Currently thankful for: Christmas movies, candles, finally getting paid, and last but most definitely not least, BEING DONE WITH THIS SEMESTER. Enough said about that!

Keeping God first is the hardest thing.

It should be so easy. I mean, seriously--He's so, so good, and absolutely everything I could possibly need. I have more joy and am more content with Him than I am at any other time. So why is it that my heart jumps at the chance to replace Him at the slightest opportunity? I'll never understand that. It doesn't make sense.

The past couple of weeks have been a struggle to make sure He stays first in my heart, my thoughts, my life. I've already failed at it more than once. Falling back into old patterns is all too easy, but I'm learning to recognize them--and to recognize what I need to do to avoid them. As hard as it is to discipline myself like this, it has forced me to be in a near-constant state of prayer, just to keep my head above water.

Sometimes, I forget that surrender and putting God first is a process, not an event. It's not something that I do once and for all, never having to think about it again. Instead, it's something I have to do constantly and will have to continue until the day that I die. I will never come to a point when I can say, "Wow, I'm glad that's over with. I learned a lot and now God is first; I don't have to focus on keeping Him there anymore." Yet that's what has happened every single time I've come through a hard situation. And guess what? As soon as I stop focusing on Him so intently, everything slowly begins to fall apart again.

Will I ever learn?

Even if He chooses to move me to the next stage of the process, a happier time, that doesn't mean I'm supposed to stop clinging to Him, or even loosen my grip. And even if He doesn't fulfill what I'm hoping for, that doesn't mean I'm supposed to suddenly trust Him any less. Because even if He doesn't, I will still trust Him. I will still love Him. I will still follow Him, knowing that His plan is best.
"Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, 'King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.'"
- Daniel 3:16-18
That has become one of the most profound verses in the Bible to me, and one of my biggest lessons over the past several months. Those guys knew what God could do, even what they truly believed that He would do, and certainly they wanted to be rescued, but in the end, it really didn't matter. Their faith was in Him, not in what He could do. It's the same reason Abraham was able to obey when God told him to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham knew what God had promised him, but he had to be willing to let go of even that--even the promise--and trust that God is faithful. Even if He doesn't, He is faithful.

"Thou and Thou only first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my treasure, Thou art."

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