Saturday, March 30, 2013

God is in the Details

I had the opportunity to go on a missions trip to Jackson, MS last week. I was needing the approval from my boss and I finally had it mid-day Thursday when I would be leaving Saturday morning. As soon as I got the okay I started the process of preparing to be gone for a week. It was much to my surprise after a couple hours of knowing I was able to go that I had this insistent tug at my heart to check with the Lord if I should go. Up to that point I hadn't even asked Him if I should go. I figured why wouldn't He want me to is Missions after all. And when I did finally ask I felt the sweet words of a kind Abba saying to stay home. I didn't ask why. I knew He knew why and that was enough this time (sadly, most of the time it's not enough). So, Friday, a day after deciding to go, I determined to heed the instruction and stay.

Yesterday when I was reading Joshua 9 verse 14 this stuck out at me "...but they did not consult the Lord." The Israelites didn't inquire of the Lord and they were deceived by the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites made it look like they were telling the truth. It seemed like the right thing for the Israelites to spare their lives. But, as we know, just because it looks one way doesn't mean that it is. It is always in our best interest to inquire of the Lord. And I was gently reminded (as gentle as it was, it was still a little bit of a sting) that I should always ask the Lord first instead of making my own plans.

As the week went on I knew it was the right decision to obey, but couldn't see the exact reason. I knew there would be the chance that I never "saw" or knew the reason. So I didn't even really think about it. And then Wednesday came along. 

The day started like most and I went to work. One thing came up after another at the office and all of a sudden it was 2pm and I hadn't had lunch yet. I had to be back in the office because I knew a contractor was going to stop by that afternoon. So I thought I'd run through the Chick-fil-a drive thru and take it back to the office. When I got there the line was ridiculous for being 2pm. Apparently everyone was on the same schedule as I was that day. I called an audible. McAllister's was right next door and would be even better. I walked in and was pleasantly greeted by no line. I ordered to go and it was a quick process. As I headed out I noticed my friend David* sitting at a table reading. Despite living within 5 miles of each other and having many mutual friends we have not seen each other in a few months.

David and I exchanged pleasantries and talked about March Madness. I'm still not sure how, but the conversation went from being superficial to deep within minutes. We talked about what it looks like to find identity in Christ and the process to get there. We discussed the hardships of conquering the lies and the false responsibilities/labels put on us. And for about an hour we were vulnerable in the middle of Deli. Life shared openly. Encouragement given freely. Truth spoken boldly. Clearly, I stumbled into a divine appointment.

And it was at that moment as I was driving back to the office that I knew that if I stayed in town for that conversation alone that it was so worth it. I got to be part of God's pursuance of David's heart. My heart was full.

I wasn't hungry anymore. My heart remembered when Jesus was at the well speaking with the Samaritan woman as recounted in John 4. The disciples were off in the village to buy food. When they returned they were surprised to see him talking to her, but wouldn't ask why. She left her water jug and ran into town to tell everyone she could about the Messiah that was among them. The disciples urged Rabbi to eat and his response was “I have a kind of food you know nothing about” (John 4:32 NLT). He goes on to explain as the disciples didn't quite get it yet that His "...nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work..." (John 4:34 NLT). I bet each of the disciples had their own "ah hah! This is the nourishment that Rabbi talked about" moments. And I had the opportunity to be part of one again. 

I've had these moments before, but this one was a wink from God. He reassured me that I made a decision, even if it was not my initial choice, based on what I heard from Him and because of it I was able to be part of something so beautiful. 

Do I believe that the Lord would have still blessed me if I chose to go to Jackson and use me there? Yes, I do. Do I believe that He would have still pursued David in such a way? Yes, I do. He's a good Abba and He is Redeemer. He can redeem any situation. I'm just thankful that the God that has created this universe will do whatever it takes to let us know how much He loves if sending His Son was not enough. ;) 

And just a side note...I got back to the office at the perfect time to catch the contractor that was dropping something by. I didn't miss a thing...God had all the details covered. It's always an adventure when we do life with God. 

(*Name changed)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Great Adventure

Life with God is anything but boring. It's always an adventure. 

As some of you read the word adventure your hearts skipped a beat with excitement while others stopped for a beat with anxiety. My favorite type of an adventure is one I have planned and prepared for. Control issues? Nah. Well, maybe a little....okay, okay, it's a daily decision to let go of control. But I am leaps and bounds from where I was and for that I'm thankful! 

It seems like I've stumbled into another adventure. 

For a few months I have been feeling a stirring in my spirit. I knew the Lord was at work in me and I was not really sure what that was going to mean for me in the coming months. I knew change was immanent, but wasn't sure what that would look like this time around.

And then I heard Him say "In order to receive promotion, you have to let go of where you currently are." Oh man! I was rocked. I knew that if I kept my hands so tightly grasped on my current location I would not have the open hands to receive the promotion He wanted to give me.

Now, let's be clear here. The word promotion is highly misunderstood. In this case the Lord was referring to furtherance, moving forward, moving from one season into the next, graduating into the next level. It did not mean that I'm going to get a higher title, with a higher pay, with a company car, etc. I'm not saying it couldn't mean that for others, but I am offering that there is so much more to the meaning of promotion that the typical sense of the word.

As I actively waited on the Lord I had a deeper sense that it was pertaining to my job. My first reaction was complete denial...and immediately followed with the...surely, the Lord wouldn't be asking me to quit my job without me having another job lined up again. Yep, I said again. I've walked that road before. The question of what my family and friends would think of me doing this again haunted me for weeks. I like what I do. I kept praying. I kept trying to convince God that there had to be another way.

I spent some time in dedicated prayer and asked a very few close group of family to pray with  me. Can I just say how thankful I am for family that will pray for me? I literally felt prayers on my behalf. I had an incredible sense of peace and comfort knowing that I had people actively chatting with the Lord about my decision. At the close of the week I knew that I needed to let go of control. Ahhhh! That was not a fun decision. So, the next day I resigned from job. I wanted to be able to finish up a tour that we would have already started if I only gave two weeks notice, so I chose to make my last day April 30th. 

Some days it seems a little unreal. Did I really make that decision? Did I really choose to take such a step of faith? Yep, yep I did. It was not easy telling the people I worked with. And I know that my last day won't be without emotion. But, I am excited. I'm at a place where anything can happen. The possibilities are endless. My God has always and will always take care of me, so I remind myself that promotion is here in those moments where I feel like worrying will help. Let's be honest, when has worry every really made anything better? 

And so for today...promotion looks like a wide open range. I allow my heart to skip a beat with excitement for this new adventure. I trust that He who orders my steps will light up the path even if it's just for the next step.

Life is never boring with God! :)