the desert place

*Full disclosure – I wrote this a few nights ago when sleep escaped me, life drained me, and Jesus lovingly reminded me of who He is through it all.  I still find myself in this season that feels a lot like a faith-drought, but I am waiting on my Jesus and trusting Him through this desert place*

Here I am in this season where I feel as if I’ve lost my fire, my desire, and my awe of Jesus.  And here I am reading and praying and wanting so desperately to snap out of it because it feels wrong, and it feels fake.

But isn’t it funny how God seems to speak even when we don’t hear him?  I’ve been reading the same Psalm twice a day for the past two weeks and right now it’s almost as if I’m reading it for the first time.  It begins with this:

“The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” 

It’s as if through this waiting for the voice of God or waiting for the “feeling” of his presence to find me again in this dry season that God simply speaks.  Not in a roar or a huge rush of excitement in an ‘ah-ha’ moment, but a quiet moment at about 12:15 AM, in the dark, when I’m worn out and tired. And this is what he says to my heart –

“I am your Shepherd, you shall not want.

You want this amazing moment when you find Me after a dry season, but I just want you to rest in Me.  You are worn and you are burnt out and you are exhausted. I want you to simply sit with Me.  Not wanting a  big show of Me, but simply waiting–not wanting–in My presence.  

Allow Me to refresh your soul. Let Me, your Healer, soak up the heaviness and revive your spirit. I want to do this. I want you to let Me do this, but you must be still.

You must stop moving. Stop wanting. Stop beating yourself up because you feel like you should find Me by being swept up in a big rush of worship or revival. 

I decide how and when to speak. I know what is best for you, and right now that is to remind you–gently and softly–that I am your Shepherd, your Protector, and your Provider.  You don’t always need life-altering moments and heart stopping feelings. 

You need Me, and you will find Me as you lie down and let Me watch and work over you, as you walk with Me by waters of rest.

I am your Shepherd. You shall not want.”


Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside waters of rest.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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new year, same God

For the past few years, I have sworn off New Year’s resolutions.  Not because I think they’re a bad idea, but because someone once told me to pick one word. Not a list, but one single word that will define your new year, because it’s much easier to keep up with one word than a whole list of resolutions.

In 2017, my word was peace.  In a year where I would leave the USA for the first time, start a job, finish my exams, and manage to get my Masters degree, peace was just what I needed.  And I found it…and then lost it (my fault)…and then found it again.

Through it all, the biggest thing I learned was that peace, true peace that comes only from God, is really just a whisper away.  It’s amazing and it’s completely insane and I don’t think I could ever explain it well enough to do it justice, but there is something so incredible and so humbling about being  able to literally say the name of Jesus and feel a peace in your soul that tells you He is there. He has always been there.

Even in the struggles and the moments where it seems like you take one hit after another, the peace that can be found in the presence of the Holy Spirit remains steadfast.  The key is not God giving His peace to you because He did that long, long ago. You have to accept it. You have to choose it. You have to trust Him.

Thinking of this new year and what my word would be for 2018, I began praying…because as much as I like to think otherwise I really don’t know anything about what this next year will hold, but God does. He’s already laid out each day with more care and more love than I could ever deserve. And that’s when I was reminded of part of a devotion I read a few months back:

“Linger with me.” 

So as I continued praying about what my word should be, it was as if God kept reminding me of this little sentence and then one word started popping up…

Abide: to wait for…to accept without objection…to remain stable…to continue in a place…to conform to…to dwell…to stay or live somewhere...

In 2018, I want to wait for my Jesus and for His perfect timing. I want to “stand still and see the great thing the Lord is about to do before my eyes.” (1 Samuel 12:16, Psalm 27:13-14, Psalm 130:5)

I want to believe and trust with all my heart that God is exactly who He says He is. I want to accept without objection that freedom and forgiveness and grace can be found through Christ because of a love too great to understand. (John 3:16-17, Romans 8:2, 1 John 4:10)

I want to remain in His love, to dwell in the shelter of the Most High God, to linger in His presence, to rest in His promises, and to seek his peace and hope and joy in every moment. (Psalm 91:1, Romans 8:28, John 15:9, Ephesians 3:16-19)

I want to live the life He has called me to live, becoming more and more like Him with each passing day. (Ephesians 2: 10, Romans 12:2)

In a life full of brokenness and uncertainty and so much darkness, I want to abide in the One who shines so brightly the darkness disappears.  The One who redeems and restores the broken. The One who speaks life and shows grace to every child He created. The One whose power is unmatched and whose presence is as steadfast as His love.

I want to abide in God–reverently, wholeheartedly, intentionally–as He so lovingly and faithfully abides in me.


“Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” – John 15:4

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full

To be completely honest, the majority of this post has been written in moments of insecurity. In moments where I don’t feel like I’m enough. In moments where I feel like I don’t measure up to the unspoken standards in my life. In moments that I struggle with doubting my potential and whether I can live up to the expectations of people or (more importantly) the plans of God.

So why would I think it’s a good idea to publish all these moments and reveal that as much as I like to pretend to have it all together, I really, really don’t? Maybe it’s because I’ve lost my mind (real possibility), or maybe it’s because I’m guessing I’m not the only one who struggles with insecurity.

But y’all the biggest reason I want to write this is because this is life. Sometimes life is great and everything works out exactly the way you want it to, but other times life can absolutely kick you in the rear end…and then kick you one more time just to be sure you felt it.  It’s with this in mind that I need to remind myself (and anyone willing to read this) that even in the dark corner of insecurity and comparison and uncertainty, there is God.

“For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.” – Colossians 2:9-10

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” -Ephesians 3:16-19 

So with these verses, here’s what I’ve been reminding myself of:

Because God is full, I can be too–not by my own abilities, but by His.

Because He is faithfull.
Because He is wonderfull.
Because He is all-powerfull.
Because He is mercifull.
Because He is full of hope and joy and love and patience and kindness and goodness, I can be too.

To clarify: He is full, 100% complete, lacking nothing, needing nothing.  And He is mine.  He is my God, my Savior, my Lord, my Comforter, my Guide, my Maker.  In His fullness there is no room for insecurity and no desire for comparison.  God has made every effort to pursue my heart and pour Himself into me so that I could experience the fullness of Him who stopped at nothing–not even death–to make me His own.

God, in all His fullness, chooses me.  He wants me and calls me His beloved and His child.  He offers to fill me with all of Himself–His love, His grace, His strength, His presence– knowing all too well that I am not even worthy of a drop of His sweat.  Knowing that I will never in my own power be deserving enough to call on His name, He calls mine.  Hallelujah.  There is nothing more powerfully secure than this.


ps- if you have similar struggles, say these words to yourself as if you had written them. Lift up your cup (aka-your heart), watch Him fill it up, and then watch it overflow with all that He is.

 

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