is also human nature to never be satisfied with our lives. God knows just what we need and will direct your steps if you let Him.
Nothing like being twelve plus hours late in getting a weekly blog post out! For now in only the second time, I’m late in getting this out. The “holiday” weekend threw me off cycle; I thought I still had a day to go. In any event, I was moved this week following a bible study at church to write about working out. While I wish I could give great fitness advice, I’m not doing that here. We all use the phrase “work out” in a coupe of ways: “I hope this works out”, “I will make it work out”, “I’m headed to the gym to work out” and “can’t we work this out”. Each one of these phrases has a slightly different meaning. At work, we all try our hardest to be the best that we can; some days are better than others. When our motivation is low, it takes everything that we have to “make it work” or simply “make work.” The word WORK for some has become a four-letter word. The number of people who hate their jobs is high, the number of people looking for jobs is high and the number of people retiring from jobs is high (I skipped any Colorado reference here). I read that the number of people quitting their jobs is a good sign of the economy improving; who knew? Most people simply want their “work” to be satisfying and others simply want to find some work. No matter your desire, working, while highly overrated, is still a critical part of our lives. How we behave, what we say/do, how we work, will all say a lot about our character. It’s not the work it’s self, it’s how we approach the work. No matter what you do, you are still important to the people around you and the people at home. While we would all love to sit home and have good money deposited into our checking accounts each payday, most of us have to “work” for a living. Our work however doesn’t have to be a four-letter word, no one makes us miserable, we simply let them make us that way. Take control and work hard for yourself; besides you never know who’s watching.
12”…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13
There is often huge confusion about part of this verse: “work out your salvation”. Some people believe that you must work for your salvation; you need to earn your way to salvation. However the concept of justification says something quite the opposite. We were justified by Jesus’ death and resurrection. This means that those who believe in Him are “not guilty” of their sins in the eyes of God, we are forgiven! The Holy Spirit works in us through sanctification so that we may live out our lives in faith. It is the combination of justification and sanctification that we can remain steadfast in our faith of eternal life. It’s certain something better than sitting home and having good money deposited into our checking account! Like a trip to the gym, we “work out” our salvation by studying the word of God and participating in the sacraments much like a cardio and weight regimen. Like a personal trainer, St. Paul’s letters are filled with great advice for us to maintain our workouts and remain strong in our faith. God is working in you to be the best person that you can be. He is working in your life not to satisfy your wants and needs but to fulfill his good purpose for you. Let the hand of God guide you no matter what is happening in your work life; He has a purpose for you, let him reveal it knowing that you are not guilty of your sins through His justification and sanctification.