Archives For wilderness

How I Got Here

June 15, 2012 — Leave a comment

Of all the things I have learned, the most important is that I am blessed – beyond reason. Looking back, especially over the last few years, I have been so ungrateful – for my family, my home, my health, my friends – and the list could go on.

Something happened to me along the way, not just one thing, but several somethings. In the midst of my blessedness, I experienced life. Just like happens to you and everyone else, life happened to me.

When I was 16, I made a huge life decision, and I pursued that decision. When other people didn’t understand, even when it seemed I would never get there, I never lost sight of that decision. I knew that God had gifted me and called me into full time vocational ministry, and even with all the youthful missteps and detours I took along the way, I saw a clear path into that calling.

I took a few wrong turns, but eventually ended up right where I set out to be.  And it was nothing like I thought it would be. It really kinda sucked to be honest. I loved and excelled at certain facets of it, others I disliked so much that I didn’t even do them. Which speaks to my immaturity at the time, and ultimately it speaks to why I’m not working in a church right now.

I used my gifts to cover my weaknesses, and while I am very strong in certain areas, I didn’t even try to develop skills in my weak areas, and I never accepted help from others in those areas either. Since then I’ve learned so much -

I never thought that administrative duties were much fun, so I didn’t do anything like that. I spent my time reading, studying, meeting with people, teaching, preaching, but all the work that was required of me that undergirds all that – I just flat out refused to do it. People even asked me all the time what they could do to help – “Nothing” I would say. Now my job is administrative, and believe it or not, I see the importance in it and how vital it is that those things be done with excellence.

Another thing I refused to do is build bridges. About 95% of the people I meet, I find common ground, and it’s easy to build a relationship. If it wasn’t easy, I didn’t do it. Some people are hard to get along with, hard to build a relationship with, and what I’ve found is, often times these people are the most important ones, the ones that will stand with you no matter what. Another important lesson learned, and I learned it outside the church.

I also learned about who my source is. My source cannot be me. I’m not strong enough, not smart enough, not *anything* enough. I am not sufficient. I thought I was though – I was young, bulletproof, nothing could hurt me, nothing could stick. Until it all fell apart, I thought I was doing just fine on my own. I forgot that the one who called me and gifted me would also be the one to sustain me regardless of what came my way. I won’t forget that most important lesson again.

Where I am now – the place I ended up – is the exact place I learned all this – kicking and screaming the whole way. Not two days ago my boss was bragging on me, and she reminded me of who I was when I first started – lacking in so many skills, immature, whiny – and she reminded me of how much grace she showed me those first two years. She said she saw something there and thought I was worth it. I cried then and I’m crying now. Grace.

Grace is the one thing I have in abundance that I deserve the least. The most important blessing there is. I am so blessed! Beyond reason. But God’s love for us doesn’t have anything to do with logic and it certainly isn’t based on what we truly deserve. We’d all be in deep trouble if grace was based on anything but the fact that God is love. God is love!

God is love and God never changes – I say this a lot because I am convinced it is true -nothing you do or don’t do can cause God to love you any less. He IS LOVE. And what he wants for you is to become the person he paid for, the person he bought with blood, the person he dreamed of, the person he redeemed you to be. His goal for you is for you to live like you will when you are in heaven, here on earth.

There’s a lot involved in that. It’s a process. You’ll be there one day, the next you’ll be 1000 miles away. You’ll walk through deserts, you’ll stand on mountain tops, you’ll be lifted high and you’ll be crushed. That’s the life part.

No matter where you are, know this one most important thing: God is love, God loves you, his grace is sufficient regardless. How did I get here? I lived life on my own, it sucked, I learned to trust God. He is everything, and he is all I will ever need.

 

(This is the final part. Read part 1 here, part 2 here.)

Moses is about 80 years old, he’s just led the biggest rebellion in history, God has defended them and provided for them and performed miracles every step of the way, and here we are, a little hungry, a little thirsty.  Now, I know, people die in the desert real quick without water and food, and God devotes two whole chapters in the Bible to how He provides for His people.  Exodus 16 & 17 – I’ll just read 2 verses – 16:3 and 17:3

“The Israelites [whined], ‘If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Instead, you brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger!’”

“But the people thirsted there for water, and grumbled against Moses. They said, ‘Why did you ever bring us out of Egypt to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’”

Oh yeah.  They went there.  And bought property.  If I ever get that whiny, I want someone to punch me in the head.

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No Doubt

May 3, 2012 — Leave a comment

 

Nope this is not about the band, although they are pretty cool. Doubt is that gray area between faith and unbelief.  I have had some serious doubts in my life over a variety of things and when those old feeling start creeping back in, I take some time to deal with it. I know what God wants from me, and I don’t have time to cater to those feeling – God has a plan for me, and I want to pursue that at all costs, regardless of how I feel.

Have you ever seen in pro sports where a referee asks for help because he didn’t have a good angle on the play?  A lot of times we are like that because we don’t have all the facts about what is going on or because we can’t see the big picture.

The result of this is sometimes doubt.  God recognized that this would happen. I Cor 13:12 says that we see a dim reality, but when Jesus comes, we will see clearly.  We can’t see or know all things, but God can, and we need to learn to trust him.  Our faith in him sometimes has to carry us through our doubts.

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