On a Quest for Christ

Two Sample Chapters

Table of Contents

Opening Thoughts

1 – Birthing

2 – Ignoring

3 – Awakening

4 – Earning

5 – Belonging

6 – Judging

7 – Striving

8 – Turning

9 – Searching

10 – Encountering

11 – Exploring

12 – Pursuing

13 – Trusting

14 – Healing

15 – Learning

16 – Listening

17 – Forsaking

18 – Standing

19 – Obeying

20 – Growing

21 – Losing

22 – Loving

23 – Stretching

24 – Serving

25 – Voicing

26 – Persevering

27 – Resting

28 – Emerging

29 – Looking Back

30 – Moving Forward

Closing Thoughts

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On a Quest for Christ - Lisa Are Wulf

Opening Thoughts

May all who search for you
be filled with joy and gladness.
May those who love your salvation
repeatedly shout, “The LORD is great!”
Psalm 40:16 (NLT)

Whether you know it or not, you’re on a quest. Perhaps you sense an emptiness, a vacuum, or a nagging hole inside. Filling it with excitement, money, or love just doesn’t do the trick. Maybe you feel contented with your life today, but suspect that something else, something deeper, awaits you. Either way, you’re on a quest—a quest for Christ.

What is a quest? It is simply a journey toward a worthy goal, the seeking of a noble end. There’s a catch, though. Something as significant as the search for God is bound to run into obstacles and challenges. I have faced them, and I’m sure you have too.

This devotional is for all who are on a spiritual journey with Christ. Through its pages, you will trace your steps from the first whispers of faith to resting in God’s arms. You may be miles along the road, or you may be just beginning. Regardless of where you are on the journey, your story is sacred—a saga that leads ultimately to the one true God.

During this process, I’ll invite you into my personal faith journey. Each chapter features snippets from my story. Because I’ve selected just a few snapshots from a lifetime of experience, many significant people, places, and events are not included. My hope is that the ones I have chosen will lead you to a deeper reflection on your own memories.

I’ve also provided thought-provoking questions, scripture meditations, and special prayers to help you see ever more clearly the transforming grace of God in your life. At the end of each chapter, you’ll have a chance to write your own personal prayer.

As we explore this quest together, reflect on the stages you’ve passed through. They may not exactly parallel my own, but the similarities could be astonishing. You may have experienced some of the phases, but not all. Perhaps they occurred in a different order. Maybe some of your stages aren’t included in this book.

Don’t worry; this devotional book is only a guide for your journey. As you work through it, you’ll see God’s hand in your life and the direction he is leading you.

Why would you want to chart your personal faith journey? Because your spiritual story is significant. Who you are makes a difference. God ordained this path for your life even before the dawn of creation. It matters to you. It matters to me. In fact, it matters to the whole community of faith, both now and forever. The impact of your life is incalculable.

As you begin to explore your personal quest for Christ, take a minute to reflect on this scripture passage. Listen for God’s message to you.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl merchant
on the lookout for choice pearls.
When he discovered a pearl of great value,
he sold everything he owned and bought it!
Matthew 13:45-46 (NLT)

When we find the treasure we have been seeking for so long, it changes our lives. We hold it close, vowing never to let it go. As we begin to map our quest for the pearl of infinite value, let us join in prayer, asking for God’s guidance and steady hand on our journey.

Gracious God, you are the missing piece in our lives, the pearl we seek. For years, we have looked high and low for you. We’ve searched in every imaginable place. But you’ve been with us all along, urging us forward, shepherding us into your flock.

Stay with us as we tell our stories and map our spiritual quests. Keep us safe as we continue to seek you on the journey of life, today and always. Amen.

I wish you a fruitful walk filled with joy and wonder, discovery and delight.

Lisa

Chapter 7 Striving

So what do people get for all their hard work?
Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief;
even at night they cannot rest.
Ecclesiastes 2:22-23 (NLT)

Will we ever have enough? Will we ever be enough? This is a real dilemma for many of us. Something is missing in our lives. Maybe it’s recognition. Maybe it’s money. Maybe it’s acceptance. Whatever it is, we know it’s missing, so we spend our lives trying to get it.

There are lots of ways to play the “good enough” game. Most of them involve striving to do better, be better, or have more. If we could just make it over the high jump, our lives would be great—except someone keeps raising the bar, so we never quite arrive.

My Story

In my soul I knew that being successful was the key to getting what I wanted out of life. Everything would magically be okay if I just did well enough. Then I would get the “cosmic phone call” from family, friends, and colleagues, confirming I had passed the test. My dreams of deep and lasting relationships would be fulfilled and I would be accepted.

Eagerly I jumped onto the treadmill of accomplishment. As the years passed, I expanded into bigger and better performance arenas, graduating at the top of my college class, becoming a CPA, and owning a flourishing accounting practice. I tried to be a great mom while doing stints as a professional musician, college professor, community leader, and radio talk show host.

But the cosmic phone call never came. No matter how hard I tried, acceptance was always a little beyond my reach. I felt rejected, insignificant, and empty. In the end, the magic treadmill got me nowhere.

* * * * *

Striving is the American pastime. All we need is the next promotion, a little more money, a beautiful spouse, and perfect children. Then our lives will be wonderful. Or will they? No matter how far we reach, real contentment seems just beyond our grasp.

Even during our years of striving, God keeps knocking at the door. Sadly, his requests often go unanswered. We want to make it on our own. We want to be good enough. So the one who loves us unconditionally for all eternity is left standing in the cold, a frozen doorknob in his hand.

Your Story

What have you striven for? Was it wealth, success, love, or something else?

What pain did you hope to heal in this way?

Where was Jesus in your “good enough” game?

What truth has God revealed to you about striving?

Reflections

Even a lifetime of striving, with all its glitter and accomplishments, leaves us empty-handed in the end. Sit for a moment and reflect on this passage from Scripture:

Give careful thought to your ways.
You have planted much, but have harvested little.
You eat, but never have enough.
You drink, but never have your fill.
You put on clothes, but are not warm.
You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.
Haggai 1:5-6 (NIV)

What would it take to give up striving and be content with God?

What other thoughts do you have about striving?

Give It to God

Forgive me. I’m so busy trying to be good enough that I don’t see you in my life. The messages of love you gently whisper in my ear are drowned out. Help me to rest in your arms and know you have loved me from the beginning of time. In your eyes, I’ve always been accepted and enough.

Your Special Prayer