Hiding

I began last year by writing this goal for myself,

“Don’t be afraid of what people think. Don’t be afraid to look stupid for trying and failing, and don’t be stupid and let what other people think about me keep me from obeying God.”

That’s been in my journal over a year now, and guess what I still struggle with? Being afraid of what people think. However, God has really been chipping away at this in my life for the past year. I have not perfected this (as if perfection is attainable) but I am getting better.

I tend to hide. I prefer to stay in the background, to keep what God has put inside me quiet, and not seek attention. I also tend to think what I have to offer is less than, and not really noteworthy. So, with all that combined inside my head, when God asks me to put myself out there and use what He has given me for His Sake, my initial thought is to hide.

In the last several months, God has been increasingly confronting this in my life. He has revealed to me that this is not humility–it is disobedience.  (Ouch)

Not doing what God asks me to do because I am afraid of what others think or think I am not worthy to do it–is, in fact, disobedience. It’s hiding from God’s purpose in my life. It is allowing fear to hinder me from accomplishing my purpose.

Once I fully grasped that thought, it made me mad. How many times have I drug my feet obeying what God asks me to do because of these thoughts,

“Oh, I can’t do that.”

“What will people think about that?” (who are these “people” I am afraid of anyway?!)

“What if people think, ‘Who does she think she is for thinking she can do that’?”

“What if I stink at that?”

“What if I offend someone?”

I realized that all those thoughts are just roadblocks to true obedience.  I realized that line of thinking is inward focused and performance based. It’s a need to please.

God has reassured me that anything He asks us to do is to bring glory to His Name and to help and minister to others. People need what all of us have to offer. We are Christ’s hands and feeds and words of encouragement to those around us. We can’t hide that. We can’t let being afraid of what others think keep us from our purpose. Instead, we must care so much what God thinks and run after what He calls us to do, no matter what people think. Be God pleasers.

When God finds me hiding, the question I have heard Him whisper to me is, “Why are you afraid to be you?” Ever find yourself feeling that way?  I know we are all different personalities with different types of leadership qualities, so some of you might think that’s just mousy and timid. But we are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) as God’s masterpiece created to do good that He prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

So again, this January I am going to write the statement that I started 2015 with and just go for it. Run. Create. Jump in and just obey God. Fearlessly running in the direction that He calls. Ultimately that means we don’t seek to get praise, but seek to give praise.

John 3:21 “But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

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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.