God Is Not A Genie

Stop using God and let God use you.  That is not an original thought of mine.  I heard it said.  It just resonated with me.  Our liberties in Christ should not be placed above what brings Him glory.  Often, it means to “not seek your own” (1 Corinthians . 13:5)

A little over a month ago, I set a fitness goal for myself.  I wanted to run a 10 minute mile.  I found  a running plan for beginners online and followed it.  To train for it, the plan has you walking and running in increasing intervals until you can run 30 minutes straight.  I did not set my run speed at 6.0 MPH which is the pace to run a mile in 10 minutes.  I set my speed at 5.0 (a mile in 12 minutes).  I was excited, nervous, and scared about this goal.  There was no one watching me, cheering me on, or encouraging me.  I told few people about it.  The ones I told didn’t ask me how my progress was going.  I preferred they didn’t.  I would have received it as pressure especially early on.  Nevertheless, many times I longed for someone to come up to me while I was running my intervals on the treadmill and tell me that I could do it and to not quit.

No one was going to come over to me.  I don’t know people like that at my gym yet.  So, while I’ve been running, wishing the three minutes I had left to do were three seconds, I would pray and ask God to “kick in” for me.  What did I mean by that?  Your guess is as good as mine.

I was treating the Holy Spirit as if He was nitrous oxide; a button to push to give me an instant jolt to hurry up and complete the task at hand.  I remember trying to think on why I was praying this while I was running but I was so focused on finishing my time without constantly looking at the clock that I couldn’t meditate on that.  When I heard that statement above, I had a chance to reflect on myself and realized that God does not “kick in” for you.  Not in that way anyway.  We are here to serve Him. We were created for Him and for His good pleasure.  We Christians have gotten that thing completely twisted now to think that God is here to serve us.  No. No. No.

I haven’t been to the gym since I realized what I was doing.  Now, when I am in the heat of the run, wishing the time was up when I have three minutes still to go, I will remember whose idea it was to set this goal in the first place 🙂  I will remember that God is not a genie.

(Originally penned 2010)

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I Forgot About The Sovereignty Of God…

Little pieces of the puzzle keep coming together. Eventually they will make a beautiful mosaic that reflects God’s majesty but today, it just looks like a bunch of glass bits stuck on a piece of concrete. 

This may be considered sacrilegious but I often refer to stirrings of the Holy Spirt as my Spidey sense :/ Sometimes I heed to it. Sometimes I do not. I wish I had a 100% track record of obedience but I do not.  

Often, my Spidey sense has gone off and I, thinking this can’t possibly be right, have reasoned my way out of obedience. Just as often, when I disregarded my Spidey sense, I would not see any direct consequence which I would then interpret as me making the right call. Well, I can tell you with 100% certainty that disregarding Spidey will bite you squarely in the butt.

I had become used to standing alone. I thought I’d gotten used to it on all fronts because, Lord knows, I certainly have been tried on all of them. But I was mistaken. I wasn’t used to standing alone on topics that my Spidey sense was clearly blaring against but my current peer group did not agree with. I would often, and by often I mean 99% of the time, side with my peers and ignore Spidey completely thinking he had to be wrong  since no one else I trusted backed my Spidey directed stances. 

I can’t afford to do that anymore. 

It hurts me. It hurts others. It’s time spent. 

I have to listen to Spidey and be willing to suffer through being negatively labeled initially, in order to bask in the blessings of obedience in the long run. 

The risk are just too great to do anything other than that. 

When life does not present itself in a natural ebb and flow you’ve become used to, you must look up and acknowledge the sovereignty of God, especially in those areas you consider minute. God’s hand is in EVERYTHING! God’s hand is in everything.

Trusting God Has Nought To Do With Time Part 2

Trusting God has nought to do with time.

Trusting God has nought to do with time.

continuing from part 1…

I prayed specifically for what I was fasting for two times a day, morning and night. My prayers changed a bit along the way as I became more aware of what I really wanted and got even more honest with the Lord about it.  I looked for God around every corner, around every 28th day of my menstrual cycle, around every interaction my husband had with others in his calling. I saw God’s breakthrough for someone we know. God told my husband their breakthrough was for them and it wasn’t ours.

“Nothing” happened.  “Nothing” means that nothing physical happened. We are still in the same place we have been for the past 8/9 years (I don’t want to count them anymore.  Counting the years comes with depressing thoughts).  Nothing I prayed about has come to pass in the seen but something did happen!

I know I was obedient to God and that speaks volumes to my heart and grows my relationship to God.  That is priceless!  Also, my testimony is that trusting has nothing to do with time. My friend, whose post started this whole thing, said her breakthrough came 3 days after her fast ended.  Well, its been more than 3 days after my fast ended and my hope and trust in God has increased even more. I can’t exactly explain why but I am more hopeful today then I have been before. I am more hopeful today then when we, my husband and I, first started out in this season of our lives. At the beginning of moving into this Ark, we had a six month plan. I was very hopeful in those six months. I was very hopeful in the first year.  After that, my hopefulness was in the negative for a very very long time. For the first time in forever (yes, that was a Frozen reference 🙂 ) I know, I feel, I understand that my hopefulness is wholly in the Lord. It is not in a job opportunity on the horizon, a new thing to try, or any other tangible reason.

Through this fast, I’ve learned that trusting God has NOTHING to do with time.  We serve a God that lives outside of time and space so how can I trust Him with time limits attached to my faith?  How can I truly trust Him when I have limitations aka “safe guards” against disappointment?

It is easy to read about Abraham and Sarah.  It’s easy to read about Joseph.  Their story begins and ends in the same book of the Bible.   But Abraham, Sara, and Joseph did not know when God’s fulfillment would happen in their lives.  God did not give them a date and time. It wasn’t until after 24 years that God told Abraham that he would have a son within the year.  Up until then, he was told he would have a son but wasn’t told when.  Poor Joseph was exalted and brought very low twice in his life before God raised him up permanently. He didn’t know when or how the dreams God gave him would come to pass.  Why did I think my life would be any different?

Trusting God has NOTHING to do with time!  That is what I learned. That is why I can, not just remain hopeful, but can excel in ever-increasing hope each and every day because I know God will take care of, provide for, and make a way for me (us).

 

Trusting God Has Nought To Do With Time Part 1

Turned down plate

Turned down plate

Back in March of this year, a friend of mine posted on Facebook that relief came when she fell on her face and told the Lord everything that was in her heart, going on in her head, and what her feelings were about it.  I, unbeknownst to me, was carrying a lot of emotional baggage and had not told the Lord any of it.  It wasn’t until I read her post that it occurred to me (duh) to get emotionally naked in front of the Lord. I know this but we all need gentle reminders from time to time lest we think our shoulders are big enough.

In May of this year, that same friend posted on Facebook that she fasted for the past 30 days and experienced a breakthrough.  She did not give specifics but it was exciting to hear her breakthrough report.  Around that time, I had been contemplating on wether or not I should fast about what was on my heart.

Fasting is a big deal to me.  Fasting non-food items isn’t nearly as hard as fasting food is.  I like food. I am a person who struggles with the truth that food does not make an event.  I rate a mall on how good the food court is. Food is a big deal to me.  It takes A LOT for me to fast.  It takes A WHOLE LOT for me to fast, yet, after reading her post, I got that all too familiar Holy Spirit tug that fasting is exactly what God wanted me to do.

I told the Lord that this was His fast and He had to direct me on what to fast and how long to fast because I would do a “quick” 30-day no cheese fast or something.  I am a cheese eater.  I can eat a 8oz block of cheese in a day. No joke. So, fasting cheese would be sacrificial but I wasn’t sure if it would be effective if I just fasted to fast with a ‘there, I did it’ attitude.

When God said that my fast was to fast sweets for six months, I almost said, “Never mind!  Something is wrong with my spiritual antenna! My bad!  I’ll just wait it out for You to do what You are going to do in Your time.  A sister can’t give up her sweets now. No way!”

This was back in June. June 12 to be specific.  Six months from June 12 is December 12.  I had to make it through the Summer (ice cream), Fall (baking season begins), my birthday (birthday cake), Thanksgiving (the high holy day of sweet consumption), and the beginning of December (the start of Christmas cookie making and eating).

Every time I was tempted, every time I began to turn my thinking away from fasting to something more familiar, like dieting, I told/reminded myself, and prayed the same to God, that I wanted from Him more than I wanted any sweet.  I was taught that when you fasted, every time you are tempted by that very thing you are fasting, to pray about whatever you are fasting for.  Well, my list was a bit lengthy.  I found praying that I wanted from God more than I wanted any sweet was just as effective and heart pouring. God knew the fullness of that declaration.

There is more to this story and it will continue on the next published post.  Until then, if you have reached your end, I encourage you to fast. It is not humanly desirable to fast (do-without, deny self) but it is spiritually necessary. I pray God use my testimony to tell you.

And Now, I’m Ready (Right Now I Am Not Sure If This Is A Statement Or A Question)

To clarify, this is the third blog of the week.  I wrote the first two Thursday evening.  The one you are currently reading is (was?) written Sunday afternoon.

To bring you up to speed: I was depressed all of Friday. I was in an unshakable funk.  I took a nap out of sheer hopelessness.  I couldn’t  fix my situation so I slept. I didn’t even go to Zumba Friday night and you know that NEVER happens. I felt so oppressed.  I finally felt lifted from that oppressive state very late into the evening.  I felt so much better that I was hopping there was a 10PM Zumba class I could take 🙂 Only after I felt better did I realize I was involved in spiritual warfare.  I don’t know how I missed the clues. I think at some point in the funk I must have realized it but was to overcome by the feelings of helplessness to fight.

I had plans Saturday which was a blessed distraction.  Nevertheless, helplessness crept back in that evening.  Today is Sunday, and I flip-flopped between feelings of excitement about the future (namely Saturday) and the helpless feelings of today.

When we were both home from church, my husband asked me what I thought of him going into ministry full-time. (I am not going to dive deep into this here.  It very well may come out over time but the how and where-did-that-come-from explanations will not be given in this post.)  I told my husband I had no idea.  What I didn’t tell him was that all I had on my mind was how God was/is going to get us up out of this house and having more children.

He had an afternoon appointment and after he left for that I had a chance to pray.  In prayer I realized my fear. I’ve heard stories of pastors getting shafted with pay and churches  working the pastor and his family to death while making sure they stay broke.  I didn’t want to be in that position.  Yes, I want to live for God fully.  Yes, I want to serve Him with my life.  I do that now.  Anyone can.  You work where God calls you to where ever it may be; the courtroom, the ER, your home, an office, a cockpit. Christians have many professions but I was deathly afraid of being financially dependent on God through God’s people.

When I realized that in prayer, I confessed it immediately and released it to Christ.

I trust God with all my needs because He said He would supply them all (Philippians 4:19).  The wants is a harder thing to trust Him with because they aren’t needs. There is no guarantee that those will be met. Even though the lack of a want may feel like a need, it is not a need.

I trust God with having more children (four more to be exact), having my own home, having a pantry, having a pantry stocked with food, being able to afford to take my children to Chick Fil A on the fly without having to $acrifice in another area, and other deep soul-yearning wants.

I trust God with my $18 lip gloss, $200+ bags, $64 eye cream, $25/5 draws, among other material wants.  He’s allowed me to have these things over the years in the ark and I entrust Him with them for the future as well.

I don’t know what the future holds.  I have no idea how or what God is going to do Saturday in the Lee household but I am expectant.  Now I’m getting excited!

My God is God!

IT ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTS ME THAT I HAVE FOUND MYSELF TRYING TO PLEASE MEN INSTEAD OF JUST PLEASING GOD!

It didn’t even occur to me that that is what I was doing until recently.  I like to make people laugh but my success rate is not high.  I often end up failing miserably even though I get a kick out of whatever I said.  In my most recent attempts to add humor, I was met with some comments that disturbed me.  Nothing rude nor unkind was said but the tone that was uses was disturbing.  It was a teaching-boarderline-condescending tone one would use when trying to educate a fool.  I was caught off guard by it because I didn’t know what would have brought that about but now I understand.

From the onset of the relationship, when trying to reach out and befriend this person, I dumbed myself down.  I didn’t speak like a woman that knows Christ.  No, I wasn’t cussing or telling dirty jokes etc, but I wasn’t letting God shine through me in my manner of speech either.  I was trying to blend in instead of stand out.

Sometimes, when getting to know someone and develop a friendship, I hit a wall.  The first thing I do is examine myself.  (Maybe one of my attributes is off-putting to them.)  However, there is another reason, a rather important reason, why some friendships are not forged between me and another person and that is my relationship with Jesus.

After I try what seems like everything else to try to tear down walls and barriers and meet folk where they are and befriend them only to see that nothing is working, that is when I remember Jesus.  I don’t know why it takes me so long to get to that point!  When I realize it, I have a Duh Moment.  Like, “Duh!  HELLO!  You didn’t see this at the beginning? Sheesh!”  It’s only after my Duh Moment, and unfortunately in this instance it took me several months to get it, do I realize that the wall that is up is spiritual and not man made.  There isn’t a barrier because of a difference in preference.  There is a difference in ownership.  I am owned by God!  He bought me with a price, which is the blood of Jesus, and I accept it, I believe it, and I have been transformed by it.

No more dumbing down what I know about Him to befriend someone.  That is not friendship.  You know the saying “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk”?  Well, “Friends don’t let friends go to hell”.  Now let me clear that up.  I can’t prevent anyone I know from going to hell.  It is a personal choice to accept or to reject Jesus as your Savior and Lord.  However, I can share Jesus with anyone so that they have an opportunity to accept Him for themselves thereby not going to hell.

I now walk with more boldness.  I feel like a lioness.  (ROAR!!!!  Lionesses do roar right?)

I remember praying and asking the Lord sometime last year how is it that David felt so bold when he ran towards Goliath?  This child was running with a slingshot to face a sho’ nuff’ giant and had absolutely no fear!  I just didn’t get it!  I could visualize myself going out to meet Goliath but I certainly wasn’t running and the term “meet” would have had to be specified in yardage because I didn’t want to get close enough to smell his breath.   But praise God.  He has given me understanding now.  David ran with the confidence of knowing that His God was God.  I know have that same confidence.  I know my God is God and I will represent Him with boldness of speech to the best of my ability, with the help of the Holy Spirit of course.