“Ok, so I am going to count to 8 weeks & you go hide. On your mark, get set, go! No peeking!” This is exactly what I feel like has happened to me over the past well 8 weeks-ish, except I am not playing with my toddler, I am playing the game with God. And to be as honest as possible, I was not sure who hid & who has been counting; until recently that is.
I suspect somewhere between the 250 family/schedule/volunteer obligations, so lengthy I care not to re-exhaust myself naming them. As I am sure you know, to continuously repeat this list looks like I am glorifying busy & I frankly hate that as much as being busy. Somewhere between getting up about 35.5 times a night with my daughter & literally existing from one Monday to the next for MONTHS, I think God got packaged up or something. I say something because I still am really not sure what the heck to call it. Shoved aside maybe?
I submerge & no matter how inundated with routine, I take an hr, often times hrs a day in prayer, in the word or in Bible study, so how did this happen I say? If I am doing all of this sacrificially obedient submitting, then God obviously is hiding…. right? Not exactly. See the funny thing about saying you believe scripture, well is that you actually have to. Especially when that scripture causes you to sigh & buckle down & humbly take the blame for stuff you’d rather say isn’t wrong with you or your walk with God.
Lean in….I have a secret….no really, some of you will be UTTERLY FLOORED. Christians, oh it’s good…..God’s word is meant for you to apply to YOURSELVES before trying to remind everyone else of how the word is actually FOR THEM & their list of “big ticket” sins. Yeehaw, ain’t that a knee slappin kick in legalistic religion?!? I say that because A. it’s true B. we are so good at posting & recalling scripture that applies to us which sounds good (ie Psalm 23, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 139, John 3:16) And so good at throwing scripture towards others as that friendly, Jesus filled, kick in the gut reminder to the least of these (ie the entire OT, Proverbs…like the whole book, James 3, I could go on for days) I have a friend who calls them, scripture darts. Absolutely nothing in love to share, just reminders to pit things at someone else. You know what I mean. That moment you cut, pasted, quoted, uploaded something in God’s word with the intention to just hope, that hateful little so & so reads this & KNOWS that God ain’t liking how they hurt me & what they said. Yeah, ummm y’all, it wasn’t written for that k?
The funniest thing is that I rarely find people willing to post scripture that doesn’t seem so flattering & say, yo that is so about ME. Lemme tell you what God made me give up or revisit about myself that almost killed me in the interim, but man was THAT ever worth it.
^^^^This has been my song for almost 3 years. This is currently the verses I am singing over & over because I am smart enough to know my journey is not about correcting & fixing everyone else’s salvation, it’s about correcting & fixing mine. It’s about leaving a legacy to the one I married & those I birthed; that generations to come will be changed & affected because of my existence through them. It’s leaving others with the know, that I was one of the few brave enough to unpack Christians from the tainted little box they’ve placed their own selves inside. It’s taking this little spot of Earth we share & in some way, making it holy. It’s being chastised by OTHER BELIEVERS for being a “liberal Christian” & totally being fine with that <<<—— whatever that liberal Christian thing is anyway, besides dumb. It’s being called uneducated, ignorant & unable to think for myself, by non believers who are so accusatory & closed offed, they never actually asked me with their mouths what I DO believe & my being ok with that. But, you see before any of those things happen or can happen, God has to fully redeem every “stinking” thing about me or you. The big stuff has been settled. It’s those tiny, annoying little hang ups that stand in the way to the true freedoms we are promised. I will tell you this, the sins in your life that have THE most control over you. The sins that oppress & break you down on a daily basis the most. The sins in your life hindering your walk with God & His will for you are the very sins you defend & justify the most. Whether you defend them inside your head or justify them to those that trust you enough to reach out in love, fact is fact & you’ve got yourself a stronghold. Say it because I have lived it.
You see I don’t personally have an opinion on what other people are doing & not doing in their walk or their unwalk with God, because I am so utterly horrified in my own. I know that God isn’t hiding behind the dining chair while I count & I can see his foot sticking out; scripture tells me in Deuteronomy 31:6, “for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” And I know that not just because Moses says so, but because my life says so, so what gives with this feeling of God’s absence lately?
I know exactly what happened. I know when it happened. Almost the very minute it started occurring. I call it the one, two, three punch. One part the enemy, one part the Almighty, one part me. One of the greatest scripture misquotes from the Bible which I bring up constantly, is the “God doesn’t PUT MORE ON US than we can bare or God doesn’t GIVE US MORE than we can handle”. It frankly isn’t true & scripture does not say it, ever. God doesn’t put anything on us first of all & the scripture actually says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it”. (emphasis in bold font mine, to prove the point) You can also refer to James 1 as well. The temptation will not be more than you can handle. It’s up to YOU to handle it & you have 2 choices, His will or yours.
Because of scripture, I know what happened these past 8 weeks-ish & I also know what needs to be done. I got busy, I got tired, I got sidetracked, I got hurt by people, I got lonely, I got lazy & I took my eyes off Jesus. None of that was anyone’s doing except my own & the presentation of so many of those things were enemy related. It didn’t take a day to lose my focus & it hasn’t taken a day to get my focus back. I haven’t lost Jesus, I lost how I was supposed to represent Him & solely press into Him.
So when I say I am not concerned with the crap other people tie themselves up in, I truly mean it. I am affected when I know people are unbelievers, but if someone wants to believe, they will, if not they won’t. Even Paul calls us to a level of encouraging & holding our Christian brothers & sisters to the standards in God’s word & reminds us many times over, as Jesus did, it’s our call to serve, our call to love & to hold those in Christ accountable, not preach hate to the unknowing & those who do not “get it” or argue verse & throw scripture at the unsaved. Refresher –> 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” (again bold emphasis mine)
Of all scripture, there is none more terrifying to ME, than the following below. Because you see, there are many things, many people, many influences, many sidetracked days, many, many, many’s of everything, but the most dangerous thing we carry through our lives are our own hearts & our minds.(Jer. 17:9; Prov. 4:5) And when you are in Christ, you better not make allowances to twist scripture to conform to you. You better let go of the things you know is wrong for you & submit to having your heart & your mind in line with God’s. If I ever pray anything for myself it’s that. If I ever intercede in prayer it’s that. Jesus speaks clearly & I take very seriously those words that apply to my life. Matthew 7 paints a very clear reminder to me, especially in verses 21-23, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Isn’t that utterly horrific?! What a shame to have always known what stood in the way of your joy, your eternity & you just couldn’t resist justifying “it” long enough to receive the truth. [sidenote: Obviously if you are not in the word, or unsaved, or think I have been brainwashed by a cult, or never knew I was a Christian….you will have NO Earthly clue what I am talking about & that’s truly ok. Proceed to take a deep & regroup]
I do know that when God is getting ready to do something big in & through me & family, we get the most sidetracked. I know that only God’s will grows where mine has been put to rest. I know when He moves, He moves like a mighty fire, leaving me to fan the flame of His plans. Everyday I ask & He reminds me He’s there. In some way, every solitary day, except some days I can’t see Him for me. But, I still have to ask. I have to pull up my cross daily. I have to pray & read His word, daily. He’s been standing there all the while, He never moved. I’ve just covered Him up with things I thought were important in the moment or emotions I had justified. It’s almost like the figure of God became a coat rack to hang my crap on…. that’s not right. That’s not what I have been redeemed from. That’s not why Christ died. That’s not my testimony……
All God makes IS good. Can it be that—-that which seems to oppose the will of God actually is used OF Him to accomplish the will of God? That which seems evil only seems so because of perspective, the way the eyes see the shadows. Above the clouds, light never stops shining. (ann voskamp)