Closing My ‘I’s

I nearly pulled off on the side of the road and threw up. Nerves for me are always worse after the fact. And last night nerves were at an all time high. It’s one thing to make your stage debut (I don’t care if technically it was only preview rehearsal… there was an audience) it’s another thing to have lost your voice but need to yell at everyone for an hour and a half and then sing three solos that we already some of the hardest music you’ve ever heard. It was admittedly not my finest work and I was sick about it. Literally.

 

Insecurity is the most accepted form of pride. Where as arrogance idolizes one’s strengths insecurity idolizes our weakness. It make much of our failures and flaws- too much. I have lived most of my life in this place. Doing only what I knew I was sure to succeed at. Or at least keeping my endeavors private so I wouldn’t have to face my horrendous fear of expectation.

 

God is jealous. He not only frees us from the punishment of sin but from the hold sin has on our hearts. I never dreamed, that when I said “yes” to this play that I was actually saying “yes” to His purging work in my life. And I never dreamed that the one of the greatest sins I would deal with in my life was insecurity. But here I am. My voice is pretty darn raw and it’s opening weekend. I don’t have a strong rehearsal under my belt to buffer my self-esteem and it appears my children have no intention on giving me a nap today.

 

So… I’m closing my “I”s.

 

I’m saying no to all the thoughts that say I am not good enough. I can’t do this. I don’t have enough experience. I’m going to mess up. I can’t handle this. I will let people down. I was a poor choice.

 

And I’m opening new “I”s to say: I am going to have fun. I am going to do my best. I’m going to get through this. I’m going to let go of what I can’t control. I’m going to focus on what I’m good at. I’m going to feed off the successes of those around me. I’m going to believe the best.

 

Aside from tea and voice rest I have little power over how fast I heal. I know my Father is the healer and if He so chooses I could walk onto that stage with the best voice I’ve had in fifteen years. I would really love that and I know many of my friends and family are praying as such. But my sister said something only a sister can say “It’s not beneath God to use this to help you get over your stronghold of expectations…”

 

So, tonight I give it all I’ve got. And the chips fall. But there’s no guarantees and there’s no out. Just faith and letting go. I am open to what this journey holds.

 

Father, by Your precious grace… You are my Ebeneezer- thus far the LORD has carried me. And so I call you by name— You are the I AM… not me. You are good. You are perfect. You are the master story teller, the song-writer, the scene setter. You are beautiful and triumphant in all you do. I look to you. I ask for your hand to steady me and keep my eyes fixed on higher things. For those who, like me, struggle to see past their weakness, would you show them the way of faith. Would you teach us to walk joyfully in that truth that you use ALL things for our good. You have called us. You have chosen us and not a stitch in the hem of our being is unseen from your eye. May we each walk boldly as you have created and provisioned us to and may we not shrink back when the path is not a certain as we hoped. You hold our hand whether we stand or fall and that is enough. Thank you for this precious gift and opportunity you’ve given me. Be glorified in my heart and deeds. Amen.  

The Gift of Righteousness

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!”

Romans 5:17

Are you easily angered, jealous, full of gossip. Are you prone to worry, anxiety, fear, or vanity? Do you love money, power and the praise of man? This is the death grip of sin on our lives. Robbing us of full relationship with God, one another and peace within ourselves. It’s like a rust on our lives, a corrosion, a rot in the bone. We don’t have to try. These things are so intrinsic to us. In fact, we can try very hard not to do these things and yet, fall into their grip again and again. And if we are successful at willing ourselves from these behaviors we inevitably cross into perhaps the most dangerous of sins… self-righteousness.

What must I do to be saved!?”

I cry out like several of those first followers from the scriptures. I find Jesus quite frustrating at times. He clearly denounces sin but His manner also deeply offends the religious protocol associated with a life pleasing to God. Ah! Then how and the heck am I supposed to walk this thing out! I want to see victory in my own life over the things that rob me of the peace and presence- victory over those intrinsic sins but I struggle. But trying harder doesn’t work! Oh but God hears our cries and while writing down another verse I  “tripped” into this passage. I’d like to highlight a few words that stuck out to me.

Receive: Crossing from the first half of this verse to the second- from the sin of Adam to the holiness of Christ- happens through what we receive… not what we DO! We stop and open our hands and ask God. We ask God to help us see, believe, and receive this “abundant grace” He talks about. We ask, we wait, we watch. Maybe this means rereading the verses about God’s nature and promises until we feel them hit our heart. It’s His responsibility to reveal himself to us. It’s our job to humble ourselves and seek Him. We don’t have to manufacture understanding, encounter, revelation or victory. HE does that. We receive! Open our hands, and say God I’m willing to take what you give!

Gift: Righteousness is not a process! It’s a gift. It is a gift that comes when we receive that abundant grace. Humility, kindness, faith, contentment, patience, self-control, boldness… these virtues become part of our nature as gifts of righteousness from the Father when we understand the grace embodied in Jesus Christ.

Reign in life: Is it just me or is there too much muddling? How many of us are muddling through? I know, I know… God really does move in the mundane. It is not our best life now no matter what that fancy man says. But it is our best “us” now! There is a place that no matter how mundane, exciting, hard or great life is we reign over those circumstances. We are above them. We can even dictate change over them sometimes. Are we living in a place of our heart and mind being above what life throws at us. Is our peace untouchable, our joy unquenchable? And when demonic assault, sickness, fear come against us, our spouse, our children- are we able to take up our authority and contend with powers and principalities as we are commissioned to? I don’t want to live like a victim in my own body and mind when Christ is literally giving me everything to rise above that. He doesn’t promise us ease but He does promise peace and companionship. I don’t want to continue to settle for less than the promises of God!

Father, through the power of your sweet Holy Spirit would you move on the lives and minds of those who read this. I ask even that you would divinely put this in front of anyone needing this word. That you would release people from the choke-hold of sin and self effort. God that you would move in us to receive Your goodness. Help us to truly see and understand exactly what you did on that cross. We cannot do this without you. Draw us. Teach us. Heal us. Change us. And give people courage. Give them courage to think differently, to live differently, to view themselves in a new light. IN YOUR LIGHT! Work in our hearts. I so badly want more righteousness in my life. I want that power in myself and relationships. Please continue to pour out that abundant grace and help me not stray from the simple truth of Your love. Thank you for meeting me with this Word this morning. Help it to take root in my own heart and not be snatched up or choked out by any circumstance or scheme. You are beautiful. Truly and wholly (Holy) beautiful. Thank you, thank you, thank you…

Amen.