I have always struggled a good bit with being obedient. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to be, trust me, at an early age I could see that it was easier to do what I was told and move on to the next. The problem was, I couldn’t convince my brain to go along with that plan. I always knew a better way to do it or wanted to do it on my own terms. I hated having someone give me boundaries and tell me to stay inside them. No matter how hard I tried to force myself to just do what I was supposed to do, I couldn’t. Or I couldn’t for very long anyway. This is definitely still a struggle I deal with daily. It’s probably the reason why I am homeschooling both my daughter and 2 step-sons. It’s probably why I “tutor” a class in our Classical Conversations Community. It is also probably why I work from home. I need to dictate our days, our learning, our future. God knows this about me. He has been merciful enough to allow me to live in these places where my heart works best. That is, as long as I am staying on track. As long as I am humble enough to be able to do this work for HIS glory and not mine. As long as I am keeping it all in perspective.
That’s a hard thing to do, keep things in perspective. I definitely think that with spiritual maturity comes the ability to humble yourself and keep yourself in check a lot of the time. It’s more about the constant pace of our life. Do we give ourselves enough time to do things properly, or do we barely have time to fit them in so we can only rush through them and not let God work in our situations? This is where the danger lies. When we are moving too fast to hear God. We think we know what he’s saying so we just keep moving forward. If you have been reading my posts you know that I mentioned that last week. We move further and further away from God because we get used to His patterns and what He does. We think we can assume His next steps. Again, that’s a dangerous place to be. When you fall, you will be alone and it will hurt.
I have been so very blessed with the response to these posts, the Faith In HeArt Facebook group, my Etsy store and all of the other efforts I have been doing out of obedience. It is easy to get caught up in that and think “I’ve got it,” but I don’t. I never did. It isn’t something we can look at as a task we USED to be able to handle and can get control back. We never had it in the first place, God gave it to us ad was working with us. Without Him, we would have accomplished nothing. It isn’t ours to have, it was only ours to use, with His help. I have to remind myself of this every day. It’s like a vicious cycle. I am happy and flying high one day because of feedback I am getting, but then someone unsubscribed from my email list and it hurt my feelings. Not just anyone but someone I thought was a good friend. We don’t get to see each other much anymore because she has moved about 45 mins away and our lives aren’t intertwined like they used to be but still, she has been an intricate part of my life in the hard times of the last handful of years. Her approval meant the world to me and no her unsubscribing felt like disapproval. Like I wasn’t doing something right. Of all people I didn’t ever think she wasn’t supporting me. It made me second guess what I was doing with all this. That was the moment I knew it was Satan trying to interfere.
Satan wanted to render me useless because I am being effective. Satan wasn’t me to question my abilities and finished work. He wants to make things confusing and for some people, it is hard than it seems. I need to anticipate these attacks. I need to have a plan for how I am going to handle these the next time they come. I need to be ok with people from my past letting go of my friendship. It’s not because I am not worthy of friends with them, it’s just simply because life changes and logistics get hard. My brain starts telling me to do things differently. My heart is wounded and wants to sulk. None of that is the right way to go. Take a step back and see what that looks like from an onlooker’s point of view. Satan simply wanted you to STOP and then you did. You put up nothing resembling a fight. You just let your emotions get the best of you and you lost your desire to be obedient. Maybe you let it go as far as to even let things get muddy. You look back trying to remember WHY you were doing this anyway and start to second guess your motivations. You think maybe you made it all up or you went forward because of the positive feedback and not because you were sure God had told you to. That can happen too!
The other day my little friend was over here working for me. She is working on paying for a mission trip in June to Ecuador with her church (and her mom). It’s been great to have the help and I am so very grateful to be able to have one on one time with one of my best friend’s 12-year-old daughter at this critical time in her life. We were painting happy mail envelopes (yay!) and started talking about decisions and attitudes and holding on to anger. (You all, all adolescent issues) We talked about God’s leading in your life and how it is different at any given time. We talked about how, you can do something and be wildly successful but still take too much of the credit and then end up failing. That’s one of the hard parts for someone like me to understand. If I do it and it works, then I should keep doing it and it should keep working. It just makes sense. We all know that isn’t how it goes. You could be doing amazing things for God’s kingdom, but if it isn’t where God wants you to be anymore, then it’s not going to work.
On the other hand, if it IS where God wants you to be, then it’s going to work. You must believe that. You must press forward and stop second guessing. If you are confident in God’s instructions and you BELIEVE that He will bless your efforts because it’s for his own plan, then you won’t care what other’s think and you will keep going. You won’t stumble because of what the devil throws your way. You must know by now that he is going to make painful and dramatic efforts to cause you to stumble. He isn’t going to waste his time trying the same old tricks on everyone. He is going to hit you where it hurts in any way he can. Even harder when you are doing well.
One of my all-time favorite Jesus-people is Priscilla Shirer (love her almost as much as Jen Hatmaker.) It takes a lot for women to get on this list mostly because I think they preach a lot of fluff because that’s what most Christian women want to hear. Anyway, Priscilla has amazing bible studies and books to read. Each one of them has appeared to have a more simple theme that I never think I will get much out of and then I read it and it’s like she is using my brain to put words on paper. Everything resonates with me. I just finished reading her newer book, “Fervent.” It definitely didn’t disappoint. My favorite part is at the beginning of each chapter. She opens each chapter with a quote that starts out, “If I were your enemy….” Chapter 3 is about your identity and remembering who you are. Here’s the opening quote,
“If I were your enemy, I’d devalue your strengths & magnify your insecurities until they dominate how you see yourself, disabling and disarming you from fighting back, from being free, from being who God has created you to be. I’d work hard to ensure that you never realize what God has given you so you will doubt the power of God in you.”
I read that chapter MONTHS ago but it is still ringing true to me today. My enemy is trying to tell me that my strengths are worth nothing, that the things I am unsure about are much more relevant. This is causing me to stop what I am doing & not fight back. Because of this choice I am making, I am not doing the work God created me to do and I am not ever going to realize the potential God has intentionally given me because of my doubt of God’s power over Satan’s lies to me. THIS CAN NOT BE WHO I AM. I WILL NOT LET IT.
Thank you Lord for all of the confirmation you are and have been giving me. I can do this, because YOU are with me.