Tuesday, May 25, 2010

a good struggle

24 in a matter of weeks…days….I guess you could even say hours. (it would be a large number though).
I told my roommate there was a good chance of a meltdown when I turned 24. She said that wasn’t allowed till 25…so I guess I have a year to wait for that one. In lue of not being allowed an age meltdown I’ve still been processing and ping-ponging the whole “so I’m almost 24..what am I doing with my life!?” phrase that tends to creep up when milestones like New Years and birthdays happen.
Some remind me that I’m still a “baby” and I have plenty of time to figure it out…other people *cough* dad *cough* encourage me that I’m not a baby and I do need to start planning/figuring out where I’m going and what I want to do.
And here in that lies my dilemma.

If you don’t know where you’re going…how do you figure out the best way to get there?

There’s the phrase, “Not all who wander are lost” however, I will be the first to admit that I am wandering….and it’s not because I want to be.
In general where do I want to end up: closer to the Lord and growing spiritually…doing whatever it is He has planned for me….marriage…a family. But all of those (besides spiritual growth) are kind of tricky to plan for. And the main concern right now, as I’ve talked about before, is more so where/what the Lord wants me to be doing. It’s definitely one of those things I feel like I’ve been struggling through the past year and half. Feeling like I’m not doing anything…or wasting time. And, as the Lord loves to do…when I need it most He sheds some light on the subject in some shape or form:

“When you’re waiting, you’re not doing nothing. You’re doing the most important something there is. You’re allowing your soul to grow up. If you can’t be still and wait, you can’t become what God has created you to be.” –Sue Monk Kidd

Through this past year I’ve realized I’m not patient. I want to know the answer and then get to work on whatever it is. I remember as a kid, Harrison and I would ask Dad things and instead of giving us the answer he would let us “sit there and think about it”. Nothing would drive me crazier!! He wanted us to figure some things out for ourselves instead of giving us the easy answer. Amazing how wisdom and extreme annoyance can often pair together.
Continued reading last night and was hit with this:

“What has happened to our ability to dwell in the unknowing’ to live inside a question and coexist with the tensions of uncertainty? Where is our willingness to incubate pain and let it birth something new? What has happened to patient unfolding, to endurance? These things are what form the ground of waiting .And if you look carefully, you’ll see that they’re also the seedbed of creativity and growth- what allows us to do the daring and to break through to newness.” –Sue Monk Kidd

After reading that I was left more encouraged. It’s ok I’m not 100% sure where I’m going. God has me here for a reason…to learn and trust Him through the struggle…it will grow and produce in me the characteristics He is trying to harvest. He will continue to reveal more as we go…but for now, the struggle is good. It’s hard…but it causes a necessary faith and dependence on Him to guide me. If God just revealed to me every detail of his plan, faith/trust in Him would be non-essential. Intimacy develops during those times when you have to press in deeper to follow. So hear we go…

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Forgotten God

Just finished reading “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan. Very good read…have to take it chapter by chapter to make sure you soak all of it up. I probably still need to go back and re-read half of it!
Between finishing the book last night and a “spirit led” encouragement email from a dear friend this morning I just love seeing how God uses so many different areas of your life to get a major point across.
The overall theme of Forgotten God was living a spirit filled life and living, working, being aware of how important the Holy Spirit is in our life…and how necessary for the work He has called us to! The part that really struck me was how important it is to pray and relinquish control to the spirit and let him literally work through you. I will go days on end without even thinking to ask the Lord why he woke me up that morning. Did the Lord want me to go to work , run, spend time with my roommates….sure. However, what other deeper more eternal work was there that I missed because I got caught up in my own life. I so quickly forget that He wakes me up everyday to complete HIS work….to fulfill His will…whether it’s to grow deeper in my relationship with Him, or love on His children or bring glory to Him in countless other ways. I forget. I don’t ask, and I live as if my purpose for my time here is to work 9-5 and live for the weekends. How mundane. How boring! No wonder so many of us are discontent and unsatisfied! We’re not living our life to the fullest and to what He intended for us!

"Pick at random a score of great saints whose lives and testimonies are widely known. Let them be Bible characters or well known Christians of post-Biblical times. You will be struck instantly with the fact that the saints were not alike.... I venture to suggest that the one vital quality which they had in common was spiritual receptivity. Something in them was open to heaven, something which urged them Godward. Without attempting anything like a profound analysis I shall say simply that they had spiritual awareness and that they went on to cultivate it until it became the biggest thing in their lives. They differed from the average person in that when they felt the inward longing they did something about it. They acquired the lifelong habit of spiritual response. " –Tozer

I realize I don’t live my life thinking that I can have the same impact that James, or Paul, or Martin Luther had…but they are no different than you and I except for they responded to the call the Spirit had on their lives! Each of us have a different calling by the spirit….and it will look different in each of our lives….but as for me, I know I very rarely ask for the Spirit to do his work in me. Or invite opportunities to be used! That’s all the Lord is waiting for….people to be willing to be used!
And when you’re used by the Spirit….ridiculous things happen! People that I know that regularly die to themselves and are open to the spirit’s moving have some of the most crazy, God glorifying stories I’ve ever heard.
What would it look like to live a life so moved and directed by the spirit that someone couldn’t look at your life without giving praise to God because they know the things that are happening are only because of His power!

After Peter and John performed miracles, the people watching them , “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” – Acts 4:13.
Their works did not bring them praise...but instead immediately brought recognition to Christ.
Last summer I experimented with this and tried praying for opportunities to be used by the Lord in whatever manner he wished. Not gonna lie I was kind of afraid to pray that (maybe because I knew God would take me up on the offer!). At the time I worked at CFA as a marketing director and the prayer had literally left my lips as I was walking out into the restaurant from the back of the store. As soon as I opened the door I saw the line was packed with 20 people! I hurried to help. After about a minute I started to realize that everyone in line was an adult…and that they had a mental or physical handicap. The special needs home near us had brought them all to CFA for a lunch field trip! Immediately I heard the Lord chuckle and say “you asked for an opportunity…how bout a bus full!” I got super excited and just spent the next hour visiting and loving on them realizing that the Lord had brought them here today to be served and loved on. I cannot express how joyful it was to spend time with them! In that moment I just realized how much more of a blessing it was to know that the Lord had wanted me to serve them. Did the Lord bring the bus because I prayed? No. I believe I was blessed and was able to pour more into them because by praying the Lord made me more aware of how I was serving Him that day. Sadly, I forget so often to do this! But between the book, and the email today it just made me realize how often I live my life short of what He’s called me to…and in that I miss out on so many blessings and opportunities to glorify Him. I’m going to try to live more aware of the spirit’s moving….and not be surprised when a bus shows up!