Sunday, March 25, 2012

What Happened? {Part1}

This is a very broken testimony.  I know this is only a part of what I must testify to in my life, but here I must start.  I simply must start.  Praise the Lord for His mercy!  In my imperfectness, God is God.  In my wonderings and thoughts, God is God.  He knows me, and He is working all things out for the good of those who love him!

I must start by saying that (obviously) it is completely wrong to slide by in life, straying from the path God intended.  In my faltering ways of speaking, I mention that horribleness, though.  That is not what has happened.  That does not correctly scream the passion in my heart.  (But then, what does?)  Something has happened to me in the most humbling and amazing way.  I don't even know how to explain how it first started. Really I could never do that.

My room sat in shambles.   Again.  No, not just again, but on top of again, for months, not because of a mess but because of underlying factors in my life.  I sat in the grounds of a rejuvinated 9-11 or Hurricane Katrina. And the biggest problem is that I was looking at so much stuff I don't even know what to do and something in my mind was blocking me from being able to get rid of it. So there's this barrier.  Let me move on a tangent. I have come to realize one of the most beautiful things in the world, and that is love. Take this back to when I decided enough was enough and that I'd just pretend to be who I was (which I really was), and all of a sudden everything around me was beautiful. Walking through the people of God made me realize how special and beautiful each one of them was and how when I laid low everyone around me reflected the love of God and I was overwhelmed and humbled. How can people show moments of love? How is it that this all-consuming love tears the hearts of men to spill over in love to humanity? It's just too beautiful. Too beautiful for a broken person to miss, I mean. And my pride? Kick that out the door.... Why is it such a continual battle? Because I am human and I am in a war and I'm going to win. God deserves my life and I don't deserve him and it all hits me how messed up we were meant to be and how messed up we are. SO THAT GOD CAN RESTORE AND MAKE THE ASHES SEE WHAT IT IS HE WANTS US TO SEE. It comes when there is nothing else to pursue and when it is shown to be the true essence of existence, this God of love sweeping over the tidbits of humanity. I was made to be brokenly beautiful. I've learned that when I am broken I need to speak truth and not hide it. I've learned that God wants me to experience pleasure all the days of my life (think C.S. Lewis writing on Christian hedonism) and that hiding produces some sort of bad feeling and that showing imperfections is so fulfilling.  I want to make peace with all around me, but I want to stay hidden in ways I know I need to: I am hidden in Christ and all creation is eager for the daughters of Christ to be revealed!

Now let me move on to the flow of all this. I was listening to a message by John Piper, in which he mentioned how those who are perfected in love do not have fear anymore. When we give, we lose anxiety. To be clear, this spoke to me where I was this fall in the specific way that I needed a Word from the Lord. Naturally, when a person gives God can use that to free a person from anxiety through Jesus Christ's power and goodness. Oh, how good it is to speak of these things! This fall, as I followed God's leading, I came to a valley (that's just how God works...there's NOTHING wrong with a peaceful valley! I'm so glad and rejoice!) and was struggling against anxiety about my future. I was also knowing that a part of it was that things just weren't right in my family. I've been contending for the release from these things but not just that...also for good things...not just release from the bad! I'm not sure if that (give and then lose anxiety) was actually in his message or if I just thought of it after I listened to this specific message. Anyway, I was made to give my life...and it makes more sense when I back up again. I kept dropping things out of my life to make sure I was doing what God wanted me to do. Obeying His purpose for all this in my life is so that I can lose my life to find it, to free myself up to do his will and make sure I'm doing it. I wanted to be able to say it was the right thing to do, and now I believe it! I've experienced it fully and want to continue! I have been realizing something specific missing from my life, and that is a lack to obey Jesus's command to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth.

To maybe put a big point out there, I have been hit by something so powerful. I could say that I found treasure in a field. I could say I found the kingdom of God and am giving up everything for it. I could say I am responsible to fulfill the anointing God has on me. I could say that I have discovered a worth in God's Word to the point that I will willingly waste my life on the Word of God and I know that it's only a waste in the eyes of others perhaps...but that I'VE FOUND SOMETHING!!!

But guess what? If I'm not all in (and I'm not yet), I'm going to be VERY foolish. There is a complete irony here, because on the one hand I could say that I desperately need to inquire of the Lord and just pray and seek his face....but I'm doing it in order to inquire of the Lord and just pray and seek His face. Get it? I have to cross some sort of mountain in order to do it. I can't just make a small decision like, "oh, yeah, I'm interested in a Bible school" or "I want to be a worship leader" (this is not an example from me but from others) or "I'm going to such and such a school for medical and music missions." Why? Because something in me is exploding. I can't just settle for pretending like I'm not ruined by the love and encounter of God. Because the encounter of God shows his worth, not mine.
I see, but I don't see.  I can't say that I've got it all figured out. I'm so broken, so hurting, so in need of healing, so in the middle of a mess, so trying to figure things out...and yet so knowing I've found something but wanting to make sure that I am really grasping onto someONE and something (the Kingdom of God) in the way God is telling me that will last forever. When I say that, I'm dead serious. The kingdom of God doesn't just fall on you. God doesn't just tell someone that that his Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and then just disappear from a person in the middle of life. God deserves all glory, honor, and praise, for he set up a kingdom that is lasting and true and is what He is bringing on earth from heaven. By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made...but also by the Word of the Lord are the heavens-on-earth made (his kingdom on earth). I'm thinking that I'm going to need to make a decision that is so right (in fact, I've already got one foot in), but then the doing is hard and Satan tries to tempt me to pursue things not worthwhile for it's encouraging to remember the truth and know the thoughts are temptation.

Well, what if I've been afraid because I don't see life as desireable....because God showed me how to think. He showed me how to not desire life but ETERNAL LIFE IN HIM. There's a difference. And praise the Lord that so many are living this way!!! The very fact that I am litterally surrounded by Christians at every turn shows that God moved. He brought so many people into His kingdom. He saved all you people! He saved you all from death! It can't just be like me doing something and people flippantly asking how it's going....yes, in a real way that would be nice...but I'm serious (while at the same time humbly acknowledging I'm not all the way convinced and trusting in God yet) that I need to do something that will mean no turning back for the rest of my life and in which I am in line with God to finish the battles on his heart, to prepare the world for his return.  Here I have to stop though.

I must tell about one more aspect of my amazing God. Heard of God speaking just what a person needs to hear? Yeah, that because it's his work, his job on a person's life, and He's going to get it done! Well, no more just "hearing" of all that! God has been constantly doing it! And its the sort of thing that you just treasure in your heart cause there's no point in telling others! I mean, there's just something that goes down so deep...Now, some is tell-able! I don't mean that it's not like you can't say certain things. For instance, the moment before this paragraph was written, I read an article someone (thanks, Trena Balakrishnan!) posted, and it dealt with exactly what God wanted me to do. Here's a bit:"Stuff doesn’t usually hold our memories… Stuff is often just stuff. And it can be hard to let go of stuff. We believe it holds a lot of power, and it can be scary to let it go.....Consider your decluttering an act of worship. You’re freeing your family to wait expectantly for what God has in store for the future, you’re thanking Him for the possessions you truly love, and you’re unhinging your spirit from things on earth that will one day be dust. Our stuff is a gift… And yet, it’s just stuff."{}

It's just been so confusing to stay in the will of God when I must make such radical choices in order to stay in it just because all has practically been taken away from me in so many ways. I could hardly say I belong where I am. I say this with trembling and with a firm conviction and direction from/in the Lord.  There is a reason for that! I must remember what I saw on the mountain-top while I'm in the valley: I'm in a time right now of seeking God, it is a time BETWEEN action, I am to lay down my life for what God has made for me.

I was MADE for this. I just want to be faithful in years of steady prayer and worship and see what God does with that. I want the things that need to be done in this earth to flow from this. But there is something I'm missing. There are places I'm confused. I am crying out for wisdom! I want to know truth! I want to hear God again today! I want to grasp a rhema from His Word! Again. Again. Again.

I just need to seek first His kingdom, but that takes a listening ear? What if my heart is hardened to God? What if I'm not going all the way? What if I'm only giving him PART of my heart?  There is nothing more worthy of my life than Jesus.  I give my life for him now. Again. My past was worthy of him and so is my future.

Encompassing all this, some people have been wondering what's wrong with me/what's going on with me. It's been hard. To be honest, it gets really tiring. I believe that's because of my sin. If I'm doing something in the midst of all this, I'm still wrong. But God's still God. Jesus himself said that those who follow him, even selling what they have and giving to the poor, would be persecuted. I haven't done quite this, but this is His Word.  I hold the treasure of the One who Grounds me and Founds me and the word that I knew what would happen because of His stong word. I think that one of my biggest weaknesses is seeking others approval instead of just loving them. And maybe that's the key. Maybe that's the mountain that's in front of me?

I'm at the point where I feel like the rich young man whom Jesus told to sell everything and follow him. I'm a little bit taken aback, is all...And yet there's a part of me that reaches into belief and obedience. There's a part of me that says like Jesus disciples, "If we give up all this, what then will we have (meaning if we leave houses and father and mother and sisters and brothers for your sake and the sake of the gospel)?" I ask the same question. It just doesn't make sense. Yet at the same time I realize that there's a line I need to cross and that I'll probably get it after I cross that line and ask again for God's heart. I feel so full of pride that I want to give up for love. Why do I constantly have to confess pride? Why can't the battle be over? When will I stop boasting in myself?  I'm fighting a battle, and I'm asking for wisdom, and God is with me in my weakness.

I am so weak.  My God is so strong.