This is a call to arms.
I'm sounding the trumpet.
It's not as if I haven't said this before, but the urgency that I feel continues to grow.
We must step out. We must let go of our comfort zones and step forward in faith and obedience.
Letting go of fear doesn't just make life worth living, but it's commanded by God. Do a word search in an online Bible for the words "fear," "worry," or "anxious" and you will find over 300 verses telling us not to fear, not to worry, not to be anxious. It's not a passive suggestion, but a direct order from God.
When we allow ourselves to remain trapped in fear, we don't walk out the freedom that Christ died to give us.
When we don't step forward in faith we rob God of the glory He's due. When we don't step forward in faith, even when we're afraid, we don't allow His strength to work in our weakness. See, our actions of obedience aren't only (or really) about us anyway. They're about God and His strength. His glory. His purpose.
I don't know about you, but I never want rob God of His glory.
Being a true believer and follower of Christ requires a deeper level of conviction and obedience than most are willing to give. Christ came to walk with us on earth to be an example of what a life devoted to God and His purposes should look like.
He never took the easy way out. He never got so comfortable that He disobeyed. He never told God "no" because He was afraid or unsure of the outcome. He trusted. And He did.
What's holding you back?
What is it that God's called you to that you're unwilling to do? Acknowledge it before Him right now. Just between the two of you. Be honest. Tell Him you're scared. Tell Him you're angry. Tell Him all the reasons why you don't want to/don't think you can follow through, and then listen. Be still. Be quiet before Him. Wait for Him to respond and give you peace.
And then take the first step.
When we don't obey, we miss the blessing of obeying. We miss the blessing of bringing Him glory and we miss opportunities to be His hands and feet.
The fear of the unknown is no where near the joy that we'll experience when we hear Him and do what He says.
It's time to step out of the shadows.
My whole life I've been told I'm weird.
It's never bothered me, not even once. To me, it was that person's way of saying, "You're unique." And because I'm "unique" it should come as no surprise as a 38-year-old, God and I play a game quite often together. This game doesn't have a name but if it did, it'd be close to Hide and Seek.
Hebrews 6:11 says, "Without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." As his dearly loved daughters, it's our honor to seek him not only in scripture and prayer but in all things.
I love seeking. I believe God has given me an eye for details, which is why when I go for prayer walks he opens my eyes to see details. Seeking details that make me think of him and in my heart, I know it's his way of saying, "This is here for you-enjoy it, I love you." For some prayer walks, seeking details can be a beautiful colored flower, all alone behind a bush so it's barely visible. Any introvert knows how that feels. Or a perfect sunset sky, but not just any sunset sky, a sky filled with clouds that look just like a soaring eagle that reminds me of Isaiah 40:31, "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Or a large weathered leaf that looks like perfect, delicate lace. Weathered by life but still beautiful, a bit like our own lives. To me, these are all God's ways of reminding me he's there with me. All I have to do is seek.
About a year ago I was on a prayer walk with my eyes and heart in seek mode. These words came out of my heart, "God, let my eyes be opened to a treasure that everyone else has passed by." Looking back, this was me asking God to do something special in our time together. I had no idea how much he was going to take that specific prayer request and show off though! I can see him smiling at me as I prayed that child-like prayer.
Fast forward two weeks later and I'm out on an evening walk with my family. My husband, three kids, and our smooth mixed collie, Wiley. It was a beautiful evening and on such nights like this one when we're not in a rush to get back home, we'll swing through a rather old graveyard to extend our walk. This graveyard is small in size and has a lot of older dated graves. Some back to the mid-1800s. There's a small path that runs through it with white gravel. As we walk on the path my family begins to walk faster than me. At this point, everyone is ahead of me. Out of habit, I begin to look down and say a few words to God when suddenly a perfect silver circle catches my eye on the side of the gravel path. The path that everyone has walked on. I bend down and grab the only thing that seemed to demand my attention and I quickly rub it clean. It's a real treasure. A treasure everyone else has passed by. In my hands, I would soon find out, was a is a gorgeous 1-carat diamond ring.
James 4:2 says, "You do not have because you do not ask God." In my own personal walk with Christ, I tend to get reminded of this verse a lot. He desires for us to seek and ask of him. He's our Heavenly Father who loves us beyond what we can even comprehend. If I can encourage anyone out there with my unique story it's this, seek him in all things in whatever season life has you in! He will not let you down!
My prayer for you today is that God would grant you the desire to seek him in all areas of your life. To be diligent in finding time every day to quiet your soul and connect with him. To know him is better than finding the largest diamond on earth. To seek him and finding him is a promise straight out of the mouth of Christ. (Matthew 7:8)
Take heart daughters, you're in strong hands that can hold you, caring eyes that see you, and a fiercely loving heart that longs to have you seek a deeper union.
Sometimes things go smoothly and pieces fit together. Sometimes there are hiccups, but, keeping our hand to the plow, we see progress and movement.
And sometimes God let's us wait.
Those moments that we stand still, fidgety and eager...that great tension as we stand poised on the edge of the unknown...the knowing that what we are about to launch into is so far above us and intricately designed by God Himself...the how and the details can scare us and bog us down, cause us to stumble in our steadfastness. But, OH to know that the Lord is positioning you for something great, He's using you. He's using YOU.
Like a roller coaster that slowly click, click, clicks its ascent...that precious, seemingly never-ending pause at the top as you take in the view and the vastness that surrounds you...and then the plunge.
That breath-taking, all-consuming exhilaration that washes over you and stops time for a beat defies time and easily consumes.
It's during the click, click, clicking that we tend to get antsy. We tend to get frustrated as we see the top, but feel like we're never going to get there. The fear, the anxiety, the anticipation: It's maddening.
But what if instead of being frustrated or angry at the lack of movement, we embraced the time the Lord gives us to catch our breath? What if we simply took in the delicious anticipation and allowed God to work in us as He continues to prepare us for the plunge?
What if we embraced the "calm before the storm" and took in the quiet? What if we used that time to allow the Lord to arrange everything we'll need for the journey?
What if we rested in knowing that we will never again get these moments back--these moments of metaphorically holding our breath before life as we know it changes. Because it will change. We cannot step forward in faith and obedience without changing. God changes us. He tests, prepares, and refines us along the way.
Whether we're waiting because God is still preparing us or so that He can prepare others, waiting is a critical part of the journey.
Something I'm learning is that it's not always about me. Sometimes, when there's a delay, it's because the Lord is answering someone else's prayers. Sometimes it's because He is orchestrating perfectly, as only He can, the chain of events that need to come to pass so that I can springboard over the edge and begin the glorious descent into His Will.
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty." Proverbs 21;5
What if we choose to believe that God has us where He wants us when he wants us there, if we are willing and obedient?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
So, while I'm waiting, standing here on the precipice of my future, looking down at all that lies before me and waiting on Him to propel me into His plans for me, I'll take it all in. I'll be still and watch as He does His thing. I'll drink in the moments of quiet anticipation and reflect on all God has done, all the ways He's been faithful in leading me and praise Him while I'm waiting.
I watched as my three-year-old snatched the car from my six-year-old's hand. Then I saw my six-year-old attempt to grab the car back and a tug-of-war began. There was yelling and crying.
I interrupted to tell the three-year-old to give the car back. The six-year-old waited a beat and then grabbed at it again. I said, "I will handle this for you!" and proceeded to tell the three-year-old to give the car back again.
My six-year-old was having none of it. He didn't even wait to see what his brother would do before grabbing at the car from his brother's hand again.
I so often see God's lessons for me while I'm addressing my kids. Today's lesson? To really let God handle it when He tells me He will.
How many times have I been the angry, wronged child in the situation and I insist on demanding or grabbing back what was taken from me?
How many times have I waited a beat to let God handle it only to jump in and try to wrestle the situation to my liking again?
It's easy to say "Let go and let God handle it," but it's harder to practically apply that. As human beings, we are required to make decisions in life. Even when we allow the Lord to take control of the situation, there are things required of us.
We must pray for wisdom to know what to say, when to say it, and how it should be said.
We must pray for the heart of the others involved, that God would soften their hearts and reveal to them any area they need to address.
We must pray for revelation about any areas that we need to address and any ways our own hearts may be hardened.
And we must pray for humility to put the other person first, even when it feels unfair.
We speak to and about the other person(s) with respect, regardless of how they speak.
What situation are you wrestling from God's Hands today? What is it that you need to let go and let God handle?
Do you feel like you walk to the beat of your own drummer?
For all who feel like you're JUST off from most of those in your circle.
I'm here to say:
1. You're not alone
2. There's nothing wrong with being different, God made us this way
3. Don't change to "fit in" to someone eles's mold --AND--
4. Being different may not mean what you think it means
See, I've often thought that being different from my friends or those I'm closest to meant that I needed fixing. When I would allow myself to be transparent and let down my guard to share my deepest thoughts or ask the burning questions of my soul, I'd often (and still do) get shut down. The reactions varied from confusion and glazed eyes to "pat" answers like "we'll find out one day" or "I don't think it really matters in the grand scheme of things..."
There are a few things that can make me come unhinged in 2 seconds flat:
1. When my electronics malfunction or die
2. Cupboard doors left open
3. Being shut down
(Not necessarily in that order.)
I've run the gamut on how these reactions make me feel. Sometimes I feel dumb for asking or sharing in the first place. Sometimes I get angry for being made to feel insiginficant or "blown off" and sometimes I clam up and promise myself to 1) change or 2)stop sharing with these people.
It was during a three-day obsessive funk recently that I had a realization...
Being different than someone else, or even different from MOST, does not equal being inferior or "behind" them. In fact, sometimes the things I ruminate on and question are very deep. I believe that instead of squashing these thoughts, I need to stop trying so hard to have others entertain them, understand them, or give me insight on them and rather take them directly to the Lord. I believe that others don't "get" what I'm sharing because they aren't on the same page.
That--being on a different page-- used to intimidate me. It often feels like being inferior. And, as I believe God is revealing to me, that simply isn't always the case.
It's funny, but I've begun to recognize that I have people in my life that I talk to about different things. This friend and I talk about writing and ministry. This friend and I talk about spiritual gifts. This friend and I talk about leadership. This friend and I talk about design. This friend and I can share when we're hanging by an emotional thread and take off the mask of calm and composure. This friend and I don't talk about many deep things at all. And on and on...
I'm learning that I need to acknowledge the "safe topics" with my different friends and not give myself a headache by putting myself in the position of being "shut down." The heartache is simply not worth it when I delve into subjects with those who simply don't understand or care to hear what I have to share.
I realized that I often look at others as being spiritually more mature in certain areas in which I question. Sometimes that's the case. And sometimes I think that, because the Lord has me digging deeper and seeking, He's growing me. I'm not simply settling for comfortable and pat when it comes to understanding God, understanding His ways. and understanding who He has made me to be.
Sometimes God has us on fact-finding, soul-seeking missions with our questions and longings, and sometimes He gives us rest to just be.
I also think some of us are more prone to being "SEEK-ers" and others to being "BE-ers."
I would also dare to say that many who shut us "SEEK-ers" down do so because they don't have the answers and are uncomfortable with saying so. They're comfortable with knowing what they know and being who they are, so those that push the boundaries and ask hard questions bump up against their comfort.
We're all on our own journey and I am only responsible for going where the Lord leads me.
Too often I rely on friends to fill in the blanks of my curiosity and wonder. I look to people to answer questions and guide me into deeper understanding when God is the only One who can. No one "gets" me in certain ways because they were never intended to. God has placed questions on my heart that He has literally DIED To answer. And onlyHim.
I spent a lot of time recently feeling very lonely, defeated, and disconnected. I ached with wanting to be "fully known" by someone. But after I cried out before the Lord and laid it all before Him, I see now that no one will ever be able to fill that God-sized hole in my life. No one will ever know and understand every part of me--no one except for the one who wrote the blueprint of who I am.
Do you think differently than most? Do you ask hard questions? Do you want to go deeper and understand more?
Are you confident that there's more to life than just what we see? More than what we experience in the everyday mundane?
Don't stop. Keep digging and asking and fleshing it out.
Sojourn on, sister.
If God has placed those desires on your heart, He will be faithful to answer them.
And remember that not everyone will get that.
And that's okay.
This space is reserved for Founder Mandy's perspectives and viewpoints of Scripture. Man is fallible, but God is not. It's strongly encouraged that you study the Scripture for yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in your understanding.
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