Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Living and Learning

You know life is interesting. 
This moment that you are alive you are at the highest capacity of knowledge since the day you emerged into this world.  It is only after you have lived another couple hours.. or days.. or years that you can look back with greater understanding on this moment.  On this decision you are making.. on this path you are walking.. on this judgment or choice you are making. 
And these days…. The looking back has caused me to walk a little humbler.. to admit a bit quicker that, you know what…. I DON’T have this thing figured out!
I am sure that any of you who have walked with the Lord long can relate… I think we all at one point or another have been at that point of “having things figured out.”  WE know what is best for our life…. and WE also know what is best for others lives.  We look around and pat ourselves on the back for having life figured out.  We nod in agreement with the voice that says, “you’ve got this.” Only later to realize that the speaker did not have our best interest in mind.. and in fact was rubbing his hands together as he dreamed of our destruction.. holding a faux gold crown that sparkled with plastic diamonds eager to place it on our brow as if “we got this.”
It was not long ago that I stood in that place.  I stood at the top of my mountain and looked around pleased with where I was at.. and eager to “help” those who still needed to arrive, and together join me in my perfect service and understanding of who God was and how He worked. Even though I may have not arrived at the destination I deemed myself worthy and capable of arriving at I was pleased to be well on my way.  Through bible reading, and biography reading I had a journey mapped out that I was sure would please the Lord.  I “knew” how things should be done.. I knew what He wanted. 
And so I stepped out onto the path I had “helped” God map.  Always quick to declare that this was what God was leading me to do.  But was He?  And started doing things the way I had heard and seen other “worthy” saints do them.. sure that God would want me to do it THIS way.. and that He was pleased.  But did He? And was He? 
With every day He allows me to see the sun rise from my grated window I realize the more that I don’t really have a clue… and back then I CERTAINLY didn’t have a clue.  I thought I knew what was best… and I thought He was leading me… but maybe it was just God letting me choose. ..And then carrying me through the mess I made and lovingly teaching me through it all.  Showing me who I am.. and showing me that HE IS. 
He has been absolutely faithful for every step.  He has always been there.. when I turned to Him I always found Him… but He let me go ahead and walk… and I walked, and planned, and did, at first.. with some measure of “success”.. until I moved to a place where my ability to control was more limited.. and the circumstances and events were different from what I had ever faced before.  And slowly(extremely so) I began to see that holly doesn’t actually have the answers. And holly doesn’t actually know what’s best.  And holly cant fix that one.  And holly doesn’t have the answer for that one.  And holly doesn’t have the ability to love that one.  And I began to see that it is JESUS.  That HE knows.  HE can.  HE does.  HE IS. 
This stuff can be hard to admit at first.. so you just keep it between The Trinity, your journal, and yourself.  Amazed by what you are learning.. and loving this new taste of freedom.  Freedom from striving, and doing, and producing from a failing source.  Then you admit it to that faithful friend who has put up with you for years… apologizing from the manifestation of flesh she has had to live with.  And then you receive emails and interact with people who praise you and talk about all the good you are doing.. and how you inspire them.. and what a sacrifice… and you cant keep it back anymore.  Because you know that many of them probably know Christ at a deeper level.. and probably they are following Him in closer obedience than you ever have. 
You realize that this Christian walk is a lot more personal than you had thought.  That just because it worked for them doesn’t mean it will work for you.  And just because you do it this way doesn’t mean she should.  You see that we are all different and called in different ways.  That He has different ways of working in each individual.  And that it is ALL for His glory.  You find yourself walking through things that two years earlier you had judged someone else for doing.  You remember that book you had read about the missionary who never took a sabbatical.. and how you had firmly agreed with her.. and looked down your nose at those who did.  God ever so gently reminds you of this as you sit under a tree in the park hiding from the noise and need and knocks on the door you would be having if you were currently at home.  You remember those times in the past year where you had to get away for a weekend or week because of exhaustion and the people who were always needing you.
 And you admit your lack, and foolishness, and weakness and feel yourself fill with His Grace, and His strength, and His power. 
And as we sat there and talked… we realized.  Maybe a lot of our work was for our own checklist.. or from the checklist we had formed from sermons and books.  And maybe it was as much or more for the approval of others as it was for the approval of God.  And that this thing we call ministry.. that the world and the church applauds and upholds is one of the more dangerous things a person can ever embark on.  If not careful and watchful and prayerful.. it can begin to fulfill.. and satisfy… you can begin reading your bible for the next lesson instead of for your personal growth and correction.   In our minds we can begin to reduce God to someone who helps us.. someone to work for.. instead of this Great Lover and Friend and Savior and King.  And before long you can find yourself clinging to ministry and your works for justification and access into that throne room.
BUT THANKS BE TO GOD WHO DOES NOT LEAVE US IN THAT PLACE. And thanks be to God that He redeems.. and works in us to sanctify and free and renew.  And thanks be to the One who takes us in our mess and still works good and brings change and shines into others lives.  Thanks be to Him who works ALL things for our good and His glory. 

I guess I could call this ‘confessions of a teen/young twenties missionary.’  Confessions of someone who thought she knew but now is sure that she doesn’t.  And thought she was strong but now can only boast in her weakness.  Confessions of someone who isn’t.. and has not.. but serves and is indwelled by The One who has and who IS!!
Hallelujah!! What an AWESOME God we serve!!!!

So dear person reading this…. Read your bible.. and pray… and walk through each day with your Lord.  Revel in His presence.  Sit on the couch and talk to Jesus sitting in that chair next to you.  While you do laundry.. talk to Him. When you are alone in the car.. switch of the radio and TALK TO GOD.  Live each day with Him.. Make Him your dearest friend.  Your closest confidant. 
Abide in Christ… and then when He is dwelling in you and you are satisfied and fulfilled and overflowing with Him… you will find that all the things of this earth and all those people talking and those checklists will grow strangely dim.. in the light of His glory and grace.  And people will be changed.. and ministry will happen in third world countries and offices and grocery stores and on street corners as Jesus does what ONLY He can do through vessels surrendered and given and madly in LOVE with HIM.

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful. One of the best things I've read in awhile. We never stop learning and growing, and the more we learn and grow, the humbler and smaller we become. It's one of those amazing things about God's economy...He must increase, but I must decrease. Thank you for sharing these eternal truths.