Today we had a workshop with our counselor from the States, and it is always a good time to tune in and listen to the Holy Spirit. I didn’t really know what to expect or what I wanted out of today’s time, so I went in with an open mind, though I was a bit nervous. God spoke to me about some things that I totally was not expecting, and I can add that to my long list of things that God is talking to me about right now.
The process of developing confidence in my life has been a long one. I feel like I have been on the journey for quite some time. Give me a pen and a piece of paper, and I can have all the confidence in the world. However, have me talk about my feelings and fears in a group setting, and I am a mess. I didn’t realize how much my body language was giving it away until our counselor pointed it out as I was talking. Although I never gave this much thought before, how I communicate confidence became one of the principal lessons for me today.
Our counselor always says, “Are you open to God writing a new story in your life?” She is constantly urging us to watch our language; to eliminate words such as “Always” and “Never” because they chain us to our past and the way things have been and stand in the way of us being different from this day forward. For example, if I were to say, “I have always struggled to speak in front of people,” she would say, “It has been your story in the past that you have struggled to speak in front of people.” It is true that our stories are changing, and we make decisions as often as we desire to allow God the opportunity to redeem them. How I see myself in God’s eyes is something that I have recently been exploring.
We as human beings rely heavily on our experiences to help us interpret reality and truth. However, experience is not a reliable measure of what those things are. There is no human being alive that is entirely objective. Everybody comes from a point of view that affects their understanding of reality. So then what is reality? What is truth? Some have come up with the theory that there is no absolute truth, but if that were the case, our universe could not exist. It takes far more faith for me to believe that everything is relative than to believe that a solid and foundational truth for life exists. So, if there is a truth and human beings are unreliable at determining what it is, then there must be a measure by which we discover truth and in turn how to order our lives. That measure is the Word of God (the Bible).
I grew up in church and I am sure that I have heard thousands of sermons over the course of my 25 years of existence. As I have been reading the Bible over the past few months, it is amazing to me how over the years I let pastors and teachers influence more of my understanding of the Bible than the Holy Spirit. Now that I am tuning into His voice, the Bible is like an entirely new book to me. I find myself mesmerized by passages that I have read a hundred times, asking myself, “What if I really believed what that says?” I am finding that the way that I have ordered my life and the way that I see myself have been based on something other than truth.
Today our counselor said something that sent a shock wave through my life and gave me a call to action. This is what she said: “It doesn’t matter what your belief is about yourself. God wants to speak through you. It isn’t about your preferences; it’s about an honor and a responsibility. You’ve got to let the light shine. To whom much is given, much is expected, and we don’t know how much time we have to do it.”
Does it get more humbling than that? The word that God gave her for these two days was “obedience”, and I realized that in this area in my personal life I was falling short. There are things that God has been telling me to do that I have been putting off by claiming a myriad of unimportant excuses. He showed me today that it just doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what is standing in the way. It doesn’t matter the reasons for not dropping my nets and running after Him with everything I have. It doesn’t matter at all what I think about myself or how I think I serve the world best. What matters is my obedience; my whole-hearted and recklessly abandoned obedience. God help me, because I think I am in over my head. All that He is asking of me is just too much for my mind to handle, yet if I want to follow Christ, this is the path. It is His strength, not mine. It is His understanding, not mine. It is His will, not mine, and I am finding that His plans are infinitely better than mine. Yet He is always pushing me far beyond what I think I can do, probably because He knows that in Him I can do far more than I think I can do. It doesn’t matter what I THINK I am capable of doing; what matters is what God KNOWS I am capable of doing.
So as much as I can today by the grace of God, I choose to obey. I choose to finish this blog post that terrifies me. I choose to put myself out there, knowing that things might get a little messy. Our counselor said today that the person standing on the mountaintop takes far more bullets than the one hiding in their bedroom, but that God will bless the one speaking boldly for all to hear. I want God’s blessing more than I want safety. I want to live His adventure story more than I want to walk the path of my fear. There is no middle ground. So I will say it again: As much as I can today by the grace of God, I choose to obey. I choose to focus on the things that really do matter and enter into this process of holiness with Him.