So now, may the God of peace make you His own completely and set you apart from the rest.
May your spirit, soul and body be preserved, kept intact and wholly free from any sort of blame
at the coming of our Lord Jesus the Anointed.
For the God who calls you is faithful, and He can be trusted to make it so.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (Voice)
It’s daunting, this walk of righteousness. The world spins on distortions. Distracting greed, relentless selfishness, savory desires; they all pull and tug for your focus. Sometimes even fellow sheep seem to feed this battle through jealous comparisons and gossipy discussions.
But God has called you higher, you know it. He has called you to be His love on display. You are a radiant exhibition of His goodness, His self-control, His perseverance, His mercy. This is His light of righteousness through your life.
It is not by your doing, but by the God who has called you. He alone is faithful and trustworthy to bring those things out in you. You will be preserved with the integrity of the Holy Spirit.
Chin up, lovely, He is faithful.
*this post originally appeared on Drop of Encouragement at Remade Ministries.
You know that moment when you are treading water, striving against the weight of the waves? The ocean bottom to far to fathom, but the shore to distant to decipher. You kick and swipe, you lean your head back. The grunts come instead of breaths. Your muscles swell to anvils and your bones sink lower into your body. You flounder, but press on. You are in this to the end you say. Must. Complete. Don’t. Give. Up. STAY. ABOVE. SINKING.
But then out of sheer depletion, you let go. Giving in to the depths and relenting to any outcome. Every single muscle relaxes, every cell in your body exhales and then inhales fresh oxygen.
And you float to the surface.
It was as if the fight of survival against the waves was futile, all you had to do was surrender to them.
We’re talking all things surrender over at Katie’s place today for her #UnravelingGrace series. Come chat with us. Click the picture below!
Can we just be real for a moment? I like change, the new and improved, but I’m not a fan of the process. There’s been a lot of transition in my world lately, and well, frankly, I’ve sucked at it. Throwing tantrums, rushing ahead, not wanting to wait, but wanting to give up. It’s messy and really hard.
So after screaming and tantrum-ing like a toddler for a few days I did what I should have done weeks ago.
I sat down at the feet of Jesus. Exhausted from my own writhing and frustrated at my own rebellion, I finally relented and asked Him about this horrible ordeal, truly begging Him to just make it better.
He introduced me to Ruth.
Maybe you’ve already met her? She’s the one who left her own family to follow her mother-in-law after they’d both been widowed. Her act of obedient vulnerability places her in the lineage of King David and later, Jesus. Awesome.
“This is all beautiful God, and I do like Ruth, but what does this have to do with transition?” I grunted. You see, I wanted to skip from the struggle to the redemption just like I thought her story did from her husbands death right into her introduction to Boaz.
But there was a transition in-between, and a big one.
Back up, just a little bit. Ruth was a Moabite, not an Israelite. She met her husband, an Israelite, after his family had moved from Israel to avoid famine. They lived and loved together for many years, maybe as many as ten. Ruth spent many days cooking and laundering and chatting with Naomi (her Mother-in-law). I’m pretty sure Naomi talked about home, about Israel and their life there. Faith, no doubt, was a hot topic and somewhere along the way, Ruth encountered God.
Because, she later chose to follow Him with Naomi, follow God from life in Moab to life in Israel. She moved into her promise.
But not without “the process of changing”, “transformation”, “progression”.
When God asked me to go back and read about Ruth again, despite my little tantrum. One verse popped out.
Ruth had decided to go glean (gather) in the fields behind the harvesters. The owner of the field (Boaz) takes notice of her and calls her over. He offers her water and gives her permission to gather (otherwise she was technically stealing). As he does this she “bows low with her face to the ground” with gratitude. (Ruth 2:10) And Boaz again responds:
“May the Lord repay you for what you have done (for Naomi). May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Ruth 2:12
You see, Ruth chose to rest her heart under the Lord’s refuge. She made a conscious decision to trust God and glean, with gratitude in the present. We think that rest simply comes to us, like vacation days earned. It doesn’t. We have to choose rest even in the midst of all the messiness. We have to work at it, we have to harvest it, even when facing our greatest need.
Ruth did the work, she showed up at the field and toiled in the heat of the day. She put herself in the place of position to receive God’s blessing, she walked behind the harvesters and later she laid at Boaz’s feet. And she gleaned, slowly gathered, what the Lord was providing in this new place for both for her immediate needs and for her long term dreams.
As my world morphs and changes into this new promise, this new growth, I will choose to sit under the wings of the Lord and glean His provision for today. I will do the work He’s called me to, today. And rest in the promise of tomorrow.
May it look more like bowing low with gratitude, than tantrum-ing at the pace of this process.
I mentioned awkward places yesterday ~ those awkwardly hard spots where you fear the very thing you are desperately pursuing. They are the beautiful foundations of glory stories. Think David hiding in caves pleading for his very life while the character of a king was imprinted in his soul.
“Be merciful to me, my God, for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
all day long they press their attack.”
My enemy doesn’t carry a spear and a sword, my enemy carries duck tape and seeks to silence my worship. My enemy doesn’t carry a carnal weapon of iron or lead, but of one made of deceitful words and busy distractions.
And I cry out, “Lord, don’t let me fall back into the striving of shame. Let me dance in the freedom of rest, under the gentle shadow of your wing.”
And so like David, I will choose to stay obedient to the little things here and now. This isn’t about achievement or reaching a certain position. This isn’t about a book deal or a speaking engagement, this is about surrendering the whole of me to the fullness of Him. This is about gratefully resting in the very place He is writing a glory story.
“My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side!
I praise God for what He has promised;
yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?
I will fulfull my vows to you, O God,
and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.
For you have rescued me form death; you have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.”
I have found myself afraid to write. Even typing those words seems overtly strange. But it’s true.
The very thing that has taught my soul to breathe now terrifies it.
A recent moment broke open my heart to the realization of just how vulnerable this pursuit is. This dreaming, this practicing, this chasing, it is an utter exposure of hope. As I laid my intentions out in the wide open space of opportunity, I also laid bare the very expression of myself. I walked away from that moment both broken and elated. It has been a melody of contradictions ever since.
I’ve been pondering this sway and stagger routine and I’ve found that really this is not about exposure, but about surrender. It isn’t relinquishment – the giving up. It is the giving back, a laying down, a surrender. It can be awkward, in fact I’d venture the process of surrender has an awkward phase, a transition of sorts.
But that’s ok. It is in those awkward places, the hard ones where you fear the very place you so desperately crave, that you find the power to be still. Because it isn’t in your power that these hopes can take form, it is in His. Embrace the awkwardness, lean into it. The more you give back, the more His glory dawns.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…”