Worth It All

God has really been pressing into my heart lately.  I feel him stirring my desires for something big.  Something big for Him. I feel like He is preparing me for something that He is going to ask me to do, and He knows me so well, that He knows I’ll be scared.

He is putting all of these people, and writers, and singers, and pastors, and books, and verses in my path to speak His truth to my heart to push me into a place where I’m able to accept His call for my life.

I know He is asking me to step out on that limb, the one I’ve been so scared to step out on, but I HAVE to live my life for Him.  There is no other choice.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with Him lately, a lot of much needed catch up time.  It’s so tender and gentle, yet encouraging and incredibly convicting.  I know I have to obey, so why don’t I?  Every. Single. Day.  Why?

Jesus is speaking to me in so many different ways right now, and I know I just need to trust Him, and obey Him.  That’s it.  He’s got the rest.  It’s never up to me, and it never will be.

In light of all of this, a friend posted this song on Facebook tonight and it really touched my heart.  Jesus wanted me to hear it tonight, because after all…He IS worth it all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=dg7h6GiNTLg

Fear

I’m actually going through two Bible Studies right now.  This week’s chapter in each study was on Fear.  I think God is trying to tell me something.  In fact, I know He is trying to tell me something.  While working through Fear, I came across this awesome video by Francis Chan.  I’ve seen it many times, and you probably have too.  But it’s SO good and so inspiring.  Please watch it again.  I do NOT want to cling to the balance beam my whole life.   I want to actually use the skills that God gave me,  and dismount with confidence when it’s time for judgement.  How about you?

Loving Others Radically

What does that look like?  Loving others radically.  It sounds a little overwhelming and intimidating if I’m honest.   But I want to live that way.   Last week our Bible Study challenged my small group college girls to go out and love others radically.  Last night they came back with some great and inspirational stories.

One of the girls just started talking to a guy in her dorm that was always alone.  She said he seemed a little different and was never really talking to anyone else.  He plays the piano, so one day she just started talking to him and he invited her to come sit down and listen to him play the piano.  They are now friends, so the speak, and she says hi and makes a point to talk to him.  Who knows what that has done for him, but she made the effort and got uncomfortable to make someone feel loved.

Another one of the girls saw a woman crying  in a parking garage and just went and sat by her and asked the woman if she could pray for her.  The lady was an older woman, maybe in her 50’s and told this young lady she was surprised to hear that from someone so young.   They prayed together and then parted ways.  Only God knows how that affected that woman, but it might have been just what she needed.  Instead of just avoiding the lady and staying comfortable, this young lady did something, she didn’t say no to the Holy Spirit.  She loved someone radically right where she was.

We have to remember that God loves us radically and through that we need to be sharing that love with others. Every single day.  I know I need to work on this.  I need to search out those opportunities and just let the Holy Spirit lead me.  That is how we glorify God and further His Kingdom.

What are you afraid to give up?

Last night during my Young Life small group meeting we talked about Jesus asking his disciples (Peter in particular) to leave everything to follow Him.  He asks the same of us, but fear holds us back sometimes.  Fear of being uncomfortable.   What are we most of afraid of letting go of?

Think about that for a minute.  What is the first thing you think of as you imagine Jesus knocking on your door telling you that you need to come with Him….and leave everything.  Every single thing and person.  Can you imagine?

For me, it was my family.  I really can’t imagine life without them.  However, if I had to choose, I would choose Jesus.  I would walk out the door behind Him.  Because without Him, my life is nothing.

The point isn’t to sit around scared that He is going to ask you to leave your family because odds are, He won’t.  The point is to put in perspective what it means to follow His lead.   Obeying God should be our #1 priority.  Period. 

It should come before your comforts, your to-do lists, your schedules, your hobbies, your job,  your friends and even your family at times.  Making time for, talking to, listening to and obeying Jesus should be your #1 priority.  Today. Tomorrow. Everyday. 

What if at the top of your to-do list every single day you wrote “Obey Jesus” as #1?   Think how that could change your perspective, your priorities, your focus and your life.

For Such A Time As This

I’ve been a Christian now since 2005 and ever since God and I started getting to know each other, He has been putting on my heart that His plan for me is to work with young women.  For many of those years I just felt this on my heart,  and had no clue how it was going to happen or what it would look like.  Basically I had no idea where to begin.

Well, as always, God knew what He was doing all along.  He has literally been preparing me for “such a time as this” for really my entire life.   And the past few years He has been preparing my heart.   Last night began this journey for me.  The one God has been preparing me for.  I sat among 600+ college freshman at UT at a Young Life Club meeting late last night in a huge lecture room on UT’s campus.   It was incredible.  That’s all I can say.

I looked around the room and thought…wow!  All of these 18-year-old kids have their entire futures in front of them.  If only they could fully understand how much Jesus loves them and what they can do for Him if they just give their lives to Him now.  Not wait until they are 34 to do so, like I did. 

However, as I looked around the room and thought that, I knew exactly why God had chosen me to do this.  Because I can share with them the reasons God asks us to obey Him.  I can give them real and painful examples of what happens when we don’t.  I can also share with them what Grace really means and what it looks like.   I knew in those moments last night that I was there for a very specific reason and God planned it a long time ago.  And now it was so much clearer to me.

At church yesterday, Matt Carter said exactly that.   That we are here and live where we live because God planned it to be that way.  There is no other reason.  It is not an accident, it was planned.

Let me illustrate that a little bit.  Brian and I made some decisions last year that were made for a few particular reasons (or so we thought), but now I can see God orchestrating it all the entire time.  We sold our house and planned to move to Central Austin, the we got involved with a new church in Central Austin.  In doing so, I met someone who led  me to  College Young Life and the person in charge of the girl’s small groups (after a year of going to this new church).  Then my church merges with the largest college age church body in our city at the very same time I’m about to begin this journey.  

So, let me go over that again.   I now literally live 4 minutes from the UT campus,  my church has now merged  (as of 2 weeks ago) with the church that has the highest # of UT students, and I am now (as of two days ago) going to be a small group leader for College Young Life.    Happenstance?  I think not.  I know not.  God had this all in his back pocket way before he even put one teeny notion of working with young women on my heart. 

Today I will receive my list of girls.  The young women that will be in my small group.   I will have the opportunity to meet these girls next week and then love on them , guide them, share the love of Jesus with them, and be there for them for the next 4 years of their lives.  I cannot wait. 

God knows what He is doing.  Trust Him every step of the way. 

He will prepare you and when the time comes, you will also think to yourself that you are where you are  “for such a time as this”.  Just like Esther.

When God puts something on your heart, it’s not your job to think of the ways to get there.  Just listen and obey.  Do the next thing.  He won’t give you the destination, He’ll only give you the next leg of the trip.  Follow Him.

God Provides

I’m continually amazed with God and how He provides for us. One day I’ll have to write out our saga with money and how God has saved us so many times. The secret is to just trust Him. That’s it.

That’s what Brian and I have done over and over. We have gone through some times where we could’ve been really depressed, or gripped with fear. It could’ve made us fight and created tension between us. However, we refused for that to happen. We were determined to continue to trust God with everything we had and to continue tithing, just like He says to do. We have tested Him like he instructs us to do in the book of Malachi, and ever time, He has come through.

Whenever we need to pay something big, he comes through with money we weren’t expecting. I’m encouraging you to let go of fear and trust God with any money issue you have. Trust Him and continue to obey Him and tithe. You will be amazed, I promise.

For I Know The Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ”  Jeremiah 29:11

This is one of my favorite verses, it’s so comforting and reassuring.  God cares enough about me to have plans for my life, and He actually thinks that what I do can be important….for His kingdom.  Those thoughts alone could get me through each day. 

Today during my quiet time God spoke this verse to me through the Holy Spirit.   At the end of my prayer to Him I sat quiet.  Which is what I always do.  I wait, very quietly to hear what He has to tell me.  And after I prayed for my job and for Brian’s job and what God has in store for us, all I heard was this verse and it gave me hope for sure.

It strengthens my trust in Him, when I’m reminded all I have to do is trust Him. 

God has put on my heart a few to-do’s for Him.  At least as of now, I believe this is where He is leading me.  I’m working on them and as it unfolds I will know for sure if I’m headed in the right direction.  For now, He just wants me to respond and obey to where I feel led and that’s what I plan to do. 

I’ll explain more later, when it’s time.  For now, I need to get busy with the “plans” God has for me.

Lukewarm

I take really hot showers.  I just like the water really hot. I notice my back is red sometimes when I get out of the shower because the water was so hot during my shower.   But that’s how I like it.  I think if you are going to take a shower, it should be HOT water.  It’s relaxing to me and it just feels right.  Lukewarm is irritating to me.  I hate how it feels.  I would rather just not take a shower then have the water be lukewarm.

This is how Jesus feels about some of us.  It’s irritating to him when we are lukewarm Christians. Which means we do a few things here and there that do obey God, but we aren’t ALL IN.  We are just lukewarm. We aren’t on FIRE with passion for Christ and wanting to live every single day with Him and for Him. 

Jesus actually says if we are lukewarm Christians, he wants to “spit us out of his mouth”.  Yikes.  That makes me cringe and it stirs some pretty strong convictions inside of me. 

A lot of times we cling to things that are not of God, that are not glorifying God in some way.  We cling to what is comfortable and safe and “feels good”.  That is when we are lukewarm about our faith. 

When we want God to fit into our lives, we are lukewarm. 

When we let God run our lives, and trust him completely with every single thing, we are All In.  When we are willing to get very uncomfortable on a constant basis ,then we are All In.    We are hot and that is where God wants us.  Not because He needs us, but because THAT is where we will find all the joy God has in store for us.  Having lukewarm faith will get you lukewarm results.

I need to turn up the heat and keep it there.

Obeying God

My pastor and his wife are good friends of mine.  I love them, and I’m so inspired by them.  They are such obedient followers of Christ.  Even when it’s scary and unknown they tackle it knowing it’s where God is leading them.  That’s tough sometimes, well actually a lot of the time.  Let this be an inspiration to you.

This is Jennie’s blog .  The video is of their family meeting their new son, Cooper,  for the first time in Rwanda.  God started this process in their hearts about 2 1/2 years ago…please read what Jennie has written in this post and watch the video.  You will be convinced, once again, that God really does  have a plan for all of us.  We just have to obey.

http://jennieallen.com/adoption/beautiful-things/

Worry

Why do we worry, when God tells us not too?  Who knows.  I do know that I’ve gotten so much better about this and that is partly due to my husband. 

I just go over things that I have to do or haven’t done in my head.  Over and over and over.  It’s exhausting at times.  I’m always thinking of what I still have left to do.  Why?

Something I started doing as a teenager is still very helpful today and I’ve even suggested it to friends.  Write down your worries.  It sounds simple and maybe even a little elementary, but it works.  I promise.   This is what I do.

1.  I make a list of everything that is on my mind at the moment.  Listing out all of my worries (silly or not)

2.  I look back over the list and one by one add logic to the equation and out to the margin I write a solution.  For ex: If one of my worries was “I won’t finish my project in time”.  Then next to that I would probably write that I just need to develop a plan, set aside time and worst case find out if it could be extended. 

3.  After I’ve written solutions to each “worry” I look back over the list.  It takes away a LOT of the stress. 

I believe that letting things float aimlessly around in our heads is so detrimental.   When they are ambiguous, that is so much worse.  Take them out of your head, write them down on paper and look at them.  Face them, be real about them and dissolve the worry. 

We can only do so much in one day and God NEVER intended for us to carry around the weight of worry…especially about our to-do list. 

He wants us to forget our to-do list and worry about His.