Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Are Ye Content Being Still?

In March 2017 I enjoyed a cruise on the Caribbean with 800 Christians who love Sandi Patty. With morning and evening worship daily for seven days, I disembarked feeling inadequate, and maybe off God's plan for my life.  Was it simply that the first year anniversary of my son's shocking death kept me uber sensitive, weepy and feeling hurt?  I allowed my soul just one day to collapse into silence then rebounded by solo kayaking in the Bahamas.  I questioned my life purpose and thought "Why do I feel such discontent?  Why am I here?" A dear friend gifted me a great book by Natalie Grant entitled "Finding Your Voice". Natalie penned a wonderful insight about the question God posed to Elijah. "What are you doing here, Elijah?" to which he replied "I have been zealous for the Lord God Almighty...I am the only one left, and now they are trying to
kill me too." Okay, nobody that I am aware of is seeking to hurt me, but my pirates of the Caribbean, my thoughts of being unwilling, unable,and undone robbed me of my peace, my calm. "After the earthquake came a fire, and the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper."  (1 Kings 19:9 -12) - Perhaps because my birthday is the 19th of the ninth month, that this word from the King of Kings struck me STILL enough to hear a gentle whisper too. God knew that His faithful, fervent prophet was shaken and weary....and in the midst of a rock shattering storm, an earth splitting quake and a blazing fire, God quietly asks Elijah "What are you doing here?" Imagine what your response to God would be? God knows when our hearts are trembling and He knew that his son Elijah needed to hear His gentle, calming voice. Facing murder and mayhem, Elijah chose to be calm in the storm and trust God. He acted with a wisdom that whispers "walk this way".  Believing that my potential is monumental, and that what I have to speak, or write will bring God glory, sometimes I am overwhelmed by the commission to: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations" Matthew 28:19-20  Behind my poised exterior is a quaking irritation about how much I could be doing. Moses doubted his ability to successfully free the slaves of Egypt.  Esther was afraid to approach her husband, but she did and was used by God in a huge way. Rahab must have found divine courage to defy her people and lower that scarlet rope to the spies. God has uniquely equipped me and He is faithful to give me strength in my weakness.  But what IF I want to live a quiet, calm life? I read and a part of me resonated with a blogpost: What If all I want is a mediocre life?  "What if I never build an orphanage in Africa but send bags of groceries to
people here and there and support a couple of kids through sponsorship. What if I just offer the small gifts I have to the world and let that be enough." Krista O'Reilly-Davi-Digui author of A Life in Progress.  Then I read a book that caught me in the midst of my denial " From Faking it to Finding Grace  " by Connie Cavanaugh. God works in fascinating ways.  My reluctance to pick up the bible, attend church or meet with friends is a certain SIGN that I am in conflict with the gifts I have and what to do with them.  "Peace, be still" is a scripture that came to mind, a pause for me to recover, slowly, "In His timing, In His grace".  Reflecting honestly on my hesitations to "be great" for His glory... I am now moved to thank my Holy Father Jesus, for the storm of emotions that I felt aboard the "Eurodam" and for His word that "this too shall pass".  Realizing that Jesus is in the boat with me during this storm, I am in the very BEST company.  I believe that God will finish what He has begun in me. Following His lead, I pick up a book entitled "Good to Great in God's Eyes" by my first spiritual mentor Pastor Chip Ingram.  Chip a mature man of God wondered "Is it really wrong to want to be great?  Is it self-centered to want your life to really make an impact?  Does ambition indicate a spiritual problem? What does "greatness" in God's 
 kingdom look like?  Is it prideful to want to honor God with lives of great faith and excellent work?  Is it arrogant to imagine achieving greatness in the church?"  In Luke 22 the disciples argued which one of them was the greatest? Jesus did not rebuke them for their longing to be great.  Additionally, Jesus did not condemn them, nor did He warn them against being prideful because of their passionate desire and ambition to be great.  Jesus Himself was not prone to mediocrity.  In a long prayer the night before his crucifixion, he prayed "I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do." John 17:4  That is a bold statement of greatness, and His desires were Godly.  To desire to be great in God's eyes, in His kingdom is not self-centered, but it is a noble thought, a worthy ambition.  Our greatness, as God defines it - is His desire.   When God created us He proclaimed us not just good, but "very good" Genesis 1:31 - So if you are wondering like Elijah "what possible kind of impact you could make for His glory?" Consider living the prayer embedded in the tapestry hanging near my computer  "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit." John 15:8   The go with the flow approach will almost guarantee an auto-pilot spiritual life for me, but the niggling whisper in me that 'there has got to be more' will not be silenced until I accept His call for me to seek to 'bear more fruit'.  In order for God to accomplish a great measure of His highest purposes in my life, I have decided to give myself permission to live out my passion for writing and speaking with intentional impact. Doing more for the kingdom is NOT required for salvation and you cannot earn more love or brownie points with God.  There is no 7 steps to success with God, there is no obligation "to do more" for God.  But if you have a "calling" or a quaking desire, a God given dream, a recurring internal motivation to have an eternal impact for the kingdom of God then "GO FOR IT!" In the course of a week I was went from hurting to healed!  Hallelujah!!!

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