Maybe if you are really close to me, you know that I am very quiet when something means a lot to me and I am insecure in the arena I am in. So I sit and silently take it all in. I will speak when it makes sense, my voice will be heard somehow. I am okay with that…
It’s an interesting formation of events. I have been working on discerning the voice of God. How does he speak to me, how can I tell it’s him --- besides finding myself arguing with myself, that’s a key component for me, His ways seem so not like me. Too outside of my comfort zone if you will.
Recently I felt called to do something I have never done before, with people I hadn't ever done anything like "this" with. I sat in argument mode until I said the following sentence, out-loud to the air... "I cannot to that, people will think it's strange and dumb." the response was simple and bold, "are you afraid they will think you are dumb or is your lack of obedience because you think it's dumb?" my answer was both. So... I prayed, formulated the idea and called my best girlfriends. Girlfriends really are amazing, affirmation comes in all forms and I am so thankful for the insight. The response from my friend was affirmation in the form of another bold sentence... "since when have any of your friends thought any of your ideas were dumb?" Okay, lets do this... which turned out to be a blessing on many fronts and I am so thankful that I listened, but I wonder what would have happened if I had listened sooner.
So back to my study, I need to not only discern that He speaks but I also need to be obedient and give in more freely. In the book I am reading the author talks about Simon Peter and Jesus meeting him during a fishing day.
1Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; 2and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the land.
Jesus had two choices, there were two boats - He could have called on someone other than Simon Peter but Jesus knew his heart and He picked that moment to use him.
I am going to confess something right now, something I struggle with. I have an inherent desire to be seen and acknowledged. I want to be used and recognized, I know God knows this about me and I believe he's trying to work it out in me and for me. The "working out" moment recently happened. During this study, a verse that was like a smack upside the head Homer Simpson-style...
James 4:4-6 (NIV)
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God. Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
Simon Peter not only humbled himself before a man who was not a fisherman but a carpenter and put out with him but he also... dropped everything he was doing in obedience in that moment. He had no idea.
3And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. 4When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." 5Simon answered and said, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets."…
Do you know what happens next?
6When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, "Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"…
Then contrary to human nature... they left everything and followed him.
...And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men." 11When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
I realized after reading this chapter in my study that a) I want to be in the first boat picked because God knows my heart b) I want to go and do what He's asking and then leave when He's asked me to rather than wait around and see like the world does.
It's not an easy habit for me to be in, it' really does go against my nature...
This past week... two things happened after reading this and deciding for myself that I need to be actively planted in His truth, actively seeking His will and not my own...
The first thing was school dismissal... my son, love this bug... comes out of his classroom, so happy... holding a green sheet of paper. He says, "Mom, can we do this together?" The first thing I thought was, the last time he asked me to do something with him I ended up with a broken ankle... and the second thing was, ok... can I really do this while still mending...
I cannot help but wonder how many times I have missed the boat and the subsequent lesson or the teachable moment which would make me ultimately a better person. I am thankful that God loves me and is patient with my narrow view finder.
My prayer is that I will look for more ways to quiet the rush, to lay some projects aside so the yes can come more freely.