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Chaos, Social Justice, and Facing Fear in order to Seek God's Face

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.  Isaiah 26:3 A warning in advance-in...

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

You’ll be seeing less of me…

“Even when I don’t feel strong, in Holy Defiance, I choose to believe that God is strong in me.” 
Say Yes to Grace

By way of a long and circuitous process, I arrived at the following conclusion; while my outcome was correct, the logic by which it was derived was all wrong. ALL WRONG. That does not mean that learning an alternate (as opposed to wrong) lesson did not serve me well. Rather, according to author and life coach Jennifer Racioppi,

choosing the right path often means your wrong 
turns are just beginning.

I thoroughly agree. Having learned from and lived along those wrong turns on the right path gave me an abiding appreciation for that right path. It also allows the rightness of the right turns to resonate with me deeply. Huh? Let me start with a simple story.

For all of my writing life, I declared that despite the most dismal circumstances, there is always a reason for Joy, and I meant it. When the challenges in my life threatened to overwhelm me, I declared that period to be my time in the wilderness. I thoroughly believed that by faith, I could withstand all that the wilderness might throw at me and come out the opposite end stronger and wiser. I distilled it all into three lessons.

  • Sometimes the pressures of life have a way of pressing things out of us.   

This is absolutely correct. In my own case, the pressures of life were the Refiner’s Fire necessary to burn all detritus off of and out of me. I am better for it; think oil from crushed olives, beauty from ashes, the sweet smell of Petrichor released from parched and cracked ground. What does pressure press out? Nothing new. Pressure doesn’t change us. It simply amplifies what is already there.

  • Wilderness experiences reveal our strength.

Yes again. Whitney Houston got it right; I didn’t know my own strength. I believed I did, but I also inaccurately believed the strength was my own. The notion that “His Strength is made perfect in our weakness” in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) was merely an intellectual construct; not something I’d gotten yet. Let’s call this an early wrong (and necessary) turn on the right road. The mere fact that it rained the last time you sneezed three times does not make you a rainmaker. Right?
  •  The Wilderness is NOT a destination. It is a school from which you must graduate.

Here is where it all falls down. While the Wilderness is NOT a destination, neither is it a school from which one must graduate. The danger of this wrong turn was to have me believing if I fainted not, if I did not grow weary in well doing, if I could just hold my breath long enough, I’d show God how faithful I’d been with little and He’d reward me by making me faithful over much. I MISTAKENLY believed that my so-called penitence could earn me Grace. That’s the moment I threatened to fall off the path FOREVER.

I was so busy convincing myself and God that I could be good enough, grateful enough, long-suffering enough, could celebrate heartily for others despite my meager and rapidly dissipating resources, that somehow He’d recognize the depth of my devotion and say, “Servant, Well Done.”

It was then that I remembered that every prayer is not answered as it is lifted. It was then that I remembered But.
“we are pressed on every side, but not crushed…”
2 Cor 4:8 (NIV)

Faith is not a deal you make. Faith is not an account where you accrue Grace based upon good works and clean living. We NEVER earn Grace and CANNOT work for it. Faith in God, according to TD Jakes, teaches that

There are some fires you can't get out of--you've got to go through the fire--you've got to go through the flood--you've got to go through the test--you've got to go through the struggle that you might decrease and He might increase.

That is while you’ll be seeing less and less of me. I have finally conceded to get out of God’s Way. How exactly does that work? This morning I experienced this by way of a simple lesson.

A conversation I expected to be difficult was not, because I made great effort to conduct myself with restraint and Grace. I subtracted my own
 feelings from the equation. I was listening to learn, not to respond. I was relaxed and present. I breathed deeply and often. I smiled with minimal condescension and attempted to receive. The lesson? I was met with a satisfying clarity, unrelated to whether the outcomes were those I would have chosen.

I am committed to practicing that lesson, and thinking back, I thank God for Grace and Peace in those moments this morning.

I am learning not to do or say things I may later regret.  If I am concerned that I might cause harm, I am making an affirmative choice NOT TO speak, act, or do.  It’s part of my subtraction strategy. When not clear on what to say, I endeavor to say nothing.  I cease moving, waiting for the right words, practicing quiet so I can hear.  I’d rather not have to apologize.  I have finally conceded to get out of God’s Way.

I declare here and now that I will not always succeed, but I am being intentional.  My prayer is simply, “Lord, let me hide myself in Thee.”  So, you’ll be seeing less of me.

The End. But also the Beginning.
I am Chasing Petrichor...

OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

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