The Need to Stay and Dwell

I’m a needy person sometimes, though I hate to admit it. I either have a need I am seeking to meet, or am trying to fulfill someone else’s need. If neither is being done, I usually see myself fit to leave that person or situation, so as to bring or find fulfillment elsewhere. At one point, this neediness went so far that I considered life not worth living if no one made it clear they needed me, or if I didn’t hear expressly from God that He had me here for a reason. I knew it was not in God’s plan for anyone to decide when they should die, but the thought occurred to me anyway. I reviewed every relationship I had with family and friends. I felt as if my life was going nowhere and everyone around me didn’t require me for anything– I felt ignored, dismissed, and unconnected as far as value was concerned. I prayed long and hard for God to give me a clear purpose. It seemed God was being very silent about what I should do with my life at a point where I felt I needed to know, as I was fast approaching the end of high school and thinking about what to do next.
Then a friend came to me about a hard situation she was going through and that I was one of the few friends she trusted to talk to about it. I remember both the pain I felt for her and what she was going through. But I also remember how I cried after hearing the news because of the timeliness of it in connection with my search for purpose. I felt needed by someone in a valuable way, and we both felt God had given each of us a friend in the other for a reason.
Through this and eventually reaching out to friends for encouragement in my own time of need, I slowly realized that my life does indeed have purpose, as it did all along. God is moving in our lives, even when we can’t see it and can’t believe in it. During the time I was searching for my purpose, I was beginning to look further into my future and to develop a plan of what the next several years might look like. I knew God was ultimately in control of my future, but had forgotten how to put my full trust in Him about it. I looked at the future, became scared of failing, doubted my ability to be successful, and forgot what leaning on Christ for strength and direction was like. It was very similar to Peter walking on water, when he thought he could do it himself, looked at the water, became scared and doubtful, then started to sink.
But just as Christ lifted Peter from sinking, Christ lifted me from sinking as well. He used the people in my life to show me I had a special place with them, that they valued my presence. I am valuable, needed, and fulfilled, first by Christ, but also by the people around me. He knows my needs, and their needs; He faithfully provides for our needs often though each other, even if it is beyond our recognition. He showed me how to rest in Him for the long term, how to have peace about the future, and to take life as it comes. After all, “why would I fear the future? For I’m being pursued only by God’s goodness and unfailing love.” (Psalm 23:6, paraphrased) I learned to plan with Him for the future, instead of doing it all on my own, through prayer and waiting for His assurance of direction. I still have no idea what my future looks like even a couple years from now, but I trust His peace about the place I’m in right now. And I trust that to be enough for now, until He reveals more. All I am to do is dwell where He has placed me. If I am needed somewhere else, He will tell me in time. It is possible to find contentment in the current situation– the key may just be to focus on the present, instead of the before or after.
I still doubt my place in the world at times, and while at times it can be a good check for examining where God wants you to be investing yourself, for me, it is most times the Enemy tempting me to forget I have worth at all. The Lord “has delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I trusted in the Lord when I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted’; in my alarm I said, ‘everyone is a liar.'” (Psalm 116:8-11). In the words of an old Superchick song, “we live, we love, we forgive and never give up because the days we are given are gifts from above” (“We Live”). God doesn’t have to let me keep living, especially if I’m not living a particularly honorable life that day, or if I have already fulfilled His purpose for my life. And yet, here I am today, so I figure He still must have something for me to do and I have no desire to mess with that.
My philosophy on life, if it can be called that, is to do my best to dwell in the moment, discovering what God has for me in it and doing my best to be obedient to His voice of direction and counsel. I am here for a reason, to dwell in the moment and the season. To take heart and courage, to embrace what is in front of me. Keeping my trust in God’s leading is what brings me peace in chaos. He continues to show me that He is indeed always moving in the world, giving everything meaning, purpose, and life, even when grasping it is beyond the present state of the human mind. He cares and takes care of all, the Creator and Master Controller of life.


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