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God

The Confusion is Part of the Awe

The Confusion is Part of the Awe

Recently, I have felt challenged and convicted by some things I've reread in the Bible. God must be trying to teach me something because I have wrestled with even the foundational concepts of my faith.

Invaded

Invaded

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Have you ever had a day when you felt off and you didn’t know why? I’ve been having these a lot recently, so after a few weeks of trying to figure it out on my own, I finally asked God. He’d been waiting patiently, of course, as He does for me from time to time. (to time to time… I’m not a very good “ask for help”-er.) He said, “Invaded.”

And I said, “Huh?” (Profound, I know. He gets me.)

He said, “You feel invaded.”

“By what exactly?”

“Everyone, including me.”

Ouch.

I never want God to feel like He’s invading me.

I want Him to have free reign to guide me and teach me, and yet here I was feeling interrupted and encroached upon by my very best friend, teacher, Father, and Creator. But I was also feeling the same with everyone else. Further reflection revealed two things:

  1. God was interrupting on purpose
  2. I had become a turtle.

Turtles are solitary creatures until it’s time for the baby making, and then they socialize and figure it out, but generally they prefer to be alone. When they feel violated, threatened, or afraid, they pull all of their vulnerable pieces into their shell and wait for danger to pass.

I was a turtle.

The past six months have been trying, to say the least. You don’t need details to understand, but, in short, my heart had been broken repeatedly. Forgiveness was offered, but the memories and the fresh sting were still very real and present. Trust was broken, relationships were severed, and my stress was skyrocketing. I knew all of these things were weighing on me, but I still felt like there was something else that was off. There was something happening internally that I couldn’t keep ignoring--the invasion.

I began to pull all of my vulnerable pieces inside my shell.

Once I was safely tucked away, the only thing I could do was digest. And even though I felt protected from people, I had also shielded myself from Jesus. I wasn’t letting anyone in. I became over-analytical (another favorite pastime of mine), unhealthy, and discouraged.

In order for a turtle to move, it has to be vulnerable, extend its soft pieces into the soil, stick its head and neck out, and push forward. It’s the same for us. We can’t grow inside our shell. We can’t move forward or backward or around in a circle until we get out of our comfort zone and allow something to happen. It might be bad, and that’s the risk, but it might be extraordinary, and that’s the gift.

“You feel invaded,” He said.

But He didn’t say it in a caring, empathic tone. He was not invited to my pity party, nor was He interested in attending. He was, however, interested in His daughter and why she was allowing herself to rot in a shell when He had given her so many gifts that were now going to waste.

“Are you done yet? Let me in,” is really what He meant. I extended a shaking paw and allowed my Father in, and He began to arm me.

The enemy loves to make us believe that he is in control. He makes us question each other, doubt each other, and hurt each other. He helps us make bad choices and revels when we really muck it up. He loves to see us in pain and in bondage and wrapped up “safely” in our turtle shells. He cultivates fear and then waters it and makes it hover over and suppress us.

But God arms us. His protection is physical, mental, emotional, environmental, and spiritual.

I have love to offer, joy to spread, and inspiration to share, but I can’t do it from inside my dark shell. He reminded me of that.

The invasion of others is inevitable.

Someone will hurt you. Someone will lie to you. Someone will betray you. People don’t always respect healthy boundaries. But God will protect you. God will heal you. God will remind you of truth. Because someone else will love you. Someone will be honest with you. Someone will honor you. They will respect your healthy boundaries, and in doing so, will allow you to feel safe in coming out of your shell.

Are you feeling invaded? Pray this with me today:

“Father God, I desire to have healthy relationships with myself, with people, and with you. I know that my shell is false safety and I want to fearlessly use my gifts for you. I receive your protection today. Your peace is my serenity, and I will allow it to guide my relationships, my decisions, and my thoughts. Invade me with Your presence, God. You are all I need. Thank you for teaching me, Lord, and for transforming my fear into faith. I love you, Jesus. - Amen.”

What's Your Resolution?

What's Your Resolution?

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2015 is in full swing! What do you have planned for this year? That's what I've been thinking about a lot lately. What can I do different? In what areas can I grow? Resolutions have got a bad rap, but is it bad to hope in something better or even greater?

A greater effort to lose more pounds. A greater effort to accomplish more. A greater effort to take your idea and make it a reality. A greater effort to become more grateful. A greater effort to overcome the mistakes of the past.

Do any of these apply to you? Striving is not bad. In fact its commendable. Paul the writer of the Book of Philippians put it this way:

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way... (‭Philippians‬ ‭3‬:‭14-15‬ ESV)

You know what? If you have some things you want to accomplish in 2015, go for it! So what if they say most people never accomplish our New Years Resolutions. Without a resolution to move forward there would be no such thing as accomplishment.

But what about this thing, this prize that Paul is talking about?

Is he talking about financial blessings or that our life will actually go the way WE want it to go? No those are elementary concerns to Paul. The prize Paul is talking about is the "fullness of blessings and rewards in the age to come, most especially being in perfect fellowship with Christ forever."

That is Paul's greatest resolution&emdash;being made perfect in Christ. In fact, Paul is not even talking about anything that can be attained on this earth. He begins the passage with this statement:

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ has made me his own." (‭Philippians‬ ‭3‬:‭12‬ ESV)

Paul recognizes that this Christian life is about constant growth. It is a life of one resolution; to make Jesus, Lord of every part of our lives because He has given us His life.

None of us are perfect—even though some of us try to act as if we are—we are all on a journey. A journey that's going to culminate at the glorious return of Christ, where it says "this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality." (1 Corinthians 15:53) A time "death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (‭Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭4‬ ESV)

I don't know about you but that seems like a worthwhile goal. May that be our ultimate resolution this year and next and every year after that!