Doing It Again

So I am walking and talking to God this morning, and I realize it has been a long time since I have had a deep meaningful, give and take conversation with Him.  I apologize.  I ask for forgiveness.  He simply asks me, “Are you doing what I have asked you to do?”  There is no condemnation in the question.  There is no expectation that I will feel guilty.  There is no ‘attitude’.  It’s just a question for me to ponder.  But I say to Him, “No.”

It is then I realize that while I have given my last hold out, my health, over to Him, I have slipped.  Food has been and will always be an issue for me.  I see it, I want it, I have to have it … NOW.  It doesn’t matter if I am hungry or not.  And lately, I have fallen into the mind-trap of, “I just rode 22 miles this morning, I can have ______________ to eat.”  (Fill in the blank with any food you love, but shouldn’t have every day.)

Some of my favorite foods.

Because I am not taking time to be with my best friend, God, I am not focusing on what is really important in my life.  I am derailing myself.  So this morning, after my walk, before showering, or getting on the scale or eating breakfast, I am writing.  This is what God is calling me to do with my life.  I am no longer afraid of the ‘what ifs’.  That’s not the problem.  It is balancing being a graduate student,  being a mother, being a wife, a new career move, my health, and my faith.  Notice my faith is last.  That is where I have placed it, and yet it should be the first.  My time spent with God should be at the beginning.  Once I place God where He should be, everything else will fall into place.

I should know this by now.  I’m a mature Christian.  I’ve done this act before.  I am so glad that my Lord knows me and loves me so completely.  I am glad that I can sin, receive true forgiveness.  I am glad that while I don’t always learn from my mistakes, I can continue to move forward in my life, and God will always be there to guide me.

He’s waiting for you too.  Take some time today to listen for His word in your life.

1/2 a Degree Off

          When I went through Army basic training, I had to learn how to read a map and use a compass to navigate my way through the woods.  Needless to say, I was not good at this.  My sense of direction is always backwards.  And while I can read a road map, reading a topographical map is something entirely different.  I quickly learned that if I was even ½0 off, I would be miles from my targeted destination within no time.  I wasn’t a little lost … I was a lot lost. 

If it was just me, that would be fine, but I had a whole squad I was leading.  I led 7 other people off the right path.  A drill sergeant found us on the edge of the woods we were training and asked us if we knew what we were doing.  She asked who was in charge and I reluctantly admitted it had been my turn.  She took the compass and map from me and handed it over to another private.  She looked at the rest of my squad and clearly said, “Never let Blair lead you with the compass again.  If she is put in charge, help her fake it, otherwise you will all get lost again.  Blair, always make sure you are with someone who knows how to read a compass.”  Luckily this was just training, and luckily there were members of our squad who knew what to do to get us back on the right path and lead us to the next destination.  (Later I found out that I was one of the worst privates to try to use a compass.  I understood the concept on paper; I just couldn’t apply it.) 

It’s been a long time since I’ve written.  I’ve fallen off of the path – just a 1/20 and a few months later.  To me it doesn’t seem to be a big deal.  It isn’t like I stopped praying or going to church.  I’m not sinning in such a way that I would be led straight to hell.  No, I just have a bunch of excuses as to why I haven’t written.  I am too busy.  (Well, I am.  I’m a full time mom, work full time, full time wife, taking a grad class, very involved in my church.  You get the picture.)  There are more important things to do right now then write.  The only problem with this scenario is that God is calling me to write.  See, I have felt that maybe I shouldn’t be finishing my graduate class.  I am only three classes away from earning my masters degree in Special Education. 

When God called me to write, I talked to Him about finishing.  I want to finish my degree because this is the second masters I have started, and I want to finish it.  I feel like I need to finish it.  It is a need to complete a task I have started.  So when God called me to write, I spent time in prayer about my master’s degree.  The answer I received was very clear, “You can finish this degree so long as you write.”  I have not been writing faithfully.  And I believe this is why I have felt such angst about finishing my degree or quitting my degree to write.

  Now I am in a pickle.  I haven’t really written.  I mean, I have written in my prayer time.  I have jotted down ideas.  I have ideas percolating in my head, but the true writing that God is calling me to do, I haven’t done.  Why is it that I am so stubborn?  Why don’t I follow what God has called me to do?  I am always so blessed when I do what He wants me to do.  I am like the Israelites who made the golden calf when Moses was on Mount Sinai.  God told Moses in Exodus 33:3, “Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”  I am the “stiff-necked” people.  While I do want to be in God’s presence, I don’t always want to do His will.  This makes no sense.  There is nothing He has done to cause me to be anxious or worried.

            Oh, wait a minute.  There is one tiny, little, itty-bitty thing that bothers me when I go to do whatever it is God wants me to do – I don’t know the outcome.  I don’t even get to know the path I am suppose to take.  It’s like those computer games that only allow you to see the room you are in and no more.  I don’t get to see beyond the next footstep.  Yet, God has never, ever taken me down a wrong path.  In fact, when I follow Him, I find myself being who I am really meant to be.  I am doing and being all I am created to do and be. 

            So here I am, back on the right path, for several reasons.  The first is that I really do want to finish my degree.  And God was very clear with me that I need to write while I work on my degree.  When I was considering going after a degree in writing, I found myself scared.  I wasn’t sure if I was good enough to pursue a degree in writing.  If I wasn’t accepted, that would mean I wasn’t worthy.  That is definitely a scary thought.  God was calling me to write, but what if I wasn’t good enough.  So instead of trusting God, I took the easy way out and am pursuing a master’s degree in Special Education.  At some point, I came to terms with the idea I might not be good enough and decided I needed to write.  Even if no one read a word I typed, I needed to write.  It was what God was calling me to do.

 Second, my writing time is very connected to my prayer time.  I have been cheating myself of my time with God.  It is during this time that I speak to Him and He speaks to me.  My relationship is beyond “hello” or a “to do list”  I give for Him to accomplish.  It is my time to be in His presence and listen.  I find when I am quiet and listen, He speaks.  And He speaks very clearly.

Of course, I must give credit to my Christian sisters.  They have held me accountable. They have softly and gently moved me back onto the path of writing.  In fact, it was I who started the whole accountability issue this past week.  My dear friend Mary has been struggling lately and I challenged her to do something about it. In this challenge, I realized that I too, must listen to the call of God.  And I knew it would be about writing.  I told Mary if she did something three times this week I would write in my blog …  as I hesitated about how many times I would write in my blog, I turned to my friend Erin.  I asked her, “How many times do you think I should post to my blog?”

Her answer was the same as the number in my head – 2.  (Golly, God, do You really have to put what I am thinking in someone else’s head?)

So now Mary and I are holding each other accountable, but it doesn’t end there.  Erin needs to let go of her control of the universe.  Sarah needs to get her butt out of bed and spend time with God.  Sarah and Erin need to sign up for the Lay Speaking class.  They also need to get off their butts and start a pre-school.  (By the way Pastor Rob, the two of them should be speaking to you about this within the next week.)

While it might seem harsh to call out my friends, I do so with their permission, but more importantly, there is a basis for accountability in the Bible.  Colossians 3:16-17 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing (bold, italics, underlining added) one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatever you do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

In my Christian sisters I am held accountable for the call God has on my heart.  And I am expected to hold my sisters to the same standards.  God has placed these women in my life so that I am able to stay on the right path.  They either confirm or turn me back to God for reconfirmation.  They see me in the roles God is placing on my heart.  And I see in them, the call God is placing in their lives.  I do not want to be 1/20 off.  I want to be on the right path because it doesn’t take long, and 2 months have gone by and I haven’t written a word.  If not for them, it would be another 2 months, and another 2 months and before you know it, a year will have gone by.

Remember Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”  So, how about you?  Are you on the right path?  What is God calling you to do?  Who do you turn to for accountability?

On the Cusp

I am on the cusp of a new life.  I can feel it deep within me, bubbling to the surface.  There are dreams/goals that are finding their way up to the front again.  As I am on this journey to lose weight I am finding who I want to be once again.  To lose weight I joined Fitness Express, saved up my money so I could then begin Total Solutions, a weight loss program offered at Fitness Express.  It is not just about losing weight.  It is about changing the thinking in my brain.  Every week I am sent “Life Success” issues to read, listen to and write about my goals.  At the same time, I am doing a study with WOW (a women’s group at my church) called Hearing the Voice of God.  And the two are converging.  “Life Success” is helping me to stop and slow down and reach deep within me to find what I really want to do with my life, while Hearing the Voice of God is refining my ability to listen and hear God’s voice within my life.

So you ask me, “Jozett, what are your goals … your dreams?  What is God calling you to do?”

Write.  Write.  Write.  It is in my writing that I connect with God.  My goal is to have a manuscript written within the next 5 years.  I want to be a speaker.  I want to do public speaking.  I’m not sure about what yet, but I know I am being called to do this.  I have love and hope and grace and strength to share with people.  I have a story to tell, and I want to tell it.  The more I pray and write and lose weight, the more I am aware that God is calling me to do and be more than I am right now.

Before when I would think about these dreams, I would be terrified and run the other way.  I am tired of being terrified.  I am tired of running away.  I want to experience the full blessings God has for my life.  This means I must take more time to be with Him, listen to Him and follow Him.  I know for some people my next statements sound silly, but here it goes.  I have used eating and my obesitiy as a way to rebel against my Father.  I was not giving HIm all of me.  I wanted control of something, and this was my control.  It’s now in His hands.

How do I know that I have given this all over to Him?  For 2 days in a row, I was handing out cupcakes, cookies and popcorn to my students.  Not once did I lick my fingers, take a bite, or try a dessert.  In the past, I would have devoured 4 or 5 of these tasty treats with my students.  In my room I have hard candy to give as treats for my students, and I do not eat them.  And guess what, I haven’t craved any of it.

This past week, I have been on the fasting phase of this program.  It is a very limited diet meant to speed up my metabolism.  My first thought when I saw this was, “I am not going to make it.”  But the thought that replaced it was, “I can do this with my eyes on God.”  In all of my prayers, I keep hearing very clearly, “Be obedient and you will be blessed.”  I am being obedient.  This time I know the blessings He has for me are more than I can even imagine.  I can feel it deep, deep within my soul.  I am no longer afraid of the dreams God has placed in my soul.  They are His dreams too.  There can be no failure when He is in charge!!

 

 

 

My Beloved Daughter

I quiet myself and come into the presence of the Lord.  I feel His smile reach me.  It is so warm and loving.  I look into Christ’s face and ask Him, “What do you want me to do?”

Be still my child, my beloved daughter.  Be still and bask in my embrace.  I know all you are going through.  You are my beloved daughter, and you are precious to me.  I want you to know I love you no matter what.  Whether you listen to me, walk away, deny me.  There is nothing you could ever do that would stop me from loving you. 

These are the kinds of conversations I have with God.  This one is about me, and I am willing to share it.  Lately, when I come to Him, I ask Him what He wants me to do.  Sometimes the question is different, but this is the one that has been popping up more frequently.  And usually I ask Him what He wants me to write.  Today has been no different.  So someone out there needs to here this message.  Take the time to stop and not just come at God with requests, but stop and bask in His presence.   Isn’t that what we want with our own children, spouses, partners, loved ones?  Don’t we just want them to bask in the love we have for them?  That’s what God wants for you today.  He is calling you, beloved child.

Quieting Myself

In the noise, in the middle of the caucophnous words floating from the mixing and mingeling of people are moments, ever so minisucule moment of quiet.  It is in those small spaces of time I place myself.  And the quiet spaces expands and the noise rolls over me as though there is a focefield that surrounds me.  And I find myself in the middle of a dead zone of space, time and quiet.

I wait longer and know You are with me, whispering to me to be still, to let go.  If I relax my way into Your presence, You are right there.  I can see You, in all Your glory and You smile at me.  And it is in this moment I know You will speak to me.

I look at You and I tell You, “You are my God, my Creater, the Lover I have always sought.  You complete me and fill the empty spaces of my soul.  My search for something more is complete because You are right here, in front of me.  And before I can even speak the question I have, You answer me.

Stop watching t.v. and playing card games on your computer – Write.  I have words for you to share.  Write, or you will find other areas of your life falling apart – because you are avoiding what I want you to do.  When you are disobedient in one area of your life, you become disobidient in other areas of your life.  Write.

I know this is God.  So I write.  I turn off the tv, I move away from all of the distracting computer games.  I write.  And He is right.  If I am disobidient to Him in this, I will not be obedient in other areas.  I will not be able to partake in the banquet feast He has prepared me.