When God decides it's time to COURSE CORRECT!
So, 10 years ago, whilst I was on my gap-year after kind of stumbling into it on returning home from university and not really knowing what I was doing with my life, I found myself sitting on the floor of our church, back leant against the wall, accompanied by two guys (my fellow gap-yearers), both of whom were at least 5 years younger than me.
Already this scenario was a far cry from what I’d previously been used to for almost the entirety of the three years prior. Those years had been more about the drinking, the partying, the boys – and beyond.
I suppose I’ve always been one of ‘all or nothings’, even then. All in on a lifestyle which didn’t really reflect real life at all. Or all in for a faith which kind of handed my life back to me, wrapped a little differently.
Perhaps the obscurity of the scenario was the reason I felt so impacted by what I read as I sat against the church wall.
We were reading through a ‘Bible in One Year’ type of plan and today, we’d started reading the book of Ecclesiastes. I’d never read it before. In truth, I’d not read a great deal of pretty much any of the Bible up until that point, aside from verses for Sunday school and the odd memory verse here and there, you know? It was like I couldn’t quite ‘get it’ when I sporadically did try to open it’s pages.
Anyway, Ecclesiastes begins and the author is talking about everything being ‘meaningless’. I felt like it was a bit much at first, if I was to be totally real with you, but as I read on, I found myself agreeing with some of what he said. I found myself nodding and kind of just understanding that actually, this guy was right.
When I told my pastor at the time, he told me that I must be getting old.
While 21 wasn’t exactly elderly, I wasn’t that put out by the comment. If age meant wisdom, I’d take it. I was tired of feeling like I didn’t have a CLUE what I was doing a lot of the time.
So, what was it that actually struck such a chord in me whilst I sat on that church floor, nodding along to a book which had been fairly alien to me only a few months prior?
Well, the author of the story kind of takes us on a journey of sorts. It’s a journey of the guy characterised in the story as ‘the teacher’. The teacher goes through a lot, it would appear. His ‘going through’ is kind of so that he might obtain this elusive goal… a goal which he doesn’t actually know. So he gets great wealth, builds amazing properties, has beautiful women around him, becomes wiser than most… the list is endless. But the end result?
“What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
Now before it becomes a little too doom and gloom, don’t worry. I don’t actually think his MAIN point is that there’s NO point in anything. He goes on with this later in the story…
“Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.” (Ecclesiastes 5:18)
See. We’re not just to throw our hands in the air and say ‘well, what’s the point then?’ Actually, we’re MEANT to enjoy our lives, to work hard, to do the stuff that God has laid out for us to do. But the mistake we can make though? Well, that comes in when we decide that actually that ‘stuff’ (our pleasure, our ‘climbing the career/business’ ladder, our money etc.) is more important than the One who allowed us to have it in the first place.
We don’t get to cry out to God when we’re in the pit of despair almost as though He’s a genie who might grant us one wish and give us permission to climb out –only to find ourselves on ‘normal ground’ again, ignoring Him until the next downfall.
That’s not the point. HE is the point.
Whilst leaning against that church wall some 10 years ago now, it was like I learnt that truth, perhaps even for the very first time. And yep, it may have made me sound pretty old to be thinking that way at 21, but I actually think 21-year old me was onto something.
As my daily readings point me to the book of Ecclesiastes again this week, I’m reminded of that whole span of time with some fond memories – that year when’s God’s Word first just felt so fully ALIVE to me. To live for Him alone for the rest of my days didn’t sound boring at all.
Can you remember what that moment was for you?
I also remember the moments since that year when I’ve often let everything else creep in in it’s place. Kind of like the teacher is explaining in the book of Ecclesiastes here at the end of his life. Obtaining stuff or experiences expectant for some kind of quick fix. Thirsting for water, which will never satisfy. I see these reminders as prompts and course correction though, don’t you?
Grace to seek again. Grace to see again.
If you want to go further, you have to dig deeper.
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HEY! I’m Naomi, Founder of Living Word League. Along with my blog and my podcast, Living Word League is home to a monthly membership community that provides interactive Bible studies which practically unpack the Word of God with conversation and content, so that Christian women can boldly walk out the calling on their lives to the full whilst keeping the main thing, the main thing. Also over at Living Word League, you’ll find ‘Biblical Business Academy’, my hub of business building programs, courses and live coaching support for faith-focused female leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to start, build, scale and grow their online businesses.
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