Monday, February 24, 2014

I've Proclaimed My Intention to Follow Jesus, It Should Be Easy Now.........Right????


Proverbs 20:9

 Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin"


As Christians, we declare our willingness, or more accurately our desire, to follow Jesus. We know he was sent here to sacrifice his own life for our salvation. He was also sent as a Rabbi, Messiah, Prophet, Teacher.....for without his teaching we would not understand the enormity of that ultimate act of self sacrifice. Nor would we recognize or understand the unconditional love that was at the root of this very act.

Some of us are baptized in our youth, we learn about Jesus and his teachings all throughout our lives, our faith is a part of our past, present and future. For others, like me, we come to our faith later in life, we are baptized as adults. As an adult coming to faith in Christ, I experienced excitement, eagerness and a hunger to learn. I knew I was a sinner and I was eager to renounce sin, eager to follow wherever God lead me, eager to share The Word, and prayed often for direction.

While I didn't believe that there would be an instant and complete transformation in my life, I did believe it would be relatively easy to renounce sin, to seek God in all things, to discern what it is he wanted from/for me, to find my path. In many ways it has been easier.....but easier does not actually equate to easy!

There are times when I feel so filled with The Holy Spirit that I feel energized, motivated, excited, hopeful and eager to share that feeling with everyone I can. There are also times when I fall back into old patterns of self doubt, loneliness, indecision, and even fear. These are sins as surely as the more obvious sins of greed, anger, hate, lust, and lies. Indecision and fear, particularly fear of making a wrong choice and therefore not making a choice at all, keep us from using the gifts God gave us to do the work God calls us to. Feelings of loneliness keep us inwardly focused, focused on our personal needs rather than our calling, keeps us from seeing the needs of others in the world and from acting to provide comfort, care, safety and love to our fellow brothers and sisters. And self doubt...........

Self doubt is the sin I am battling recently, and have off and on throughout my life. How can self doubt be a sin? I don't doubt God at all, or that he is guiding my life every single day. It is my ability to "live up to" the path and work he is calling me to that I doubt. So again, I ask, how is that a sin? Well, here is what I finally realized. If God is calling me to a particular path, and He knows my every strength and flaw, then He knows more than I what I can and cannot do. By doubting myself, am I in effect doubting His judgement in calling me to a task? I would say to you that I am still not doubting His judgement, but doubting that I am accurately discerning His message to me. I have, in the past, convinced myself that if I want something as badly as I do then it must mean that it is what God wishes. There are times when that certainly could be the case, except there is a flaw to that rationale.

You see, I wrote a blog post last November about my calling to write this very blog. The manner in which I received Gods message was so unique, so completely outside of the realm of anything I had ever experienced in my entire life, that there was not....and is not.....any doubt in my mind that it was a message from God!! I was so excited to have received a message from God, to know at least a part of the path He wanted me to take. I couldn't wait to write about it. I wrote more consistently for a while after that, but I have always been a results or goal driven person, and I did not see any evidence of my writing accomplishing everything. Soon I was feeling self doubt, maybe I didn't write well enough, maybe I was choosing the wrong topics, maybe I should wait to write another post until I had the time and motivation to write an enthralling and perfectly composed post...................and so I stopped writing completely while I waited for that motivation.

My daughter, who writes her own blog: http://greatjesusexperiment.blogspot.com/, encouraged me and tried to help me with motivation, And I would feel encouraged and motivated right up until I booted up my computer, has now challenged me. How smart of her!!! If there is anything that motivates me as well as specific goals it is being challenged!!!!

The challenge is to write 7 blog posts in 7 days. This is going to challenge me in so many ways. I have to write about something, so I will have to pick a subject and commit regardless of doubts that it might not be the "right topic". I cannot write a piece and then save it and revisit it, making edits, for a couple of days before publishing, regardless of doubts about "not writing well enough". The posts will be shorter than my normal posts, there may be spelling and punctuation errors, they will not be perfect.....but they will be representative of what is on my mind for the day, and they will be honest and truly from my heart.

I am reminded of that voice in my head saying "Do not be afraid. It matters not if anyone reads what you write. If you spend the rest of your life writing about your faith, and only one person reads it and invites Me into their life then that is one person who receives My grace and Mercy. And do not be mistaken, you are not writing for yourself, you are writing for ME." To read more about my message from God, and the experience surrounding it, refer to the blog post: Do not be afraid.......   
written on Wednesday, November 13, 2013.

Philippians 2:13

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.