I hate insecurity. It’s a plague, a virus, whatever you want to call it and it’s everywhere, especially in me. I hate that side of myself that is constantly worried about where I stand with people. I hate to see it in other people as well. Musicians and singers are some of the worst about insecurity. I’ve worked with lots of musicians over the years and we are constantly fretting about our role on a team or in a band. I would think that this is only an issue with “sensitive” musicians but I’m pretty sure athletes and business men deal with the same kinds of fears, competitiveness and anxieties. Basically, it’s universal. Everybody has a little bit of it whether it’s about relationships, work, or ministry… there has got to be a list compiled somewhere of things people get insecure over.
Last week the Lord told me to start reading the story of Saul and David. He said He wanted to speak to me about love. So I have been reading and praying through 1 Samuel slowly. Yesterday I read chapter 9 where Saul is out looking for his dad’s stray donkeys. He and his servant have been looking everywhere. Saul doesn’t want to come back home without the donkeys because he’s scared his dad is going to freak out. But as they wandered through Israel, Saul’s servant mentioned that he knew about this prophet guy who always had the right information. Surely, if anyone knew where the donkeys were, this guy did. That’s when they met Samuel on the road. Samuel looked up at big, strapping Saul and made a statement to him, “you are the desire of all Israel.” Dang. That kind of sounds like a big deal.
Of course Saul’s reply was somewhere along the lines of “Are you serious? You’re full of crap! My tribe is the smallest tribe in Israel and my family is the least in that tribe! You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I thought about that statement and how Saul’s insecurity emerged that day. He let that insecurity drive his whole life. He let that insecurity open a door for a murderous spirit that eventually led to his own demise. He let his view of himself as a weak, unimportant, unworthy man overpower the Word of the Lord that he had a massive call on his life to lead all of Israel as their king. He was sure that somewhere along the way, others would discover his unworthiness and all of what God had promised would be taken away. And because he believed that, it happened.
Saul didn’t get that his call as king wasn’t about him anyway. And that’s where the subject of love comes in. When we’re being loved in a way we’re craving to be loved or when we are receiving recognition for our accomplishments it can create this temporary relief in us… relief from a lie we’ve believed about ourselves. But eventually something else will happen that will pound the lie deeper into our souls and all of that relief that we have felt will be instantly evacuated. But when we know our identity and believe the truth about ourselves and the promises He has spoken over us, we are wide open to love others well. Suddenly, it’s no longer about us anymore. We’re okay. We’re secure in His love. Now it’s about someone else that needs to be loved and to be shown God’s love.
Tonight after my mom and I spent time in preparation for my move on Wednesday I was in the mood to write something. But this time I was finally feeling like myself again… for the first time in weeks. My heart finally felt free again. So I asked Jesus tonight what I should write on and I heard that phrase, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” I knew this was somewhere in the Bible but I couldn’t recall where so I looked it up and found it quoted in Nehemiah 8:10.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
I think as Christians we can ponder too much on how hard things are. Especially when we are going through difficult circumstances. We try to turn it into this huge teaching lesson. We think that going through temptations and trials will make us holier… more righteous… that these tough situations will make us stronger. But the truth is, dwelling on the yucky stuff just makes us more miserable. We might be resisting the enemy but just barely. We let our hearts remain sick and in despair actually thinking that it will be to our benefit someday. That is soooo messed up!!!!
In this passage in Nehemiah, the people of Israel realized how much they had strayed from the purposes and plans God had for them. They realized they had missed out on so much by not walking in His will and under His protection. They were devastated! And what do you do when you are devastated? You scream and cry and get really really sad! But Nehemiah saw their despair and knew that what would benefit them more was rejoicing in who God is. God had come to their rescue and this was something to get excited about. New things were happening in Israel. They were starting over again and God was providing everything they needed to walk in His will from there forward.
I started to think about how much I had been focused on the hard stuff and wasn’t taking the time to get excited and enjoy all of the awesome things God was doing in my life. There is a lot going on right now that I should be joyful about. I now see that focusing on what’s ahead instead of what I’m leaving behind is going to be worth it. As I dwell on all of these hopes and awesome plans God has for me, my heart is strengthened and I feel might breaking in on my heart.
Whatever you are going through and whatever choices you face, just know that there is something so much better waiting around the corner for you. If you feel that you are settling for something far below what you know Jesus has spoken to you about, put your hope in the joy that is ahead. Don’t give up.
Last night I sat on my sofa reading the last chapter of my first novel to my roommate, Erin. I giggled through most of it and she did too. The excitement was almost too much to contain and I found that I had a lot of trouble sleeping for most of the night. The reasons for my sleepless night this time, however, had more to do the pure joy of this gigantic feat than it had to do with anxiety or fear. I am prone to starting projects that I rarely finish… especially large writing projects so this was rather significant for me.
But being able to actually finish something I started wasn’t the only reason last night was significant. The Lord gave me the idea, plot and characters for this book during one of the darkest seasons of my walk with Him. In fact as I read through the whole book a few nights ago I realized just how prophetic it was and I was completely wrecked at how much the Lord was speaking through me as I wrote it. The book still needs a title and plenty of editing work but the powerful story it contains is finished and marks a very important season for me. I wasn’t expecting so many significant things to be happening all at once but I can see a pattern of the Lord pulling everything together as I follow His leading. As I get closer to publishing, I will share more with my readers.
I use to think that Psalm 2 was one of the weirdest passages of the Bible. Check it out:
1 Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
6 “Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”
Yeah. Not exactly the image of God I want to face, you know? It’s a picture of a mocking God… but a mocking God with heart of true justice. It’s actually a prophetic scenario of the endtimes, of how the kings of the earth will literally set themselves up to overtly oppose God and His kingdom. When I looked over the passage more and realized what it was really about… that it was about the Father, setting His perfect Son on the throne to rule righteously and that He was going to remove wicked kings forever… well that got me a little excited.
The shaking that happens in our own lives or in our ministries doesn’t freak God out. He knows the whole story– from the end to the beginning. And His plans and His purposes will happen with or without us. If He calls us to be used of Him and we decide we don’t want to go on the journey, He will simply move on to someone else. We always have freedom of choice… but if we choose not to change our hearts and we choose not to walk with Him to fulfill His kingdom purposes then He will be grieved but He will also move on.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. How my life is not about my destiny. It’s not about how I can succeed, have a prosperous ministry, be the “best” at everything and even about having a happy family someday. My life is to be lived for building His Kingdom… not mine. Though some have accused me of the opposite, it has never been my intention to build some big ministry for myself to take over someone else’s. NEVER have I had a desire to do this and it is pure insecurity that anyone would accuse me of that. But I know that my flesh sometimes does want to take over and wonder… what’s in it for me? It’s a normal human tendency to wonder what we can get out of this whole Christianity thing.
I have to keep thinking about that in this strange transition in my life… where I feel like everything is at a standstill. He has my next home planned out for me, my next source of income, my future spouse… all of these choices have to do with building His kingdom. He knows exactly what is going to happen but when he reveals the choices He has laid out for me, it is my responsibility to take hold of them. Whether it is a comfortable experience or not.
He’s sovereign. I trust Him. And He understands so much more than I do.
So as I’ve said this before but the Lord has been taking me on a journey in say, the last three years or so, through the Song of Songs. It started with a dramatic angelic encounter in 2008 and he has taken me piece by piece through this book as I’ve experienced my walk with the Lord alongside the Shulamite. I’ll read the next passage when He says to read it and stop on it when He says to stop. In the last couple of months I happened to have landed on Song of Songs 5:7. Needless to say, this passage is one of the most painful experiences the Shulamite has in the entire book and I knew it was going to happen. The Lord told me it was going to happen months ago (read blog below and you might give a tiny clue)… and well it DID happen.
What I have to ask myself and the Lord in all of this is what do I need to learn from what has happened recently in my life? What part of it was me and what part of it wasn’t me? It’s immature not to ask those questions of the Lord. In everything in life, I want to grow… I want to learn. I know I have made mistakes and not handled situations in the best way I knew how. I’m not here to defend myself, but simply processing what is truth and what is lie in all of the recent pain. This blog is not the place to share the answers to those questions but hopefully these statements will provoke you to walk with the Lord when you go through a time of testing as well. I will say that the result of our obedience (mixed in with some mistakes) doesn’t always have triumphant results here on earth. If you look all throughout the Word of God, this is repeated over and over again throughout scripture. Job, Paul, Jeremiah, Stephen– all obeyed God and they didn’t see the results until they reached heaven (except for of course Job, at the end of his life). They were brutalized, stoned, etc., etc.,. I guess this type of ordeal is God’s tool to shape our character and to teach us humility if we just submit to His leadership.
I can see the Shulamite when she’s calling out for her Beloved in the midst of a really massive trial. Everyone has abandoned her, accused her and she is broken and defeated. She is desperate to see the One she loves but He’s not showing up. I can hear the longing in her voice as she describes Him to the Daughters of Jerusalem. She is indeed lovesick. When she doesn’t have Him, she recalls just how amazing He is. Over and over again, she sees new attributes that she has not discovered before. The pain has made her so desperate for Him that He is all that she can think about.
That’s when He shows up. He shows up and is taken by her faithfulness to Him in the midst of her trial and tells her just how beautiful she is, speaking identity and truth over her– restoring her heart and the places of brokenness that she has neglected. So right now, I am waiting for Him that moment with Him. I know He’s here. But I need truth from Him. I need restoration. I just need Him. Him Him Him.
I sat in a sideroom of the prayer room one Tuesday afternoon during a fasting meeting and listened as one of my prophetic mentors explained to me that I was about to enter one of the most pivotal, horrific, and beautiful seasons of my life. That was in November of 2008 and on the previous day I had an absolutely disrupting encounter with the Lord. Today I remembered a part of that conversation. She explained a similar encounter and journey she had years before.
“It was the most difficult season of my life. It had a lot to do with love. A lot of ‘Sermon on the Mount’ type stuff.”
A lot of ‘Sermon on the Mount’ type stuff. That sounds nice. That doesn’t sound too bad.
Boy, was I wrong.
I don’t care who you think you are, but if you think you are good at the Sermon on the Mount, you are delusional and probably arrogant. I’m pulling no punches here. I love Jesus, but this Sermon is absolutely the most flesh-killing tool He operates with not to mention the fact that it is completely offensive… in a good way :/.
This weekend I was driving down the road with my new friend Rachel who was visiting for our Winter Gathering. She told me she felt the Lord wanted to free me from the bondage of worry (ahem) and that He wanted to free me from the bondage of the ‘need to be right.’ Oh yes. That’s what she said. And the problem with this is that Rachel happens to be the sweetest person I’ve ever met in my life so I couldn’t accuse her of impure motives.
But here, I realized what the Lord was saying was that that all of this really wasn’t about who is right or wrong… it was about self-preservation. Do I care more about preserving my reputation or do I care more about pleasing Him and becoming a humble peacemaker? It’s not the question that is so humiliating but the fact that my answer is so obvious when I allow the Holy Spirit to examine my heart. It is moments like these that I don’t want to waste. Moments that I know the Father is doing something so beyond the actual circumstance I’m in. He sees so far ahead and we stand there, grasping for control when we will never really have it. We really think we’re ‘big stuff’ and then we realize that we have no idea what we’re doing. We’re idiots. Idiots with a great inheritance. Sometimes God doesn’t actually care if we’re right or not. Sometimes He just wants to show us the idol of approval in our lives.
It makes me feel like a child. Like a two year old being potty-trained.
Oh yeah. That’s how I’m suppose to feel.
Which brings me back to another incredible vision I had this weekend.
Dancing. Dancing in my pink bedroom with the ruffled canopy bed in the background. I was eight. And I was worshipping. And He was dancing too.
And then we were in a field of flowers, dancing wildly, spinning and spinning and spinning. Then a drastic change in scenery.
Suit of armor, like Joan of Arc. Swinging my sword, cutting off the heads of demons, challenging the forces of darkness.
Back the camera up. I’m not Joan of Arc. I’m a child. I’m a little child wearing a miniature suit of Armor and the Father is standing right beside me and He’s huge. HUGE.
A massive dragon flies toward me. It was not nearly as big as the Father but it was A LOT bigger than me. I thrust my sword through it’s belly and it was forced backward with ease. I threw that silly creature back so effortlessly as the Father looked on in pride… even though I knew He was giving me all of the power to do it in the first place. It was more like He enjoyed the very sight of me… not so much that I was some crazy, skilled warrior.
There happens to be more to what I saw but I’ll keep it to myself for now.
The point is this– He’s God. I’m man (lady). Whether you’re a retired 78 year old worldwide evangelist or a four year old child, we are children of God and children have a very limited understanding of what our Dads are up to; why they do the things they do. We just go with the flow and let Him handle it, knowing that whatever happens it is for our good…
“The battle is not against flesh and blood…” in other words… I need to love my way out of the battle. Not fight my way out… at least when it comes to fighting with the wrong army.
I have been more aware of the demonic realm in the last couple of weeks than any other time in my life. Sounds traumatic, right? Well… right… at first anyway. At first I was in utter panic that my future would be utterly destroyed. Not kidding. But then I had an encounter with God. He’s the best. In fact, I had multiple encounters with God in the midst of some pretty dark circumstances. And even after Jesus Himself spoke truth to me and after we closed some doors that wounds had opened, fear rose up in me again a couple of days later. Fear that He was going to leave me stranded. Fear that I would be fighting this ‘thing’ alone.
So I sat in my bedroom Saturday morning and talked to Him about it. I told Abba that I was really scared. Really, really, really scared. He didn’t chastise me for my unbelief. He didn’t wag his finger in front of my face and say “shame on you!”. Instead, He showed Himself to me as a daddy. A daddy with huge shoulders and big muscles. And he said, “don’t worry. I’m gonna take care of my little girl. You just sit here and rest.” That was all it took. I knew He was telling me the truth. I knew I could lay back in His arms and that everything would be okay.
And because I knew that I was safe in His arms, I knew it was safe to love. I knew it was safe to love and forgive.