All throughout college, I was fearful of the God I thought I knew. I lived out of a place of doing the right thing so that God would give me all wanted (aka to go on a date, have a boyfriend, get married). I thought if I was good enough, prayed enough, tried hard enough and chose Him (most of the time) over other things, He might give me what I was asking for. That was pretty much my entire college career. Even while leading Young Life--I just had a twisted view of what the goodness of the Lord actually was. I felt like I needed to earn it, even prove to God that I was worth it. When all along He was calling me worthy but I was too busy to sit and listen and actually believe Him.

I did things for the wrong reasons through this season of my life. I wasn't doing anything wrong at all, but my intentions were all wrong. My heart wasn't pure in my actions and I couldn't let go of my striving nature. I was striving for things I thought I needed, a boyfriend, lots of friends, popularity--all the things I thought I deserved because I was following the Lord.

My entire mindset changed through my first year of interning at Wesley. I learned about sonship for the first time and how to identify completely in what the Lord thought about me. With that brought trust and peace and understanding. I learned that unless my actions were pure I wasn't honoring the Lord with what I was doing. And through that entire process, I learned that He wasn't giving and taking His goodness from me. I just needed to readjust what I was focused on. I had two choices--either look and obsess the things the Lord wasn't giving me, or gaze at all the things that He already had. Once I had full trust in Him, recognizing the great things in my past He had done and given me, I was able to shift into a place of gratitude which altered the purity of my heart and changed my intentions in all my actions. I did things because I wanted to glorify God, not so that I would be noticed and somehow advance the Kingdom on my own terms.

I was finally able to believe in God's goodness. I finally believed it was for me and that I didn't have to earn it. God has great things for me without me having to do anything--He's just that good!!!!! (can I get an amen!?!?)

You don't have to earn God's favor. You have it. Own your identity that you are His son or daughter. You are righteous and beloved and treasure. He has done good things for you and will continue that forever because that is His character and He can't change who He is. Trust in His goodness and learn to look for it all around you.

- Alex Raines