Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dare You To Move...

This past month God has been working in my heart on what it means to truly be who He made me to be outside of the constraints of others' judgements and expectations. As part of this heart lesson I've been reading "It's Your Call" by Gary Barkalow and I encourage you to give it a read. Through studying and praying and listening to God speak in my heart it has freed me from the pressure of doing things just because it is what culture calls "normal" or expected behavior. So many people live their lives like they are writing a resume, only doing things that will advance their career or look good on paper to fulfill today's expectations, and so many find emptiness in doing just that. I have found myself in that trap in the past, feeling very pressured to do what is expected, but at the same time I am blessed to have grown up with parents who showed me how to take a step of faith, even when it doesn't make sense to those around them. It has been in those times, in those moments, that God has worked in my heart the most.

Back in 2008 I made the decision to quit a job that was perfect for my career field and future to attend Miracle Mountain Ranch Missions School Of Discipleship (formerly titled Camp Apprentice Ministry Program). This decision made very little sense to my business minded friends and relatives. Why would I quit a good paying job that I loved to pay tuition to go work and take classes for a year or two? I couldn't explain it other than that I felt it was where God wanted me to go, I had wanted to be an apprentice since I was 14 years old. After two years in the program and all the experiences I gained and the trails I faced I graduated a very different young woman (just ask my family). I wouldn't trade those two years for all the money I could have made if I had stayed working. The character I gained, the true heart passions I came to realize, and the perspective on life I graduated with are a large part of the person I am today.

It has been almost 4 years since I came to Utah (yet another step of faith) and right now I'm facing some similar decisions. God has opened a door for me to step into a ministry position and I have been praying and searching through what it is He has for me. To most of my peers it doesn't make sense for me to step into a job where I have to raise missions support instead of make a salary. There have been questions posed like: "How will you pay the bills?", "Does that mean you'll be begging for money off your friends?", "How will you afford to have fun anymore?". All I can answer is that I have confidence that the Lord provides for those who follow His lead. Here are some of the verses He has laid on my heart over the past month.

Psalms 23:1 - "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

Proverbs 23:4-5 - "Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly takes wings and flies toward the heavens."

Proverbs 21:1-2, 5, 31 - "The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes. Every man's way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts. The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord."

Psalms 37:23-25 - "If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds his with his hand. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread."

There are many critics when any person makes a decision to do anything that doesn't seem like "the norm", but that shouldn't keep us from being who God made us to be. We wouldn't be the body of Christ if we were all the same.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." ~ Theodore Roosevelt