A ‘Yes’ is a Yield

 

Most of us truly, deep down desire to fully yield our lives to God, surrendering all–all our hopes, dreams, failures, actions, etc… We try to “accommodate” God by adding Him into our lives and trying to do what He wants us to do. However, in that process I have found in my life that I end up trying to push God in a direction instead of yielding to God’s direction.

I have had a journey with God asking me to do things that are difficult for me to say “yes” to. Difficult because of my lack of confidence, fear and insecurity. When I do say yes to God, I usually still try to make it happen my own way, find a way to make it feel less risky, and maybe even attempt to control how the whole thing goes. I am learning in these processes that I am pushing and not yielding.

When we say “yes” in obedience to God,that yes is yield and not a push. Saying yes to God doesn’t mean we have to jump in and start making things happen, and telling God what we want Him to do. Its yielding. It’s praying, “Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done here Lord.” It’s praying for what He wants, and not necessarily what we want. And sometimes it doesn’t make sense to us. Even when it doesn’t make sense, yielding is allowing God to lead instead of trying to take over, or push our way.

God recently showed me how I do this pushing-what-I-want-thing while I was dealing with Chloe getting ready for school one day this week.

We had five minutes to get out the door to head to school. Which meant it was time to put her coat on, then backpack, then pick up the lunch box and water bottle. This sounds fairly simple, but no. It never is. This time she really wanted to wear this Mickey Mouse scarf/hat thing.  She was really focused on wanting that. I knew that should be the last thing to put on. I knew where it was. It was by the door on the way out.

We were in the kitchen and I needed her to put on her heavy coat first, then her back pack, then pick up her lunch and water, then I would lead her to that last step. As we stood in the kitchen, I kept saying, “Please put your coat on.” To which she would say in desperation, “BUT I WANT TO WEAR THE MICKEY THING.”  It kept going back and forth with, “Yes, you can have it, just put your coat on,”  “but can I have the Mickey thing now?!”

I had a process in my head that would lead her to what she wanted, but she wouldn’t take the first step. Finally I said in a slightly (or majorly) frustrated tone, “Chloe just put your coat on and I will lead you to the scarf and hat. It’s at the backdoor and you have to have your coat and backpack on first before we leave to get it. Just do this first step, and I will take you to what you need.”

Literally as those words came out of my mouth, I began to chuckle because it was as if God was saying them to me. I realized at the moment I act like Chloe was acting all the time with God. He is leading me step-by-step to those desires HE has put in my heart, to the dreams HE has called me to, but I want to skip steps. I want to be in charge. I want to tell Him that I don’t want to do this specific thing right now, I want that. He is whispering, “Yes I know what you need, but just take this step right now, and I am leading you to that.”

Just like I had the plan mapped out in my head that was best for Chloe, so God has the same mapped out that’s best for me. I can’t see it all the time. I don’t know the all steps He has planned, but if I will just take each step as He put it in front of me, He will lead me to what I need.

God is so gracious to be patient with us–to walk us through step-by-step, helping us to obey. Even when we act like our children at times.Image-1

The struggle with timing…

 

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven….

Ecclesiastes 3:9-15 “What do people really get for their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet, God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I have concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. 

And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken away from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear Him. What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.

Discontentment has already made an attempt to sink in a little bit. It’s really hard to pray those big prayers, dream big with God, and allow Him to drop those God-sized dreams in your heart to build His Kingdom, and not get disillusioned waiting on His timing. It’s exciting to yield your mind, your heart, your schedule and plans to God’s purposes, but it feels dissatisfying, restless, and unfulfilling to wait, and wait, and wait.

If we are being honest here, it’s really hard to continue to wait expectantly, and joyfully, with increased faith when you see nothing new happening.

Psalm 5:3 says, “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I lay my requests to You, and wait expectantly.”

The struggle and balance between laying down your life daily for God’s plans in your life and getting frustrated with waiting on God’s timing is real. We want to tell God what to do and when to do it (or at least I do). I do it all the time — not on purpose or with intentional disrespect — but it happens. As I was talking to God about all of this today (and maybe complaining a little), He led me to the book of Ecclesiastes to gently remind me that to everything there is a season in life. And He makes those seasons beautiful in His own timing. And not to get all worked up and impatient because He can actually handle it all and is, most definitely, still in charge of all my stuff.

The most interesting part of that passage in Ecclesiastes to me was the end of chapter 3, verse 15 that says, “God makes the same things happen over and over again.” I have read that before, but today it made a great impact. Nothing is new to God. Nothing is hard for God. He has done it all in the past before, and already knows what He is going to do in the future. He’s got it covered. Sure, its hard to wait, but I am learning (and will continue to have to learn this) to hold onto His mercies that are new every morning to guide me, and give me peace, patience, strength and grace when the waiting is hard.

And as I struggled with all of this today, God brought me full circle by reminding me that those who wait on the Lord shall be renewed in their strength (Isaiah 40:31) Funny how just talking to God a little while, dwelling in His presence and letting Him into our thought processes separates truth from feelings, and brings exactly the right Word at the right time.

“Lord, continually help me each morning to lay my requests out to you, and enable me to keep waiting expectantly with an open heart, full of faith, knowing You are working on our behalf. Help me to keep trusting fully that Your ways are best.”

Image-1

Emmanuel

I love all things Christmas. Christmas is my favorite time of the entire year. I love the anticipation of Christmas Day, and I always hate for Christmas to end. I love the trees, ornaments, decorations, making cookies, shopping, wrapping presents, movies–all of it! But most of all, I love my Savior, who came from a perfect Heaven to this Earth, filled with us imperfect humans, to save us. I don’t really ever forget that part during Christmas, but I find that it does get overlooked and pushed to the back burner. It takes effort to bring Jesus back into the forefront of Christmas and center stage of it all.

As I celebrated Christmas, I took a moment before Christmas Sunday to remind myself and my girls that Jesus is Emmanuel–He really is God with us. And that is a big deal. He is here with us, all of the time.

And He’s not only with us, but He is for us. He is on our side. He is working on our behalf and already gone before us to make our paths straight.

Psalm 18:30-36 says it this way, “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true….v. 33 God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bow. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.”

That’s what I need for 2016. I need Him to make me surefooted, to train my hands and make a wide path to keep my foot from slipping.

It’s easy to celebrate Emmanuel as “God with us” at Christmastime, but we cannot forget that as we enter 2016. He will be with us every single day throughout the entire next year. And if He is with us, then we can remember that Hebrews says He also cares enough to respond to us as we seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6 MSG).  And as we seek Him first, we can remember that the prayers of the righteous produce wonderful results.

Armed with those truths, we can have great anticipation of what God can do through our lives in 2016.  Our plans and dreams should reflect that great anticipation as well! As we, and the rest of the world, make resolutions and take inventory of our lives, lets make plans that are bigger than ourselves.  Our dreams and goals should be bigger than we can accomplish in our strength.  They should make us uncomfortable, and maybe even embarrass us if we say them out loud. After all, we aren’t here very long on this Earth compared to eternity and I want 2016 to count for God and His Glory in this short life that I have.

Let’s all let God drop some dreams into our hearts that HE wants to accomplish this year through us. Let’s stop asking God for what we want and start asking God for what HE wants for our lives.

 

 

Perfectly Weak

 

Sometimes we do something we don’t want to, or think we can’t do, because God asks us to.  2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that we have not been given a spirit of fear/timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. I often find myself leaning on my own nature of fear and timidity and not operating out of that power God’s nature gives me. When He asks me to do things that I think are scary, I have to choose to operate in His strength and not in my weaknesses. I have been so keenly aware of my weaknesses each time God asks me to take a risk and step out in obedience so much so that I have shrunk back from obeying Him.  I have decided to stop letting fear dictate what I say yes to from God, and rest perfectly weak in His Strength that is perfected in my weakness.

As God has asked me to begin writing (which I think I can’t do) and then sharing the writing (which is really scary for me) I have resisted and put it off. So much so, He has nudged and pushed so hard that I can no longer say no. He has even revealed to me, through a study of the book of James, that it is sin to know what I ought to do, and not do it (James 4:17). It is not humility to tell God that I can’t do what He asks me to do because I am too weak, untalented or afraid. It is disobedience. So, with great trembling, I have begun this blog. I am writing from a place of weakness that I might spur someone else to do the same in their life with their own gifts. I am writing from weakness to produce God’s strength in my life.

I have a passion to help others develop their gifts God has placed in their lives to use for Him and His glory, yet I have been dragging my feet using mine. I find it funny, and ironic, that the verse right before 2 Timothy 1:7 (saying I have do not have a spirit of fear) then instructs us to fan into flame the gift of God.  God must’ve known that it can be daunting to step out into obedience and fan that flame, so He had to follow that up with reminding us we can do it with His power, love and sound mind. He must’ve known that Satan would try to use his scare tactics to prevent us from obeying God and taking risks for Him. So I launch this blog to fan the flame of the gifts God has entrusted into my life, I encourage you to do the same. In this culture of self-promotion, and the building of our own kingdoms, I seek to make myself smaller and myself less known, so that HE can be bigger in my life, and more known in what I do.  I do not start this blog out of self-promotion, but in God-promotion. I truly desire to share what He gives me to share, with the intention to push us all towards serving God with our gifts in such a way that we are stretched way out of our comfort zones to make His name famous and change this world. I do this to serve God with all that I have –  to be full on committed to do what God asks me to do even if it scares me.

My usual pattern is to care what others think, and then shrink back from the task. And recently we had a women’s event at our church that was way bigger than what we had planned for. That is amazing, right?! My husband kept saying, “not enough seats and not enough food is a good problem to have.” Well, one morning driving in the car I wasn’t feeling that was a good problem to have. I started whining to God that this had gotten too big for me to do and that I was overwhelmed. After the long whine session, He said to me, “How many times have you asked me to be a part of something bigger than yourself?”

That’s when I said, “I’m in God.” And I am. I am in for allowing God to do things that are bigger than I can accomplish in my life by myself. So let’s do this together. Let’s be full on committed to fan the gifts of God into flames in our lives and not be afraid or held back from taking the God-sized risks to be obedient when He calls us to step out in faith. All of us together, using our own unique gifts and abilities fearlessly can become a great army for God.

Ezekial 37:1-14 says, ”

The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones.  He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”

“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”

Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord!  This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again!  I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”

So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.