In your life, is there anything you’ve told God to leave alone? Something that you know you could “never” do? WATCH VIDEO HERE…
A couple of years ago, many things were up in the air in life. So many circumstances we didn’t know the outcome of. Finally, I reached my last straw in “what if” conversations with Steve, my husband always up for change. And I told Steve that I wanted to table that conversation. Too much was in flux. Too much was uncertain. Can’t we just keep this one thing solid, unshifting?
Even as the words tumbled from my lips they felt wrong.
Will I limit God by my lack of belief? Will I tell Him that He may only go so far in my life? Or, will I submit everything I have, even everything familiar, to His shaking? Will I be open to and ardently seek the kingdom, or will I continue in what is known and safe and predictable?
The Lord brought me to Hebrews 12…challenging me to be open to the shaking. I had to ask myself: is anything in my life off limits to Him? If so, then it stands as an idol in my heart, more valuable, more trusted than my precious Jesus.
Putting limits on the areas God has permission to touch limits His work in our lives. Yes, we have the ability to influence God’s access to us, His ability to work through us, through the boundaries we put up. (See Mark 6:4-5) Jesus – the Son of God – was limited in His works because of the people around Him. Their unbelief hindered His work.
Are we limiting God’s work in our lives because of unbelief? Or because of fear? Will we tell Him He can only go so far?
Living limitless is as basic as surrender…surrendering that so-called “right” to tell God where He may or may not interfere in our lives.
Our surrender opens up the limits of our lives to the boundlessness God wants to work out through us. Our surrender opens the window from the here and now into the present kingdom of God, inviting Him to have His way in and through us.
My latest book, The Sacred Shadow, is an invitation to enter into this daily mystery of God’s kingdom…an opportunity to see past our limits into the limitlessness of God and all He is doing and longs to do in our lives. Get your copy here!
Do you ever feel like an opportunity is too much work? Too many hurdles to overcome? It would be better to just skip? Maybe it’s just me.
I knew days before that the meteor shower would happen in the wee hours on Friday morning. But the idea of rousing myself, much less my children, at the insane hour of 1 am was simply too much. So I scratched that off my planner.
We needed our rest, after all.
My husband would be away that night for work, so I wouldn’t have any help dealing with the kids and getting them back to bed.
I don’t function well when I’m tired.
I don’t like the dark…or the grass…or bugs in the grass.
So many excuses…ahem…reasons not to.
By the time Thursday evening rolled around, I’d completely forgotten the foreshadowed night display. But sleep would not come. Hours slipped by. Eyes wide open. A friend posted a song on Facebook that captured my heart – one of my all-time favorites – “Adagio for Strings.” I let the strings lull my body to calm. And at the height of the piece, like a burst of light, my memory jogged. Nearly 1 am and there I lie, wide awake. And I thought…why not?
Pajama-clad, I stepped onto the dark patio and looked up. No streaking meteors. But the stars, they captured me. God stoked my soul with the heavens of His majesty. I couldn’t wait to show the kids!
When I tried to wake them, my daughter, surprisingly, got up quickly, excited, wrapped in her cozy blanket. My son, stuck in his sleep, refused to get up. So, a mommy-daughter date it would be.
The ladies of this house don’t care for the dark. Or shadows. Or unidentifiable night noises. But suddenly none of that mattered as I lay our softest blanket like a bed on the grass. We rested, snuggled, and waited.
In the waiting, I felt my tension. As eyes adjusted to the darkness, I realized my flexed muscles held stiff, my tendency to want to hurry the moment along.
Then I saw it! A shooting star careening through the heavens. My heart leapt in wonder. My body began to relax. There we cuddled together on our blanket-topped grass, watching fiery meteors streak across the night sky – perhaps about 20 flew by during our 45 minutes outside.
What if I had allowed the hurdles to get in the way of that moment with my daughter? What would we have missed out on and not even realized?
In those wee hours of the morning, God captured my heart – so serious and task-oriented of late – and restored a sense of awe. Gazing at the vastness of even that sliver of sky, I sensed my smallness, yet His profound love for me. Hurdles faded away. Excuses evaporated.
And another meteor shot across in blazing glory.
What opportunity stands before you today, just beyond a hurdle? What beauty? What wonder?
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“…[Jesus] cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.'” John 11:43-44 (ESV)
My husband and I stood at an impasse. He longed to move ahead with adoption. I wanted no more than the two kids we already had. My mind was made up after waffling for years.
It hadn’t always been that way. Steve and I had long envisioned a house filled with both biological and adopted children.
But a diagnosis struck during my second pregnancy, making any future attempts potentially deadly. Two kids, 16 months apart, the stress of two in diapers, two potty training, two requiring so much of me while I still reeled from a life-changing diagnosis – I came to believe even one more would be too much. Our dream needed to be buried.
Guilt pressed me. I longed for Steve to understand, to realize that the blessings we already had were enough, to grasp that anything more could push my health over the edge and literally kill me.
And so we lived for several years – teetering between our original dream he refused to release, all the while loving me completely, and the dream I’d placed in the ground and grieved. Disunity gnawed. Fear held me back from nakedly approaching God to hear His heart.
A friend watched my children one day so I could get some work done. After just a couple of hours on my own, I felt the Lord stirring me, drawing me near. It was my lunch break, but food was the last thing on my mind.
Walking to the center of my silent living room, I hit my knees, tears slipping down my face. I finally had the courage to ask the question I’d avoided for so long: “Lord, what’s holding me back from adopting?” His response was swift, kind and loving, yet holding nothing back.
“Fear. And your distrust that I will take care of everything.”
His words struck like a pinprick in my heart, piercing the deepest parts of who I am. A question hovered in that thin place: Would I continue to be ruled by fear, or would I choose to trust Him completely?
In a span of minutes, the buried dream came to life. Everything I’d known five minutes earlier fell away, adamant refusal transformed into exhilarated longing.
When my husband came home, I laid out my resurrection story, giving him the gift of a wife who refused to cower before fear. God performed a miracle before our eyes – hearts reunified, vision restored, hope uplifted.
The Lord knows where our children are. He’ll put all things together in His perfect timing. He’s got this. After all, He’s still raising the dead to life.
Is there a dream you’ve buried? Are you willing to place it before the Lord?
We’d only been dating for three weeks, but Steve had already figured out he was going to marry me. I, on the other hand, was more practical than that. In a few months, I’d be moving to a new city in a new state, a thousand miles away from him. It would be too hard. It was doomed to fail before it began. I was so certain.
It was time to say goodbye. (Continue Reading)
Today, I’m over at Single Matters looking at the impact fear makes on our lives. I almost let fear ruin one of the best things in my life. Are you letting fear make the decisions in your life?
So, life can be difficult sometimes…and a bit mysterious, right? And when I don’t have a clear vision for what I’m doing, it can get downright frustrating.
A few years ago, my hubby and I (finally) agreed that we would homeschool our kids. (By the way, this post is not about whether you should homeschool or not…so don’t stop reading there if you don’t!) I had about zero desire to teach our kids at home at first. I like my alone time…I won’t lie! As much as I love our kids, I’m a much better mom and human being overall if I get some time away. Yep, classic introvert.
But, then I started to pray about it and slowly God started to give me HIS vision for our family and kids’ education.
For kindergarten/pre-school, we’ve basically just “done life”: counting daddy’s vitamins, reading signs and sounding out letters while driving, doing some workbooks here and there, letting them play with magnet letters on the fridge while I cook…and so forth.
But now that we’re approaching the legal requirements of our state for our oldest to enter first grade, I started to panic…”what am I doing?”…”what if I screw it up?”…”what if I can’t figure out what to teach?”…”what if weeks go by and we don’t have a formal lesson?”…and so the hamster wheel of uncertainty and fear spun around.
I told Steve about my uncertainties and all-over-the-place worries. (I’m so thankful he just listened and didn’t reply at that moment! Thanks honey!)
I was searching information for our local public school when the thought dawned on me: “Hey, maybe I should pray!” So, I did. And, I asked my girlfriends to pray too (thanks, you awesome warriors!) Within the hour, He swarmed me with peace. He gave me an answer…yes, His vision for us is to be a homeschooling family. And over the next few days, He gave me one more little step to take…just one at a time. Step 1: Yes, homeschool. Step 2: Use a curriculum. Step 3: Check that book I have been reading and love for suggestions. Step 4: Research options. Step 5: Discuss top option with the hubs and pray. Step 6: Manage to wait until the paycheck has cleared before I rush to order said curriculum and obsessively check the mail everyday until it arrives! And so on…
I am completely amazed that God has brought me from an attitude of complete dread and fear to a place of renewed excitement. And the way He got me there was to give me vision. He spoke into my little life…gave me an answer…and is providing the steps one-by-one. Vision…that’s what I needed.
Yes! That’s it! And I especially love how The Message version phrases this same verse…
I was stumbling all over my fear of lack and inadequacies…But when I paid attention to what God wanted to reveal to me, He gave me what I needed and I feel that blessing not just in my attitude, but especially in the path we are now walking.
What decisions are you facing in your life right now? It may have nothing to do with your child’s education…or it might. But whatever it is, stop and listen to what God has to say about it. Don’t get caught in the torrent of fear. Let Him speak into your situation and give you the next step to take.
Walking out of my office with my family yesterday May 22nd,2013 at 6:47pm, across the street from Southlake Town Square(population not too many, last murder over 15 years ago), we were getting ready for a Daddy/Kiddo date while Mommy had a dinner with the girls. It was just then I heard pop, and I turned around immediately to see where it came from. Looking for a commotion….pop……..pop…pop..pop.pop.pop more shots rang out. The sound was too loud and had a pattern too recognizable to be fireworks. From the distance I was at (about 50 yards) it sounded like a .38, .380, or 9mm.
There were no screams, no squealing tires, no one running away like you would imagine if there was a altercation or what I have come to expect from a drive by. People were not running around in a chaotic fashion afterwards for what seemed to be eternity which made me start to doubt, my assessment of gun fire and then the sound of a heart broken woman in panic for the life of her beloved. I couldn’t see the shooter for the cars in the way, but I did see the panic of a man flagging down a police officer, the officers efficient yet cautious dispatch request and survey of the scene, the panic and heart break of a woman in shock of what just happened and the surreal reaction of the many onlookers. BTW..I had told my wife and kids to get in the van because I didn’t see were the shooter had gone and I needed to be able to have them in a controlled location and able to flee if need be. The ambulance came and went and the hustle of emergency crews grew. It was over, the man had lost his life, we woman had lost her husband, his son lost his dad and the threat was gone…..
“Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep. But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded. So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away. And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing. The righteous shall be glad in the Lord , and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.” Psalms 64:1-10 KJV
Is the threat gone? Is it truly over? The scripture above tells us the wicked are scheming. I love how although the writer does mention the fact that God will take care of our enemies, he is not asking for revenge or retribution, judgement of them or their families. He asks for his Father’s, yours and my father’s, protection. Protection not from the people themselves or their evil schemes, but form that fear associated with the knowledge that they exist. As I started writing this earlier this morning the sound of a police car is ringing in the background.
We live in a world full of spiritual, physical and emotional challenges. Evil’s existence means that for now there will always be threats. Evil is being evil at every moment, not just when we see it, but we do not need to be fearful, bound by that spririt of fear.
“By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment…”1 John 4:17-18A ESV
Who do you know of that lives and strives to cause punishment? It is not God and if you think it is then the Liar has you fooled thinking he is God and I would love to introduce you to the One True God, The Creator and Finisher, The Life and Salvation of the world, Jesus, the perfect love mentioned above, Son of the Great I AM. Remember there is no fear in Love(if you know and Trust Jesus as your savior), because we know we are forever going to be with Him no matter what happens in this life
Please feel free to comment and leave your opinions. If you need help dealing with the situation please feel free to contact us as we can help get you in touch with a great ministry that can walk beside you as you are set free.
“What matters most to you?” When someone asks me this question, I give the answer: “my relationships with God, my husband and my children.” Now, doesn’t that sound sweet? Isn’t that the “right” answer? I now imagine what would happen if that person then asked me to prove it. How do I prove that these relationships are the most important things to me…my greatest priorities in life??
A priority is a thing that is regarded as more important than another (or so my helpful little dictionary tells me!) So, in my mind, I consider that my relationships are more important than, say, being on time for my weekly bible study or doing the laundry or, even sleep, ouch! In my thoughts, this is what is true. But, do my actions prove it?
My actions may actually prove the exact opposite if I’m not intentional about prioritizing my priorities! Sleep may take priority over my time with God in the mornings. Obsessing over the laundry and the “need to clean” may take priority over spending time with my hubby at the end of a long day. Rushing my kids in a tense, no-nonsense voice places my desire for punctuality over my relationship with my kiddos. (Feeling the conviction over here!)
What do your actions reveal about your true priorities? And what does that say about who you are?
And here’s another thought to toss in the mix: do your priorities line up with God’s priorities for you? God has priorities for your life, specific responsibilities that are yours…that He has designed and equipped you for uniquely!
Paul told the Corinthians “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
So, God won’t give us more than we are able to handle…AND…He will give us a way of escape from the temptation to go down the wrong path. Great! Then why do so many of us end up with more than we can handle? If God didn’t give a task to us, that means we just went and picked up something on our own. Somewhere along the way, we decided something looked too good to resist, or we felt obligated to take on a new responsibility. We didn’t stop to ask God His thoughts on the matter…we just figured we could handle it.
Part of the difficulty of living within our priorities is that we take on things because they seem urgent, interesting or required. We feel guilted into making a decision, or fearful that we’ll miss our chance. But God doesn’t work via guilt-trips or fear. He just doesn’t! He does, however, happily and freely give direction and wisdom when we ask for it.
So, if you give prioritized time to things that are on your plate due to fear or a sense of guilt, talk to God about His plan of escape for you. Ask Him what His priorities are for your life right now. What can you let go of that will make more room in your life for your actual priorities?
* This is the first post of the Right Priorities series. Keep watching for more on what challenges we face and must overcome in getting our priorities right!