Dear Emily {31 Days of Letters}

Dear Emily,

I realized, after writing you that previous letter, I had much more to say.  I could write an advice dictionary to you, with all of my words-to-the-wise in alphabetical order and explained in detail.  Though that would appeal to my type A personality, I think even my younger self would rebel against such blatant superiority.

Superiority is far from what I’m trying to communicate with any advice I give you. Sure, you make mistakes, but believe me when I say, you continue to make mistakes as you grow older and “wiser.”  However, in 25 years, I’ve begun to recognize a pattern in your mistakes and struggles.  You have an insatiable desire to do everything right and do it right the first time around.

There’s a danger in this striving for perfection that has made your journey seem more primitive than it needs to be.  You desperately seek God’s will and His direction for your life, but you focus on the minutia of His answer.  I’ve learned over the past 25 years that God’s still small voice likes to communicate the big picture.

Maybe that mode of communication is unique to us because God knows we spend too much time fixating on details.  Regardless, after years of burdened prayers asking God to reveal His will, that still small voice led me to a verse that becomes our hearts cry over and over again.  I’d like to make you privy to this knowledge a little earlier in hopes that you can avoid some tears and confusion.

It’s quite simple, really.  There are three things that always comprise God’s will for you: joy, prayer, and gratitude.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  {1 Thessalonians 5:16-18}

Joy, constant prayer, and giving thanks are always God’s will.  The surest way to do the right thing the first time is to be joyful in any circumstance, steep your decisions in prayer, and give praise to God for the outcome.

My dear Em, even in their simplicity, all three are difficult to do without God’s strength and grace.  You won’t always choose to be joyful or choose prayer before action or choose to give thanks.  But, devote yourself to these disciplines. Pursuing them, even when you fail, is always more fruitful than striving after your own plans and purposes.



You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.

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