First up is "What has God taught you in the last year?" from Thomas Ashmead
Pretty deep to start with but a solid question too.
So I feel like God has taught me loads and having thought about this I wonder how I can really narrow it down...but I'll start and see what happens.
- HIS FAITHFULNESS: God has definitely been teaching me about his faithfulness. I think in this world we are so not used to grace that I forget that God is different. I get things wrong continually - and a lot of the time it's the same stuff I keep screwing up on. Yet, God's love for me does not change - he is faithful every day. I think in particular I really struggle with trusting God fully with all areas of my life and not just being independent and thinking I can do things better. So when I have tried things my own way and they fail I sometimes expect God to be angry or say "I told you so"...I am always really surprised when he still pulls through for me. He is not like people - he doesn't hold grudges - God is completely who he says he is, slow to anger and rich in love.
- I SHOULD TRUST: Time and time again I find it difficult to trust God, mainly because it means letting go of the control (which I like to have). Yet in the last year God has shown me in a number of ways that I can trust him. For example, I really wanted to move to a place that would be a bit of an oasis for me, yet I didn't really know anyone who I could live with and I didn't have much money to move anywhere...yet I prayed and God totally sorted it out in his timing and I love where I live. Also, around Christmas I was thinking through what I was doing with my life and I had a bit of a freak out that I wasn't changing the world and that I was going to be 25 and still didn't necessarily have a "career" - but God really spoke to me about trusting that I was in the place I was supposed to be and that he would tell me when to move on. I still really struggle to trust God and if I'm honest I am pretty rubbish because I generally have a cycle of - try something myself, fail, try again, fail, think about asking God, actually ask God, watch him do something amazing, resolve to not be so stupid next time...and repeat. I feel like in theory I have no reason not to trust God so I get frustrated when I am ridiculous and do things my own way. Still learning.
- HE'S GENUINE: I guess I mean that God is interested in the real me, you know the one under all the masks, the one who has bad days, and thinks awful thoughts. God wants to know that version of me rather than the one I let people see. I think because God has been teaching me this it has made me think more about my relationships with other people and how I relate to my friends. I know that the best friends I have are the people who have seen me at bad times and yet still love me, and vice versa - yet I still struggle to show the "real" me to people. It's a vulnerable scary place, yet it's living life properly and engaging with people the way we were supposed to. I think knowing that God knows everything about me and yet still loves me gives me a bit of confidence that other people might. Clearly God is infinitely more loving that we can ever be, but knowing that God loves me helps me to let down the walls and allow people to be really know me.
- I SHOULD TAKE RISKS: I think I blogged about this a little bit when I came back from the HTB Conference - felt like God was speaking to me about taking more risks and not playing it safe. This links into the whole trust thing but yea I know that God has just been nudging me to step out and do things that seem a bit weird/crazy even if I look a little stupid.
- GOD IS USING ME: The other day I was walking home and I was just thinking about how I want to do big things. How I don't want my life to be boring or meaningless. I think to some extent we all want to be heroes - we all want to be recognised and appreciated for doing things. I think sometimes my head gets too big and I need to realise I'm not all that important. But I was just lamenting the fact that sometimes it feels like I'm stuck in a rut and not seeing any huge change in any of the young people I work with. But God spoke to me about how he uses the faithful people, those who stick at things for years and years and invest into situations. He also reminded me about how a lot of the time we might not see the impact we are having, but that doesn't mean he's not using us.
So those are some of the things God has been teaching me over the last year, I'm sure there are more but hopefully those will encourage you for now.