Tag Archives: andy stanley

The importance of not knowing.

Once again this morning I’m reminded why only seeing a few feet ahead in this journey we call life—is the way God planned it.

As I listened to a sermon from Passion City Church and I hear Louie Giglio speak to, The Word Series, Part 16; Breath on the Page —once again God speaks reasoning and confirmation to me about the importance of stepping out into the unknown.

open door your future

The importance of being uncomfortable where you are sometimes and not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

The bible is oftentimes described as a road map Louie says; a manual for your life. But he also brings to our attention that it is a roadmap to life but not to your life. It’s to be used as a reference in life as a Christian, but it’s not specific for your life. Only when it’s applied and prayed over and you listen to God does the bible become specific to your life.

Just like a car manual that shows how a car works and when services are needed how to find parts and what to fix, but like the bible, our Christian manual, a car manual isn’t specific to your car. Your specific area conditions, your driving, others driving; all those things change the needs of your car and shape the things needing fixing and make your car needs less predictable.

If your manual for your car said, at 10,000 miles you will have an accident and it will cost you 3k out of pocket to fix because the other driver didn’t have insurance —-you would sell that car before that happened right?!

Of course, who wouldn’t. But that’s not what the manual is for, it’s not that specific to your own car —it’s for the type of car you have not your unique situations.

Gods word is similar. It’s meant to give you insight about who you are and how to live life—but it is not a complete roadmap that shows you all the stops and attractions you will stop at.

Psalms 119:105 says,psalms scripture on marinaHis word will — Light your next step. And your next step. And your next. Not your whole life at once. God will be a lamp into your feet and a light into your path. Because, if we saw our whole roadmap we would start driving on our own, and perhaps pick and choose where we want to stop and things we want to avoid. I know I would. “Oh great, painful breakup—No thank you Jesus—I’ll skip that and go this way instead.” And by doing so we lose the opportunity to gain valuable growth and insight learned through that stop in the roadmap that God so carefully knows, that stop that might provide the humility gained in order to be the person we WANT to be, but couldn’t be if we had to chose the difficult path taken to gain the “fruit” we desire.

So if God only lights our next step—-How do I at least see that step?

Listen to God in your life. 

You say, well that’s the problem—He’s not exactly sending angels to speak to me or burning bushes so I get answers.

Guess what?! We are so much luckier than that!! When Christ died he said as noted in John 14:16-18; 26-27 (NIV) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will bec in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

So we don’t have to depend on a sign from God through a prophet or a bush every once in a decade if we are lucky—but we have His spirit in us to help us each and every moment of our lives!!! I used to be so jealous the old testimony folks got more tangible and direct answers—-but then I laughed at how silly that is—and how jealous Moses and Jonah and Micah etc would be to be us —to have the living spirit of The Lord within us–walking with us daily—to guide us—if we listen.

“Ok great that sounds good, but again I can’t hear anything,” you say.

Man, trust me I have been there, and if this is you—you are in a great place because it means that you want more—you desire to hear God—and God desires for you to hear Him and is working in you to draw you closer so that you can hear Him!!

So, let’s work on listening to God together!! Are you up for it??

HOW?

  1. Get to know God. Knowing God to the degree that you can hear God means knowing His word. How to know God? Read His word. God cannot speak anything that is not true to His nature, His written word, so if you know Gods nature through reading the bible –you will know what is from God being spoken into your life. Luke 21:33 says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (NIV). God’s truth is consistent. He is not going to tell you one thing in the Bible and then tell you something different in an impression.
  2. Rest in his word. To me—this is the hardest part. I’m a do-er. It feels lazy and unnatural to rest. To do nothing. It goes against everything I know and with the task list in my head it is a quick way to more stress—is that how you feel too?? Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God,”.
  3. Listen. That’s why it’s so important to take time to actively rest. To hear God we have to know how he speaks, by knowing His word. And to hear Him speak, we have to quiet our minds and listen. Most people just pray, and talk to God but forget prayer is first and foremost a conversation with God—-a conversation by nature is a two-way communication—but so often we speak and then go about our busy day.

Well how do you expect To hear God if you didn’t take time to listen to Him? 

Ahhhhhhhh (did a lightbulb go off? I hope so, because as simple as that concept is, I know it never really struck me till i read it in this book which i highly recommend you read if you struggle with hearing God—this book changed my life!)

Another great read about figuring out your purpose is one of my favorites by Rick Warren,  A Purpose Driven Life–who also has an amazing post on this topic here.

Study His word, take time to pray, and then listen. Rest in silence. And wait for God to speak. Pray your mind is still and doesn’t wander but when it does refocus and direct it back to listening to God.

So I sit in “the wilderness”, and make sure to take time to read my life manual, and sit still in the quiet so that when God speaks, I will hear Him loudly and clearly and not prolong my trip in the desert because I missed my exit.

god is already there

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Into the wilderness I go : Today I am willfully unemployed.

Before you pass this blog over as another disgruntled laid off employee, or perhaps a lazy person who job hops—please reread that title carefully.

willfully<

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What makes this post interesting and different is that— in a society where people are taking jobs they are over qualified for just to have employment—-I just resigned (from a job that people asked me to recommend them for weekly) and instead I chose to be unemployed. Intentionally. Deliberately. On purpose. Without another job.

And I’m not sure if and when I will start looking for another job!

So, you’re probably thinking one of a few common things by now….so let’s clear those up.

or

  • No I’m not a trust fund kid,
  • No, I’m not pregnant or physically unable to work.
  • No, I’m not depressed or mentally ill.
  • And no, I’m not lazy.
  • Nor am I moving in with someone else who will front my bills.

Here’s what I do know is true.

  • I do have some money saved from previous hard work.
  • I do have a mortgage, car payment, and other provisions that will continue to need attention.
  • I am physically and mentally capable of holding a job and have done so successfully and willingly since graduating college.
  • I left my last job of 4 years as a top 10% sales earner.
  • I was happily recruited away to another sales job for the last 5 months.

THEN I QUIT.

Those are the basic details of this timeline.

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Just kidding

So I know you must be wondering what most logical successful rational people would be wondering at this point:

Why did she do it?
How is she gonna do nothing?
And the dreaded full picture that is starting to set in as auto deposited paychecks stop…..OMG how will she take care of myself?

Why?—Because I know that role was no longer for me. Something changed in me and I no longer desired those same things that allowed me to be happy and content pursuing the work I had been successful in all those years. I base that change directly from living out this scripture: 

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:1-2 (Message)

How? –with a little bit of savings and a whole lot of faith. Hebrews 11:1 — “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” -NLV

I may not be sure of what is for me yet but I know where I was is not where I needed to be.

I knew although it had been nice to have a normal steady job that afforded me a nice home, new car, and showcase of shoes any women would take off my hands—it wasn’t enough to make me happy and I was ready to give up the pursuit of the dollar for something greater.

And I have to trust that the same God who put that discontent in me for months as I woke up each day performing the job I was in, that same God who stirred up a lack of peace in accepting the position (that I wrestled with accepting if I look back and am honest), that God would also show me in His time where and what “work” looks like in this new season.

You see as I hit my 30s, my world changed, like most young ladies I planned my life to be married around 27 and kids by 30 (God chuckles I’m sure everytime WE PLAN). So as I go into my 32 year with neither of those goals in grasp I have begun to shift my focus in order to not go crazy like many other 30-something’s in my season of life who have shut off Facebook and avoid weddings etc because of the growing discontentment in our plan versus gods plan.

I had for some reason this year really been praying to focus on my work life to take my mind of my lagging personal life—but more than that—in my prayers something beautiful had budded. I had started to birth thoughts I had never had before about my life.

For the first time in 31 years I began to wonder and pray diligently about my purpose; my calling

God why am I on this earth? How can I serve you? What is my purpose?

I had already given my personal life to The Lord, relationally, which had been the hardest thing in my life thus far, but now God was asking me to also give Him my career?!

“Really lord?!,” I thought to myself. “As if that wasn’t hard enough and I hadn’t given enough up and still can’t see the full measure of fruit there, now you’re asking me to also let go of how I provide for myself God.” And He said, “yes” that’s what I’m asking.

And I remembered, I had been praying. And be careful what you pray for, because your lucky, you might get it—but it might now look like what you expected. I had been praying to be wholly devoted to Him, for Him to use me since He broke me down and had been rebuilding me through my personal life changes I had been open-eyed to how much God could use me. After-all, He gave it all for me the least I could do was pray that I wasn’t scared to do the same for Him.

So—–I found myself no longer was I praying for a job. No longer was I praying to be successful where I was and be a great salesperson. And no longer was I content in that being who I was occupationally.

I wanted……”Gods more” in my life and I wanted Him to use me and due to the overwhelming discontentment I knew—“this” —-wasn’t it. (see my first blog post about Gods’ more)

But the discerning point to this feeling is that this discontentment wasn’t directly related to my performance. Listen we all have days or seasons where because of our performance we feel great or we feel defeated. That is not what I’m talking about. This feeling is more of a lingering in my belly kinda feeling that even with a great day or a sale—still disrupts my any given mood in a way I can’t shake it off for long.

Is anyone in this place too? Got a lingering discontent with life or work that you don’t understand and can’t shake? Perhaps starting to think your not where you need to be but unsure of anything much more than that?

So that’s where I was. Knowing something was not right but not sure what to do about it. I began to pray daily.

Lord, you know my heart and my talents. Show me my calling, show me where you want me. It’s no longer important for me to have a title or make 6-figures, or to just cruise through the years as a “safe Christian”

I had bee loving The Lord, keeping His word, going to Church and even being unashamed of the gospel when needed—-but God was calling me to step up even more and step into the unknown and do something I do not do well at all.

And not just to trust but to trust without seeing a window into where I was I am — being led. To go out into the wilderness. To let go of the fear. And to trust in His character and His nature and all He has done in my past—to trust that If I listen—and I follow—not only will He lead me—but He will take care of me. Heart beating really fast right now—fight or flight sets in as I think about the many things I fear.

Fear of bills not being paid.
Fear of not hearing Him properly and making the wrong move.
Fear of what others will think.
Fear of not knowing.
Fear of not being in control.
Fear of where this will go.

The bible mentions “fear not” 365  times!!!

And it also mentions that fear is not from The Lord.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.– King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Cambridge Edition

So I stepped out in faith yesterday. After long prayer, and many amazing others praying for and supporting me about this, I called my boss and said “I have had a change in heart, and this job is no longer for me.” To which he replied with everything from “Just give it another month”, “you’re just not trying hard enough”, “you’re great and I want you here and will help get motivation Rollin,” and the list goes on. He was the most helpful supportive boss in the world, but He simply did not understand, like most unbelievers and surface Christians won’t, that it had little to do with performance and everything to do with motivation—but He not I could provide the type of motivation I was now seeking. The convo ended on, “Well, I can’t compete with the God thing, but I want you to do what’s best for you.” And that’s that.

As I sit here day 2 of being willfully unemployed, and I cherish the time I have to reflect and share with you I came to an awesome perfect reminder of why God hasn’t shown me where He’s leading me yet. As that was the main point holding most of my fear—not to stay or go, but the fact that I was going—where He hasn’t yet shown me. I’m in a waiting period. I found this in an amazing book I’m reading, One in a Million, by Patricia Shirer

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Do you see what I see?

“God did not lead them by way of the land…., even though it was near.”

God knows us so very well! He chose to move the Israelites the long hard way because He knew they would never chose that way of course, and if they saw difficulty they would perhaps return to where they were enslaved.

They had not yet gained the perspective needed to chose the better—more difficult choice—so God used those difficulties to ensure they continued to move towards the freedom He so wanted for them.

How profound is Acts 7:39 —-“what good are freed children of God who want to go back to Egypt in their hearts.”

God wanted freedom for them 2000 years ago, as He wants freedom for me today and He wants freedom for you and each of His children.

But sometimes because He knows us so very well—He doesn’t show us things in the time we expect because perhaps in this place of life we wouldn’t see “it” as what we would desire and would run back to the safety net of slavery, the worldly life aspirations we formerly had found comfort in.

I believe God has not shown me where He has called me, perhaps because of this exact reason. I’m not mature or fearless enough in His plan to see where He is leading me and CHOOSE it for myself. There are things I need to experience, perspective gained, something God needs to work in me before I am ready to see the amazing plan He has called me for.

And so with open arms I face the wilderness today and the rest of this season of unknown and I pray God keeps shaping me and my heart to see as He would see and seek the things He wants me to seek and mold me to be ready for His freedom.

I challenge you today to think about this for your own life. Wherever you are, are you satisfied? Or have you been thinking there has got to be more? Start praying for God to search your heart and stir things up so that you are no longer content with the things of this world and God can begin to show you why you are on this Earth.

God bless!!!! Thanks for being with me on this journey!

The social media tug-O-war we are in daily

The age  decade old question: CAPTURE or LIVE IN the moment

Do I enjoy the moment by being in the moment

or do I whip out my iPhone and capture this glorious goodness for later!!

Will I choose to be fully present, active, listening, or whatever—- essentially not multitasking or do I capture this moment so I can share it with the world??

Ahh the struggles of today’s generation lol.

No really though, all of you reading this you have likely had this battle in your head with the ease of media today — so you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Whether it’s a moment at a concert where you are waiting for the first song and think “man I really don’t want to have my phone in my hand and want to be free to jump around and fully enjoy this”—-followed immediately by — “but I really want to share this later” or “but I want to capture this because later in life i’ll really appreciate it

Happiest pup ever!

Or it’s when your baby (in my case the 4-legged one) doing something new or fantastic that makes you grin ear to ear and you have to decide whether to find your camera quickly or ingrain the moment in your memory as your sole point of reference to the joyous occasion.

Or in my case today, fully do the job at hand –volunteering —or take time outs to capture moments of progress for the world to see?

I start by sharing how blessed I am to have a home church here in Atlanta that has a large singles program (which makes sense considering our city has been ranked one of the best cities for singles to live in–to which I always roll my eyes in disbelief) That said, the program, do.justice program had over 1100 singles gather today each in separate groups to go help on different projects throughout our community.

My outdoorsy side choose a location close to my home that was cleaning up brush and building garden space in an overgrown wooded area as my alternative to being poolside on this gorgeous sunny Saturday —however my sinus side clearly was forgotten about when making this decision 😳. Anyone who hasn’t been to Georgia has no idea what we deal with in the pollen department —I’m talking in the rays of sunlight it looks like it’s snowing as we gather and move this brush.

So not realizing I was gonna have this “do I or don’t I”  battle in my head I drop my stuff in a safe area but throw my cell in my sports bra for quick access to “document” anything that might tickle my fancy. Myself and about 150 other singles divide up, grab gloves (so graciously provided for us), and head over to pick up what mostly looks like things that Huck from Scandal would have laying around and head to areas of wilderness they call a “park”, that clearly no man has stepped in in quite some time.

So it’s safe to say about 85% of us have no idea what these big tools are, and the other 15% of us, myself included here, haven’t used any of these items since we were like 12 years old and got caught in a lie and sentenced to yard work. Shovels, rakes, snippers, saws……I mean no I don’t want to pick up those rocks while you snip a foot away from my hands 😩. None the less we put our big boy pants on and do the job at hand knowing God is glorified by us serving the community today and praying he protects us from well —ourselves— lol and any snakes or scary things hiding under dead trees and leaves.

As we start to get rolling at a nice pace….you rake, I’ll gather it up, hand it off to her, he’ll drag it to the tarp, they will haul it to dump etc…. I think ooh I didn’t capture the before picture and instantly want to stop what I’m doing and get the wilderness to be tamed in it’s “before” look. Then thinking in picture sequence, I want to be able to show a story of today so I want to get people working and the stages of cleaning as these big hearted folks transform this mess into an enjoyable park area.

So here’s the dilemma….as I start to take a few pictures I realize the little voice of legalism inside my head saying, “you are going to look shallow for taking pictures instead of working” and, “they are going to judge you” for XYZ reasons.

Then quickly I was rescued by a familiar scripture where Jesus instructs,

13“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

And I was reminded why I choose to capture my world to share even if I risk people thinking I’m doing it for the wrong reasons or I lose a few minutes of productivity. I know my heart and the reason I chose to capture moments and share them–and more importantly God knows my heart.

Jesus said we are on this earth to share the gospel—to be a light to those around us. A light is not hidden but a light that is meant to shine as bright and far as possible! And as a Christian, one who was mediocre in my faith through many years of my life, not only do i know the power of social media and the exposure and influence our generation has through social media–but I also know how important it is to share what it looks like to truly try to be living as God commands us—-both in speech and in action — and serving being a big part of that! Now please know, i mentioned TRY, as this is a daily choice to make and strive to do what is right and often I do not get it right. But to me, taking a few minutes to capture these amazing people all serving The Lord so that I can show anyone and everyone what a heart living for The Lord looks like—to shine their LIGHT unto others—-that’s a moment worth capturing for sure!!

And the devil will not get a foothold of me with what others may or may not be thinking. The end result is others seeing the body of Christ; a church at work; fellowship of Christians; people who do.justice and are being a light—-and that is amazing!!

So do you capture the moment or live in the moment—I guess it depends on the motivation for doing it.  Ask yourself am I wanting to share this for The Lord or am I trying to glorify my self in some way by sharing this?

If the answer is for the Lord—then shine that light and don’t let anyone or, your own thoughts wrestling with the devil on your shoulder, change how God is allowing you to share the gospel in this generation.

If the answer is one that points inwardly– be honest– and be in prayer with God about changing your heart and adding some more humility.

The end result might look the same, but motivation always seeps out and Christ can best use those who put Him first instead of personal gains. I sit here thankful today that after months of prayer a while back about being more about him and less about me, that God has changed my heart so much and allowed my motivation, in many aspects of my life, to be more about Him and less about me—-unless i get a new pair of shoes..uh ohhhh….. then I gotta show them off :)…. afterall God gave the brains to earn the money to buy them and to find the sale i likely got them from bahaaaaaa. Ok see, I still have quite some growth to do.   Have a blessed week everyone!

Thanks to all who served and spend hours on their Saturday helping in the community!!