Tuesday, September 11, 2012

the honest truth.

[ Disclaimer: sometimes I ramble ]

Sunday morning I walked into church feeling heavy. "Lord, I need some words today." I don't ask for words very often. I pretty much always pray for obedience, and I'm typically encouraged by His faithfulness, even if I'm not 100% sure of what He's doing. But last week was different. I spent most of the week feeling discouraged and frustrated and confused. 

The honest truth: this move has been much harder than I expected it to be. Yes, I thought it was going to be tough, but I also thought when I got back, I'd just bounce right on into life gracefully and excitedly, shining and glowing and releasing into my surroundings the sparkle of all the things I learned and experienced during the last year. But that's just not what happened. 

At best I've mumbled and stumbled my way through trying to explain "yes, I'm back. No, nothing bad happened...Colorado was incredible. I loved it there. The Lord asked me to move back."

But when I say that last part, it comes off sounding like I grudgingly moved. And I didn't. The Lord asked, and I want to be obedient and honoring to Him. And, I grew up here. Why wouldn't I want to come back? This is where my family is. This is where the people who've invested in my life for decades are...

I miss Colorado. I miss my roommates, and my friends. I miss baby E and his parents. I miss the mountains. I miss my house. I miss the family the Lord established there for me. I miss my Focus professors. I miss the dry air. I miss being so close to so much growth and change in a community. 

And I will probably miss it for the duration of my physical separation from it...however long that may be...even if it spans the rest of my life. 

But if I was there, I would miss Ohio. And I would miss my brothers, and my parents, and my best friends, my church family, my doggy. I would miss the greenness and the colors of fall, and the pouring, powerful rain storms. I'd miss seeing my baby brother go off to college. I'd miss seeing the walls my middle brother built around his heart being destabilized. I'd miss my best friend's pregnancy and my two other best friends' engagements. And I'd miss the things I didn't even know I was missing...like incredible generational friendship and discipleship...like the little ones I used to take care of learning how to add and subtract, and multiply and divide...like the girls I used to disciple as 7th and 8th graders becoming incredible young women who love Jesus more than anything. 

There will always be things in our lives to miss. No matter where we are or who we're with. 

So the honest truth: I'm sad, I'm happy; I miss the last season of my life, but I'm excited for the one the Lord is transitioning me in to. I've spent time being angry with the Lord. But I've also spent time weeping because of His blessing and faithfulness [ PS: if you've missed it, I cry now. It's like a whole new me. See here and here]. Yes, I'm different than I was a year ago. Yes, I'm hesitant and tentative. I've been gone. And the lives I've walked back into have changed, and my role in them has changed. I don't want to overstep. I don't want to take over a role that is someone else's now. And not only am I different, but everyone is different. We've all changed...for better or worse. And sometimes it's hard to accept the changes in others. So I worry that I won't be who I'm expected to be. 

The honest truth is I've had to wrestle with the Lord on this. Because I am and have always been a people-pleaser. I want to make everyone happy. But it's not someone else's job to fit me into a box; and it's not their place to be okay or not okay with what the Lord has shaped and changed in me. And it's not my job to try to be everything to every body. Number 1, who am I to think I can fill a role that only Jesus can? And number 2, That's not who I was created to be. He told me to stop trying.

In fact, He's telling us all to stop trying. He created us to be loved by Him. And to love Him right back. And I fail miserably at this, but He is the only one I should be trying to please all of the time.

Jesus says: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple" [ Luke 14:26 ].

Woah, hate, Jesus? Yeah hate. But in context of the Greek, it means to love less. Our love for anyone and anything [ including ourselves ] other than Jesus, should look like hate in comparison to our love for Him. That's just how it is. We are definitely called to love others--over and over again in the Bible--but first, we are to love the Lord. 

So those words I needed, I received. God's so cool, right? Ask and you shall receive. After service, one of the amazing Kingdom door holders in the faith family at Mosaic pulled me aside and asked if they could share a couple of things with me. One of those things was this: Proverbs 16:1-3:

[ESV]  The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. 

I've spent the last 3 days praying through the verses, and researching the Hebrew and looking at the context, and from that here is what I've found:

The plans of understanding belong to human beings.
The hearing and answering of prayer comes from dwelling with the Lord.
The Lord's way will not necessarily make sense to us. But He sees the greater story.
All the habits and courses of man are righteous and pure in his own spiritual and mental judgment.
But God weighs the spirit in a man, whether it is vain and empty, or holy.
Allow the Lord to maneuver you. 
Offer your works, acts and celebrations to Him, and your purpose will be enduring.

Our understanding isn't necessary. Our clarity isn't needed. We are called to be still. To listen and to see Him at work. We are called to trust and devote our lives to Him. He doesn't just give His kids gifts and passions to let them sit and be wasted. He doesn't hold us in limbo, keeping us from using the things He gave us. He gives gifts for a reason. He impassions us for a purpose. We take those gifts and talents and loves and use them to glorify Him, and He continues to show us where we're headed, and uses them to show others His love and truth. We are His vessels. He doesn't need us, but He wants us. He loves us. 

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