When We Waver

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“It’s our wavering between gods that has us sinking. It’s the wavering between the gods of things and the God of everything – that’s what has us flailing and drowning soundless in it all.” Ann Voskamp, “The Greatest Gift”

I don’t even think we know we’re making the choice, but in fact we are making “it”. The tearing down of myself over the exclaim, “Someone else can do it better.” The forsaking of the “assembling of ourselves” because we just can’t make ourselves wake up in time. Our marriages, which have indeed become “conveniences,”no longer understood under the beauty of covenant. The cheering of that which is outside the will of God. All hard pills to swallow, yet it is the wavering between “just enough,” to no God, to all God that has us sinking, many drowning. We wonder why we feel suffocated, so we search for a way, a quick fix, to get a breath, to make us feel better. Maybe our marriage, that one we thanked God for in the beginning, has become the easiest thing to just stop fighting for…so, we turn to the god of happiness instead because, “Wouldn’t the God I serve want me to be happy.” Careless words, catastrophic consequences. Is He only enough God when things are going well? Is He really the God of ENOUGH?
That co-worker that seems to outshine us in every way, sending us to our car each day for a long drive home, blaring “You are WORTHLESS” all the way. Is He only God enough when we succeed? Is He really God ENOUGH…period?

Life’s blows, its choices, the valleys that are so very hard, how easy to waver to “He doesn’t care”. “And if you don’t choose God, you’ll bow down before something else…” (Ann Voskamp). Surely I won’t bow to another, yet I do. I bow to the “I have to get myself out of this mess,” or the “just enough God” to get me through my junk.

Advent is still the gift of the “slowing down”. The gift that truly does keep on giving, for it’s within the slowing of life that we may just see Him more clearly. It’s in the slowing down that we find new resolve to fight for that which is worth it. Can we see the worth? You, my friend, are it…the worth…the one He came for – died for. No wavering is too late to change. Choosing Him always wins in the end. The gift of Christmas this year may just have been staring you in the face all along.

Somebody You’re Not

When I was a little girl, I spent most of my time pretending.  Any given day, I might be the Bionic Woman, scaling the oh, so tall heights of my swing set and jumping off to chase the bad guys. Or, some days I was Anne of Green Gables, skipping along in the “meadow” to find my kindred spirit, or losing myself in a book.  I always loved to imagine that I was in a faraway land, another time period, outer space, you name it.  I was such a shy, insecure girl, the idea of being someone else was much more appealing than just being me.  As a kid, it works to imagine, so that we learn to create, or that we dream so we understand how to reach for the stars and hit our goals, but as an adult, pretending to be someone else is not doing me, or anyone else any favors.  I’ve fallen in the trap so often of believing I must be someone different to be accepted.  I must make others believe that I possess talents that I absolutely do NOT have in order to be included.  We see everybody doing it.  Kids face the pressure every single day to fit in.  You must play a sport to sit at the cool kid table, or you must sing to be considered “talented”.  The artsy types are labeled “geeks” and the smart kids are “nerds”.

There’s a whole lot of time being spent striving to be someone else rather just being who God created us to be.  One of the most detrimental things we can do for ourselves is to live, or lead others, from that place of insecurity. Living in that place of believing we are not good enough to be liked, loved, used or wanted can cripple us from achieving any God-sized dream we’ve set out to achieve. I’ve wasted countless time and energy trying to please others, giving little attention to pleasing the One who made me to be just who I am.  The time I’ve spent on believing I had to have it all together in order for God to use me has left a trail of missed opportunities. What if we all just allow God to use us from right where He has us?  Embracing that place of vulnerability and admitting, “No, I do not have it all together” or “That’s right, I’m not going to pretend anymore” can, and will, produce so many more opportunities to influence others.  There’s a deep desire from us all for authenticity, an authenticity that is not just limited to seeing it in others, but we, ourselves, crave knowing that we can be more authentic and it will be a difference-maker.  I don’t know what may be holding you back today from knowing that it really is OK for you to just be you and God will use you.  Being on a stage, leading others in a group, having everyone know your name is not where it’s at.  It is in the getting our hands dirty, exposing our struggles to others in the real and raw moments that we say, “I absolutely do not have it all together, but I won’t wait until I do for God to use that place in my life to matter”.  Where I stand now in my life is no matter the opportunity, whether it be speaking about what He’s doing in my life from stage, or in the intimacy of a one on one conversation, that I speak from a place of “more real, less hiding”. By that, I simply mean that I have to begin to see everyday as another day to live fully in who I am and know that no one is looking for me to have it all together.  People are looking for a life that reveals, “Oh, look God has got work to do in her and she’s letting Him do it.”  He’s got a whole lotta work to do in me.  Pretending otherwise is not going to impact lives, and I don’t want that for my life.  I want you to see today that it’s OK to come out of hiding.  We like you just the way you are.  God uses you just the way you are.  That thing you’ve been doing – pretending you have to have it all together – stop it.  Start today to just be real and say, “I don’t have it together, but that won’t stop me!”   Listen, the struggle we face to just believe that He’ll use someone else will never end, but today believe, He’s not looking for somebody you’re not, but He’s looking right at you.  He believes in you.  It’s time you believe, too!

You may feel overwhelmed but don’t underestimate what God’s doing through you. God has a history of using limping people to change history. Mark Batterson, “Draw the Circle”

Riding Down the Road

Just two weeks ago, Jeff and I were riding down I-85, spending a Friday together just like we always do.  I couldn’t even tell you the nature of our conversation, but I can tell you, without being overly mushy, that it was one of those moments I felt completely 80877overtaken by how much more I love him each and everyday.  I remember saying to myself, “I hope I remember this moment forever” – the way he looked when he spoke, the light in his eyes when he laughed.  This ordinary day, no special celebration, no special occasion, but just an any other kind of day that time stood still and I remembered.  I remembered from where we came, that first day I met him at Charleston Southern University, he being so  flirtatious and me, shy and smitten when I looked into his eyes.  I remembered our wedding day, a day we made a covenant with one another, a day when I never felt more beautiful and he never looked more handsome.  We rode along and I remembered days when we had absolutely nothing, no idea how we’d pay for groceries, but we’d sit down at the dinner table of the last bit of food we had in the house and we’d still laugh and we’d still pray and believe that God had us right where he wanted us.  He’d hold my hand and I’d believe him when he’d say we would be alright.  Years later, I’d hold his hand and believe him when he’d tell me that God’s timing was perfect and one day he just knew I’d be a mom.  He reminded me that God is faithful, and I saw that to be true when a couple of years later, I watched my husband lift our tiny firstborn up in the delivery room praising God for giving us the desire of our heart.  I’ve held his hand and walked down the road of hurt and meanness from people that said they loved Christ, but we had a hard time feeling that love.  We laughed again and prayed again, believing that God had more for us, that He knew our desire to lead people to love like Jesus and extend a hand outside the walls of  a church building.  So, we dreamed big dreams together, we trusted He’d meet our needs and He just asked us to obey, and we did.  A new church, a new ministry, we didn’t, and still don’t always know what we’re doing.  Throw three more kids in the mix after all those years ago He blessed us with our first, we just walk along, making a lot of mistakes, a lot of memories, but the singular thing that has stayed the same is we’ve done it together.

Life is just plain hard and yet it’s also so full of highs.  Walking beside someone that loves and believes in me can still be something I so often take for granted.  A list of errands, appointments, mediocrity that takes over, busyness – they all take my eyes off what matters.  I’m not much of a fan of Valentine’s day when it comes to celebrating all of the commercialism of it (although it is the one time of year I try to get my hands on an assorted box of chocolates), but what I do love is that it never hurts to be reminded of what is right about the loves in our lives, when we spend so much time trying to point out what’s wrong.  For me, riding down a road, holding my sweetheart’s hand, laughing and dreaming brought it all back into focus.  There’s no one I’d rather share my life. There’s no one I’d rather dream big dreams. There’s no one I’d rather walk through dark days.  Choosing everyday to walk through it all with him will always be my greatest decision.

Take time to just remember today.  You are loved!