Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Until you have it all.

These are just some thoughts......... I hope they make sense.
I have been looking for a place to live in Denton for when I start ministry in the next month or so. And this has led me to feel the most anxious I have felt in a long time. Let me give you some background -- my whole life I have struggled with anxiety and fear until a few years ago, and I am convinced God healed me. Jesus confronted that sin and has brought a ton of victory to that area. But I still feel anxious from time to time. This is the first time I have felt anxiety the way I used to feel it. Overcoming, crippling. I have so many desires for what I want out of my life in Denton, and some of them are non-negotiable, but some are just desires........ and not all of them can be met. I have this long list of considerations and feel like nothing is perfect or good enough. I am putting my desires ahead of God's desire for my life, and putting my own wants in front of my needs, the needs that God knows and is faithfully providing for.

This morning I prayed three simple requests: that God would find a place where I could live with another believer, be close to campus, and something long term. Later today I was talking to God while driving (I do this a lot), and thinking about all the different things I want in a living situation. My mind was racing, and God just intervened. He said to me: "At some point, you just have to die to yourself." 

It was pretty clear. I didn't know what to say. He is so right...... at some point, I need to just lay down my desires at the foot of the cross and just die to myself.

In my last post I talked about how God is so relentless in His pursuit of us. This weekend at church we sang a worship song that spoke directly to this subject..... here are some of the lyrics:

You won't relent until You have it all
My heart is Yours

As I sang these words I felt this deep joy that God had all of me, grateful that He doesn't relent until He has all of us. Today God revealed to me that He doesn't have all of me, because I am holding it back from Him!! Here I am, thinking that I have given every part of my life over in surrender to Christ when in reality I am clinging on to this idea of what I selfishly want my life to be. God gently reminded me of the day on the beach in Florida when I decided to come on staff with Campus Crusade. I didn't say "yes Jesus, you can have my life, but only if you make everything around me and all my circumstances comfortable and clean" ......no, I remember specifically crying out to God in overwhelming surrender of my life and saying "I will follow you, I will be obedient, I will do what you say regardless of the cost.

I'm so grateful He revealed this to me today in the car. Who am I to think He wont perfectly provide for me, even if it is not "comfortable and clean." He wants me to die to myself, lay down my own ideas, and just follow Him. I have an opportunity to do that today, to follow Him regardless of the cost, and I don't want to miss it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Remind me.

More than ever I feel the weight of my circumstances pressing in on me, yet simultaneously I feel so covered by God's grace. I am overwhelmed by how many prayers He has been faithful to answer, even though His answer may not be what I wanted to hear. There is a sense of God's ultimate protection in the midst of consistent rejection -- and something about that is just comforting. 

In His kindness God called you to His eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ. After you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you and He will place you on a firm foundation. 
1 Peter 5:10

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

God truly is my only refuge, my solid foundation. He knows me intimately, knows my desires, my fears and my hopes for the future. He knows them all and loves me relentlessly, with a jealous love that will not stop until He has my whole heart. God is crazy about me. And about you. The reality is this: the future will always be unknown, scary, unsure -- but God comforts in the midst of uncertainty. God calms the anxious heart and reminds me He has graciously called me from death to life. There is a fullness in this life that He already has prepared for me to experience and to walk through. I will tell you, this place that I'm in, it feels like a crawl. It feels like I am crawling through the mud and clinging so hard to Jesus so I don't sink. And it is so good. He is faithful to remind me that I have been called, justified, rescued from the fire, from the depths of my sinful nature. The Holy Spirit tapping on my heart convicting and calling me to repentance to refine me again. 

God's grace is amazing, because it's undeserved. So even in this moment when I feel myself sinking and I cry out to God for help -- the sheer fact that He hears and even cares to respond is remarkable. I don't deserve to be pulled out of the mud. Nothing in me deserves to be abundantly blessed by those who have little but love much. But this is the love of Jesus. We don't deserve it, yet because of His relentless pursuit of our hearts, He offers it -- free of charge to us, but at an incredible cost for Him. Has anyone ever saved you from drowning, throwing himself into the raging sea to drown on your behalf? On a larger scale, Jesus did that on the cross. He humbled Himself to come in front of us, bear our sin, let Himself be nailed to a cross, brutally killing Him, to take the full punishment for our sin. 

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 
2 Peter: 3-9

Jesus, remind me, you never give up -- your patience is unlimited. Your sacrifice was too costly, and you love us too much to even allow one sheep to stray away from you. You will not stop until we are yours.