It’s Time To Pursue
I was sitting at traffic lights, my mind occupied with nothing more profound than the likelihood of getting a free, shaded parking space near my favourite spot at the beach. As the light turned from red to green, I heard a voice in my mind say one word, ‘pursue’. Now, I am an even more conservative driver than my 86-year-old mother-in-law, so I knew that the word had nothing to do with the traffic or my driving!
‘Pursue’; the word seemed to hang in the air, waiting for a response.
It’s in moments like this that I have learned to ask God, ‘is that you talking to me or me talking to me’? Not surprisingly, there was no audible voice in response but the next thought that entered my mind was this, ‘In 2017, your word is pursue’. I have never had a ‘word for the year’ before. I have always been slightly envious of people who do, particularly the women on Instagram who even have their own #hashtag! They seem to be much more purposeful, accomplished and together than I ever manage to be. As a result, I am in awe of them and their ‘word’. But now it seems, for the first time, I have my own word.
But why ‘pursue’? It seemed like the antithesis of all that I had learned so painfully in the past three years. After stepping down from a senior ministry role, I had spent the most recent season of my life learning to be content, to rest in God’s sufficiency and surrender to grace. After more than forty years of living on a spiritual hamster wheel, frantically trying to achieve, perform and produce enough spiritual outcomes to keep God, or those whom I had allowed to represent Him, satisfied, I had finally learned to let go. Why on earth would God be asking me to pursue anything?
After finding the perfect free, shaded, parking spot, #blessed, I took some time at the beach to ponder why this word was to define my year. I looked up its definition on my phone and realised that pursue did not necessarily mean strive, strain or even work. Pursue was more about intention and focus. As I prayed, I sensed God speak gently but very firmly.
‘It’s time for you to pursue what I have placed in your heart. Stop waiting for others to acknowledge or allow what I have already uniquely gifted, positioned and called you to do – it’s time to pursue it.’
So simple yet so challenging. As I sat a while longer, thoughts, hopes, dreams and fears all started to swirl around in my mind. Whilst the most recent season of life had led me to re-evaluate EVERYTHING I thought I knew about God, church, grace, purpose and identity, I had also started to confuse rest with inactivity and grace with indifference. I had been stripped back to the bare bone and now it was time to rebuild. Dreams that I had allowed to die were now able to be reborn in a purer form.
God was reminding me that the new season had begun and it was now up to me to step into it, enjoy it and embrace it with focus and intentionality. The only thing really standing in my way was me! No one else was going to make it happen for me and no one else was going to be held accountable by God for what He had placed in my heart and hand to do. In the past, this would have sent me into a frenzy of fear driven activity. The beauty of this next chapter is that I now know that what I do does not define who I am or what I am worth. The dreams of my heart are a gift given to me to enjoy rather than a burden to be carried.
I think the photo above captures it beautifully. There is a great expanse of possibility in front of me and I am ready to discover it. This adventure is not just about paddling to the other side, though; it’s also about pausing to enjoy the view.