Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dreams Fulfilled = Work + Discomfort

I am going to be transparent in this post, not for the purpose of support or because I think I am all that, but for the sake of giving someone hope.  I did something that I did not want to do and tried to avoid doing only to find myself having done it (Romans 7:15-25).  I have a friend whose voice-mail greeting says, "What you think about you bring about."  These words have been fulfilled!

What I did that I had wanted to avoid was getting myself stuck in a comfort zone.  I have been in this place of comfort for five years and am now at a crossroads.  Thanks to having been jolted out of my safe, comfortable, restful, self-centered world for five weeks (I was caring for someone else who is disabled) I am no longer the same.  God keeps bringing me to this place of choosing because I long to be living the call He has placed on my life.  In order for that to happen, I need to get over myself and do the work.  His work requires me to be uncomfortable and puts me in relationships and situations where He is in control and not me.  For those who are results-driven and perfectionists, not being in control is unsettling to frightening to paralyzing.

To be completely immersed in my God-given calling is the longing of my soul, but being immersed means I can't run when I don't feel like being of use.  I want to be recklessly abandoned to Him, but my head says this is not practical.  Even though God continues to equip me for the call, the final step for complete immersion is up to me.  Unfortunately, I like being comfortable.

Yesterday I had a pity party and this morning I continued it during my prayer time before the Lord.  Waiting on Him is hard because I am used to having a plan and seeing it come to fruition.  Waiting on the Lord to help me live from my soul is driving me bonkers.  What do I do while waiting?  Study some more?  Rewrite something.  Redesign something else.  Wait some more.  Doubt myself and His call.  Wait some more.  Aaargh!!!  Waiting proves who is in control.  It's not me.

The lesson I am learning and relearning is dying to self.  If I want to live, if I want to be recklessly abandoned, if I want to serve Him I must let go completely.  I also must do the work, whether I want to or not.  The fun, rewarding work must get done along with the "drudgery" of the day.  Mundane tasks count.

For excellence and fulfillment to happen, discomfort and movement must come.  We have to let go and stretch in order to reach the next step.  To walk or move, one must leave where they are to get to the next place.  For me to minister to other women and young girls, I must come out of my comfort zone and reach out my hands and heart to them.  I must choose to trust, risk feeling uncomfortable and be comfortable not having control.

Being a disciple requires all of me, not just self-selected parts and times.  God forgive me!

"I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do...For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do - that I keep on doing."  (Romans 7:15, 18-19)

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it.'" ( Matthew 16:24-25)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thoughts, Revelations & Decisions on Adversity

In John 16:33 Christ tells us that we will have trouble, but we are to remember and be of good cheer because He has overcome the world.  That passage has been stirring in my head for the past few days because I keep trying to figure out how to be in a comfortable and pleasant state doing what I long to do at all times.  There is supposed to be joy there along with peace, fulfillment and abundance.  Jesus promised joy in Him and Paul always encouraged his readers to rejoice in spite of the hardships he endured for the sake of Christ.  What I have missed in their teaching is the lives they really lived on this earth.  They had joy not just in blessings, but also in hardships.  Really?

From my reflections on joy and the adversity and challenges I encounter on a daily basis, I have discovered that there will always be trouble and I should stop looking for a permanent state of bliss and comfort while here on earth.  Instead, I must get over myself and go live the life He has given me.  We can have comfort, peace and joy in this world, but lasting comfort, peace and joy can only come in Christ.  The joy, peace and comfort He promises is meant for now and in the midst of our adversity, not for some desired permanent state in the future.  My lesson learned:  We are not to be kept from adversity; we are to be kept by God in it.  We can choose to dwell on and succumb to adversity or we can choose to dwell on and surrender to Christ, His character, promises and power.  Our adversity is what it is and we have it for the purpose of His glory, not ours.

Throughout the Bible, God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us and He won't (Joshua 1:5).  Life will always have hardship, but our hope can be kept in the promise of who we are (co-heirs, Romans 8:17), Whose we are (God's children, Romans 8:16), and His promise of eternal life (intimacy with Him, John 17:3).

Be blessed,