On September 23rd, I posted a blog called When Things Don’t Go According To Plan. At the end of that blog I shared that “…right now things in my life are exhausting, stressful, busy, and uncertain…so I need to focus on some things and allow others to take a back seat for the moment. And this blog is one of those things… I’m currently working so many hours between my 2 jobs that I don’t have a lot of time or mental bandwidth to blog when I have moments of free time. So until further notice, I’ll be taking a break from this blog.

It is now almost 2 months later…and I’m not ready to make a return back to blogging yet (life is still really busy and uncertain, and I still do not have a lot of extra time to dedicate to this). BUT, I do have something I want to share as an update…both on myself and for this blog.

I had also shared in the blog I mention above that this year, in particular, has been a very difficult one…because nothing has gone according to plan. The things I thought were going to happen have not yet, and the things I didn’t expect to happen did. It hasn’t been all bad or difficult things, some were and some weren’t…but it’s just opposite of everything I was thinking and expecting and looking toward.

And I believe that is part of why; that I was thinking and expecting and looking toward things I wanted, rather than seeking God and where he was leading. I had become so focused on what I wanted and thought was going to happen, that I took my eyes off of where God was leading and what he was doing.

I didn’t take my eyes off of God…I still love him and seek to live for him and do what is right (even when it’s so frustratingly difficult)…but I do believe I took my eyes off of his leading and his direction for my life. Not intentionally, but over the past couple of months I have been able to see how I did that in some areas of my life.

Life has continued to be difficult and stressful and uncertain the past couple of months, that hasn’t changed. However, I have been able to see some things in me that God is still working on. Some areas of my life I maybe hadn’t fully surrendered to him, or things I was holding onto rather than letting go and trusting him. It’s never easy to learn those things about yourself, but it’s definitely valuable.

So while I still may struggle with how this year has gone, and while I still have a hard time with things not going the way I thought they would, I can see how God has been teaching and leading me more clearly. There is still a lot that I need to learn apparently…and a lot I have to learn to let go of and trust him in.

I do miss blogging regularly. Often, as I am working, I will have thoughts of a blog I’d like to write. I’ll even “write” it in my head as I work, thinking about how I would want to present and share it in a blog. I also had a very cool and encouraging conversation the other day that was unexpected and totally a God thing. In this conversation someone very adamantly encouraged me to not give up on speaking, sharing messages, and blogging. They told me they see it as something God has gifted and called me to do. So it’s still in me, something I do want to pick up again, and something I do believe God has given me a gift and passion for (not trying to brag, but I do see the conversation I had the other day as a way God was encouraging me to keep at it).

But I’m not ready to return yet. I am still learning and God is still working on me during this season, and I want to make sure I focus on what he is telling me and showing me, as well as where he is leading me.

Today I read the following in “Not a Fan. daily devotional” by Kyle Idleman: “Jesus makes it clear that a decision to follow him is a decision to die to yourself. He didn’t come to this earth to modify your behavior or tweak your personality or fine-tune your manners or smooth out your rough spots. Jesus didn’t even come to earth to change you, making you a new and improved version of yourself. The truth of the gospel is that Jesus came so that you would die to your old way of life – and then live a new life for him. He came so that you would be like him. If you want to be his disciple, you must take up your cross daily and follow him.

That really spoke to my heart. Because far too often, I have a tendency to try to “people-please”, or to try to be the “best version of myself”, or I even sometimes struggle with feeling like I need to “be perfect”. But the truth is, I can’t. I’m not perfect…I have flaws and weaknesses…I make mistakes and can’t always please others. This is honestly a lesson God has been teaching me the past few years in different ways, but I’ve been learning it again, at a deeper level, the past couple of months.

I needed to be reminded of that today. To remember that Jesus didn’t come to try to fix me in some way, to make a better version of me. He came to die for my sins, to cover them completely, and to make me like himself. Only he can truly change my heart anyway, which takes all the pressure off of me.

Yes, I am to strive to live a godly life. 1 Peter 1:16 says “You shall be holy, for I am holy”. But I don’t make myself holy. God does. What I need to do is seek to focus on him and where he leads and what he is teaching me, trusting that he is leading and guiding me, as well as continuing to make me like Jesus.

God knows I’m still human, and he provides me grace for when I’m not perfect. I can rest in that grace while I seek to keep following him and allowing him to teach me and make me more into the image of his son each day.

And, as I always do at the end of my blogs, I want to encourage and challenge you to do the same. Focus on God and what he is teaching you as well as where he is leading you. Hold onto things loosely…allow God to be in control of everything in your life. Strive to live for him each day, but also remember to rest in his grace and let him be the one who changes your heart.

As you seek to Simply Follow Jesus in this life, seek to do so one day at a time, trusting God to lead and guide you, as well as teach you and mold you more into the image of his son Jesus. The pressure to be perfect or holy is not on you, so don’t put that pressure on yourself…you will only be frustrated and exhausted if you do. Rather, look to God. Focus on him. Let him do his work in you. All you need to do, and all I need to do, is continually seek to follow him each day as he does.

Until God leads me to begin blogging again…