Honestly, today that feels like all I can dig in to, I'm tired, my head hurts and I am feeling deeply hurt by a personal issue. I want to hide in the dark. But, God is calling me to step out once again, to keep going, to expose all that is hidden in the dark to light, To Trust. Above all I desire the safety, peace and joy that comes from obedience to His Will. I have been fooled in the past by thinking that safety and peace and joy would come from the things my will desired... but that's a lie. It is now and always will come from His. Sometimes they meet, our wills.... but not always and I want to always pick His, because while it may not be the painless or easy route, it is better. Always. I'm on a deeply personal journey... my destination is to know God's heart, to die of self, to grow in to a mature Christian woman that walks closely with Jesus in absolutely every part of my life and heart. My destination is not perfection. Perfection does not and can not exist here. In fact, I'm working on striking that word from my vocabulary permanently, unless referring to, of course, God.
I began in January to earnestly seek God out every day, all day. It wasn't a "New Year's resolution",although the timing would certainly appear to suggest otherwise... it was the culmination of a gentle months (years?) long leading in that direction. If it coincided with the New Year, well, that was just God's Perfect Timing :)
I want to be really understood on this...I am not following "rules" I am following hard after God. What does this mean?
Simply, Action. If I'm not living, breathing and ACTING on my faith, I'm stagnant. I'm not growing. To be clear.... Faith without action is dead (James 2:14-26), and that means the adverse is 100% true as well. Action with Faith is Alive. Action for the sake of action, following rules, looking good to others (look at me I'm a great Christian! You can't fool God, you know.... or most Christians, for that matter)...those actions are as dead as no action.
Grateful, heartfelt, faith-filled action... even when it doesn't necessarily feel grateful or heartfelt. Even when it's awkward, sticky or downright messy.
I'm listing these, not to say, Hey, look at all the great stuff I am doing but as a reminder to myself of the joy found in obedience and how far I have come in such a short amount of time, already. God is Awesome.
I'm in my bible everyday. Action.
I am teaching my children (and myself) to hide bible verses in their hearts by focusing on one verse a week-posting the verse on the fridge, talking about it at dinner, asking them how the saw the verse at work that day. Action.
Church on Sunday. Joyful, Faith Affirming, Worship. The absolute highlight of my week. Action.
When I am conflicted, anxious, sad, depressed, I go to my bible. I read where ever I open it. I try to identify the emotion and strive to fall in to my bible instead of falling back on false comforts (eating, buying, mindless social media, games). Action, Hard, Imperfect Action.
I am surrounding myself with Godly woman I aspire to be like. Blogs, uplifting e-mails, facebook feeds, listening to Christian audiobooks while I work and talking to my Christian friends about my journey. Action.
Obedience... even when I really, really, really don't wanna. Action.
I am praying. And then praying some more.... and even more. Without ceasing. Action. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
I asked God in January to fill my heart with a burning desire to know Him, to be close to Him and to grow in Him. He is faithful. Action and Obedience are two words that feel like they have been burned in to my heart.
But there is still fear living in my human flesh.
I'm not listening to the lies Satan wants me to believe... I'm not. Most of the time.
"oh you're going to be one of those Jesus weirdos that nobody likes or understands. People are gonna talk behind your back and you will alienate your family"
"People are going to think you are judging them, your "holier then thou", "bible thumping", "narrow minded" and you're better then them." um, not if your following Jesus's example.
"there is no way you are good enough Christian, look at your past, you might as well just sin now cause your gonna do it anyway"
" your life has been pretty blessed up till now, remember all that good stuff you did, so obviously what you have been doing is good enough."
"This is hard work, you are going to Heaven anyway, why not just coast along on good enough?"
Because God made me to be more. He made me to live in Victory in Him and I love Him SO much that I genuinely desire to be obedient, to do His Will even when it's counter to my own, and to grow in Him. I want to live the life He Planned for me, not the one I plan for me. That burning desire I prayed for is there. I pray that one day my children will pray for and know that desire, as well, because that answer, that YES, is clearly Truth. I'm not listening to lies anymore. My heartfelt prayer is that this desire for God will never waver, never burn out and never desert me. I know that pain is coming and is, in fact, HERE. But growth IS painful and anyone who denies that truth will not grow. I don't like pain, not at all, but in completely non-narcissistic way, I welcome it because I desire the growth that will accompany it.
I want to end this post with an invitation to you... does this post make you fearful? confused? angry? judged? Then I want you to talk to me about it. Please. If it makes you feel encouraged, hopeful or inspired, or you want to encourage me or be encouraged on your own walk with Christ talk to me about that, too. I'm kind of laying it all out there and that's a vulnerable place to be, but I have come to realize I don't need to protect myself nearly as much as I need God.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what
good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. James 2:14-26