WHEN WILL WE LEARN?
WRATH DOES NOT HEAL WRATH!
BIGGER GUNS ONLY MAKE BIGGER HOLES!
PRAY, LISTEN, FOLLOW!
WHEN WILL WE LEARN?
WRATH DOES NOT HEAL WRATH!
BIGGER GUNS ONLY MAKE BIGGER HOLES!
PRAY, LISTEN, FOLLOW!
I just heard it said that Stephen Foster who wrote the song “Oh, Susanna” was paid all of $100.00 for his work. The song is part of our history . . . who doesn’t know the song and like it or not successfully hum it . . . maybe right now as you read this? Gosh, it seemed pitiful to have a man who wrote something generations know by heart to have earned so little. My instant reaction was that he should surely have been more successful.
Then, I reconsidered. Know what? This time the song and its author gave me hope, joy, and encouragement. We bloggers do not make money directly from our blogs, most of us, but if success is doing what the Lord calls us to do, our work through Him is successful. Being His servant and saying yes comes with a price, but not $100.00. The price was Jesus blood shed for us. Riches of the sort that matter cannot pay my mortgage or inflate my bank account. They can draw others to Christ if I truly listen and obey. How do you define success?
Gosh, don’t we get mad at ourselves when we fail? I sure do. Makes me feel just dreadful. Sometimes I want to just run off and hide. My poor choice seems to follow me. I just can’t let go of it. But when we ask, we are forgiven. We can let it haunt us and be miserable, but if God has forgiven us and we keep letting our sin plague us, we’re not accepting His forgiveness. Let’s not do that!
I was just looking around on another blog world I also belong to. I must say, that place is VERY densely populated and yes my blog there gets a lot of hits, but no relationships . . . rarely a comment. It’s good for the ego, if numbers are all that matters, but it does nothing for the soul.
I used to focus on numbers and post there a lot but we are called to be in relationship as well as lead those in darkness into the light. I grew weary of just numbers and nothing more. I found it hard, even though my researching skills are really good, to find any kindred spirits there. So, once in a while I pop over and post something, but not much more. Of course, being a constant blogger is how the game is played, but I am not a game player. It’s my heart not my head that needs to be in charge. My head can get me in trouble, but my heart is where Jesus lives . . . so today after spending time in this amazing WP community, I visited the other one. It’s been a while since I did anything but pop over and do a quick post. Guess what I found?
The topics which dominate – the “hot” ones which we are “supposed” to write to “get notice” as writers? Nothing but anger and negativity. Sorry guys. I can’t live my life that way. I do get occasionally trapped in it but I keep being set free, thank you Jesus. I was thinking . . . I do want to set those in darkness free, or more appropriately stated, I want to be used by Jesus so that He can do that. I do not believe this means I have to be all about negativity and anger though. If it does, I shall forever be a failure . . . I won’t every have a shiny new car, a big fancy house, money in the bank . . . I won’t be in the spotlight, nor the front page of glamorous news journals . . . I will be a failure.
I won’t be alone though. I know another failure. I know Him well. He always had dirty feet . . . He walked everywhere. His only friends, true friends, were failures too . . . smelly fishermen, tax collectors, murderer, women who . . . lepers . . . what a life. He didn’t get away with it, though. He was hauled into court and hung for His efforts.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
When you read the book of Genesis and you see the twelve simple words in the quote above, do you realize that we – you and I – are part of “all that he had made” in the above quote? Our gifts, talents, abilities, our very hearts and souls are uniquely our own and He made us in the way we truly are. I’m not referring to the “self” we mold ourselves into based on society’s expectations or the pressure from friends, family, teachers, coworkers, and the like. I’m referring to our true selves. Yet, and this is a HUGE YET, we deny our true nature and step away from our true selves and our God-given authenticity and adapt ourselves to the whims and desires of virtual strangers rather than seeking His direction and following His path for our lives. Having done this so habitually, having followed the “sensible” approach to life for so long, we or I should say I can reach a point where we are no longer cognitively aware of the desire of our hearts – our true purpose – because we’ve packed it away so deeply beneath a surface covered with layers and layers of false expectations and self-doubt. Is it really self-doubt?
I say this because I’ve personally been on an incredible journey with the Lord for a while now and I feel I’m near the end of this particular leg of the journey and yet I’m still questioning “what do you really want me to do, Lord?” We have many journeys in our earthly life. It often feels like “why am I always battling?” but I don’t think that’s really “it.” We are presented with challenges and as we live and grow, we meet some of them and are, in the words of public school, “promoted” to the next level. So, about those false expectations and self-doubt . . . the Bible is full of advice and admonishment about following our hearts. I can personally witness to this since the Lord has CONSTANTLY directed me to follow mine. As I have done so, I’ve let go of a lot of sadness and a lot of stress and in the process riled up a lot of people who wondered where the sensible Martha went off to. The sensible Martha who met their expectations seemed to have disappeared. Well, I readily admit, the life I’m living doesn’t fit the expectations of “this world” and thus when I find myself feeling excited, joy filled, and blessed by what I’ve come to know the Lord is directing me toward, the self-doubt comes in. A small voice inside whispers to me that “this can’t be right – you’re not listening” and so I doubt myself. I wonder, just now, is it really myself I’m doubting? Can it be that my trust in Him to lead me is weaker than it should be? Am I doubting myself or Him? The burning desire of my heart – a heart He knows better than I do – was planted there by Him. When I listen to His voice, it is always asking me “what is the desire of your heart” and that voice, His, always urges me to follow my heart. The “self doubts” quickly return as I start to more fully yield to His voice.
My self doubts used to whisper, but I find that the more I yield in the direction the Lord leads, the louder they speak to me – those voices of this world, those doubts. This brings me back to the words of Genesis. You see, the voices of this world always urge me to give up. They remind me of all the skills others have, and all the skills I do not. They are filled with all I “can’t” do, and “don’t” have, and all that “won’t” work, and paint a picture of a failure . . . if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that those voices have spoken to you as well. So what is the answer? I know that nothing gets me “fired up” the way the Lord’s purpose for my life does. I know that even when I, in my weakness, question His direction, when I take the shaky steps where He leads, His grace comes quickly and I am amazed by it! I am not amazing. I don’t have any hope of being amazing. He is amazing. He lives in me. He is my hope. When I cast aside the ill-fitting mold the world and I myself have chosen and surrender instead to the desire of my heart – my authentic and real purpose as a child of the King of Kings, I don’t have to have all the answers, I simply need to know where to look for them – into His eyes. So, again I quote those twelve simple words from the book of Genesis in the Old Testament which said “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” He wasn’t just talking about trees, birds, and stars of night! He also meant you and me!
We live in a society that is “focused” and which demands we multitask. We never “let our guard down.” We look back on what we could have done better. We plan ahead for what we want to achieve in our life. Yet, John 10:10 tells us “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Has all this multitasking, and all this “remaining in focus” really accomplished anything for us? Are we, in not “letting our guard down” preventing ourselves from receiving the flow of grace the Lord promises us? Do we “have life and have it abundantly” or are we so egocentric that we have only achieved a storehouse of that which a thief can “steal and kill and destroy” and all the while lost our true focus – life with Christ?
I was reminded recently that there are those who have but a thimble full of the “riches” we have in America. The picture was disturbing, at first. I don’t feel rich. Who are “they” who have so little that I’m accused of possessing “riches?” Yet this illusive “they” are described as full of joy. How can this be? Does this concept even make any sense? “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
I have trouble sleeping. I lay in my bed and think of all I “need to accomplish” and feel negative emotion come over me, reminding me that I’ve failed. I look back and wonder if I could have worked harder and somehow done things differently. I look ahead and wonder how I am to ever get to where I want to be. When the sun once again rises and I’ve not rested, I strive to focus on that goal ahead of me and charge on. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
My driving instructor back before I had my license to operate a car always reminded me that ‘where you look is where you’ll head.” Multitasking – doing many things at once. “Focused.” Can we ever really effectively focus on many things at once and is there hope of doing any one of those things well? Where is our focus? Where should it be? When I charge ahead toward a goal I set for myself – and seek the things I am certain I need – I often do achieve them. I find, though, that they disappoint me. Where is my focus? Where should it be? “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
The son of a peasant girl and stepson of a carpenter set out to change the world. He drove no fancy car. His hair wasn’t stylishly coiffed, nor even always washed. His feet were dusty much of the time. He chose to spend his time with 12 of society’s misfits. Those misfits didn’t multitask. They followed this man. They didn’t know where they were being led. They focused on him. Life was tiring and was hugely challenging. They didn’t know where they would sleep come nightfall. They didn’t always know if there would be food to eat. He died young leaving them to carry on the business, a business they hardly understood. A business which surely any sensible person would realize wad doomed to fail. It didn’t. How can this be? “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
He left them to carry on, but empowered them. He is God with us. He is still with us. He is with us now, in the present. As long as our focus is on our own agenda, it cannot be on Him. As long as we persist in looking back at what might have been done differently and look far ahead into what we, in our limited wisdom, believe we need, we take our focus off the present and we shut Him out. There is no need to carry the weight of many tasks on our shoulders, nor to be kept awake at night by a job unfinished. A friend reminded me recently that all I have to do is to wake up and ask Jesus “what do you want me to do for you today?” He will enable me to do it. That’s all that really matters. I was looking at a friend recently who seemed distracted and tense. He said “I’m just focused.” It was probably like looking in a mirror, as his mind was on many things that he had to get done. It’s oddly difficult to let go of our plan and focus on the Lord and trust in Him yet that is really all that we need to do. He is our all in all. It shouldn’t be as difficult as we make it. As we learn to trust in Him completely, however, we truly do discover that “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Amen.
Wow, today has been a day of disappointment and weak faith, but God led me to this post and as soon as I read it, I knew why. Like the author, I did well in a life that wasn’t for me. The Lord has another plan for my life and my failure to continue on the path I used to follow has led me to redefine success just as this writer has done. Read this for it’s about something a lot deeper than graphic art, architecture, or writing a series of popular fiction.
via Inside My Head