There is no way she could have known, nor did we cover my internal struggle and those specific words have not left my heart.
Confession #1: I do not feel bold in my outward profession of my faith. I can maintain confidence in small safe groups but I must profess I do not live dangerously for my faith and I want to. I don't want to be "religious" or post "religious things"... if that is all I am doing then I am failing and failing miserably at that.
In my pastors recent sermon series he reminds us that we have a message worth dying for... I realize how radical that sounds to the outside world but the Saints of the Scriptures were martyred for their faith, they carried what they believed with them to the death. They didn't back away from the truth or preserve themselves, which is what I find myself doing when opposition gets too loud.
No, my friend... I am not religious.
Definition of religious
- 1: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity<a religious person> <religious attitudes>
- 2: of, relating to, or devoted to religious beliefs or observances <joined a religious order>
- 3a : scrupulously and conscientiously faithfulb : fervent, zealous
I don't have a devotion to a religious person, I don't relate to observances and I don't consider it just faithful. I have a faith and a relationship far greater than anything I can see. There is a God who made the heavens and the earth, who was in the beginning and wrote the end. A God who sent His one and only Son to earth to be born of a woman, from her womb... before my story was even written and while I was still a sinner, I might add... The one and only God had me in mind when He went to the cross, perfect, spotless and blameless and took my shame, my sin... the sins my past would condemn me for and He died on that cross for me. But He didn't end there, nope, He rose again on the third day just as scriptures had said and he sent the Spirit for those who'd believe and receive Him. What's more... is He's coming again... and even better, He wants everyone who's willing to seek Him, believe their need for forgiveness of sin and live in Him.
And since I am confessing, sharing my heart with you all... I have to let you in on more. A couple nights ago I had a dream.
In my dream my grandmother was sitting on a couch in her living room, the same living room she's had for over 10 years now. And my grandmother was excited. She was waiving a book in the air and she said to me, "Do you remember this book? You got me this book dear, and I have been reading it. I am so excited to share it with you, come and sit by me." So I did has she said. As she opened the book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, she said, "Turn to page 213 and 214, you will see that it applies." With that, my dream was over.
Back story... Jesus Calling is a daily devotional, something to draw someone into scripture and a deeper relationship with The One who created all. Everyone I know loves this devotional, refers to this book, re-reads this book over and over... However, I am not a fan. Honestly, insert eye-roll here! Oh, I tried to get into it... I started one year on day one but lost interest mid-march. One year, in the middle of the year, I tried to pick up on that day and continue but that didn't last a week so I retired this "beloved-by-everyone-else-devotional" to the shelf where it has remained... I think I hear the audible gasps of my friends who think I have just blasphemed. HA! Anyway... so there I was, in this dream, on the couch with my very excited grandmother reading page 213 & 214, end dream.
Confession #2: I am struggling, and have been for quite some time if you have been reading my posts for a while then you have read that, I have a deep desire to be seen, to be acknowledged and validated. Yes, I know exactly where this comes from and I have psycho-analyzed myself, been forgiven and set free from the shame, guilt and burden of all that but the desire remains. I know in my heart God sees me, I know He hears me, He bends down to answer my prayers, I know all of that but that doesn't mean I keep it front and center in my mind. That doesn't mean that I always live it out. I still want to be seen, acknowledged and validated. It plays out in my friendships, in my relationships... with my husband and in all the various ways I interact with my people groups. I fall short, people don't acknowledge or see and I am let down. Hang on to that thought for a moment...
Confession #3: "I look like light", I hear from others that people are drawn to me because they see something different... But I have to ask myself each and every single time... "Do they mean that?" "Do they really see light?" "Do they really see Him in me?" "What if I am faking it, what if I really don't have this faith, what if I am living a lie, what if I am deceiving, what if I don't know God at all". All those things I say to myself... Scripture says "the road is narrow and many will come to Him and He will turn them away for He never knew them..." what if I am one of them? - Grim, I know... but hang tight to that thought as well.
So my daily prayer has included requests to be rid of pleasing the world in favor of pleasing The One. To be rid of looking for acceptance anywhere other than at His feet... to be rid of the desire to do as the world expects and be on His mission. Next I pray for His light. That when you read this you see Him. When you speak to me about your situation, it's His words you hear and not my own. Frequently when I am speaking with someone who's sharing a struggle I will pray internally to have wisdom to share, something to point towards Him. But I am always asking to know that I have His light.
Insert dream sequence here...
Page 213 says:
FIND FREEDOM through seeking to please Me above all else. You can only have one Master. When you let others' expectations drive you, you scatter your energy to the winds. Your own desire to look good can also drain your energy. I am your Master, and I do not drive you to be what you are not. Your pretense displeases Me, especially when it is in My "service, " Concentrate on staying close to Me at all times. It is impossible to be inauthentic while you are focusing on my Presence.
Ephesians 5:8-10; Matthew 23:8; Matthew 6:1
Jesus Calling, Sarah Young
I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, Men crawl through their lives cursing the darkness, but all the while I am shining brightly. I desire each of My followers to be a Light-bearer. The Holy Spirit who lives in you can shine from your face, making Me visible to people around you. Ask my Spirit to live thought you, as you wend your way though this day. Hold my hand in joyful trust, for I never leave your side. The Light of My Presence is shining upon you, Brighten up the world by reflecting who I AM.
John 8:12; Matthew 5:14-16; 2 Corinthians 3:8; Exodus 3:14
Jesus Calling, Sarah Young
And guess what else... I am being equipped for a new thing... There is a stirring in my soul which is going to be bold, going to be courageous... Just you wait and see!
To my friend... Thank you for speaking meaning into me without even realizing it. You rocked my world and it's never going to be the same.