Mid-life crisis is so cliche, I think, but lately that's almost how it felt. I've been seeking God's will more and more, spending more time in His word, searching for the wisdom that I so desperately lack in decision making. Two Sundays ago Pastor Dumas preached and I was completely and totally convicted. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt he was preaching to me, I also knew I couldn't do anything about it. I was standing in my own way, I knew it, I had known it for a long time. I've felt for a while God saying I want to take you to new heights, to places we've never been before together; but I can't until you do this one thing. Isn't it always that one thing that gets you so torn up inside that you just can't go there. My husband sat next to me watching me knowing that I was struggling. He looked at me and I flat out told him I can't, I'm standing in my own way and I know it and I'm not going to do anything about it because I can't. (talk about stubborn disobedience) Doug in the Holy Spirit's wisdom told me I was telling God that I don't trust him among other things (that are a tad personal for a blog.) We went home and I was miserable. I knew I had to do what God was telling me to do. I knew I couldn't go any farther in my walk with God until I obeyed Him and trusted Him that in the end His way would mean life not death. (we are so short sighted, aren't we.) By that evening I was a mess and I knew it was all coming to head.
You see it's like the old saying you can run but you can't hide. Although God will never force His will on us, never force His love and grace on us if we are TRULY seeking what God wants in our lives then we must make the hard decision. Do we continue to live in misery or do we choose freedom. And let me tell you that freedom is ever so sweet, once we walk into it. During our Beth Moore study she said God can deliver you one of three ways.
1. Deliverance from the fire - this is a faith builder
2. Deliverance through the fire - our faith is refined
3. Deliverance by the fire - our faith is perfected
We all pray to be delivered from the fire. This is our very first prayer please Lord deliver me from this and trust me I prayed that.. Don't make me go through this fire because Lord I will no make it out. This was me not trusting him, I honestly believed I would not make it out. But it was not to be, I was going to have to walk into that fire and I knew it. Let me just say that this was not an easy walk and I had literally been running the other way for years, but the time had come. I was in bondage and I couldn't hobble my way along any longer. I needed to be free, deep down I wanted to be free. So head down I walked into the fire, I felt like I was walking before a firing squad and that this would be the end of life as I knew it. (In a way I was right) But just like with Sadrach, Meschach and Abednego I was not alone in the fire, there was one more. When I walked out the other side I didn't even smell like smoke!! The only thing burned here were the chains that had been holding me captive! (and I was deathly afraid of that fire.) I would walk out of that fire with more freedom than I had ever know. Jesus had stood with me in my fire and set me free! I am here to tell you there is NO other way. I got a lot of perspective that day and a whole lot of clarity. I just didn't know yet how much clarity. Remember I said I knew I couldn't go deeper until I faced that fire. Well today I'm deep sea diving!
This Sunday was incredible also but in totally different ways. The verse read before worship was the same verse Andy has been studying all last week. (these things are never a coincidence) So last night at work I opened up my journal and begin to write and then read. The following is an excerpt of my journal from last night.
I have been totally ungrateful about the things in my life. I want to have a grateful heart about everything that you give us. I want to have a good attitude about all things. I know my attitude is terrible and I really want to be better.
Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, renew a right spirit within me."
Forgive me Father for my lack of commitment to you.
vs. 11-12 & 15 "Do not banish me from your presence and don't take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Unseal my lips, O Lord, that I may praise you."
This is it! This is how I feel right now. Like maybe I've gone from a mid-life crisis to clarity. I just want to have a crazy close relationship with you! I've always felt like there was something missing, something deeper. That's what I want, the deeper uber personal relationship with you. The one where I can't get enough of you, I can't spend enough time in your presence, in your Word. I feel like a new woman, like these bondage chains have finally come off and I am finally free of this person I USED to be! Mold me into that new person you want (and already know) me to be!
(And if that were not enough he gives me more love and conformation as I continue to read)
Col. 1:9b "we ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom."
Yes Lord Yes!
vs. 10 "Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord and you will continually do good, kind things for othera. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better."
Yes! This is exactly it! A thousand times yes!!! (can I get an amen!)
vs. 14b "And he has forgiven ALL your sins." (emphasis mine)
Not just some but ALL
Col 2:3 "In Him lie hidden all the the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
(bring on the treasure hunt!)
Col 2:7 "Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him.... let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all his has done!
Col 2:11 "When you came to Christ, you were circumcised, but not in a physical procedure - the cutting away of your sinful nature."
(any of this sounding familiar? Verse 20-23 totally blows me away and this is my final thought of the day)
Vs 20-23 "You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world, such as don't handle, don't eat, don't touch. Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility and severe bodily discipline. But they have no affect when it comes to conquering a person's evil thought and desires."
There is a whole other "book" I could write just from vs 20-23 but as I promised this is my last thought of the day. Why are we opening up the world's playbook everyday and trying to finish the race according to the world and it's views? Let me assure you the real playbook is far better and the freedom that comes from it passes all of our own understanding. Someday I will get to stand before the King of Heaven and thank Him in person for delivering me, this time, through the fire. Until then I'll thank Him everyday by going deeper and enjoying my uber personal relationship with Him. My sincerest hope is that you find the clarity you're looking for in your life. Don't be afraid to walk into your fire for the freedom on the other side is beyond what you can see or understand right now. He is here, He is with you and you are NOT ALONE!