When you’re unsure about God’s plans for your future

When you’re unsure about God’s plans for your future

You know those moments, when you’re unsure about God’s plans for your future. They can be debilitating and anxiety inducing!

I’ve often felt the pressure to give advice when I hit post on an entry, but I fear that has kept me from saying what I feel the need to say at least a few times. That being said I don’t recommend quitting school (even though I would prefer saying “deciding on a different path” or “course” if I wanted to be punny).

When you're unsure about God's plans for your future

I’m scared

What I feel the need to say today is that I am scared, scared witless actually. I keep struggling with the doubt that God has a plan for me. No, scratch that. I’m afraid that his plans for me don’t meet my own expectations of what my life should be.

My life should follow this neat linear path. High school, college, marriage, family, blah, blah, blah, in no particular order (okay preferably that order). But as my life continues on, I have this sneaking suspicion that God’s plan is not working in this neat little order I would like for it to. And that has been very, very difficult for me to accept. I know that I have idolized this picture for my life; the picture that I am a university graduate doing great things with her diploma and her career. I have tried very hard to fit my life into this box of expectations I’ve set for myself and to be frank it has made me miserable.

But how could I still doubt Him after I’ve told him I wouldn’t do that again? He has told me specifically that He has a plan for me. I’m sure He’s observing my constant striving and worrying with bemused annoyance. I suppose I have been fooling myself by accepting that He has a plan for me while not accepting the oh so minor detail that His plan for me is worlds apart from my own plans or expectations for me.

Chris Russell said it best in his post on understanding God’s will for you life, “Many times when we say we are seeking God’s will, what we are really wanting to say to God is this: “OK, God, here’s what I’m planning to do. Now I need you to rubber stamp this, all right?” I’m definitely guilty of this.

When you’re unsure about what God really wants

Update: After a bit of prayerful journaling and reflection, I have made a not so crazy God-grace-given breakthrough. I was worried that this has been a “God, can I please have your rubber stamp of approval?” type of blissfully in denial decision, secretly hoping God is onboard and wanting to ignore Him if he’s not. But I thought, no, it’s probably best I make sure. And I thought, God, I’m going to listen to your spirit and write what you have to say to me. And I found myself writing…

God, what is the next step in my education? 

You have created me, a smart, brave, creative, and Godly woman; in many ways, like you. You have created me in your image.

You use your word to speak to me and speak truth into mine and others’ lives. Your spirit moves in me when I write to you and for others.

You have created me to serve you and to help others while also being a blessing to others. This is something you have made me capable of doing with or without a degree in everything that I can do.

I know a degree would be pleasing to me but it doesn’t make a difference in the way you see me; supremely adored and loved, covered by your absolute and immeasurable grace.

Life is about more than this moment or one decision’s outcome

My life’s purpose and meaning goes far beyond this one moment and decision. I’m not trying to justify quitting school; by all means, continue onward if that is what you feel you’re called to do! With God before you, how could you be lost? In everything you do for Him there is reason and purpose and worth. And I genuinely think God is wanting me to make this decision for myself without fear. There are personal reasons as to why but I won’t waste your time with that!

Although at the same time it is hard for me to wrap my head around; God has a specific and perfect plan for me and yet wants me to make this decision for myself? What? Why can’t things be more straightforward? Come to think of it, don’t we say that about all relationships? Don’t you wish you could say to your partner or friend or coworker “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?”

If this seems like one giant thought process fueled by caffeine and chocolate covered biscuits, you would be right. (At least it’s a prayerful caffeine and chocolate covered biscuits thought process!) What I am trying to say is I would venture to say that God is trying to teach me that he doesn’t dictate what I do. Instead, He is trying to gently show me how caring and understanding he truly is.

Perfect love drives out fear 

I found a tee-shirt today in a charity shop that says “Perfect love drives out fear” and I found it fitting to mention for wrapping up this post. Oh, I’m so funny. It is true. I’m scared, but I’m ready, and I’m positive there are great things to come. This season of my life is coming to an end and I have confidence His perfect love will drive out this fear I’m experiencing.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. 

Can I get an Amen? Amen!

Jesus is faithful, even when I am not

“Throw yourself into me”

…is what Jesus whispered to my heart when I metaphorically came slumping into worship this evening.

For weeks now I have been feeling like an undisciplined, disobedient, distant disappointment to God. I have put off writing what’s on my heart out of fear of being disingenuous because of my lack of consistent prayer, Bible study, or quality fellowship with my brothers and sisters.

But still, Jesus pursues me. And for this I thank God, because even during my deepest, darkest self-loathing God is still patient and his promises still true, whether I doubt Him or not. Jesus is still who He says He is, despite what battles are going on inside this head of mine.

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

If I could make an educated guess as to why Jesus used the words “throw yourself into me,” it would be that I have done the exact opposite over these past couple of weeks. I have withdrawn from Him, even if that wasn’t my intention.

I want to honor and worship the Lord with my life. Because I’m human, however, what starts off as a pure pursuit of righteousness snowballs into a shell of what God intended wherein I’m living to please myself and not the Father.

I try with all of my will to live a Godly life, but therein lies the problem. I chase after perfection and righteousness in my own strength without thoughtful consideration of whether I’m pleasing the Lord or myself. It is embarrassing to admit, but I have even gone so far as to chase after the idea of looking like a Godly woman. Am I that delusional? Yes. The answer is yes, sometimes.

I have unfortunately clung to this sin of chasing “perfection”. God is calling me to commit it into his hands. It is scary and is long overdue. The suffering I have endured mentally and emotionally from this sin, Jesus has told me, is not something beyond the realm of what I can handle. He has called me to finally trust in who He is and what He says when he says:

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

So, starting today I am following Jesus’ advice and throwing myself into all that He is. I am throwing myself into his immeasurable love and grace. I am throwing myself into all of His promises. It won’t be easy, because doubt has made plenty of sneak attacks on my heart before, but thankfully even when I am doubtful, Jesus is steadfastly loving and faithful.

Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Sharing my God given passions with you

Hello everyone, I’m sorry it has been at least a month and a half to two months since I made my last post.

…As a creative person has to constantly “make”, I haven’t been completely “monging” it (British word). Basically I haven’t been lazing about watching Netflix and YouTube (okay, only a little). I’m very inspired by Christina Lorre‘ on YT; she gives all the glory to God for her gift and passion for drawing.

In case you weren’t made aware by my Instagram (which you can find here: rachelchamberlayne), my other passion is drawing and illustration. Lately I’ve been on a drawing kick. I go through phases where writing is my main outlet and other times where drawing absolutely takes over my life. God has truly given me a gift when it comes to creativity; I could die happy knowing God only blessed me with the ability to create things with my hands. Obviously He has blessed me with so much more as well, but I’m so grateful that I have a passion for something that is truly a vessel for worship.

My friend Hannah recently shared with me the idea of writing prayers down in a way that the words overlap one another so it looks like a bunch of gibberish. It’s great because praying out loud or in my head can be hard for me to do for some reason, but ever since I started writing my prayers out I’ve found it has strengthened my prayer life ten fold. Only God knows what you’re praying to him as well in case anyone gets their hands on your journal. 😉

It would be quite cool to map out an image or a shape that has significance and write the prayer within it if you’re feeling creative enough!

All of that being said, I wanted to share with you a few of my recent sketchbook drawings. By no means am I the best artist ever, but these are a few sketches I like and thought I would share. How could I have a blog and not share a passion God has given me that is so big it demands as much attention as my writing? So without further ado:

Confessions of A Prayer Slacker | A Book Review (by an admitted prayer slacker)

Unfortunately, I have a confession. I still struggle with prayer. I don’t think I will ever be as consistent as I would like to be. A couple of years ago I came across an eBook by Diane Moody called Confessions of a Prayer Slacker and immediately felt intrigued (probably because I felt convicted). Now I’m not name calling but there’s probably a reason you clicked on this post!

Not to worry. I had been in search of His guidance with prayer too and as the verse Moody cites in the beginning of her short book:

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Confessions of a prayer slacker by an admitted prayer slacker

So here you have it, a Confessions of A Prayer Slacker book review by an admitted prayer slacker. Hopefully this post and the book itself will offer a bit of guidance and insight. I seriously recommend it.

Moody’s book is a valuable reminder that struggles and attacks from the enemy don’t cease when we’re born again. Rather, we are called to be more vigilant and obedient. Often times this creates a deeper spiritual struggle. The only solution is to rely on God even more (something I am still learning to do). We are able to do so through consistent prayer… considering we walk the walk. Moody provides a really great framework for approaching prayer. She also shows you how God’s names reveal who He is and how we can approach Him.

I found the book to be humorous and witty. Honestly, it felt as though I was reading a long, conversational blog post. Moody speaks personally and addresses the royal you which builds tone of voice and character. It felt like you were on the phone with that one aunt that could talk your head off if you let her in the best possible way.

Confessions of A Prayer Slacker book review by an admitted prayer slacker

There are two parts to this book that I found to be useful for my own prayer life:

The ACTS formula

Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. I love this formula for prayer because it is essentially a great prompt for when we simply don’t know where to begin.

Jesus’ specific example of how one should pray in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-15) is also important to look at. Jesus instructs specifically how one should approach prayer: greeting the father, honoring his name, followed by praying for his will to be done on earth and in our lives, forgiveness, and ultimately salvation.

The names of Christ and their meaning

I had no idea prior to reading Moody’s book that God had several different names and each hold a very specific meaning.

For example, my favorite name for the Heavenly Father: Abba. Moody explains that this is the most intimate name we have for our God; the Aramaic translation meaning “Father” and in some contexts “Daddy”. It is such a personal name and it is very touching to see God through the context of dad. Once you see God as Dad, you start to understand that the relationship should be deeply loving and personal. For me, this revolutionizes the way I approach God in prayer.

Some of my other favorites are Jehovah: Self-Existent One or “I Am Who I Am”, Jehovah Rapha: The Lord Our Healer, and Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Will Provide. We gain a better understanding of who He is through the names we have for Him.

All in all, I would recommend this book as it was a relatively quick read and it was full of information that was delivered in a way that felt relatable and authentic. You can find it on BookBub absolutely free like I did here: Confessions of a Prayer Slacker by Diane Moody. 

Do you have any tips that enrich your prayer life? I would love to hear all about it in the comments!


Rachel x

How To Cope With A Difficult Season

I have endured so much change in my life in the last year or so. Coping has definitely been a learning curve for me. Hopefully this post will offer a bit of insight on how to cope with a difficult season in your own life and offer you peace of mind. You aren’t alone in any of it. From changing schools, handling a long distance relationship, getting married, going through the visa process (absolute hell), moving abroad, dealing with the hardships of being away from home and friends, and working in a different country… My life has felt, at times, like it was about to implode.

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3 biblical reminders perfection is not God’s plan for you

I3 biblical reminders perfection is not God's plan for you take everything to to heart. My sensitivity has been the bane of my existence since I was a child. I had a chat with my husband a few days ago when I came back from what I perceived as a particularly hard day at work. I was wrestling with a spirit of intense anxiety that day. When getting to the root of the issue, I realized I was trying to make everything “perfect” in my own strength. So, these are 3 biblical reminders perfection is not God’s plan for you.

Let me put that day into context for you: My clothes hadn’t dried over night. I didn’t have the chance to down a giant vat of coffee. Lame reason to start my day off glum… Hindsight is 20/20 and also humbling. I was late by ten minutes because of traffic. The bank then refused me, for the umpteenth time, to open a bank account. I then proceeded to cry in front of my boss. Yep. #noshame
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The hardest parts of living in another country

One of the worst things that I did for myself before moving abroad was failing to mentally prepare myself for it. It has definitely been catching up with me. Stress has a way of silently creeping up on you in the form of terrible sleep, anxiety, and a general lack of motivation for anything followed by its partner fatigue. Also, I can’t shut my mind off so here I am furiously typing at 1 AM because my brain won’t shut up. These are just a few of the hardest parts of living in another country for me personally.

The hardest parts of living in another country

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8 Life Lessons Learned in 8 Months of Marriage

My husband Stuart and I can’t believe it has been 8 months already! We decided it would be fun to consider what we’ve learned, where we’ve grown, and what has changed about ourselves during this time. I have grown into our marriage and myself a ton these past months. I’m excited to see where the rest of our marriage will lead us. So here you have it, these are the 8 life lessons learned in 8 months of marriage.

8 Life Lessons Learned in 8 Months of Marriage

Treat your role as a wife as a ministry.

Gone are the days when I could put off the washing or spend hours watching Netflix (okay, I swap sleep for Netflix on occasion). Much of my spare time is spent maintaining my husband. I won’t be shy about that truth. While he works full time and I part time, it is mainly my job to do the mundane, every day chores. My role as a wife is a ministry of servitude. Have I forgotten my ministry as a wife? is a great blog post on this topic. I try to do chores as willingly, happily, and lovingly as possible these days. I’ve also adopted a “yes policy” with most things, which I will also make an entire post dedicated to.

Make time for one another.

We are on a budget currently and it can be a challenge to figure out “date night” ideas. We’re both simple people and generally having a good chat is enough for the both of us though. No phones, computers, or iPads to interfere. We make the time to put those away to focus on one another for at least an hour a day.

Self-control is hard, but worth it.

A lot of my time is dedicated to maintaining Stuart’s sanity because he works at least 50 hours per week. Some days I hate the thought of making dinner and doing laundry. Self control means keeping this to myself though.

It would suck if my husband decided that he didn’t want to wake up at the crack of dawn every day to go to work. But he does get out of bed. Every day. At 5 AM. Without EVER complaining. It is my job to return that favor and have dinner on the table each day without moaning about it. I can say however that I practically whoop with joy whenever we eat round a friends house.

8 Life Lessons Learned in 8 Months of Marriage

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