Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lessons at Wal-mart

I wrote this in my journal after an experience leaving Wal-mart and thought it was something to be shared. Enjoy:

"Dear God,
I thank you for speaking to me.  I love when you guide me to "pay attention" moments.  I was just praying about a situation I came across a few days ago that as soon as it happened, I knew there was a deeper meaning to be found.  I was coming out of Wal-mart and it was nightime and a little rainy.  I just stepped out of the doors.  I see this little boy, probably about 2-3 years old, sitting on his daddy's shoulders, and the boy is just looking at every person in site waving and saying, "HI! HI! HI! HI! HI!" over and over again with a huge smile on his face.  He was so cute, I couldn't help but smile and wave.
I was just praying, currently on a flight to Florida, and that scene came back so I decided to pray about it.  You started feeding me with insight and I love it!  First, you asked me to notice how i felt: I felt overjoyed, it made my heart leap with happiness that this little boy was so excited to say Hi to me.  I felt acknowledged and encouraged.  Then you turned me towards focusing on how this little boy was able to do this.  You spoke about his innocence, no fear of rejection because he was clearly loved by his family and society had not yet engraved rejection into his heart....he had no walls built up.  He valued and respected every person he saw and wanted to know them or at least let them know they were important enough to be greeted.  Then you asked me, "and how was he positioned?".  He was on top of his father, fully supported, legs off the ground and dangling, clinging to his shoulders with one hand.  What a great picture of fearlessness and love.  You, as our Father, give us Your support, Your shoulders, every day.  But how often do I actually climb aboard?  How often do I join in on what you are already doing, how You are already moving during that day?  What holds me back from talking to a neighbor, stranger, or acquaintance is fear of rejection that they may thinking I'm weird because i'm smiling and saying hi to them.  Or is it because I'm scared I wouldn't be able to carry out the conversation.  Why try because it's so much more comfortable on the ground level that I'm used to.  It's way less scary than being lifted up and exposed (vulnerable to others).  God, you are so good.  You loved your children so much that You yearn for us to hop on Your shoulders every day.  You want us to fearlessly trust You so that we can acknowledge the goodness of others by even a simple act of greeting.  You will use us when we jump on board, fully supported and guided by You.  I pray that I can daily allow You to sweep me off my feet and allow them to dangle: allowing You full power to take me wherever and to whoever You would lead knowing that despite rejection, pain, or any misfortune that may come my way, I can find rest and comfort by gripping on to your shoulders.  Did I mention it was also dark outside, but that little guy shone as bright as the day.  Warm, genuine love will always cast out darkness.  That little boy's boldness and excitement for welcoming others shone a great warm light into me that left me giddy.  I pray that my life may mimic that little boys' fearlessness and love.  Thank you for never ceasing to want to teach me.  I love learning from You.
Love always,
Your Heidi"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nothing You!

                Do you ever feel like something is so extremely simple, yet so profound.  What God is teaching me now is exactly that.  About two months ago, I heard the Third Day song which goes, “Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing you, Lord” over and over.  I had heard this song numerous times throughout my life but in this particular instance on this specific day, the song grabbed me and stopped me dead in my tracks.  I said, Yeah…that’s so true! NOTHING compares to knowing Jesus and I thought, “how am I currently living my life in accordance with this truth?”.  Am I living my life as if nothing truly compares to spending time with God, reading His word, asking the spirit to move in my life and out through my actions?  Or am I getting lost in the noise of today’s culture?
                Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).  Now I had skipped over this verse many many times before saying…yeah yeah I know I know…but when I really dove deep into this verse, I fell short in oh so many ways!  I felt God leading me to do a little exercise: I wrote on a piece of paper and circled “heart”, “soul”, and “mind”.  Then, around each item I wrote the answer to the question “What is holding me back from loving God with my WHOLE heart….mind…soul”?.  This was truly an eyeopener… heart was held back by things like fear, my own desires, what society says my desires should be, my own way.  My soul held back by distrust, distractions of daily life, little “annoyances”, bitterness.  My mind held back by (oh, so many things!) lack of boldness in Christ, my way, gossip, worrying, insecurities, tv/entertainment, lust.  Then beside each of these things I wrote what I felt God wanted me to do to rid myself of these hurdles…..and you know what it all boiled down to: spending time in prayer with God and reading His word.  It’s so simple, yet so many of us will fight everything and everyone to have that time to watch “Dancing with the Stars” or stand in line to see the latest “Twilight” movie but we won’t lift a hand in battle for time with our God.  And don’t get me started on how many hours I waste watching The Real Housewives of Orange County! But, you see, when you start to know God, He will show you how to love Him.  He will guide you by calling you to rid yourself of distraction and draw joy and strength from the source.  He will be your Shepherd and you will be his lamb and nothing “will snatch (us)out of (his) Hand” (John 10: 29).  
                If you are wholeheartedly seeking God, I promise you He will convict you sincerely of how you spend your time.  Recently, we had a big storm.  I made sure to unplug my computer, my phone….but didn’t really think about my tv or playstation.  They were plugged into a surge protector anyway.  I woke up the next morning, tv dead.  My playstation which was plugged into the same surge protector was absolutely fine.  Nothing else got zapped except my tv.  Now I thought I was doing good with giving up so much tv, but when I was completely without it, I realized just how much I had been using it to fill some empty space.  All of a sudden, I had more time to spend with God, reading His word, catching up with friends, going outside and running.  God took out my tv to show me, “yes, you were doing good by cutting back on tv, but now you see that you have more to give up.” (Just so happened that this same week, the women’s study I was on this exact same “tv” topic….God knows that sometimes has to hit me 2..3..times before I fully get it…but He does…….He is SOOO good!)
                We were made in the “image and likeness” of God and therefore were designed to crave our Creator.  Pastor Joe once said that if you aren’t craving God, then you are filling yourself up with something else.  What is that something else for you?  Is it money, fame, alcohol, tv, a relationship,  lust?  Is it yourself?  God has had a funny way recently of saying, “I love you, but it’s not about you!”  There have been many a time when I have gotten in the way of my own knowledge of God. 
                What is it that you are placing as the top priority in your life?  We were created to love God, then love one another.  If God is not at the top of your priority list, then I challenge you to be honest, find out what is, and make a move to put your relationship with God first.  If you don’t, you will continue to come up empty in your search for fulfillment and joy in life.  BUT, Cool things will happen if you do.  He’s gonna show you just how beautiful you are and that no matter what sins you’ve committed, He has always and will always love you because He died so that those sins could be washed away.  He loves you so much that He’s also gonna show you where you could use a little work (very humbling but in the end rewarding I promise!).  Then, He’s gonna show you how He wants to use your life.  When you move towards God, He’s gonna start moving in your life.  He’s gonna start using you and let me tell you that nothing compares to the joy of being a servant of the most High. 
                Just last week, the same Third Day song was playing on the radio.  I was listening to the chorus as they sang “Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing you Lord” when I heard in my heart God say, “Heidi, I cannot wait until you truly believe this.”  In my heart I know God was lovingly telling me that although I still have much work to do, I can believe in the hope that one day I will be able to stand up and say with sincere honesty that NOTHING compares to knowing my God.  I can’t wait either, God! 
“It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ.”Philippians 3:12