So You Want to Run but Don’t Know How

I don’t run.

 

Except to coffee shops.

 

And anyone who has dark chocolate.

 

But running clothes are cute. So then, maybe, I should run. Just so I can look cute.

 

Nah.

 

But I do run towards Christ because I’m on a pilgrimage.

 

It’s a journey we walk, run and battle our way through. We set our hearts. We fix our eyes. And we move our feet.

 

“I will run in the way of your commandments for you set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32

 

I don’t know about you, but this whole life thing can trip me up, trap me fast, and triple my heartache. My heart sometimes doesn’t feel free.

 

It gets caught up in performance or perfection. My heart trades worldly wisdom for godly wisdom. It mistakes man’s words for God’s word. Lies snare. Idols form. And soon I’ve traded the glory of God for a false light. Then I no longer run, but stub my toe on a rock, trip over a boulder, and tumble down the cliff.

 

I sit stunned and wonder how I got here. You too? Do you feel like you stumble more than you run? Do you want to know how to run? I do, too.

 

Reveal Your Heart

Ask God to show you your heart. It’s okay if you cringe, I know I do. But this is the deal. We can forget, for a while, the contents of our hearts and fool ourselves into thinking that nasty little section that gossips or harbors bitterness isn’t really there, but God sees all. Only instead of following our example by condemning us, he lovingly convicts. Because how can we run free if our hearts are bound to sin?

 

How can we run free when we are bound to performance or perfection?  How can we be free if we are more worried about what other’s think of us instead of doing what’s right in God’s eyes? When fear rules our lives, we cannot be free.

 

So. Freedom to run. Not away, but towards God. It comes when our hearts are set free of any sin that stops forward momentum. Freedom comes when we know who we are in Christ and when we surrender all to him.

 

I know that my ability to run lies in how open I make my heart to God. Will I let him have unfettered access? Will I risk trusting him with the most intimate details of my life?

 

Take the Risk

It’s risky. This journey we’re on. But one unequivocally worth it. So, how do we run? We fix our eyes on Jesus. We give the Holy Spirit full access to our heart. And we trust God for strength and endurance.

 

We can do it. I know it looks hard, but running well is a benefit of freedom. Step into the freedom and run. He has set your heart free.

 

 

 

Four Great Benefits to Waiting on God and a Favor

wait on God

Hello friends. I’m glad you’re here. It’s been a bit busier than normal around here. I’ve been immersing myself in a community theatre production and I’m learning all things lyrics, lines, and steps that will soon be forgotten, but underneath the surface God has touched some tender places and brought revelation and healing that will last long after the final curtain call.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been reading Andrew Murray’s “Waiting on God” and I’m half done (it’s a 30 day devotional) but no where near being finished. Each day’s reading is filled with profound thoughts that sit heavy in my heart. I’ve been a little hen-like: I keep scratching the ground and I keep finding the best morsels.

And because I love doing life and sharing it, I’m giving you the four best morsels I’ve discovered so far. Drum roll! Fanfare! Crowds cheering!

 

More Stillness

Waiting on God brings me more stillness to realize God’s presence.

I’m busy. You’re busy. Our kids’ are busy. Our dogs are busy. Everyone is busy. Busy. Busy. Busy. Being still is almost as foreign as life without cell phones. Yet, being still and quieting my soul allows the presence of God to be known. And God’s presence is his greatest gift to us. The more I experience his presence, the more I am dependent on it.

 

More Ignorance

Waiting on God increases my consciousness of my ignorance of what God’s great plans might be.

Knowledge. Insight. Both are good and we need them, but God is continually doing new things. He has made me new and is keeping on making me new. I can’t assume that just because God does something one way that that’s the way he’s always going to work. I cannot put God in my “Jessica Box” because my box puts limits on God and who am I to limit God? He knows all. He sees all. He does all. I do not. And I need the reminder.

 

More Faith

Waiting on God gives me more faith in the certainty that God has greater things to show me.

As I surrender and submit my will to him, I realize I don’t have it all together–even if I am having a great hair day. Faith is what makes living this God-life work. And I need greater faith. I need it like I need chocolate. A lot.

 

More Glory

Waiting on God reveals God to me in new glory.

As I wait on God, he reveals himself to me in greater and greater glory, which causes me to be still and grow in consciousness of my ignorance of exactly what he’s able to do.  Which in turn grows my faith and as my faith grows he becomes even more glorious. It becomes this kaleidescope that bursts forth in beauty with each turn.

 

Delightful, isn’t it? More stillness brings us more presence. More ignorance brings us greater awe. More faith brings us revelation. More glory brings us to our knees.

Waiting on God. The benefits are amazing!

Try it? Let me know how it goes?

Last week I shared this post: Rejection, Self-condemnation, and Freedom

I entered it in a contest and am quietly asking that you pray about voting for me.

The winners are determined by votes and the top five posts with the greatest number of votes will win one of these prizes: 15-minute meeting with a publisher, 15-minute meeting with an agent, or 15-minute meeting with a platform building specialist.

If you are so inclined to vote or to have your friends and family vote too, you can vote by clicking this link. Voting closes February 28.

 

 

 

 

 

mirror mirror

Mirror mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all….

The face looking back at me runs through the litany of comments….

fat

ugly

selfish

prideful

wounded

graceless

blunt

tactless

opinionated

dominating

controlling

manipulative

jealous

this list could grow and continue and morph into whatever you see or hear when you look into the mirror.

Mirror mirror on the wall….you are a liar or maybe I am the one with the warped perceptions of myself.

 I have seen the truth of these words in myself, but also within these words I have seen the lies.

The reality is that I can be domineering. I can be controlling. I can be ugly. I am wounded. I have wounded. I can be graceless. I can be blunt.

But the truth is that my wounds can be used for God’s glory. The truth is that when I wound, I can experience the beautiful gift of forgiveness. The truth is when I am domineering I have the opportunity to submit to the control of my holy, loving, gracious God. The truth is that all the parts of who I am–the good, the bad and the ugly– are all a part of me and who am I to reject what I see in the mirror. Rather than rejecting the ‘less than’ part of myself what if I were to offer those parts of me up to Jesus and surrender to whatever he wants to do to turn those weaknesses into a strength.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not giving myself license to be the worst side of me, I am giving myself grace to grow into the best side of me and that side is only found in Jesus Christ. If I am going to grow then I can expect failures. But failures are not a sign that I failed per se, they are an opportunity to grow in a specific tangible way. Only in him can we be our best and if we detect patterns of thought that produce our worst, and we don’t hold them up to him like a child holding up a broken lovey and saying ‘fix?’ then I am not submitting to whatever he wants to do to turn those weaknesses into strengths.

the truth within these words is that there is redemption through Jesus Christ.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all….

forgiven one

chosen one

loved one

approved

appointed

 anointed

royalty

joy filled

saved

full of grace

covered in grace

What does your mirror say?

quiet growth

I have been pondering growth a lot lately.  It is probably due to this conference I have been asked to participate in that has me thinking about soil and seeds and water and nutrients.

I watched my babies grow and celebrated each milestone and worried over each delayed milestone. In parenting I have felt the pressure that all children should be experiencing this or that by a certain age even though it is common knowledge that not one child is like the other and therefore have different rates of growth and achievement.

At times that’s been difficult to remember.

I am at a point in my parenting where I am, at times, anxiously waiting for the seeds that I planted into my kids’ hearts to take root and grow. When they were young I amended their heart’s  soil by adding in the nutrients of unconditional love, which did what was best for them and not necessarily what they wanted.

I planted the seeds of kindness, selflessness, respect, responsibility, repentance, and forgiveness. I hopefully gave them the right tools to tend to the garden of their souls.

I watered it with gentle responses (at times not so gentle and thank God for their forgiving hearts). I watered it with showing them kindness and respect. I watered it with humbling apologizing for my own parenting failures.  I water it with prayer.

Now I wait. I continue to plant those seeds, but now I wait.

I wait for God to give the growth. I can walk my kids through the steps of what selflessness looks like. Maybe it’s seeing trash on the floor and instead of walking by it,  we go together to pick it up and throw it away. Or maybe it’s doing a sibling’s chore. And sometimes it’s walking with them through the repentance and forgiveness process for something they did wrong.

But I wait for God to cause those seeds to grow in their hearts. I cannot make them grow. I cannot force them grow.  I want to though.

Especially when it’s hard to wait on God.

This is part of my rest. This is part of my desperation for God. It’s the waiting on him. It’s the stilling of my mind and soul and emotions to be still in his presence and whisper, ‘God? Here I am. I am a jumbled mess. But here I am.’ and then be quiet. 

Being quiet in God’s presence takes practice. It takes discipline. It takes moments of failure to train our minds to be quiet. To be quiet of worry, but to be loud in pondering the nature of God:

The goodness of Him.

The mercy.

The kindness.

The love of God, the love so overwhelming that it drives out all fear.

The power of God that causes those seeds to grow.

You are a seed planter. Plant your seeds and wait on God to water them and grow them.

 

 

dear worship leader

Last week I wrote a letter to all the worshipers of the Lord everywhere. This week I write a letter to all my fellow worship leaders who are leading God’s people in worship week after week.

Dear Worship Leader,

You are leading so you must serve.

God has placed you in a place of leadership and you must serve your people. You must love them. You must care more about their experience than your musical ability.

You must take charge and then you must let go and let the Holy Spirit lead you and guide you. It’s not about you. It’s not about your music or your riffs. It’s about God and his people meeting and you must, you must get out of the way. I know. Because I am a worship leader and I have screwed up and missed God’s message by getting in the way of what he wants to do.

The temptations are great. We are tempted by pride. We are tempted by whether people are engaged. We are tempted by compliments or the lack thereof. We are tempted by our musicality or the musicality of the people on our teams.

But when we are humble and hungry for the new work of God in each moment of each Sunday or Saturday or whatever day you stand before your church and lead, we can touch the presence of God. Then we need to step back and let God touch the people you are serving.

It’s not about how many new songs you can write or sing or introduce. It is about letting a song get into the fiber of your church and let them own it. It’s about letting it become their cry to the Lord. It’s about letting the song become their heart’s anthem. It’s also knowing when to retire a song so it doesn’t become words sung by rote memory. It’s about knowing the musical ability of your church so that you pick songs that are singable so that more people can be bold enough to engage. It’s about their experience with the Holy Spirit moving in your midst. We as worship leaders can help or hinder that.

If I may?

It’s not about us. As much as we are in the spotlight, we must aim the spotlight to the One who we are worshiping. So we must stay aware of our own weaknesses and tendencies and counter them with humility and hunger. There are times that I write ‘S.H–S.H’ on my  hand before I hit the stage on a Sunday morning, especially if I have been in battle with my pride and insecurity that week.  Stay humble. Stay hungry.

Stay humble.

Stay hungry.

And when we do, watch and see how the Lord moves.

With much love and appreciation for all you do,

a fellow worship leader…..

 

 

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I write to encourage you that you can experience a vibrant, transformative relationship with God even if your past or your shame tells you otherwise. God invites you upward and onward, will you join me? You'll receive weekly devotionals straight to your inbox. By subscribing you'll receive my 7-Day Devotional, Kicking Perfect, as a thank-you gift from me!

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