Wednesday, April 21, 2010

If I'm honest...

Brutal Honesty. If I'm honest with you I feel numb. And I've been numb for what feels like years. Numb from feeling and emotion. No longer do I cry or hope or long for anything. Nothing brings me joy or excitement, there's just this bizarre pressure on my heart each and everyday... and I'm numb.

Gone are the days for the excitement of the unknown. Gone are the hopes and dreams of something bigger. Gone are the visions of revival. I cry inside but the tears don't manifest on the outside. I plead, but still my heart feels nothing.

Gone... numb...

How am I supposed to hope when all the hopes lead to disappointments? How am I to dream when they're all unreachable facade's? How do I hear the voice of God amongst the voices of the world and satan constantly attacking me at every turn?

Gone... numb... how...

The choices always catch up to us. I've realized something over the past months in this state of haze, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to face it yet. Or maybe it's the idea that life is supposed to be easy, enjoyable, fun, that's got me so overwhelmingly frustrated. Because the fact is, life sucks sometimes. I literally walk around each day, and have been walking around for nearly a year with this haze over me, this blur that I can't see beyond. My life is wasting away before me, and I feel like I'm in slow motion watching it fly by. Here for a moment and then it's gone...

I can't move... frozen, numb, gone. All the hope that once resided has diminished, all the joy, all the emotion of life - is gone. And I pray for anything, something to make me feel again and I get no response. So I pray again... for a glimpse, an encouragement, anything. And again... silence. It's days, it's months, it's years of numbness... a desert of a life... dry, barren, void.

And I've learned something over the past 3 weeks - I have no idea who I am anymore. My life has been a constant battle to please those people in my life. Terrified of disappointing others, I've let people walk all over me for years. I've never defended myself or admitted to someone that they've hurt me... I've just let things slide each and every time. Allowing others to get off the hook for wounds so deep I've barely begun to heal from. My people pleasing self has gone so far that that I don't even know what I value anymore. I don't know what I like, what I want, what I desire. I don't know who I am. Which is the first step of this journey... processing, asking, analyzing what makes me who I am. And living my life the way God intended me to live it...

I just wish I had the eyes of God sometimes... to be able to see the little things at work that I can't seem to see in the everyday mush of life. I know that if I make God's desires my desires that He will give me those desires. I know that if I follow Christ daily, those visions and dreams will re-surface as it says in Jeremiah. I know that He's there... at work... but I don't trust that He's at work "for the good of those who love Him." It seems that my life has been filled with more battles than victories, more pains than joys, and more disappointments than triumphs. And I plead again - "something, God, anything... show up in my life in a mighty way."

But the pressures continue, the pressures to be perfect, to gain fame, fortune, and success. To be the Alpha Female that can handle anything without anyone's help. The pressure/responsibility to care for those who aren't being wise now, but expect me to fix their problems in the future. Pressure to be thin enough, smart enough, pretty enough, financailly successful enough, have enough degrees, enough certificates, enough training... Well I say ENOUGH to all of that! Because I don't want the fame, the fortune, the power, the money... I don't want the stuff that this world has to offer. I want the eternal, the stuff that lasts. I want relationships with others, I want to do ministry, I want to write and lead and speak to generations to come. I want MORE Jesus and LESS world.

And all I can do now is wait. Not the easiest thing to do.. .that's for sure. But wait I must, even when God is silent, and when He continues to be silent.. I wait. For everything from Him comes at His perfect time...

Gone... numb... how...


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Compassion Waits

Compassion... that little word that so many in this world never understand. How could someone still be kind and compassionate towards another who's hurt them in the deepest way? Why do certain people have a never ending capacity to show grace? What does it mean to have compassion for someone?

Well, compassion literally means to have mercy or a tenderheartedness towards someone who seems to have some misfortune. It also means that compassionate people often want to "fix" the problems in the pain stricken life of another. But alas, there's a problem with this... we can't fix other people's problems.

In reading a devotional by Chuck Swindoll this morning I was reminded that often we can't fix the problems of others just because we have compassion on them. No, often we need to show grace and love to the person as they take the time to process and figure out the issues they're facing. What God calls us to do in many situations is to "wait". Wait.... for what?

For God to show up in the lives of those around us. Wait until God tells us to stop. Be patient, kind, gentle to the person who's trying to sort things out. Listen attentively, but don't point the finger. Wait. Even if it means praying the same prayer for the same person for months or years. Wait. Even if it means giving up our desires for His plans. Wait. Even when it means pain and trials for us in the meantime. Wait on the Lord. He will tell you when it's time. He will pave the way for you at the appropriate moment.


We've lost the art of waiting. We've lost the practice of patience. We've lost sight of God's timing in situations. And we're frustrated. Frustrated when God doesn't give us what we so badly want. But what if the reason we don't have it right now is because He's got something to teach us in the meantime? Or what if he just wants to refine our Trust in Him from nothing to something substantial? Having our trust turn into knowing without a shadow of a doubt that God will show up in any and every situation - whether His answer is yes, no, or not yet.

What if we chose today to have compassion enough on others to wait on them and intercede for them as they face their struggles? Instead of forcing our thoughts and opinions down someone's throat, what if we chose to Trust God enough in the circumstance to show up in a powerful way in that persons life? That's why we're called to pray for those who cannot pray for themselves. And sometimes God places someone in our lives to refine our trust, our faith, and our character. So when the going gets rough, and that person is driving you crazy... wait.

Who or what are you waiting for?

And will you wait until God says go?

"I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned! In awe of the one who gave it all. I'll Stand my soul Lord, to you surrendered. All I am is yours!" - That's my prayer today Jesus - may I be completely surrendered and abandoned to your plans, your desires, your everything for my life. And let me trust your timing as I wait patiently for things to be revealed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blessed Pain, Big Risks

Recently, I bought a new Bible that includes the NASB and the Message translations side by side. After years of reading my NIV, I thought it would be best to switch things up and see if anything caught my eye in a different way than before. Well, it worked.

In reading the gospel of Matthew, I've found new revelations and encouragement to the sermons and words of Jesus. In Matthew 5 specifically, where the sermon on the Mount begins, Christ describes how we're blessed in many ways, but not the ways we'd expect. In reading the Message translation I found that:

We're blessed in pain.
We're blessed in weakness
We're blessed when everything I hold dear is lost.
We're blessed in living a right life
We're blessed when we care and are content with life
We're blessed in persecution.

The last line got me thinking, "blessed in persecution, what does that even look like in a world where everything is so generally accepted?". The fact is: often we find ourselves doing whatever it is just to get by. We don't speak up for Christ because we don't want to "muddy the waters". We don't step out in faith because other's may think we're strange. We don't take the risks, pray the prayers, and push ourselves beyond our comfort zones. We've become a society where anything challenging or difficult is just too much for us. But if we're honest with ourselves, don't we meet with God in the most intimate way when we're walking in His plan, His will, and His design for our lives?

Further in Matthew we see the stories of Jesus healing the crippled, giving sight to the blind, and raising people from the dead. But the most dramatic story, for me, is that of the centurion who comes to Jesus saying, "my servant is sick, you don't need to come to my house, just say the word and I know he'll be well." The next line gets me every time I read it.... Jesus was taken aback by the man's faith. Taken aback. Shocked. Amazed. Because one man decided to trust Jesus at His prompting and His word.

How often do we question God rather than go after the desires and promptings He's laid on our hearts? And what kind of faith do we need to have in order to start seeing these miracles today? Jesus left and said that we would be able to do the same miracles and more by the power of the Holy Spirit. So why aren't we seeing more people take the risks, praying for the sick, and interceding for those who cannot speak for themselves? Simply put: it's too easy not to. Because the second we start praying bigger prayers, desiring more, and speaking boldly is the second we begin to see persecution. We've become a society that cannot handle rocking the boat, so we stay stagnant.

But would you rather stand before the Lord when you die and hear, "you could have done more, if you would have just trusted and listened" or "well done good and faithful servant"??

Let's start getting our hearts right with God and asking for the Holy Spirit to guide us in everything that we face. Let's pray the big prayers. Let's love more. Let's stop talking about it and start doing it. Let's take the risks. Let's move beyond our comfort zones. Let's meet Christ and do His Kingdom work on this earth. And let's start today.

To the least of these:

"I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,

I was homeless and you gave me a room,

I was shivering and you gave me clothes,

I was sick and you stopped to visit,

I was in prison and you came to me.'" - Matthew 25

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Risen!

Good Friday. The very day of betrayal and death. The day one sinless man gave his life for this fallen world. The picture perfect sacrifice, laying one's life down for another. Heroic, courageous, this man let himself face the deepest torment, the deepest pain, the deepest humiliation just so that we may live.

And yet, we refuse the gift. We refuse the grace extended and decide that we can do life "on our own". And we're broken. Our hearts are heavy with the choices we've made, the pains we've faced, the betrayal we've encountered. We've become bitter and guarded, so much so that we've become a society of independence at the cost of relationship. We've lost contact with each other, we've lost relationship with ourselves, and we've lost relationship with God. What makes us broken? Is it the pain of abuse, the failed relationship, the dashed hopes? Is it the addiction, the tainted self image, the choices of the past? Is it the hurt of a friend, the idols of worldly stuff, or the lack of control?

Easter. The very day of atonement. The day the sinless man who sacrificed His all becomes the very vessel to forgiveness, grace, and peace. The man scarred and broken, abused and insulted, rose again to life. And he offers the broken a free pass into peace which transcends all understanding. He offers hope to the hopeless, love to the loveless, plans and direction for a life of confusion. And whatever it is we're facing - he's there with the solution, and He whispers, "come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest." Rest from the pain and sorrow, rest from the overwhelming anxiety of the unknown. Rest so that we may live life more clearly... freely.

The hole in our hearts that never seems to be filled can be only filled with Jesus - the Risen One. Let Him in, let his joy and peace surround you. For the joy set before him, of bringing His precious children together, he endured the cross for you and for me. What an incredible gift - freedom from the chains of sin.

He is Risen today and forever....

He is Risen indeed!