“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” Colossians 3:12 (NLT).
As much as I hate admitting it, a great deal of my youth was spent escaping the hard stuff. I was one of those highly impressionable and naïve, young girls – the ones who loved fairytales where the Princess was rescued by her Prince Charming. As I grew older, I fell into the dangerous trap of watching too many romantic comedies and bought into the lie that being in love with someone equaled happiness.
Coupled with all of that, I struggled with years of low self-esteem spent constantly comparing myself to the other girls, whom I thought were smarter, more talented and obviously prettier than me. This lead to years of trying to fill a void in my heart by filling it with unhealthy relationships that I thought I could change into healthy ones.
Zoom ahead many years later, following a teenage pregnancy and years spent with numerous counselors and even 12-step meetings on love addiction, it became clear to me that my happiness was going to be found through the most scary and unknown places – within myself.
After finishing my readings in the Book of Numbers, Chapters 32 through 36, God has developed guidelines for His people in taking over the land of Canaan, and also in providing shelter and protection for His people.
Specifically, if we take a look in Chapter 32, we find Moses trying to identify the intentions of the people in following God’s plan. The people ask Moses if they may have portions of the land as their property that they have already conquered. Moses questions their motives; “Do you intend to stay here while your brothers go across and do all the fighting” Numbers 32:6 (NLT)? Moses reminds the people of the mistakes of their ancestors who discouraged their people from entering the land the Lord was giving them. As a result, the Lord made them wander the wilderness for forty years until the entire generation that sinned had died (See Numbers 32:13).
The people responded to Moses assuring him that they simply wanted to protect their livestock and establish fortified towns to protect their wives and children from attacks by the local people. They assured Moses that they will not return to their homes until all the people of Israel receive their portions of land and that they will only claim the land east of the Jordan, that had been conquered (See Numbers 32:16-19).
Moses responds by letting the people have their way, but he asks them to keep their word and arm themselves for the Lord’s battles. It is only then that they will have fulfilled the Lord’s duties and can rightfully claim the land east of the Jordan (See Numbers 32:28-30). Again, the people want to go about God’s plan their way instead of His. They leave themselves vulnerable, because of their disobedience to God’s plan. Moses is discerning. He calls the people out on this.
We can learn a lot from these passages. In life, it is very easy for us to want to take the easy way out. What looks or feels good now, doesn’t always lead to what is best for us later.
Each time I started a new relationship with someone I thought would make me feel complete and whole, I placed that person before God. When we do that, it never works out. Had I fought off the temptation to act on what felt good in the moment – the reward would have had a much bigger payoff in the end.
However, despite my bad choices and lack of faith in Him, my willingness to learn from my mistakes and bad choices has made all the difference in my life. God has blessed me with two beautiful children. I have equally been blessed with a kind, sensitive and loving husband. These were gifts that I had never expected to receive. Now, thankfully, I know God has a plan for me. When I am faced with a tough battle in my own life, I can make the choice to go through it and face it, instead of run away and avoid it.
Heavenly Father, so many of us have inner battles that we are fighting. Please help those of us struggling with our own sense of worth choose to look towards You and the cross to strengthen us and encourage us to walk the path that You intend for our lives. So, many young people today struggle with the overwhelming numbers of temptations that this world offers them. Help them to know that it is only through You and Your Son, Jesus that they can truly achieve true contentment and direction that they seek in their lives. Thank you for Your Word again reminding us that You are always walking with us on our journey to You in Your Promised Land. I ask these things in Your Son, Jesus’ Name. Amen.