The other day I felt God prompting me to send a web design proposal to an organization that I knew needed a website. I put it together and sent it off to the administrator, I’ll call him Mr. Brown. A few hours later he replied.
“ We are; in fact, currently completing building a new website which we hope to have online in the next few weeks. We will retain your information for future reference.”
It sort of felt like a slap. Maybe it was the “in fact” he threw in there. Or the tinny sound of a canned response. Or maybe it was just me. Rejection is not something I do very well. And really, it was God’s idea in the first place. I wondered why God would have me create a proposal for a job He knew I wasn’t going to get. I felt a bit rejected by Mr. Brown. And as I experienced that feeling swirl around me, then rise up and threaten to overwhelm me, I began to take authority over it in Jesus name. I began to resist it as a dark thought and spirit, not from God.
Immediately after I did that, I saw a picture of Jesus giving me a high five. Grinning and slapping me on the back for what a good job I’d done on the proposal. Telling me how proud of me He was. For the next few minutes, I saw myself throughout all the years of my childhood bringing my schoolwork home and seeing Jesus there, grabbing it out of my hands so excited about what I had done. He waved it about, showing everyone. He put it on the refrigerator making sure whoever was around saw it, and He kept saying, “Look at what my girl did! Isn’t she something?”
I saw that every single effort I’d ever made was not missed by Him. He saw, He loved, and He delighted in every piece of work I’d ever done. He was excited with me when I chose a purple crayon for the grass in my picture at age five. He never asked me why I didn’t use green, as though I’d made a questionable design decision. He just really enjoyed looking at my purple grass.
There was such exuberance in His joy of my work and of me. I saw a kaleidoscope of the school years go by and saw Him excited and pleased every time I did my work. Every single time, I delighted Him. Every time I tried something new, whether I failed or succeeded, He was there, His eyes lighting up, His smile so bright, His hand up always ready to give me a high-five. His excitement was tangible. His feet dancing with His passion for me and every single thing I did. Every single day.
I didn’t know that about Him. I didn’t know that about my work. I didn’t know that each one of my efforts had so much value. I finally, deeply, understood that I am always, every single day, completely accepted and loved by God. And so are you.
“The Lord your God is with you; his power gives you victory. The Lord will take delight in you, and in his love, he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you, as joyful as people at a festival.” Zephaniah 3:17 GNT
When you get out of the boat there’s only one thing you can do, keep looking at Jesus. That’s it. No looking at the waves. No noticing how strong the wind is blowing or contemplating the storm. None of that. We all know how that ends.
So now you’re out of the boat having a miraculous faith experience with Jesus. Don’t look down once your brain realizes you’re walking on water. Don’t look down because Jesus really does not want you to sink. You’re on the water because He likes hanging out with you. He likes you having exhilarating times with Him. He likes your faith in Him that drives you close.
Recently Jesus saw my hunger as I sat in the boat. Although He’s been calling me to follow a path into the unknown with Him for some time now, I just couldn’t see where the road would go so I didn’t really listen very well. I worried the idea like a dog with a bone trying to wrap my logical mind around it but that road just didn’t seem to go anywhere. Then one day Jesus reminded me of Jonah and where his disobedience took him. He reminded me of the rich young ruler who could have been one of the disciples but turned away when asked to give what he held dear. He couldn’t see how he could live without the only things he knew how to trust.
Some years ago God encouraged me to follow Him to a new and frightening place by talking to me about Nebuchadnezzar and reminding me that if I was going to seek to build my own kingdom it would not end well. Fear of God propelled me. I followed Him. I walked through my fear and into a time of intimacy and beauty I never dreamed of. That journey included meeting the man I would marry, a trip to Spain and Germany, a spiritual discovery of the power of beauty, and my gift for storytelling.
God is not logical when He asks for our obedience. That’s what makes this a faith walk. Last week I realized He was asking me if I truly wanted to follow Him. If I really wanted to choose Him no matter what it cost me. It’s quite easy to sit in the boat and think about wanting more of God. To claim I want to do the bible stuff–heal the sick, raise the dead, bind up the brokenhearted, deliver people from bondage…but it’s quite difficult to actually get out of the boat.
I think it takes something of Him in our hearts to lift our heads in faith and hunger and say like Peter, “If that’s you, ask me to come.” I wonder if Jesus would have called to him to come if Peter hadn’t essentially jumped up and said, “Pick me, pick me!” As I pondered this with the Lord, I saw something new. I saw how Jesus’ heart leaped because Peter so wanted to be with Him and his heart truly believed in Jesus. Peter saw something in Jesus that drew him beyond logic into longing and action. That’s what faith looks like.
I thought about my own seeking. Do I look for ways to get out of the boat? Do I cry, “If it’s you, ask me to come. Call me, Jesus, I’m ready to throw off everything to follow where I’ve never been before. Where it is impossible to be without you. I’m ready to come closer. Pick me. Pick me. “
Or do I only look for faith that makes my life more comfortable?
Yes, I got out of the boat this week and all prayers are welcome. I believe Lord, help my unbelief. If you’re on this journey also, hit reply and I’ll pray for you, too! I know it will be glorious because He is glorious! I will end this where I started it. When you get out of the boat there’s only one thing you can do, keep looking at Jesus.
Several months ago I woke up from a dream where Jesus walked away. Later, I could laugh, but at the time I remember standing in the middle of a dirt road surrounded by prairie fields as far as I could see and feeling wildly scared. I looked down at something on the ground near my feet and when I looked up all I could see was Jesus’ back as he walked down the road. Away from me.
What? My mind started moving in hyper-mode. But the Bible says He never leaves me. He is my Good Shepherd. He leads and guides me. Where is He going? Why is He going?
And then I saw it. He was leading me. He expected me to be following.
I don’t know why I didn’t see it first thing. Maybe the surge of fear slowed me down or maybe I am just one of His slower children. He leads and guides but do I follow well? Obviously not always.
This morning it felt like He wasn’t here. I went through a list of things I might have done to offend Him. The areas of repentance that needed to be made. I asked what I should be doing that I wasn’t. I didn’t hear a thing. I remembered my dream and began to ask God where I should be going with Him that I was not.
Follow is another word for obey and although it is easier and carries less religious baggage, it means the same thing. Am I following where He wants to go and doing what He wants to do or am I just standing around in the dirt thinking?
There is a recurring fear of lack in my life and it has come around again. Rearing its voice above the voice of God to speak, loudly, lies that tend to immobilize me. Lies that slow my feet until they stop altogether and I stand in the middle of the road watching Jesus walk away.
My enemy, who hates me because I am so valuable to God because God made me in His image and I am loved deeply, even to the cross– that enemy hates God and all that He loves. That enemy knows how powerful the words and promises of my Heavenly Father are in my mouth. He will do anything he can, create any lie to keep me from following Jesus into the fruitful destiny that God’s dreamed for me.
I see now that it is obedience that keeps me following but wavering in my devotion to Christ slows me down and makes me a target for the smelly lies of the Evil One. His tactics never change. I should be smarter by now but so often I just believe the wrong words. First, my focus moves from Jesus and onto whatever is bothering me. Then my mind starts worrying it as a dog does with a bone. I no longer see the promise in God’s eyes and heart but am primed and ready to listen to the enemy when he comes to speak his prophecy and promise over my life. Promises of lack, emptiness, and failure. And yet in the faithfulness of my God, I hear the Holy Spirit whisper in my heart, “Don’t listen. He’s a liar.”
As I take time to repent from my unbelief, from my unfaithful ways, I see Jesus ahead of me on the road looking over His shoulder, smiling and motioning me to hurry up and come on. So I do.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for my sin of unbelief. For not seeing how big and beautiful your plans are for me. For not seeing how awesome you are. How trustworthy. How faithful to keep me in my future and hope. Forgive me for seeing the enemy so large and powerful when you said he’s not. When he was created by you and his power was destroyed at the cross. Come Holy Spirit of Jesus and be strength, hope, and life in me and through me, to a world of people who know torment as I do and even more. Help me to follow you this day. Amen
It feels like I’ve spent most of my life hearing Jesus say, “Are you coming?”
“Are you going to get out of the boat? Will you follow Me down the road wherever it leads?”
I woke up one morning some months ago to hear Him speaking loudly in my heart, “Seek. Seek. Seek.” It surprised me because I thought I was already seeking. But in God there is always more. Every dream, every word, every gift, every challenge is an invitation to come closer. To join Him in a conversation to find out more from His heart. He was asking me to seek Him intentionally, without agenda, with all my heart so I could know Him better.
”You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
My true spiritual quest started a year or so ago when I realized I did not love God with my whole heart. Something in me resisted Him. Some fear lived in a dark corner of my heart. Fear that if I gave God all of me my worst fears would be realized—He would not be a good Father but a terrorizing ruler. One who would see my shortcomings, my lack and my sin and banish me completely.
What lies the enemy of God wraps around us. Like a kitten unraveling a ball of string I followed the string into play until it entangled me completely. Until it immobilized me spiritually with a deep foreboding of who God really was and what He wanted with me.
“In the cave you fear to enter lies the treasure that you seek.”
This quote, attributed to Joseph Campbell, was on a note stuck to my computer for over a year while a loving God softly spoke words of truth and love to my shaking, broken, child heart that was desperately afraid of the dark.
If I could give you one gift it would be the gift of seeing His goodness and intent toward you. YOU are beloved, loved beyond imagination. A world created in beauty, in wonder…for you. A beloved, only Son, given in pain and death…for you, so your heavenly Father could meet with you face to face. His heart longs to be loved by His children. We will never be home until we seek Him through the fear, past the fear into the cave of the unknown. That is faith. That is seeking.
Let Him lead you into the place of unknown. Seek Him to find His Father’s heart that delights in you. When God woke up dreaming, He created you. He created an amazing earth, a lovely garden for us. To show us what He is like. To show us how He loves…in extravagance and beauty. His love is truly never ending but to find it, to find Him, I must look up from my busy tasks and intentionally look for Him. He has promised to be found when I seek.
You are wondrously made. You are delightful. You are God’s Wildest Dream. Seek the One who made you and gave His all to be friends with you. He wants you to find Him. He’s waiting expectantly to fold you in His arms.
Heavenly Father, help us seek you. Help us find you. Help us to receive your love. As Paul prayed, help us to be rooted and grounded in your love, that we may be able to understand what is the breadth and length and height and depth of it and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge. Amen.
Music | Reckless Love of God – Live Bethel Worship
Do I walk with Jesus? Well, I always have, sort of. My spiritual life was not anything I ever wanted to share with others because there was so much confusion in it. Why would I want to invite others into this life that seemed a bit tormented…knowing there was a God who is, in fact, real but not understanding Him enough to see an impact in my life? Hungry for a spiritual life but seeing bits and pieces only, yet nothing big or meaningful enough to fill or heal. How could I, in good conscience, offer this to others? My short answer: I couldn’t and never really did. It’s not that I was ashamed of Him, just wary, fearful and definitely not a credible witness of His goodness. Trapped in a space just short of the promised land looking longingly toward the place of my freedom and joy.
Who takes our hand and leads us alongside Jesus so we might look into His face and see only love? People like Heidi Baker kept me seeking, asking, knocking and hoping for a personal glimpse of His goodness as expressed though her ministry to The One. The One lost in the darkness of the most poverty stricken nation on earth. Jesus walks with her into the villages right to The One who is most without hope. The One woman in the village who had such little value she had never even been given a name. He leaves the ninety-nine…to go after The One. That is the Jesus I wanted. The Jesus who placed such a high value on us that he left heaven to give us life. He actually died to give us an introduction to our heavenly Father so we could be loved deeply and extravagantly. So we could know our Father who created wildflowers, whales, rivers and summer skies for us.
Joyfully for me, I finally met Him. He is all and more I ever dreamed. He whispers to me that I am all and more than I ever dreamed, too. He also speaks of you. That you, too are all and more than you ever knew or dreamed. That your value to Him is the highest treasure on earth. I speak to those of us who know we are misfits, ordinary or broken and are tormented by the glimpse of something hopeful. We are the writers, artists, poets, creative dreamers, spiritual ones longing for a spiritual life, a beautiful, peaceful place to be truly alive. I am convinced if you and I continue to seek Him, He will be found by us. Even more, I am convinced that He will find us and express His great love and delight to us. Today I can say I am His and life with Jesus is a most wondrous adventure filled with a love and acceptance worth more than anything on earth. I encourage you to keep seeking, Precious Ones. He is looking for you, too.
What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? Matthew 18:12
For he chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will. Ephesians 1: 4-5
Music | Reckless Love of God – Live Bethel Worship