5

On brokenness and gifts

I finally understand what brokenness is. Brokenness is having no plan B, having no way out, realizing the limits of your humanity, being down and out, giving up on your own ability and strength. It sounds nasty, but it’s a great blessing, because, guess what…that’s the only time God gets to fully work and show His strength, and it is amazingly mind blowing!

I’ve written about small faith and little faith before (or haven’t I?) In summary, small faith is complete and whole faith, but it is small in size (which God approves of…small as a mustard seed), while little faith is insufficient and inadequate; it’s having plan B’s, believing in God halfway or quarter-way (very displeasing to God).

Brokenness has no room for little faith. It breeds complete faith because when you realize your own strength is sorely inadequate, you turn to The Powerful One, and He is only so pleased to make His awesomeness known (and He is probably thinking, what took you so long? I told you you were weak, duh!)

This is when you realize that God does freely give all things. If it’s peace you want, you only have to ask and you will receive. The reason why we don’t receive these things is because we don’t believe. Simple. When I was broken, I had no other choice but to believe that God is there and that He is the only one who can come through for me. My prayers became pleas. My requests were desperate because I simply had no.other.way.out. What’s amazing to me is that these truths always eluded me, as simple as they seem now.

It is amazing that I can get joy just by asking. Really? Is it just me or do we as humans feel that we have to work for everything? Do you feel like something is not worth receiving if it’s free; if you didn’t work for it?

The beauty of all the gifts God gives is that they are free; that’s why they are called gifts. Why have I been living such a hard life? Why have I been striving for things that God has already freely given? It hardly makes sense. Why would I seek to buy a car to make me happy (by avoiding unscrupulous bus conductors and jostling) when I could just ask God to give me joy and contentment? It’s so much easier! Like seriously, why are we struggling? If you need peace, you just ask God and He gives it to you, FOR FREE! Love, faith, self-control, etc etc.

I don’t even think the awesomeness of all this is really making any sense to you or if I am just rambling. If the sense of this eludes you, I charge you, just try it yourself. Just ask God for what you need. Then stand back and be amazed.

It may not come in the way you expect it, but just keep seeking Him and be amazed at how He works things out in even more perfect ways than we would ever anticipate or dream.

2

Prayers and Dreams

One of the scariest prayers I ever made was when I asked God to show me my purpose. I thought it would be a one-sentence answer, but it has ended up being pages and pages of of a book in which I have had revelation of who I am and who He wants me to be. I didn’t think it would be a journey, I thought it would be an instant thing. It has ended up being a meandering path that takes me back to the past and then to the present and back again, as I look at a future that gets clearer everyday. Ever heard the phrase “You can’t move into the future until you let go of the past”? It’s absolutely true.

To capture my dreams I had to go to the past and let go of all the misconceptions I had about who I am. Then after doing this (it’s still an on-going process), only then could I clearly see myself the way God sees me, and see into the future He would like me to have. With this view, I realized that the dreams I thought I had were so small compared to what He was awakening in me. God deals in BIG dreams, and He wants us to have them and trust that He can make them come true.

I make it sound so easy; it isn’t. It’s a difficult process that I had to be willing to go through and not give up (also, the ever-increasing level of discontent with mediocrity was a very strong driving force).

So today I make another scary prayer:

May I never be content with doing less that I am capable of

May I never let great opportunities pass me by

May I seek to be excellent in everything I do

May I dream, and dream, and dream some more; always, each bigger than the last

May I always be repulsed by the idea of sitting on a desk whiling away the time in a job I am ill-suited for, that drains my energy and suppresses who I am

May I never hesitate to express my creativity, even when there is the threat of criticism

May I always believe that God, the author of dreams, can make them come true…because He who begun a good work in me will be faithful to complete it

Amen

0

Our Hope Endures

Yesterday I had one of these really strange days where everything is OK but nothing feels OK… I felt lost and confused and forgotten by God.

I have been trusting God for a number of things in my life that I have constantly prayed about but they haven’t happened…yet. Adding that ‘yet’ takes faith coz maybe they never will. I don’t know.

I’ve often heard that sometimes, when you ask God for something, He gives you one of three answers: Yes, No or Wait. I used to think it was pretty straightforward to decipher which of these He had given in a particular situation, but now, I am not so sure. Could I hear a ‘Yes’ when it’s really a ‘No’? Could I hear a ‘No’ when it’s really a ‘Wait’? How do you know which one it is?

It is so elementary, I know, this knowledge of God’s voice…but is it really? Do we ever really understand God’s voice and God’s ways and God’s reasons?

What I have been doing is waiting, whenever I am not sure what God’s answer is, because I believe it will be made clear in due time. The problem with this is the indefinite-ness of the waiting period…there is no deadline by which He will make it clear, we cannot constrain God to our time limits, He will answer when He will answer. So this is the hardest part for me.

How do you wait indefinitely? How do I wait without knowing IF God will answer, and if He will, not knowing WHEN?

So in the midst of my rambling and wrestling thoughts, I came across the words of the song Our Hope Endures by Natalie Grant. She sings about hope being more than optimism. What can be more than optimism? Optimism is by human strength, it’s something that we conjure up when we have decided to “look on the bright side” and see the glass as “half full”. It takes a lot of strength to be optimistic, especially in the face of serious negativity and obstacles. What this tells me is that hope is not by human strength, but by God’s strength. Hope is divine. We don’t will ourselves to hope, we ask God to  give us hope.

So when I need to have hope in the waiting, I also ask God to give me the hope that it takes to wait on His answer. Pretty ironic, huh? I think the words of the song say it better. Have a hopeful day 🙂

Oh, but sometimes the sun stays hidden for years
Sometimes the sky rains night after night
When will it clear?

But our Hope endures the worst of conditions
It’s more than our optimism
Let the earth quake
Our Hope is unchanged

Emmanuel, God is with us
El Shaddai, all sufficient
We never walk alone
And this is our hope

~ Natalie Grant

0

What were you made for?

I looked outside the window the other day while at work and saw this flock of birds flying in the sky within my line of vision. I love to watch birds so this was good luck :). Anyway, maybe it would be better to say they were soaring. My office is pretty high up and still they looked pretty high up so I’m guessing according to Newton’s Law of Gravity and Bernoulli’s Principle and Onyango’s Theorem and all those Physics laws (bla bla bla), they were pretty high.

Sooooooooo anyway, it hit me…the birds are doing what they do best; what they were created for. God made them with wings and hollow bones and streamlined bodies so they could fly, dip, soar. How faithful they are.

I wondered, am I doing what I was created for? Like how did the bird know it was made to fly? (OK, the wings are pretty hard to miss, but still…). I am a being with a mind and a heart and a soul and a spirit and a body. Already there are four disinct functions that I can perform (seeing as I am in four parts, or rather three…soul=heart. Please, let us not debate about this yet, in another post, I promise). So, already I have three functions. Each of these functions has other mini-functions; take the body. The body has so many parts with sooooooooo many functions (no wonder I didn’t like Biology…mind-boggling stuff).

So in light of being a being, I am a woman. I have a function that I uniquely fulfill that a man cannot (because he has his own function, not due to any weakness on his part or anything, you can put the Men’s Rights placards down). So I have that too. On top of the various biological, social and spiritual roles.

Now the part that really puzzles me is the unique part that I play in the world. What is my function? Like the birds were made to fly, what was I made to do? To be a wife? To be a mother? To be a friend? To be an accountant? To be a Sunday School teacher? To be all of the above? But then how is that unique?

Or is it not about uniqueness? Are we all the same? Should we all just be humans? Is that even a thing? 🙂

Is it OK, then, to have dreams? Are those clues that God sends out to help us discover what He created us to do? Are some dreams cooler and more awesome than others? It’s all very confusing.

Growing up is weird, it’s like nothing makes sense anymore. Or am I the only one who feels this way?

What are you made for?

 

2

Wednesday Wallowings :(

I just saw this part in WordPress about my blog storage that says ‘you have used 3.7MB of 3072MB’. So I’m wondering, when I use it all up, what happens? Do I have to go through all my old posts and delete the ones I think are worth deleting? Kinda like when my mailbox or SMS inbox is full and I have to go through it and decide what to delete and what to keep and it’s all so exhausting coz it takes me AGES to decide and usually I just end up emptying the whole mailbox to spare me the excruciating decision. (I know, drama is me).

Today I had one of those mornings where one thing triggered a whole lot of things and memories, mostly bad ones, and I was left with the bitter taste of regret. What if I had done something differently? What if, what if, endless what ifs. I have always thought regret is the worst of all the emotions in the human sphere, with guilt a close second. The problem with these two emotions is that they have a lot to do with the past, which, as we know, we can’t change. It’s out of my control, and that’s why I find those two emotions so bitter.

So as I wallowed in the miasma (thanks Kijana Wamalwa for that phrase) of these emotions, I kept asking God why why why? Why did this have to happen? And God kept saying let it go, let it go. And so of course stubborn old me couldn’t let it go. So I was asking Him then what do I do with the regret? I can’t change what happened, I can’t go back, but I still have the regret. And so it was then so clear to me that I was living in the past. I am walking backwards, not looking where I am going coz I am so fixated on the past.

He was telling me that I can’t live my life in the past. I have to walk on, move forward, look ahead. I have to fix my eyes on the prize. I have to fix my eyes upon Him:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:2

Jesus endured the shame and scorn of the cross because He was focused on the prize…to sit at the right hand of His father. The beauty of His future was enough to spur Him on to endure the ugliness of death. So I think this is what God was trying to tell me, that I have a beautiful future that He has fashioned for me. The hope this brings me is enough to help me make it through the regret and guilt and all those ugly feelings.

So if you’ve been where I’ve been, or are there right now, remember Hebrews 12:2. Fix your eyes.

1

God-shaped hole

Today I tread onto murky waters…muddy slopes and swampy plains…
I walk into the dangerous zone…called…

(DRUMROLL!!)

….wait…for…it….

RELATIONSHIPS! BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN! BOYS AND GIRLS! (But mostly just men and women).

OK so I have been realizing that many people idolize romantic love and relationships (myself included). Like we dream about our Mr./Ms Right, dream of how perfect and wonderful our lives will be when we meet this other half that completes us…how our conversations will be meaningful and fun, how connected we will be, how awesome it will be and how jealous our exes and unrequited past loves will be when they see us together in all our perfection (OK maybe that last one is just me? Yeah, I think so. *cringe*)

It’s OK to desire to have a good relationship that is fulfilling and meaningful and non-dysfunctional…but when the line gets crossed to “I will never be happy until I meet Mr/Ms Right (if they even exist)” or “When I meet that person I will be whole, happy and my life will finally have meaning”, then we have a problem.

Someone told me that they used to think like this but when they found that person, they were still empty. They realized that they were really looking for relationship with God, and no man or job or hobby could ever fill that God-shaped hole inside of them. Which makes me wonder, why do we (or I) look for God in relationships? Why not just look for God directly? Why do we look for a substitute when God is right there? I mean, why is it easier to articulate a need for companionship but not a need for God? It’s puzzling to me.

I don’t know the answer, I’d like to know. Because I don’t want to look for God in a man, I want to look for God where I ought to. I don’t want to pressure a man to be God for me, as if it were even remotely possible. I pray the same for all of us. That we may know that what we are really looking for is God, and that we may seek Him first, because if we have that relationship with Him that we so desire, we won’t expect the world from our spouses and significant others, since they are only human, and  ill-equipped to meet that need in us.

What are your thought on this?

There’s a God-shaped hole in all of us
And the restless soul is searching
There’s a God-shaped hole in all of us
And it’s a void only He can fill

~ Plumb

7

Truth versus lies

The beauty of God’s love is overwhelming. Slowly, as I am on this walk called salvation that leads to Christ-likeness, I am constantly baffled by how much I don’t know about the Shepherd I am following. I am always learning something new, always letting go of lies to embrace Truth.

I have lived a lie. A life full of lies. The king of lies, i.e. Lucifer a.k.a the devil a.k.a Satan has convinced me, most of my life, to follow him. OK, let me elaborate.

Every time I believed I was not beautiful, it was a lie.Guess who had told me that? Yup, this devil dude. Every time I believed I was not worthy of love, not good enough, not smart, or wanted or measured up, or a failure…all those were lies from the father of lies himself. This has been my mindset for most of my life, believe it or not. It saddens me to tears that God has been my Father for so long, but I neglected Him. Yes, I accepted Him to be my Savior and I professed to follow Him, but I wasn’t really doing that.

My Father has all these thoughts he has about me; He thinks I am awesome, He wants me to have only the best things, His plans for me are for good, He thinks I am beautiful (He made me, after all!), He has made me worthy of love, I could go on and on. However, for the longest time, even now, I have not believed these things. I have believed the lies about myself.

I was a person who was blocked and deaf and blind to God’s love, truth and beauty by a cloud of lies. It’s like I would hear through deaf ears. because these ears were blocked by lies. I couldn’t see myself the way God sees me because my eyes were blocked by lies.

This is so humbling that God would show me how wrong I was, why I have struggled for so long with burdens I could not carry, why life has always been this trial and hurdle I have to get through because I have been given this life and this new day and I better “rejoice and be glad in it” or else. Sigh.

He actually does want us to enjoy life and have it abundantly. We are the ones who let the devil lie to us, and the worst part is, we LET him. We don’t have to believe the lies, we choose to. It’s not as clear-cut as I am making it sound, because it’s a deception; subtle and deadly – killing us inside. Most of us, most of the time, never realize we are living a lie. But that’s this devil dude’s plan from the beginning. For the most part, it’s working. Sadly.

Yesterday I read the story of the infirmed woman in Luke 13:10-13, in T.D. Jakes’ Woman Thou Art Loosed. This woman had been crippled for 18 years, and according to the book, she may have not realized that there was a solution for her infirmity. She had probably tried all the doctors and medicine-men of her day. She probably had given up hope. She didn’t even ask Jesus to heal her. She had probably gotten so used to her condition that she’d learned to live with it. She was OK. But then, she wasn’t, and Jesus saw her. He saw her condition. She wasn’t OK, and it was evident to Him. So He called her and healed her.

She was probably sooo amazed after the healing. All this time she hadn’t known how it felt to walk upright, to be able to look people in the eye, to dance, to run! She did not know what she was missing.

I was this woman. I didn’t know what I was missing until Jesus saw my infirmity, called me forward, and healed me. I was used to living with my issues, my drama, my pain, my infirmity. It was until He healed me that I knew that I could be different, I could live differently. When truth was evident, I was able to see the lies for what they were.

Wow, that was a long post. (It makes up for my long hiatus 🙂 )

I would love for everyone to experience the freedom that His Truth brings. He came that we may have life and have it abundantly. The devil dude (I am really enjoying calling him that) is in the business of sabotaging every good and perfect gift that God sent us. I would just love it if you who is reading this wouldn’t let him take what is not his to begin  with, anymore, from you. It’s yours. God gave the gift to YOU. Devil dude has no place in your life, no right to take away what is rightfully yours.

Don’t let his lies win. He is just devil dude. Really 😛