Obedience, Running, and Calling

“So don’t throw away your confidence, which has great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised…But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and are saved.”     Hebrews 10:35-36 and 39 CSB

I’ve been silent for a long time.

I believed my silence was a way to honor God, a way to find rest, a way to fight the doubt and insecurities. I had found something new that God had called me to do.

I was teaching leadership, working as a full-time school nurse, even helping with development at the small private school I was working at. What could be better than helping hundreds of students hear the gospel daily?

But in my silence, I wasn’t resting. In my work, I wasn’t being obedient to God’s calling.

….

‘Write,’ the word was not audible, but it was clear. I knew this word was God’s answer to my prayer. The one I prayed over 12 years ago when I asked God what I was supposed to do when a ministry door shut. I prayed, “What do I do if I can’t do this?”

‘Write a book,’ the idea pressed at my heart and mind. I knew the book. The one I looked for as I wrestled with infertility. The one that did not exist in 2004.

So I jumped in with two feet. Writing, blogging, speaking, attending conferences. God told me to do this so I was going to do it.

I had some success, a lot of rejection, and doubts began to creep.

‘No one is going to listen to you. Who do you think you are?’ my thoughts battled God’s calling.

‘Credentials…that’s what I need,’ I convinced myself that education would drive away the doubt and insecurity. 

So God made a way and I jumped into seminary. 

‘I can’t be a fraud if I have letters behind my name,’ I worked hard to convince myself.

I earned the letters, I had the education, I continued to write and speak. Still no one came forward begging for my manuscript or wanting to publish my book.

I still didn’t have blooming speaking ministry and my manuscript was beginning to gather dust. 

‘How can I grow my influence? What’s next?’

So I found the John Maxwell Team. A team of certified speakers, trainers, and coaches. If I have his name on my things, maybe my platform will grow. Maybe I will be noticed. Maybe then I can get my book published.

I lost sight of God’s call in the mad rush to be be traditionally published. In the dash to have the speaking ministry I longed for I began to run from the calling.

But I am done with running from God’s calling and I am ready to run the race God has marked out for me.

God’s calling was never to have a traditionally published book or a thriving speaking ministry. His calling was to write a book and speak.

His calling never guaranteed that rejection or doubts would not come. He just called me to obey. 

So here I am in obedience writing, speaking, and I signed a contract to get the book published, the one to help women dealing with infertility. Prayerfully, this will lead to more books being published. Prayerfully, this is just the beginning.

Where have you lost confidence in God’s calling on your life? 

What place do you need to stop running from God’s calling and start running the race God marked for you?

NOTE: I am still trying to figure out my writing schedule in all of this. I do plan on at least one blog post a week. And one video per week. Would you pray for me as I seek to obey God’s calling? I would love to pray for you!

Angela

A Season of Silence: Experiencing God’s Peace

“Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I were but little happy, if I could say how much.” -William Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing

Words have been hard for me lately. Silence is easier. I wasn’t so full of joy I could not share like Claudio in the above quote. The big emotions – all of them – silenced me.

Joy in family and work (I now have a full-time job) and church.

Grief as I let go of things I love and trips I planned to take for my foot health.

Excitement as I try new things.

Inadequacy as everything is different in this season.

Frustration over many customer service issues that were poorly handled.

Mixed-up crazy of parenting three wonderfully human kids.

And there in the midst of my van being in the shop for three weeks, a boot on my foot for over four months, kids being kids, and the learning curve of my new job staring me in the face…there – in the beautiful mixed-up crazy, joyful, grieving, loving, bickering, imperfect of it all – was my Savior, Jesus. And He always brings peace, the kind that passes understanding.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 ESV

And His peace kept me quiet. His peace filtered through my big emotions – the joy and love, sorrow and grief. astride His peace softened my heart to enjoy the love and revel in the joy God gave. http://canalsideconferencecentre.co.uk.gridhosted.co.uk/.git/HEAD His peace silenced the storms of anger and heartbreak. The anger and heartbreak did not go anywhere. He just buy modafinil israel silenced the damage that the anger and heartbreak can wreak. His peace protected my heart from the lies of inadequacy. I still do not know all I need to know, but I am learning, getting better, growing.

So silence resounded in my heart and mind; silence that marked crazy emotional lows buffered by the peace of Jesus and silence that marked the joy and love enlivened by the peace of my Savior.

And while silence was appropriate for my most recent season, today I put on matching shoes (the first time in over four months). It is time for a new season. A season where Christ’s peace still protects and nurtures me, but one no longer marked by silence.

So here I am trying to blog again…Trying to share what God is teaching me. Trying to rethink my thinking in light of God’s Word so I can live transformed.

Care to join me?

Angela

What to Think: How to Boss Around Your Mind

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 ESV

God cares about what we think. In fact, He gives us a list of the types of things He wants us to think about. So, it makes sense that we can use this list as a filter for what we are thinking.

  1. True: God wants to make sure what we think about is true. So we must test our “truths” against God’s Word. We are told to “follow your heart,” but God wants us to follow Him. “Believe in yourself,” but God wants us to believe in Him.
  2. Honorable: If we cannot say it out loud in the middle of a church about a pastor’s wife, we should not dwell on it. Instead we need to focus on the things that bring glory and honor to God.
  3. Just: Are our thought fair? Or are we blowing a circumstance out of proportion because we are hurt? Or are we skewing the situation to make ourselves look good? We must ask God to help us think justly.
  4. Pure: Is there even a hint of nasty in our thoughts. Are we entertaining impure sexual fantasies? Are we focusing on gossip or slander?
  5. Lovely: Do my thoughts lighten the heart, encourage me to do kind things for others? Do my thoughts make it easier for me to rely on the Holy Spirit so I can please God?
  6. Commendable: Do my thoughts encourage me to help others? Do they increase my desire to draw closer to Jesus and please Him more?
  7. Excellent: Are my thoughts valuable to myself and others? Do they challenge me to live a holy life through the power of the Holy Spirit?
  8. Worthy of Praise: Would God, knowing our thoughts, say, “well done. I not only approve what you are thinking, but I applaud it?” If not, then we need to refocus our thoughts.

Sometimes our minds will run a bit wild, but we can be the boss of our thoughts. The key is to filter our thought focus through this verse.

May our thoughts bring glory and honor to God. May they encourage us to love God and others well. All for God’s glory and honor!

Angela

Mind Your Mind: Joining the Battle for Joy

This past weekend I had the privilege of leading two break-out sessions at Arkansas Baptist Women’s Inspire Conference. What a blessing it was to see about 900 women from all over Arkansas gather together to receive encouragement, correction, refreshment, and learn to fall more in love with Jesus.

The session I led was called Changing Your Mind: How to Radiate Joy. By God’s grace and a few women willing to sit on the floor, I spoke to about 275 women total. We discussed what joy really is and how our thought life can either cloud the joy we have in God our help us keep our eyes focused on God.

Today I want to share a bit more about the battle we enter with God when we choose to wrestle our thoughts into obedience with God.

The following verse was written by Paul to the Corinthian church. He knows about some poor behavior in the church and he doesn’t want to have to confront it in person. He begins by reminding the church that though we walk in the flesh we wage war with weapons of divine power. Then he says:

 “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV

These are fighting words. It takes work to destroy arguments and opinions. And to take something captive so it will obey Christ? That is some serious wrestling. The problem is that we rarely pay attention to what we are thinking. There is a tape running in our heads. One that is fed by what we look at, what we read, what we listen to, what we watch. And this tape of thought is often filled with lies and half-truths. Good-sounding wisdom from the world like “follow your heart” or “believe in yourself.” When God wants us to follow His voice and believe in Him! Our thoughts tell us that if only we had the right job, relationship, car, purse, house, whatever that we would have joy. But David wrote in the Psalms:

You [LORD] make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 ESV

So we must do battle to bring our thoughts captive to Christ’s obedience; to remember that our fullest joy comes in God’s presence. Since His Spirit dwells in us, we should have no problem being in God’s presence!

So how do we do this battle?

We pray God helps us pay attention to our wandering mind.

We tell our thoughts the truth.

We remind ourselves that even when we cannot feel it God’s presence brings joy. We tell ourselves joy from anything else will not last.

We ask God to help us experience the joy of His presence.

By His power we can break away from the strongholds in our minds that keep us far from God and the joy of His presence.

So today take some time to evaluate you thoughts. Sift them through the truth of God’s Word, keep what is pure and holy, throw out what is rubbish, and begin to battle for the joy of the LORD!

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Angela