Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Infected by Him...
It is a pattern in my life that God seems to push me into places I am most uncomfortable.
Does that happen to you?
I have come to appreciate and give thanks for it but it has taken me years to do that.
I had the blessing of being asked to speak about sharing faith at a ladies night last Friday. It was great fellowship with the sweet women in our church.
Terrifying. Out of my comfort zone. God pushes.
Here are some thoughts from that talk:
I have always loved Jesus, respected Him but was not infected by Him.
I didn't really know that there was more to this love- that I could have a passionate heart about Him. I guess I really did not see Him clearly active and involved in my life.
I think I had him as the cheerleader on the side line of my life, but He was not THE GAME.
My personality traits for years and even into college-
I was painfully shy, awkward, had zero self confidence, I had thoughts that I just was not smart, my brother joked that no boys would like me because I did not look like the kind of girl they would like. (I am sure he would not believe that he ever said those words. He is really a super duper brother now. Just a little lesson to siblings- please say only nice and loving things. Harsh words stick in your sister or brother's minds forever and ever.)
I was not a person to share anything much less, share Jesus.
After marrying and having children- (thankful there was one man that was not looking for just the stereotypical girl) (smile) and consequently meeting some trials that called for a real faith...Jesus showed me how real He is...
I was called to work a particularly hard job when our youngest Wes our was in K and Will our oldest was in second grade. We were going through some difficult events in life. (With our kids it was the realization that we were in the midst of a massive spiritual battle for their minds . We were dealing with two terrified children that WE were letting the world/satan snatch and claim from under our noses.- long story for another time.) but...I realized that I had to have the Word in my days and that there was a HOLE there that nothing was filling. Again- loving Jesus but not truly in fellowship with Him.
I felt Kind of like an egg shell- things looked great from the outside but it didn't take much to crack me and see that there was nothing much inside. When I felt these struggles it drove me to the Word in hope that God was really what He said He was and to see if He was relevant for every day battles.
I started getting up really early about five in the morning to be able to feed on the Word before work.
It was hard. It was forced but I just knew it had to be the answer to facing these hard days and having life to give to my family.
On a particularly bad day I read these verses that I had never thought of or probably even read before.
1 Chronicles 16:11-
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
The phrase "seek His face" showed up twice in my bible reading that morning.
I thought is was weird but did not think much about it.
I was also in a bad mood because I was singing in a wedding that weekend and had to go buy a CD that I could not afford on our beans and cornbread salary in order to learn a song to sing. (no looking things up on the Internet back then.)
It was a cd by Twila Paris - Perennial - I came home disgruntled and stomping around and popped the cd in the player and track one started playing, "Seek His Face". Even a kinda dense girl could figure out that God was tapping me on the shoulder or hitting me over the head with His pursuit. I found myself on the floor in the kitchen crying and giving thanks that God could be active and alive in my life and that I needed Him everyday.
He was pursuing me.
He thinks us worthy of being His children and asks us to Seek His face.
The Seeking of His face has changed my life. Where I had insecurity- I am secure in Him. Where I had shyness- who cares anymore? The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?
It is so basic but so very profound- that dwelling in the word of God - is a game changer. It will infect our hearts and change our lives and give us the passion that God wants us to have. So that we can share authentic, passionate faith. He turns US into the pursuers. He sends us OUT to be pursuers. We need to pray for God to give us a passion to share His story. To give us passion to pursue people who need us. Our practical prayer can be, God please show me who to pursue for You today. Lead me.
I love this scripture:
In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before You (the God of the Universe!)
and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3
I also love how Ann Voskamp puts talks about living life for God: (1000 Gifts author)
The best lives don’t have Bucket Lists as much as they have Empty Bucket lists.
The thing is when I kick the bucket, I don’t want there to be anything left in my bucket. When I kick the bucket, I want the bucket right empty.
I don’t want my life to be how I TOOK experiences — but that I gave exceedingly.
I want it to be that I gave every last drop, that I poured it all out, that I held nothing back. Because the way to really live is not to try to fill your life up — but to spill your life out. Have we fashioned for ourselves a God that is small and tame? What the world desperately needs are more dangerous disciples of an unsafe God. Jesus died to save us , not to make us safe. We don't need the normal American bucket list of exploring. Why not live a bigger- greater life? An empty bucket list of expending our lives for others?
So: #1 We have to fill our buckets up (be in the Word) to be able to share our love of Jesus. We have to realize He is pursuing us and wants to act in our lives.
# 2- We need to lay our requests before God and wait in expectation. Expect Him to work in your life. Anticipate with butterflies in our stomachs what in the world is He going to do today in my life?
#3- Walk with no fear and GIVE THANKS for EVERYTHING. Good and bad and in between.
I woke up the morning before this talk after asking God for words the night before...with the word Legacy on my mind. It made me think of this N. Nordemon song:
What will our legacy be? What will people say of us?
Not for egos sake but for the sake of the Kingdom?
The last part of her song says this:
Not well-traveled, not well-read
Not well-to-do, or well-bred
I just want to hear instead
Well done, good and faithful one
I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy
Learning to share our faith is a growing process.
We just have to make sure we keep growing.
# 4- If you are struggling with how to share Jesus... just speak His name.
Everywhere we go.
Just speak His name.
It is powerful.
Speak His name. Speak life.
Blessings on your day! Amy