It has been an (insert every adjective imaginable here) 6 months since my last post. I think God said "I gave you a word to REST, and I'm serious" - hince I didn't write ANYTHING for these last few months. I got to the point where my spiritual growth was out pacing my ability to write it all. In that time He was adding to me, for my sake. It wasn't for anyone other than me, and it wasn't to be shared. I have a hard time with that statement because aren't I supposed to share good news? Yes, but it was - I think - to add to my testimony. To help me work out my testimony up to this point.
And now? I think that maybe NOW the season has come to share. One of the recent assignments in our Bible study, was to work out a short version of our testimony to share with the group. I sometimes love assignments such as this. It came off the heels of doing just this very thing for a job. As you could guess, it was for an admin position in a church. I found that after 15 or so painstaking complete revisions, I was finally able to turn my thoughts over to complete strangers with absolute assurance that whatever job that God provides, will be for me to fulfill His purpose, not mine. What I put my hands to is no longer about me - it's about what He wants to accomplish through me. And I don't say that from a place of pride. He longs to do that in each of us and it resounds in Jeremiah 29 - "For I know the plans I have for you". Read that chapter in context and you'll see why it came to be one of my life verses, and why I literally clung to every promise in it until I believed them with my whole body, soul and spirit.
This is the short sweet version of about 10 very painful and amazing years.
BAITED BY “MY” DESIRES
Baited by my desires. A simple phrase that describes why I want to apply for this position.
Just over 8 years ago, God heard my cry and faithfully answered a prayer: “Search me O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” What I have experienced since that time was nothing less than God baiting me with love...drawing me in...wooing me...melting my hardened heart, emptying me out, and laying a true and solid foundation.
Part of that foundation was discovering what I thought were “my” desires are in fact desires that God placed in me, and can only be filled by Him and in Him. My experience has been that God whispers a lot in order to help me discover. Why? To draw me into that deeper place where I am still and quiet to learn. My father told me the story about my brother’s first haircut which illustrates this lesson beautifully. When my brother sat in the barbers booster seat and saw a stranger with scissors approaching him he started to flail and scream as if his life depended on it. In a moment of clarity my dad takes his tiny face in his strong hands and starts to whisper. It completely captivates him and he’s forced to focus. Then he realizes that my father is whispering to him...and he stops screaming so that he can hear what my father is saying. When it was time for me to have this same lesson as an adult, my heart was already prepared to receive the truth. My desire is to stare deeply into the eyes of the One who can and will, enable me to make a deep and lasting impact through His power in all things He puts my hand to.
I type the word “opportunity” with a chuckle. The most surprising lesson about discovering His desires for my life? Every opportunity He gives is not “all about me”. Here is a great example. Six months ago I was given the opportunity to sit with a Vice President to brainstorm about my job search and solicit advice from someone who had “been there and done that” in their climb on the ladder to success. What happened in the next hour blew me away. I could not stop asking this woman questions about her life! We talked about everything from her childhood to the church she currently attended and more. Afterwards I sat in my car bewildered. How could I have not taken more advantage of this time? How could I have not somehow looped the conversation back around to the most pressing issue - my need for a job! It turns out that the most pressing issue was not me. In a whisper He told me...”Today was not about you. It was a seed that I wanted you to plant.”.
The most important thing I can do is define what I believe “ministry” to be, test it by the word of God, and walk it out in real and practical ways. To minister to others means that I am called to action. And that action is not done in my own strength and with my own agenda. It’s done in God’s strength and at his leading. The word of God tells me that my mandate is to first love...another word for minister. To have a willing and yielding spirit which enables the goodness of God to shine through me. I do this through the ways that He has been teaching since the age of sixteen. I do what comes natural: serve and encourage.
My testimony wrapped up in four very important words - baited, desires, opportunity and love. God draws me in, shows me the true desires of my heart, and gives me opportunity after opportunity to glorify Him.
With all that I am I believe this next season will be to walk out the truths that He has engrained in me over the last couple of years - my foundations are laid, but my life continues to change. I can embrace that change now in a way that I couldn't 2 years ago. It's an honor to be SO loved by God that He's not willing to leave me the same person from year to year - and sometimes moment to moment. I pray that you embrace daily change from God...you'll be amazed at the depth of His love and faithfulness.