Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finding Me

{The following was a self-imposed free-writing exercise I did in my personal in July 2011 to spark creativity and find my voice on paper.}

There are a lot of things that I am not.

I am not a Bible scholar, teacher, or preacher.
I am not a college graduate, historian, or psychologist.

I’m just me.

I’m not going to pretend to be somebody I am not. I tried the life of the pretender, but it just didn’t pan out. I started to be real, vulnerable, and authentic. I was surprised at what happened inside me—and in others. I was being healed and others saw it was a good thing. Not just for me, but for them too.

I’m still working out the kinks. I sometimes still try to be someone I’m not. But in the end I come back to who God has made me to be—me.

I’d rather be a real me than a fake you.

Being real doesn’t mean I air my laundry and become an open book for all to see. It just means I don’t fake it—most of the time. Sometimes I don’t feel safe. And when I don’t feel safe, I protect my heart. It’s called wisdom.

It’s messy, confusing, wonderful, chaotic, and an exhilarating journey that if I’m in a good mood I will refer to as an adventure—most days it is a journey. My life is like any other a journey of trust. It’s a journey filled with doubt one moment and great faith in the next. I won’t preach at you or strive to teach you anything. I figure Holy Spirit can handle that one.

I will simply invite you alongside my journey of experiencing God. I won’t admit I have it all figured out—because I don’t. My words are simple. I won’t try to impress you. It’s just not worth it. This isn’t about me—this is about you…drawing near to God.

Who are you?

Here or somewhere…be real
Share your journey.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Worth the Mess

Things were about to get messy.

Her heart beat wildly within her chest as she carefully clasped the ceramic jar between her sweaty palms. Motivated by love she cautiously and confidently walked through the crowd to reach her one passion—the one called Jesus.

She felt judging eyes following her, but she focused only on her Lord. Upon reaching Him she dropped to her knees. She knew it was a risk, but there was no going back. Her soul longed to be close to her Messiah—her Savior. Without further hesitation she cracked open the jar. Everyone froze as the sound echoed across the room. The scent of perfume and the oily substance escaped through the broken opening—making a mess.

Spectators watched as the woman poured perfume over Jesus’ head. Murmurs were heard throughout the room as she used her hair to anoint His feet. She knew it was messy—but she did it anyway. He was worth it.

The Bible tells this story about Mary, a woman radically changed by the love of Jesus. Her expression, though criticized, was out of response to the love she received. She chose to take a risk. She chose to be vulnerable. She chose to trust—even if it got messy.

Her response makes sense when you think about Jesus. After all, His love toward us was displayed in messy ways too. He stepped out of heaven and became a baby only to be given a dirty animal trough as a crib, who then grew up to be a man to endure the bloody piercings of the crucifixion. He was willing to get messy—we were worth it.

Like Mary, the extravagant love of God has radically changed my life. My response to Him has become a journey of risk, vulnerability, and deeper trust. Does it get messy? Sure it does—but He’s worth it.

Are you willing to get messy?

Here or somewhere…be real.
Share your journey.

Relevant Worship

Deep in Love with You by Michael W. Smith

Burning Ones by Chris Quilala (Jesus Culture)

Dance with Me by Paul Wilbur

Reflective Scripture

Matthew 26:6-13
Mark 14:3-9
Luke 7:36-50

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sink or Swim?

Descending the stairs the coolness danced over her bare toes. Each step was slow and thoughtful. Expectancy beat intensely within her heart. Hope beckoned as she emerged into deeper waters. Still standing she paused only to reflect on the journey before her. Exhaling fear, she drew in a breath of courage and immersed herself in mysterious waters.

Grace came with each stroke. Joy strengthened her kicks. Peace flooded her soul. Her air was His Love.

Moving swiftly she felt destiny within her movements. Invigorated. Empowered. Encouraged. She moved forward easily and with the tenacity for dreams realized. The water was her sky, her arms became wings—she was flying.

Unexpectedly, dirt clogs were thrown in her watery path. Her progress slowed as her vision muddied with disillusionment, disappointment, and discouragement. Her arms grew weary. Her feet dragged behind her. The water choked her. Gasping for air she longed to be free of this suffocating prison. In too deep, her feet could not find safety on the ground. Would she fight to move forward or give up and sink to the bottom? She fought for as long as she could. Her strokes were sloppy. Her feet kicked half-heartedly. She was moving, but not forward. She was going down…

Her heart wept for help.

Through dim waters she caught sight of her Daddy. Hope engulfed her. His presence brought a wave of clarity. His love became her oxygen. Her core strengthened as His long strokes and strong kicks stayed in sync with hers. Navigating the waters effortlessly He guided her out of the murkiness into a clear flow of His Truth.

The pathway of destiny is not void of cheap shots from the adversary. The enemy stands at the pool side throwing dirt clogs of lies and doubts to simply divert us from our purpose—but God’s Truth reigns. Be assured you are His Beloved and you have destiny.

Are you sinking from the enemies lies or are you in sync with the Father’s Truth?

Here or somewhere…be real.
Share you journey.

Relevant Worship

Deep Cries Out by William Matthews (Bethel Church)

I Look to You by Jenn Johnson (Bethel Church)

Your Love Never Fails by Chris Quilala (Jesus Culture)

Reflective Scripture

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Psalm 61 Uncensored

Hear my cry, O God;
God, my eyes are red from tears, my throat sore from sobbing, and my heart aches from heaviness. Are You there? Can’t You hear me crying out to You—I’m not doing so good.

Listen to my prayer.
Are you listening God? Please say something—anything. Show me You are near. I feel so alone.

From the ends of the earth I call to You,
I can’t handle much more. This is it. I’m at my wit’s end. If you don’t show up…

I call as my heart grows faint;
Hopelessness is pending and depression is calling for me. Where are You?

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
I know You’re there. You said You would never leave. Pick me up. Lead me to safe ground. Take me to a place I can stand firm. Lead me to a rock that is higher than the floods. Guide me to You, Jesus—the Rock on which all hope resides—Y o u   a r e   a l l   I ’ v e   g o t …

I choose to believe. I choose to trust. I choose to stand on the Rock.

How about you? What is your uncensored prayer?

Here or somewhere…be real.
Share your journey.

Relevant Worship

God I Look to You by Jenn Johnson (Bethel)

Desert Song by Brooke Fraser (Hillsong)

Waiting Here for You by Christy Nockels (Passion)

Reflective Scripture

 “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior”
2 Samuel 22:2-3

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm Done

“It’s just too much, Lord.”

My heart ached. Tears came. Sobs followed.

It was the movement of Holy Spirit in my heart—alerting me to a time of refinement.

“No Lord. Not again.”

But really I had already said yes. Yes to God. Yes to destiny.

How often I forget destiny costs something. For God’s power to move and flow freely through me I must yield to His refining work. A life pursuing destiny is a life seeking more of Him. The painful reality is there is a process to undergo for there to be less of me.

“I don’t know if I can go another round of this, Lord.”

I wanted a way out—an exit door, somewhere that would allow me to catch my breath. I considered a conversion to the comfortable life of the American Christian. The kind of life where faith never goes deep and only showed up on Sunday mornings. Would anyone even notice? Father God made His heart known through the thundering voice of Mufasa, The Lion King. 

Remember who you are.

“Remember who I am?  Lord, I don’t understand.”

You are Mine.

Confused, I wondered if He heard me right. Didn’t He get it? I couldn’t withstand the heat of the refining fire much longer. For hours I watched my own impurities burn over the coals of purification. It was too much. I wanted out.

Remember who you are.

“Lord, I don’t know what You mean. Are You even listening to me? I’m done. I want out. It’s too much.” Tears streamed down my face in frustration.

Father God’s voice became gentle as Holy Spirit brought revelation.
The heat is not just to burn things off of you Beloved.
The heat is meant to burn something within you.
I am burning My identity in you.
It is what you will need to continue on the journey.
Without it you will be lost and without direction to your destiny.

My heart grew light and heavy at the same time. “Why does it have to hurt, Lord?”

Beloved, I am holy. I am marking you with my holiness.

“How long will it take?”

Dear One, I will release you soon.
Draw near and stay with Me.
I won’t leave you alone in this.

Destiny comes with a cost. It’s a willingness to stay on the journey even when it gets hard and even when it becomes unbearable. It’s a belief that the goodness of God is greater than the circumstances we face.

But with the cost comes a reward. The fullness of God’s love revealed to us, the deepening of His presence in our lives, and His identity sealed over our souls. 

It’s not an easy road, but I am choosing to stay on the journey—

How about you?

Here or somewhere…be real.
Share your journey.

Relevant Worship
Whatever You’re Doing (Something Heavenly) by Santus Real

Waiting Here for You by Christy Nockels (Passion)

You Won’t Relent by Jesus Culture

Reflective Scripture
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:7 NIV