February 2013Walking Worthy: February 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Learning Along the Way


In the midst of mess, chaos, and wreckage I am trying to figure out what does God want from me. What is the outcome of it all? How is my life supposed to change as a result of all that God is showing me. As I am reading 7 and pondering it all, I cannot help but wonder, Jen how did this ultimately change your life? I see how God spoke to you each month, but what was the final outcome? When 7 was finished how did it change the way you live? Maybe, she gets there in the end, but you see I haven’t finished the book yet. My other struggle has been, what about these 7 areas Jen talks about. Should I follow in her steps and do them? I tend to be legalistic my nature, but I do not want to do something just to do it and have no heart change at the end. So I’ve thought and pondered and wanted to share some of the things I am learning. Some of the ways I am trying to practice the principles in 7.
As a foundation, I am learning that my focus must change. I have spent much time focusing on myself: Clothes, my nice apartment, protecting my time, etc. And I need to place my focus on things that are outside of myself. Ultimately that is what I feel God calling me to. To be willing to step outside myself. To spend less time and money on me and more time and money on others.
So how do I do that? What does that look like? Well, I don’t have it all figured out. But one thing that I know is that God is asking me to spend more of my time disciplining others. If you know me, you know that discipleship has always been my heart beat. I whole-heartedly believe that we are missing the call of the Great Commission when we share the gospel and puff up with pride that someone “accepted Christ”. We stop there and people get tossed by the wayside because we don’t teach them anything other than they need Jesus. I have been complaining about this fact for many years. I am looking at my small group at church and realizing that they are seniors and they don’t know Truth(as in the Bible), they can’t study their Bible on their own. And I am fearful for them to leave and go out on their own, without any Biblical foundation to stand on.  And as I complain and shutter in fear I hear Jesus (in my face) whispering in my ear “Oh yeah, so what are you gonna do about it?” Mostly when God talks to me it a massive blow to the head. Once I came out of the sheer surprise to what God was saying, I decided it is time for me to actively take a part in the problem. I honestly feel foolish for waiting so long.  But I know that God is more than capable of filling in the gaps of my foolishness. So, after Spring Break, I will be starting a Bible Study for the senior girls at my church along with the college girls my hubby is minister over. And I am SO excited. I can seriously hardly wait.
I have also been dealing with the “junk” around my apartment. I keep asking myself “where did this come from?” and then I realize, “Umm dummy you bought it.” I have been purging my apartment like crazy. Looking for anything that I can get rid of. Asking myself why I’ve held on to some of these things so long. And I realize, that I have allowed myself to be attached to stuff. I wouldn’t call myself a hoarder, no I am a saver. Doesn’t that sound better? Well, that “saving” has gotten me more things than I know what to do with. We live in a one bedroom apartment and ya’ll some of this stuff has got to go!! So this weekend I am having a garage sale with my SIL and MIL. And it’s GOING!!! I am also dealing with “junk” in other ways. I spent a couple of nights cleaning up my recipe board on Pinterest. I had SO many recipes I could never find the ones I wanted. (Dear makers of Pinterest, please create an easier way of re-organizing our boards. This one-by-one moving thing is for the birds!) I am also trying to be more conscious about what I pin so as to not have the same problem again. I’ve also struggled with emotional junk (um yeah that was my last post), and the physical junk at my desk at work. I actually took down everything in my cubical and completely re-did it (Cost: $0 because I used stuff I already had that I remembered I had when I began the purge at home).
God’s kingdom must be my focus. I know you are probably SO tired about hearing the word kingdom. I’m honestly kind of tired of hearing it myself. But God continues to bring it to my mind via: sermons, songs, conversations, blogs, FB, etc. I just cannot get away from it. I know God wants more of Him and less of me. I know I have been way too focused on myself. I am praying that my kingdom will continue to be exposed and that His kingdom will become the center of who I am.
I know this is just the beginning. I know that God is asking me to stop, think, pray, and be more intentional. I know that I often get in the way. I am so grateful I am not in it alone. He is right here with me, getting in my face, calling me to Him, and reshaping me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beautiful Mess

I have been such a mess this week. For about half a week I have been this bumbling emotional volcano. And I fear it’s written all over my face. Monday morning I felt like I should wear a sign that says: “Please do not hug me, ask me how I am, or show other signs of sympathy or I will cry.”
 
I sat with my journal and wrote out every emotion I was feeling. I laid it all out there on paper. I wrote down how each emotion made me feel about myself. And in that I sought the Lord. I asked Him to remind me that He is enough. I asked Him to be my source of identity instead of these sometimes superficial things that make me angry. I asked Him to help me show forgiveness and to walk in forgiveness instead of anger. I admitted that I did not want to forgive many of these things because I felt that somehow my feelings would be invalidated. He whispered my need to forgive again. I asked Him for the strength to do it because I know I do not have in within myself.
 
I am a complete mess and somehow I know that is okay. As I stood in church on Sunday two significant songs where played back to back that I had been thinking about last week. In those moments God whispered, I am here in the midst of the mess. I have not forgotten you, you are seen and known and loved deeply. I sat down and thanked Him for meeting me in the middle of my mess. And I was reminded, that I do not have to be all cleaned up to come to Him. I do not have to wear a brave face. I can come to Him in the midst of my mess. And I am learning that sometimes the mess is beautiful. It brings me to a place of humility before God where I remember how desperately I need Him. I am reminded that I am not super human. I cannot do it all, nor do I really want to.
 
This week I have been listening to my favorite Lindsey Kane song called “The Valley.” The phrases “You didn’t take me out of it, but you joined me in it; you didn’t lift me out of it, but you lifted me up in it; You didn’t pull me out of it, but you pulled me toward You in it.” and “Where would I be without Your sovereignty” are ringing true in my head. That’s is exactly where I have been. I’m in the midst of my mess, but God has not left me. He has joined me in it, lifted me up in it, and pulled me toward Him in it.
 
Here in the mess I am being pulled toward Him. I am being heated up like gold when it is purified. As the heat rises all the impurities rise to the top and are skimmed off. In the end, the gold becomes more precious, because it is more pure. All the emotion I am feeling and dealing with is the impurity in my life. It is all rising to the top as God allows the heat to be turned up hotter and hotter. As the heat rises, God is exposing my sin and making me deal with it. And in that, He is making me more like Him. It’s slow, it’s painful, it may mean more messy, but beautiful days ahead.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Kingdom Bashing


Oh and the Kingdom bashing continues dear friends. I seriously cannot get away from this word kingdom. It’s been a week. Full of emotion (not the good kind) and tears (again not the good kind). 
Here is my latest kingdom issue: Feeling appreciated. I often struggle with feeling appreciated, in pretty much every area of my life. I work in one of those jobs where I often go unseen. Normally, I really don’t mind. But after a big project, a “thank you” or a “good job” sure feel nice. The story goes on and on. It carries over into every crevice of my life. After awhile it starts to make a girl feel taken for granted. All of that came to head this week. I became an emotional volcano ready to erupt at any point. 
As I was talking it out with my husband this morning. He looked at me and said. Have you considered that this process of getting rid of the junk in your life is not only physical, but also emotional. He encouraged me to consider other “junk” that I might be carrying in my mind or heart. Then he prayed over me as I cried (I told you, emotional mess). 
As I have begun to consider what my husband had to say I am realizing that being appreciated falls directly under me trying to run my own kingdom. You see, the Queen has needed what most queens want. To be loved and adored. To be lavished upon. And ya’ll I am realizing just how much this world has gotten in my head. How I have allowed the ways and the thoughts of the world to be my own. It reminds me of James 4: 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.The word friendship is a pretty cool world, it means to adapt someone’s thoughts or ways as your own. And then that word hostility, man it means to willing set yourself up against.  And that is where I find myself, I am willing setting myself up against God because I have become a friend of the world. I have allowed the thoughts and ways of the world to become my own. 
That is a hard pill to swallow. In fact I’d rather just ignore it. So how do I reconsider my ways of thinking about feeling appreciated? Well, first I have to remember that my worth is not found me, but in Christ. He is the one who brought me from death to life. He made me a new creation. He has adopted me into His Kingdom(not made me the mini Queen of my own kingdom). So my response must be to run to Him. Seek Him. He must be my source of affirmation. I also have to constantly keep my mind in check. I have to be aware of where my focus is. So I did something to help myself. I created this for my desk. 

It is a daily reminder that it is HIS Kingdom, not mine. Finally I have to let scripture rule and reign over my thoughts and emotions. I have to remember that Jesus did not promise us a life of roses and sweet encouragements. He promised us this life would be hard. He also promised us that we would not be alone in the midst. 
So that is where I am today. I don’t have it all together. I don’t have it figured out. I am sure I will still feel under valued many days to come. I am sure I will still seek the approval and affirmation of men some days instead of seeking those things from God. I am sure that God will continue to take the battering ram after my little kingdom. I am sure there is more pain, emotion, frustration to come. I’m so glad God has not left me alone in the midst of it all!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Full Disarray

Hey Friends,

Now that God has opened my eyes regarding my own kingdom building I am asking Him to show me how He wants me to live out the 7 experiment in my own life. It may be the way Jen Hatmaker did it, it may not. I want to leave the door open to what God has for me and what He wants to teach me.

Man, the kingdom I have tried to build. It’s kind of disgusting. In many ways Hobby Lobby has contributed to my idolatry. I also have worshipped often at Ann Taylor Loft.

Currently my apartment is in full disarray. There are clothes, wall art, and other things in piles all over my apartment. I’m looking for some boxes to put them all in.  A huge part of the problem is that I am very sentimental. I have always had a hard time getting rid of things because someone gave it to me, or I bought it for such and such occasion. Purging is a process for me. Every day I walk into my closet looking for something else to move to the end of the rack for the garage sale. The biggest offender? T-shirts. I serve in the student ministry at my church. I have SO MANY t-shirts. And it’s hard because I feel attached to them. Guys, I have so many t-shirts they don’t even fit in one drawer. It’s embarrassing.

Here are the things that are in the works:
  • Purging my house of idols that I have used to build my own kingdom
  • Organizing said idols into a garage sale
  • Praying through how to use any money I earn
  • Praying through what this process of 7 will look like in my life.
  • Encouraging my hubby to join me in the process. God is doing so much in my heart, I don’t want to guilt anyone into joining me. I want it to be work that God is doing in their lives too!
In the midst of it all. I am trying to slow down and allow God to infect my heart and change it. I’m trying to seek Him instead of stuff. Here is what I am realizing; even in those desires and actions I am trying to make the change happen and well, I don’t have it in me. I am not strong enough to stand firm against the ways of the World. I need Jesus to take over, give me strength, renew my mind and heart. I cannot do it on my own. And that my friends is the point. God is asking me to seek Him, to trust Him, and to surrender all of me at His feet where He can take the mess of me and my kingdom and create something bigger and better than anything I could dream or imagine. My house and my heart is in full disarray and I am sure that is exactly where God wants me.

 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wrecked for the Kingdom

The past few weeks God has really been dealing with me. It began with my general disgust toward the clutter in our (the hubby and I's) apartment. While visiting a friend's new house I was comforted by the simple decor in her house. It was beautiful and clean and sleek. It honestly was so soothing to me. We came home to our one bedroom apartment (I love our apartment by the way) and it seemed like there was clutter and chaos everywhere. It grossed me out!

Then two weeks of me being sick during the weekend allowed the chaos to grow along with the laundry and the dust on my furniture.

Along the way I have been reading my friend Heather's blog. She was reading this book I had been hearing about called Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. Initially, I was opposed. It seemed like pure legalism to me, and I was not up for that! But then my friend just kept writing and ya'll it starting getting to me. What she was writing about was real and honest. It has nothing to do with legalism and it intrigued me and messed with me at the same time.

Between my friend's blog and the growing chaos of stuff around me I just about lost it. I texted my friend and told her she was getting to me and that I was exhausted by the junk around me. She so sweetly encouraged me to read the book. She even added me to a Facebook group she started for others reading the book. I am so grateful to be apart of a group of ladies trying to walk in transparency.

Well this weekend I walked into a book store and ya'll I bought that book. I started reading it yesterday. I've already read two chapters, and I would like to share with you something that is sticking out to me.

Jen Hatmaker's book covers seven months of fasting. She fasts in different ways, mostly by reducing down to 7 things each month (7 foods, 7 pieces of clothing, etc). As I have been reading one phrase she says has really gotten under my skin.

"Jesus, may there be less of me and my junk and more of You and Your kingdom."

WOW big slap in the face right there. Less of me and my junk is something I have been desiring. In fact I have been craving a more simplistic lifestyle and home. But to be frank with you I hadn't thought about more of God's kingdom. I have only considered my little kingdom that I have been creating and wanting to clean it up and clear it out. Often our world encourages the creating of our little kingdoms. I mean seriously, have you seen Pinterest? What about Facebook? They are all about building your own kingdom and making yourself known. Man I totally missed it you guys! I've missed the whole point!

And in that God is dealing with me. He is in my face and asking to dust out the recesses of my heart. And I am so uncomfortable with it all. This morning I walked around my apartment in disgust with myself. I immediately started opening drawers and clearing out my clothes. Yes I still have things to wear, but gosh there is so little that I actually wear, it's ridiculous!

As uncomfortable as I currently am, I know that the uncomfort has only begun. God is wrecking my life for His Kingdom. I am terrified. I have no idea what is ahead and no idea of what God is going to do in my heart, my home, my marriage. But at the same time I am excited to hear from the Lord. I know it is when we are most uncomfortable that we see that God is truly enough in our lives. I pray that I am strong enough to walk in obedience. Until then stay tuned for I am sure there is more wreckage in my future. May there me less of me and More of Him!