Monday, December 5, 2011

There is More that I require of You ( Part 1)

Psalms 63:8 “My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You…” (AMP)

Deuteronomy 13:3-4 “….God, your God, is testing you to find out if you totally love him with everything you have in you. You are to follow only God, your God, hold him in deep reverence, keep his commandments, listen obediently to what he says, serve him—hold on to him for dear life!” (MSG)

“I DON’T WANT TO!” With pouted lips and arms folded (figuratively speaking) I reverted back to the bratty little girl I once was (and still am at times!) This selfish and rebellious reaction was the attitude I took when the Lord started speaking to me and asking me to move into obedience. God interrupted me in the midst of my being consumed in my problems, worried about my unmet desires and manipulating situations for selfish gain (Guilty!). I was more focused on living a life I so desperately wanted, not really paying attention to what God wanted for me. As I went about my daily mundane tasks: laundry, washing dishes, checking email, preparing for my work day, etc. God began to audibly (admittedly a bit scary) begin to start telling me what he wanted me to do. Over the course of 2 ½ months he began to ask a whole lot from me that I didn’t necessarily understand, had never thought about and flat out didn’t want to do!  We are talking RADICAL OBEDIENCE! Something I never had felt moved to do. I figured I was doing just fine obeying “most” of what the Bible instructed and being “Christlike” as often as possible, surely that was enough, right?! 

One of the things he told me while I was doing laundry was to “start writing devotionals”, Write?? something I NEVER had done and more importantly never had a desire to do (At one point I started to write a memoir and gave up after 3; however here I am on this blog writing devotionals and sharing my life journey :)
STILL God was calling me to do more and so naturally my doubt and insecurities began to set in: “I can’t”, “I’m not qualified”, “I’m not worthy”, “What’s the point?”, “What will my friends think?”, “I’ve made too many mistakes”, “They won’t like me anymore”..Should I go on?? I think you get the point! For all my doubts and questions God’s answer continued to be the same “JUST DO IT” (his voice was getting sterner..ouch!) He was clearly not playing with me so I figured I better quit playing with him..

“Reach out to a friend”

I knew God had given me a gift of encouragement but I didn’t always exercise it. At the time God was calling me to connect, encourage and share more of Christ with a close friend that was hurting; I myself was in a “not so good” place. I was caught up in frustrations at work, fretting about my finances and future, struggling with my weight and tangled up in worry about a relationship that was not working out the way I had hoped. I needed encouragement, how dare God ask me to set aside my feelings to focus on ministering to someone else? I figured I would at least make the attempt to follow what God was calling me to do, so I started small : forwarding an online devotional here and there; a little conversation over dinner; suggestions to “pray about it”, basically run of the mill encouragement. 

I felt I simply could not be bothered with taking her (or anyone else’s) pain full on but I knew God was not pleased with my half hearted answer to his call. Until one night she called me, at the time I was balled on the couch full of tears once again consumed in my “issues” and while I didn’t realize it, I too was sinking into a pit of depression. I answered. She shared. I listened. I shared. Our pain was the same. Three hours of talk time later I now knew it was time to press in. So the journey began: sharing sermon notes; attending church together; supportive emails and phone calls; praying for each other; sharing of testimonies; her finding her own church and both of us seeking God like never before. And in the midst of that I discovered the most unexpected blessing. While I was called to encourage her I began to become encouraged by her! The chains from my bondages were being broken, shame from my sins was released and I began to be lifted out of my own pit that I had tried so hard to hide from others. The truth was that while I appeared to “have it all together”, I didn’t, I knew it and didn’t want many people to know. I was full of pain from a father who has absent, broken relationships, bad decisions and a slew of insecurities. God knew best. So he used this call, this connection, and this journey with my sweet friend to move me from being a regular “church girl” to a bold, fearless, authentic believer, worshipper and seeker of Christ. He had called me to help her so he could help me! WOW!

The journey with my beloved friend still continues. She is in such a great place I get so happy in the Lord (I could run laps!) when I see the joy and light that has returned to her life. The other day we were talking and I mentioned having one of my “bad days”, feeling a certain situation wasn’t turning around the way I desired and perhaps that my last couple of months of obedience and seeking hard after God was somehow in vain.  She said “Not true, if for nothing, I’m not sure how I could have survived these last couple months without you”. HUMBLED. It was with those sweet words God impressed upon my heart “It’s not about you!” We have to allow God to use us in whatever way to encourage, uplift and inspire others for HIS GLORY. That’s my calling. I’m now totally surrendered to his will, his way, his heart and his plan for my life. 
As I was writing this post I listened to a song “YES” by Shekinah Glory. The song comes from the heart of God and the lyrics are very relevant to my story: “There is more that I require of you, will your heart and soul yes? If I tell you what I really need, will your heart and soul say yes?”

God requires more of us. Will you say yes?

There was still MORE he was asking of me and I had to say yes. I will share in my next posts