Tuesday, July 11, 2017

When God calls us...He does not stutter...

People who conceal their sins will not prosper,
    but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
 Blessed are those who fear to do wrong,
    but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.

Proverbs 28:13-14 

These are the verses that God brought my way this evening as I sit down here to put into writing what He's giving me today as He has walked me through the second day back on track with the health journey He began with me back in 2015...a long, painful & very life changing journey that's been about so much more than the 100 + pounds I've shed. 

In fact, the last few weeks I fell back into my "comfort zone" that food has always been. Food was THE most important part of that comfort zone...it was my go to for every single emotion I felt. You can imagine after losing that much weight, falling back into old habits...well let's just say it's easier to just hide behind the work that was already done...without sharing my struggling again. 

Between the fear of letting others down, of giving my haters the joy they seek in my failure, for whatever reason. So it was easy to just fall back...quietly without a whisper, but GOD. He reminded me that He already trimmed that away & called it good.

So these words remind me that hiding behind the sins that held me captive for so many long, painful, lost years...will only take me backwards. I already know how to walk this path. Or do I? I've been on this path for awhile now. Or have I?? Just because God has freed me of many of my past hurts, doesn't mean I can't choose to pick them up again. He's cut many of satan's strongholds on my heart & mind. He's shown me REAL love, He's given me an identity & called me His...do I believe Him? Believe Him EVERY moment?? EVERY breath??? Do I hear Him speaking to me? Or do I get comfortable & stop searching constantly for God? Do I finally fool myself into believing "it's ok this time..."? It's just a "stumble."

If I'm still falling back into my worldly choices to sin, it's not stumbling anymore...I have to call it what it is, SIN. 

God knows I will sin, He knows the deepest, inner most parts, He knit me together...He already sees me complete, but knows how my journey will shape me & bring others to see Who He is. What I have most often failed to realize in the past is that when God does something new & calls it "good"...He does not stutter. He MEANS it. When He asks me to step out, up, over, down or in, He does NOT stutter. So when I stand frozen from fear, stubbornness or whatever reason, I can NOT pretend I don't hear Him, that is SIN. 

Most of my life, I have used excuses to give me peace about my sin. But this last couple years, God has NOT let me fall back on my excuses. He has started being much more direct about showing me very quickly if I even start to create an excuse. At times I have gotten upset, change is hard for me. Those times I have quickly learned to be still & listen carefully for His guidance, this I have found is so much better...the pain is sometimes harder, but the new peace is much more comfortable & permanent...if I choose.

I know that some that have loved me, or believed they did, wanted  to help. They would share their thoughts, they would give advice, or they would distance themselves. I've learned however, that ONLY God can show me His way & when I rush ahead without God, the results can be disastrous & very, very painful. I've hurt others & been hurt by others. Even though they believed that they were giving me good, sound advice...God always has the last word in my life. 

As God is growing me, He's also growing my desire to surround myself with people who are also on a journey with Him. Who live their journey out loud without fear. That love me like He does. That are willing to be coarse sandpaper for me when He needs them to be...without fear & without GIVING UP on me. They will be BOLD & UNAFRAID of "not fitting in." THE most important quality I am seeking in those He surrounds me with now is that they have a deeply rooted relationship with Poppa God...not the kind so many "live" today with the "Church is on Sunday, the rest of the week is mine" attitude. 

I know this attitude well, I lived with it for many years...most of my life even. Even serving with a church on & off. The picture of my "relationship" with God...it was not only cropped, but for many years it was "photoshopped" to show only the best parts of my life. I cropped out the messy parts, the times we were in the darkest parts of our lives. I only put the pictures that showed what this world considers "good Christians." What those I believed had a deeper, closer relationship with God than I did, looked like to me.

 I truly learned a great deal about deep, true faith  from some amazing sisters & brothers in Christ. God also has shown me some that claimed to have a relationship with Him, but really only live in that relationship when it fit into their "box." Otherwise they found some "fault" in living for Him. 

I also learned that looking to others to show me what my relationship with God should look like...well that's foolish. I should be looking to God, the Author of my journey, the Creator of my life's testimony. Only He can give me His direction. That has taken me years to learn. I've compared my journey with other peoples & I've felt less than...I've also felt more than. Both of these comparisons have fed into what satan would like me to focus on...others. 

God is also asking me to focus on others...for completely different reasons. He wants to love them, teach them & He wants to speak to them through me. If I am stuck comparing their struggles, their blessings, their lives with mine they won't see Him, they will see another jealous, hater that wants to see them fail, calling themselves a Christian. 

If I am living this "perfect" life claiming to have a relationship with God, I am not giving God the opportunity to reach out to people who don't have the "perfect" life. People may be more comfortable seeing the "reality" of what living for God is. Finding joy in some of the hardest, longest, darkest storms...when others walk away. I WANT to find God in the storms & what His purpose is in each one. I WANT Him to reshape me, to mold me. To make me the daughter He sees.

 That does not mean it feels good, in fact some people I have loved dearly have walked away & though I try to pull them back, it's not me that they will hear. Others have heard my Poppa in words He's spoken through me, or seen Him in times I have said "yes" to Him, even though I couldn't see past my doubt. 

When I first learned that being a Christian is so much less about rules & so much more about loving God with all of my heart & my life, someone told me "God doesn't want you to wait until you're perfect to live for Him boldly. He wants to perfect you as you live boldly for Him." So many struggle with that concept, I fight this too. I think that I have to be a certain way, or be beyond reproach before I can "live out loud for God, with God"...but God wants me to learn from Him so others can see Him building & growing each part of my testimony. He wants others to realize I walk the same struggles, hurt the same, get angry & I am far from perfect...but I am His.

Though my dark times may not be the same as others, He can use the truth in those moments to show others that everyone has difficult paths. No one is exempt from the pain of letting go of everything we've ever known as comfortable. But God wants us to expose the real life struggles, for others to see their struggles in ours & then see how we react to them. If I am choosing to keep sinning in the midst of a struggle & keep asking God "why," instead of digging into God's word & finding the "what" God has for me...how am I any different than the "world?" 
Ephesians 5:13-14...says,

Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.

At this time in my journey God is asking me to be authentic. He isn't going to let me hide behind "who" I used to be...He trimmed that away. No, He's calling me forward for Him, to live out loud for Him, always. Even when I look at something He remade & forget how He did it. How will He reach the lost if I refuse to let them see me lost...when I truly am. 

Stop looking around & start looking up & in...celebrate with those who are experiencing breakthroughs, instead of comparing you valleys with their mountains. Remember y'all that comparison is the thief of joy...don't let the enemy steal your joy.