This year I have been asked to take on two different teams and my response to both was, “Yes, I will take it on.” (The teams were with different organizations.) I had reservations prior to agreeing to work with both. At the time, it seemed the opportunities out-weighed the reservations. In both cases, shortly after I started the small reservations I had internally became great stumbling blocks. The result was that both began to affect other areas of my life and eat away at real passions I have.
A few things I learned as a result or saying, “Yes.”, when I should have responded with, “No.”:
- Listen to the quiet internal reservations and investigate them.
- Ignoring the reservations can bring on unwanted stress later.
- Lost momentum. (Personally and for the team).
- Risk of losing credibility if the reservations aren’t dealt with first.
Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 10:5 have been very helpful to me as I have moved forward with stepping away from both teams. I’m realizing how important it is to take every thought captive
We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. (The Message).
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (NIV).
I have come to understand the importance of taking every thought captive and submitting them to the obedience of Christ. There is freedom found in Jesus when we trust in him and allow him to shape our lives with his life. I read in My Utmost for His Highest , “When the inspiration of God does come, it comes with such miraculous power that we are able to arise from the dead and do the impossible thing.” (Oswald Chambers)
I miss those moments I once spent in a Canyon just west of Durango, CO. The memory of the fresh air and the quietness of that spot on our planet is intoxicating. It’s a place I really desire to go and visit once again. There is a small stream that flows down that is so inviting to sit by. The sound of the water as it rushes over the rocks is calming to the soul. The sight of the water as it flows tucked within the bank is reassuring that all of God’s creation has meaning and purpose.
I long for moments like those I spent there. Those memories of camping, walking, talking, mountain biking, and thinking in that canyon are wonderful. Memories that seem to always be calling me to return. Just as I have those memories, there are other memories from my past that seem to find their way into the forefront of my mind.
Today as I cycle, drive off in my car, or sit quietly and pray or read Scripture – I keep hearing the same few words fill my mind. This Voice continues to echo through my mind the same message I have heard so many times. It’s a call to follow Jesus in way that is greater than the life I could plan on my own. This echo is something that Margaret Feinberg calls the Sacred echo, “…those moments when God speaks the same message to my heart again and again.” (24).
Oh, how I want my life to count. To be filled with meaning and purpose. To be stretched in order to live worthy of the calling He has placed within my soul. I’m reminded of a parable Jesus taught in Matthew 25:14-31. I must confess, these days it seems I am more like the one who buried his talent. I want more than anything to be faithful to Him who has given to me so freely. I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful son.” But until that day, I want to live life to the fullest of God’s potential working through me.
This week I saw the movie, Blue Like Jazz. I was once again reminded that my life is a story. I have a choice today to determine how I want this story to be written. I can choose to live boldly or I can continue to live in fear and hide that which God has given. What is it that you hear? What is keeping you from living life to the fullest?
Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Keeping the commandments our Lord laid out for us is how we show him that we love him. He has outlined for us in the Bible the way we are to live. Within in each word he has spoken we find life, direction, hope, love, and the key to fulfillment. If we love him we will keep those words – we will keep his commandments.
Oswald Chambers points out in Exodus 20:19 (NLT), “And they said to Moses, ‘You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!,'”
We show how little love we have for God by preferring to listen to His servants rather than to Him. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we don’t want God Himself to speak to us. Why are we so terrified for God to speak to us? It is because we know that when God speaks we must either do what He asks or tell Him we will not obey. (My Utmost for His Highest, February 12).
We honor his words by obeying what he has spoken to us. Do you recall the E.F. Hutton ads? “When E.F. Hutton speaks everyone listens.” When God speaks we need to listen and obey. What has God spoken to you lately? It is vital to our walk with Jesus that we take the time to quietly come before him and listen.
David charged Solomon with this words found in 1 Chronicles 28:9,
“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.
Have you heard him? Ask him today to speak to you.
Several weeks ago I was checking my son in at church. I was in the process of making the correct selections for the class he was going to be in when he noticed a button on the screen that read, “Edit Walker.” With his 9-year-old wheels turning he asked, “What does that mean?” I replied, “Computers have a button that allows us to go in and edit our lives.” He didn’t buy it.
We went on to talk about this a little while later. We talked about why we go to church, read God’s Word, and why we pray. I explained to him I do these things in order to give God the opportunity to teach me so I can get to know God better and so I can make the necessary changes in my life in order to become the person He created me to be.
Too me it seems like I put God in a box and look for Him to speak to me in certain ways. I look to those moments from the past and think I should learn certain things to help me adjust my life today… at least so I won’t repeat the same mistakes twice. I know God chose this simple moment at the check in station to speak to me through my son’s question. While reading Oswald Chambers this week I read,
Do not look for God to come in any particular way, but look for Him. That is the way to make room for Him. Expect Him to come, but do not expect Him only in a certain way. However much we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that at any minute He may break in. (My Utmost for His Highest, January 25).
There is no set formula on how to hear God. I find that at different seasons of life He speaks in different ways to me. My main job is to look for Him – in all circumstances. I’ve got a lot of growing left to do. Each day I know that a part of that growing comes from those moments where the Holy Spirit needs to do a bit of editing of my life.
I’m ready! I’m ready for God to break into my life. I’m ready for the renewing and editing that I know needs to take place. I know that I have a story to tell… I know you do to. Be ready. Be on the look out for Him to show up in your life. There is not an easy edit button on your life. Submit your ways to Him… and may they become His ways. Just when you least expect to see Him begin to look… seek Him and you will find Him.