take Delight & be Deliberate

Almost six months ago I came away from a time of prayer and reflection regarding the (then) upcoming year, with two words. Delight & Deliberate.
As I prayed about the word, ‘Delight,’ I immediately thought of a verse in Psalm 37.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37:4 ESV)

At first read, I couldn’t help but jump to the second half of this verse. My eyes alight with the hope of receiving the deepest desires of my heart. Could this be a year of longing fulfilled? Of dawn breaking through such a long dark night?

The second word, ‘Deliberate’ didn’t come with any obvious scripture, but I was inclined to look up the dictionary definition. According to dictionary.com it is defined as this:

‘Carefully weighed or considered; intentional; leisurely and steady in movement or action; slow and even; unhurried;purposeful; willful; applied to what is done not hastily but with full realization of what one is doing; applied to what is definitely intended or done on purpose.’

I felt strangely convicted reading this definition. So much of my life has felt hurried and rushed. Lived like something to get through, constantly feeling behind, hoping that circumstances would make my decisions for me.

But these past few years, Adam and I have found ourselves in a deep valley. It has been a season marked by loss, grief, unfulfilled longing, exposure, barrenness, and painful refining. Yet, I am realizing that sometimes one of the greatest gifts that we can receive is being in a place where we find ourselves flat on our backs on the floor of a valley. Because for the first time in a long time we actually look up. We stop running. We are overcome by stillness. We listen…. because we literally cannot do anything else.
It was in that place that these two words were like salve on an open wound. I used to think that a miracle in my life would look like answered prayer to receive the desires of my heart, but now I am realizing that a real miracle is actually knowing and Delighting in the LORD and His sufficiency even with desires unfulfilled… not because I don’t still hope for those things or long deeply… but because HE has become the deepest desire of this heart.

I have also realized staring at the stars in this deep and dark valley, that I am graced with the privilege to choose; that my God has made me to be intentional – to live on purpose. I am not a victim of circumstance, of others decisions, or my own failings. I am not meant to live tossed about in the wind blowing here and there by all the many ideas the world presents to us. No, in fact as I lay there in that valley and the Holy Spirit began to painfully tear away all of the layers of mud and grime that I was previously standing upon, I realized that we are indeed meant to stand on the solid rock, which is Christ. And this foundation is laid because of Grace, through faith, by Deliberate choice. Our lives are not steady by chance. They are steady because we take intentional steps.

So, Elsa & Foster?  I’ve known the direction that our heavenly Father has been inviting us towards for quite some time. But I thought we would get there on accident…I was wrong. Deliberate step.
Joy in the midst of uncertainty, anxiety, and sorrow? Absolutely. Because in the valley, there is a feast that awaits us; where our Shepherd and Prince of Peace gives of Himself and our delight is no longer dependant upon circumstances but we find true delight in HIM.

— Jalene Elsa

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