Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Recommitting & moving forward

My constant struggle is one of not feeling worthy/good enough all the while knowing I’m called for more in life, specifically career wise. I knew from a young age that I was called to be in some sort of ministry as a job. I have always seen myself working with youth/young adults in some capacity, leaning towards some sort of writing focus. At 28 that hasn’t happened, despite “following the rules”. The rules of getting the right degree, minding my P’s and Q’s weren’t laid out by anyone specifically; they were my interpretation of what I thought was the right thing to do per societal rules. As I’ve gotten older I’ve somewhat come to terms with the fact that I didn’t graduate and have this perfect opportunity magically present itself. The biggest lesson there has been trust and respecting God’s timing and not my own. He’s got a lot of lessons I need to be learning and He’ll open the door to the right opportunity when He is ready.

But last week He sent me a kicker of a lesson and I’m not ashamed but renewed, and that’s how you know it comes from Him. Proverbs 31 Ministries released a new app called Take5. Its intent is to give God the first five minutes of your day before life takes over. Special to the release was a livestream of Lysa TerKeurst speaking at the 2015 She Speaks conference. Cell phone propped up, a piece of paper nearby I settled in to watch and listen while I was at work that morning. And boy am I glad I did.

I’m going to be a little different and give the big lesson at the beginning and then flesh it out: If I do not give Jesus my time I will not be able to be sent out by Him.

That might be a duh comment for many, but for some reason it is just now really starting to sink in for me. When you’re called and given a direct picture for how you see your life going you grow up expecting that to happen at the normal times, i.e. graduating college and step into that role. I thought I was doing everything I was supposed to do and here comes life: bills, health issues, marriage highs and lows and eventually a kid. My life is satisfying except for one area: my career. As a working parent it takes up the majority of my day, so to be unsatisfied in that area is kind of a big deal. I have a job that pays the bills and lets me be me. For the most part I don’t have to play any professional games and I have flexibility to do what I need to do and not be micromanaged. But I don’t get to be creative, I’m not working with teens or young adults and it definitely isn’t in any sort of ministry.

Lysa taught primarily from Mark 3, in particular verses 13-19 which covers Jesus’ appointing of the 12 apostles.

Verses 14-15, “And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons.” (NRSV)

Take note of the middle of verse 14, “to be with him”. Yes, they were called, appointed and sent out, but first they were called to be with Jesus. He just wanted to spend time with them; He was after their hearts first.

In John 8:31-59, Jesus is having a conversation with a group of Jews. They’re discussing confusion over Jesus’ words and what He really means, and they’re getting upset enough to be at the point to seeking out ways to kill Him.

Verse 37, “I know that you are the children of Abraham. But you want to kill Me because My Word is not in your hearts.” (NLV)

Verses 42-43, “Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but He sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word.” (NRSV)

God’s Words from the Old Testament, the same words Jesus is saying about finding freedom and eternal life in Him were not making any sense to this group of people because they weren’t truly following God, and His Word wasn’t a part of their lives. Their hearts were hardened and they were not on mission with Jesus. They weren’t understanding or speaking the language of the family of God.

They made no room for Him in their hearts and Jesus’ lifesaving words were having no impact. My initial thoughts are how scary this is, but I’d rather look at it as motivating. If I’m not spending time with Jesus and His Word there’s a chance I could easily become like these Jews where His Words have no impact on my life and, in fact, I turn into a bitter, hateful person intent on killing Him versus being saved by Him. I desperately don’t want that.

I want to be on mission for Jesus making disciples who make disciples. But if I am not first giving my time to Him and just simply being with Him I will not be able to be used by Him. He wants our hearts first, and then He’ll send us out.

At this point in my life now I honestly go days not really praying, I hardly actually sit down to read my Bible and He’s there but not on the forefront of my thoughts. As someone wanting to go into ministry those are pretty scary facts. I wouldn’t hire me; good intentions or religion degree doesn’t cut it when it comes to the heart of the matter which is giving my heart and time to Jesus.

Since this kick in the pants I’ve definitely seen improvements. Proverbs 31 Ministries materials have really helped. They’re very thought provoking and speak a lot to my life. Every morning I read my Encouragement for the Day devotional and hop into the First5 app to read that devotion too. I’m also going to a new Haverim tonight with a group of women from church. My next baby step is to dive deeper into the devotionals and open my Bible alongside them.

Jesus needs to be a priority in my life before I’ll be able to be used to help teach someone else how to make Him a priority in their life. He wants my heart and I want Him to be in mine. Knowing and spending time in the Word is the route to make that happen. I have to know the Word to know Him.