I grew up in a Christian environment where we often talked about salvation as a “free gift,” but though it is offered freely, there’s a painful exchange of the old “flesh" in order live by the Spirit. It’s interesting how God seems to trick me in a way. He asks me to surrender my desires, my methods, my patterns of thought, and then He gives me a new way of living that is so much fuller than anything I could have achieved on my own.

Last year was a rough year for me, the hardest I’ve ever experienced. It felt as though everything was taken from my life: my job, a previous church community, a relationship with someone I believed I would spend the rest of my life with. All of that was removed within a few months. And through it all, God has been faithful. There were surely moments where I didn’t feel as if I had any joy. It felt as though God was scorching me. But when I came to the end of myself and embraced the fire, there was joy. A year later, God has begun to restore what was “lost.” 

I've begun to see that He gives us what we wanted all along, it just looks different, and usually in a different season or timeframe than what I might have thought I wanted. Before I surrendered to Christ, I spent long hours, tirelessly trying to become someone or be more successful than others. I’m not sure I would say I’m completely content with who I am, or where I’m at, but I’m not striving for progress on my own strength anymore. Feeling God’s heart and His love for me changes how I view my relationship with Him. 

The biggest change in my relationship with God was when I stopped being suspicious of Him working in my life. I used to be afraid God would “call” me to do something I didn’t enjoy or live in a place I hated. But then I began to realize that God is for me: He created the desires in my heart and has a plan for co-laboring with me to bring about the life I’ve always dreamed of. The way He brings our desires into fruition isn’t easy, but it transforms us into the person who can receive His fullness.