Inside: As we grow in faith we reach this awkward phase where we aren’t who we used to be, but we aren’t sure how to be more Christ-like. The so awkward phase is a sign that we are growing in faith.
*Disclosure: Post may contain affiliate links. See our full disclosure here.
Have you ever been to a national or state park where you’ve seen the notice to “bring out what you bring in?”
In other words, these particular parks don’t want you to leave your garbage, so they ask you to take it back with you.
Dealing with garbage is a big job.
In reality, removing garbage from national parks is a huge money expenditure. Lots of visitors yield lots of garbage.
Most of the leftover garbage from careless visitors is attended to by hundreds of volunteers. The refuse that makes it into the can is recycled, incinerated or removed to find it’s resting place somewhere on planet Earth.
So why all this garbage talk?
In the wilderness, we have to deal with garbage.
You see, sometimes in this season you get to see yourself in a light you don’t like.
Got some garbage in your heart?
While hanging out in the backcountry, I noticed qualities about myself I didn’t like. My fear, distrust, control, and anxiousness were just a few of these such qualities.
That’s a bunch of garbage.
The wilderness likes to point out my rubbish:
- My sin.
- Brokenness in me.
- The desire to live apart from God.
You see, God doesn’t want us to only take out what we brought in. He wants us to leave some things behind, and grab some new things to take out.
We fight it though, because we don’t want to see it go, and the new God-given qualities don’t fit yet.
Can you say awkward?
We might feel like we’re no longer content with ourselves. We just don’t fit together anymore.
I felt like there’s no old me, but I don’t feel like I’m where I need to be. So I just feel awkward and uncomfortable.
Can I share a secret with you?
According to Pastor Dharius Daniels, “What makes us feel awkward in one season is what makes you relevant in the next.”
Relevant: closely, connected or appropriate to the matter at hand (Merriam-Webster).
Who better experienced this then Shepherd David?
David spent many years of his childhood leading the family sheep. David spent time in the wilderness alone protecting the sheep from predators and danger, but yet He had been anointed to become King in the future.
Probably a pretty awkward phase carrying a shepherd’s rod while dreaming of a jeweled crown.
Soon, boy David finds himself in the front of army lines fighting the strong giant of a man, Goliath.
David didn’t flinch, nor fear because God was so snug with David.
34 But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, 35 I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. 36 I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! 37 The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” (1 Samuel 17:34-37, NLT).
David’s Awkward Became God’s season of work
The season shepherding sheep alone and in the barren countryside, was the right season to find God and plug into Him so securely that giants like Goliath caused no flinching.
It’s important to realize that David returned to the wilderness several more times over the course of his life. Every time he was stripped down with what he brought in, and re-fashioned in an image more like God.
Could David be called “a man after God’s own heart,” because of his wilderness dwellings?
Did David accept the ill-fitted qualities he was given here and trust God was re-shaping him?
In these awkward periods of molding, let us lean into the work God is doing in us.
If you’re spending time in the wilderness right now, might I encourage you to feel those awkward feelings and plug into God. He is bringing out the new in you. God is making you more able for the future seasons He has planned for you. Awkward now in this season, but relevant and useful in the next season.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Lord, Give Me a Heart for You: A Devotional Study on Having a Passion for GodLord, Use Me: 50 Devotions About Loving God and Serving PeopleGrowing Deep in the Christian LifeGrowing in Wisdom & Faith: James (A Woman After God’s Own Heart®)Following God’s Guidance: Growing in Faith Every Day (Women of Faith Study Guide Series)
Images from pixabay.com