This month has been good–full of stretches in mostly little ways, some big. It’s been fun to watch myself try new things and to say yes to things without hesitation. It’s been good to peek into my friend’s lives and join them in their normal.
But as I ponder this month and what it means, and think through if it’s changed me at all, I can’t help but think that all these things have been baby steps; baby steps to something more profound.
I feel this pressing in on my heart that God wants more of me, all of me, to be exact–nothing held back. That I can’t keep a little corner of my heart and life for my own comfort and pleasure. That this life is more than trying new things or having new experiences, however wonderful those things are (and they are! definitely some of His sweet gifts to us in this life).
I’m starting to see all these baby steps as something that is leading me to break free of self-imposed constraints that tighten and hold me back from embracing all God wants from me–obedience and love, which is often uncomfortable and squirmy, and many times my flesh just doesn’t want to do it!
I see ways in which my heart tends to look to material things as a source of joy, when the Lord is calling me to set my mind on things above…to have an eternal perspective, because all these earthly things will most certainly pass away. I see God prodding me in the depths of my being to stop resisting His pull–to be something more to my neighbors, to pour forth the love of Jesus from my lips, to give of my time and my self and my closet even, to relinquish the faux grasp I have on the things of this world.
It’s extremely hard to write all this, to sort of lay it all out there, because this is such a process. I find myself resisting sharing some of these things because it’s like once you put it out there, then others are watching, and often there’s judgment and the critical eye (which all too often I’m the culprit of as well). There’s a sense of accountability when you share these things, where if we keep it to ourselves, no one even knows if we are being obedient to the Father or not, and we’re *safe* (but not).
(Ah, but relationship–we aren’t meant to go it alone!)
I’m dealing with my heart these days and the tug of war it seems to be in. The draw towards material things and fitting in with certain types of people, juxtaposed to that small voice that reminds me of the greater things in life that matter–loving Jesus with all my heart and loving my neighbor as myself.
At the deepest part of my being, I know what God wants from me is to see HIS beauty shining through my brokenness, to see HIS beauty in the mundane, and not to be mesmerized with earthly beauty, however much of a blessing it may be (because certainly, beauty on this earth is a gift from God, but it too can become idols of the heart).
To see HIM in the unsightly places of my city, in the uncomfortable places in my neighborhood, in the messy relationships, in the sticky issues of the church. To press into HIM as the beauty and be enamored with it.
I feel my heart being called to daily decide who I will serve. Yes, I’ve made that ultimate decision, but many a day I allow my heart to wander off to the things of this world, instead of seeking to find my contentment in Him and allow Him to work through me in all situations, with all people.
And I so want to present all of me to Him today, and everyday. I don’t want to cling to my things, cling to my earthly dreams, cling to what this world may call success, cling to how other’s think of me. I want to cling to Him and Him only, and I want to let Him shape me and mold me.
What I’m saying is this: there’s more to this comfort zone than meets the eye. God is showing me who I am and revealing my heart to me in a very real way, and I’ll be honest and say I don’t exactly know what to do with what I’m learning, but these are the things I’m pondering. And I’m on the ready for ways He wants to challenge me and stretch me beyond just trying something new.
And as usual, it all points back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and whether or not I’m embracing it myself, and spreading it out there, upon my family, my neighbors, my friends, my community, the neglected and hurting. And whether or not I’m loving the church and doing all this in partnership with them–it’s not a one man show, thankfully!
So today is about clinging to Jesus, and being always on the ready to step out in ways HE wants me to, and skipping over the excuses and just getting straight to the yes.
It kind of reminds me of this old hymn that is kind of goofy and has a repeat line that says, “yes Lord, yes Lord, yes yes Lo-rd…”
How are you being stretched right now?