Walk Humbly

I had a great conversation with a friend this morning about my kids. I described what I often tell the kids: these years (14-24) are the most important years for decision making that shapes the course of your life. I tell them that these years are like them going through a dark tunnel and it is my job as their mom to keep them on the tracks until they reach the other side. So, they might feel some push back, but it is only because they are about to fall off of the tracks and I am there to steady them and keep them on. They can’t see what is ahead, but I have been there. My perspective is different and since I love them more than life itself, I ask them to trust me to help them navigate through these important years.

After our conversation, I was taking my kids to the Lord in prayer. I prayed that they would be filled with a passion for the Lord and His purposes. That they would be merciful people and do good. I was reflecting on this “dark tunnel”, how they can’t see what is ahead, then the Lord said to me, “Aren’t you the same?” I realized that it was true. I can’t see what is ahead of me either. There is only One who loves me more than life itself and who knows what is ahead. He is asking that I also trust Him to guide me through the years ahead of me.

The Bible is full of direction when it comes to trusting God. He asks us to put Him first (Matt 6:33), to search for Him (Jer 29:13), and to trust Him with all of our heart (Prov 3:5-6). By doing so we will receive the things we need (Matt 6:33), find God (Jer 29:13) and receive direction for our steps (Prov 3:5-6). He led me to Micah. In chapter 7 vs 8b: “When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.” I am in my own dark tunnel and I need Him to be my light. So what do I have to do? Just the chapter before (Mic 6:8), it reads: “And what does the Lord require of you, But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?”

Of course, in all of my interactions, I need to be just and show mercy. And isn’t is easy to stop there? I can be a good person. That’s enough. The enemy would love to have us believe that. But there was more. God requires that we walk with Him. How are we going to get the things we need, see the light, hear His voice or know which way to go unless we are in a close relationship with Him? He has a purpose for us that is so much greater than the mundane life we lead everyday. But there is no way to find it without His direction. There is no way to get His direction without being close to Him. This is a battle for our own minds and hearts that has to happen individually everyday. To purposefully choose to take the time to foster our relationship with God. I ended my prayer praying for myself, that I would be filled with a passion for the Lord and a desire to get closer to Him everyday. To make meeting with Him a priority and not to allow “our time” to be consumed by some distraction of the enemy. The laundry and the dishes will still be there when I am done. They can wait. He is more important.

 

Advertisements

Critically Low Battery

Critically Low Battery – that’s what my laptop said as I pulled it out to write. And I thought… you know, that describes the way I am feeling right now very well! Isn’t it amazing that our mountaintop experiences are often followed by a walk through the valley? Or is that only me? The last couple weeks I have experienced more of God than any other time in my life, and this week I feel so completely disconnected. There have even been moments where I have felt smothered in a massive cloak of despair and sadness – but for no reason. I have realized that the person that I need to “speak life” to this week – is me. I needed reminding that God is still here. I am looking in the wrong direction. It is almost miraculous the way the burden lifts from my heart the moment I begin to praise the Lord. It is like the light turns on and casts out the darkness that has surrounded me. Suddenly there is joy and peace.

I am thankful that these moments are now more brief than they used to be. I find that I hear the voice of God more clearly – even through the fog, so that I can respond and begin walking in the light again. But I completely understand the way one can be overwhelmed by the darkness. i used to get that way. I always felt like I was drowning. The surface just out of reach. All of the worries and tasks seem to push out God’s voice, but now, I have been reminded to  “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt 6:33). When I am swallowed up in self pity, I can still make my way to the CD player and put on a praise song. Then as I worship, the cloud lifts and I find strength for the day. God is so faithful!

There is an old song I heard about being on the mountaintop and that if we stayed there then no one else would know that they could go there. We need to come down to tell them. I need to come down and walk through these valleys – the same ones that others walk – but walk them with hope and joy and peace, knowing that I do not walk them alone. It is this hope that I must communicate to others. It is this hope that will draw others to the Lord. As much as I might like to stay on the mountaintop with the Lord, I was created to show others the way. Lord, let me walk these valleys with purpose and find my way back to the mountaintop – with a whole group of friends!

Darkness and Light

Darkness. In a room without light the darkness is palpable. We immediately become fearful, panicked, disoriented. Our first instinct is to reach for something solid. Something we can hold on to. If it is not within arms’ reach, we may take a few stumbling steps seeking it as a buoy in a storm, but if it cannot be found, we will opt for the floor. At least it is solid. We will secure ourselves to anything that provides the comfort of being a firm support. This spot will be our anchor, our refuge. We will not stray from it and we will learn to process the world around us only from the vantage point of this spot. There is no progress, no path, no purpose other than to just hold on. But what if this “buoy” is a pile of broken glass? We cut our hands the first time we found it. But in lieu of any other reference point, we will come back. We will learn to embrace the shards.  As time goes by, we get used to the cuts and start to even lay down in the pile of broken pieces. We stop feeling the pain. This is our fate, our destiny. We tell ourselves that it feels good and we continue in our self-destruction.

The book of Ephesians describes the walk of the Gentiles: “… [they] walk in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them… who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to licentiousness… (4:17-19). We remember those days, right? When we said, “in for a penny….” And,” well, I’ve already messed up my diet, I might as well finish the cake…” Or, “no one will know…” The question is, was that before we came to Christ, or just yesterday? 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” We have been called out of the darkness.

In a dark room any light is visible, no matter how dim. And the light is a beacon. It immediately provides direction, orientation, purpose, and hope. It draws everything and everyone that can see it. We have been called out of the darkness into the light. We are instructed to “walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8). We meet on Sundays and enjoy fellowshipping with the Lord and other believers in the light, but how often do we put a cover over our light on Monday and go back to our dark room and locate our pile of glass again? How many of those habits have we drug from our old life into our new one because it is “just who we are”? How many times have we been asked if we believe in God, and in order to answer yes to that question, we have needed to have an immediate personality change? 1John 1:5-7 says: “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth, but if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin”.

Satan likes to have us believe, that although we may have Christ, we haven’t changed. We are still the same old person, with the same bad habits and hang ups. He does not want us to walk into that dark room as a light. Even a dim one. Because any light will free all the others that are in the room with us. But we know that we are a “new creation” (1 Cor 5:17). We need to believe what God tells us. We are changed. We are not a slave to the old habits. They do not have any hold over us any longer. Galatians 5:1 challenges us: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” We are free. We are light. We need to shake off the old man that keeps trying to smother our light and walk into our week shining – a beacon for all to see.