My husband and I are currently taking a baby care basics class to prepare for the arrival of our little one. The first two weeks we learned about diapering, bathing, and feeding. The last two weeks focus on our marriage and the emotional environment that we will create in our home. Our instructor has been very open with us and shared about his own childhood and personal life. He shared that his relationship with his dad has not been healthy. He also shared about a recent moment when his dad tried to engage him on a deeper level, but he refused to go there because of the history of their relationship. He said something like, “Our relationship has never been that way and never will be.” It made me sad to think that he had completely given up on his own relationship with his dad. Yes, he had resolved to be a great dad to his own kids, but the past had already settled his present and future relationship with his own father.
This seemed so harsh when I heard it and very hopeless. Yet, it caused me to reflect on all the areas I have settled in my own life.
What things have I settled as, “it’s always going to be this way”?
Or how many times have I resolved that the only way to fix a current/past mess is to start fresh somewhere else?
These questions make me realize that I have settled for many things in my life. I’ve settled that I’ll always struggle to understand God’s love for me, thus continuing to strive in my faith. I’ve settled that certain family members will never change or never come to know Christ. I’ve settled that our finances will stay at the same level, making it a challenge to reach our goals. I’ve settled that I should find a new friend because I’ve not built a deeper relationship with the friends that are around me now, and it seems easier to start fresh rather than admit my failure.
The reality is that many of the things we settle for aren’t the things that grab our attention on a regular basis. They are usually things that we think about from time to time. I believe there are two reasons for this. One reason is that daily life can become so routine and stagnant that we never expect it to change. The other reason is that we sometimes face big life changes that consume our attention and keep us from pursuing change in other areas of our lives.
In response to these reflections, I felt God challenging me to never settle. Anything that is in my life that is not in line with God’s perfect will is an area for him to work, no matter how big or small it seems. I want to always believe God for better – that the best is yet to come! This belief honors and glorifies God because it is a testimony of the hope we have in him.
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) – “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
If we are going to see God work in these “settled” areas, we are going to need to get intentional. We are going to need to bring them to mind so that we can pray about them and turn them over to God.
There are two general areas that we want to be sure we are pursuing God’s best for us.
First, we want to pursue a righteous life. We should never settle with any sin that is in our lives. Jesus’ grace has made the way for us to overcome, and we need to surrender these areas of conviction in our lives. Proverbs 4:18 (NIV) says, “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” This means that we are to always be growing in our relationship with God and in his righteousness.
Second, we want to pursue God’s will for us, our families, and anyone with whom we have connection. Matthew 6:9-10 (NIV) says, “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’” If there is something happening in our lives that does not align with the heavenly kingdom we are longing to inherit, then God commissions us to pray that this situation/circumstance will come into alignment with his heavenly will.
What have you settled for?
- That anger issue that runs in the family
- Being a worrier
- A poor relationship with a spouse, parent, or child
- A job that is pulling you away from your family or faith
- Health issues in your life or the life of someone you love
As we determine to not settle for less than God’s best, we need to be honest about where we are at currently and what we want to see happen in the future. We can be content in our current place as we trust God to work in our lives (Philippians 4:11-13). As we do this, we must rejoice in what God has done for us previously – calling to mind his faithfulness in the past. For example, I know that my family is in a much healthier place today than in was even 5 years ago, and because of that I rejoice! I will continue to believe that God is still working in each of us so that 5 years from now, it will be even healthier.
Let’s never settle for less than God’s best. Let’s keep believing that he has good plans for us, continuing to walk in faith all the days of our life.