Tag Archives: chosen

A Closer Walk: Fear & The Broken-Hearted-Vessel

Nothing can send hailstorms of ice cold fear rampaging across the landscape of my soul like being asked to speak in public!

(Yep, that’s my thing.)

Think of that thing you hate doing more than anything else. Now multiply it times ten and you have an approximate idea of how I feel about public speaking.

It’s my absolute worst thing.

If the choice is speaking in public or hot coals… bring on the coals!

I once signed up for a speech class in junior college thinking I would conquer this fear.

I lasted one day—one.

All I had to do was get up in front of the class and give my name and a little information about myself. (You’d have thought it was the Gettysburg Address the way I was shaking and quaking on the inside!)

When I was on staff with a large church, I wiggled and squirmed for months, trying to get out of the first time I had to do my own program presentation in front of the whole church.

I can still see myself, standing in that darkened doorway stage right, waiting to walk out into those bright floodlights. I was so terrified, every single “prepared” word evaporated from my brain. I remember sending up this panicky prayer that went something like, “God, please! If you don’t put some words in my mouth right now, this is going to get real ugly, real quick!”

To this day, I have no idea what I said. All I know is that later in one of the back rooms of the church, people kept coming up to me, thanking me profusely for all my wonderful encouragement. I stood there smiling politely, repeating over and over in my heart, “Thank you God. Oh, thank you God. It was only You.”

And so now you’re probably thinking, “And God called you to be a WRITER? Really?”

Yep, isn’t it hilarious?

(I think so too, since the idea of public speaking still turns my legs to spongy gelatin, and my mouth to dust.)

Why does God do this?

It’s completely crazy, but He always has, and still does.

Abraham, Moses, Jonah, Gideon, David… just to name a few. (All men after my own heart.) People with huge flaws and failures, but all God-called and God-commissioned. Men God used mightily in spite of their brokenness and weakness—if not because of it.

This is not the way the world does it.

Nope. No way. No how.

The world goes for the strong and outwardly shiny, while God chooses broken men—the storm-driven weak ones.

He seems to specialize, in frail human beings with a myriad of flaws and failings—just like us.

A Closer Walk

THE MOST!

Storms make muscle.

(It’s as simple as that.)

I want you strong! I want you confident!

How will you become strong and confident if you never go through storms?

You know Me by now, you know, nothing, nothing, touches you by chance. (Not My child!) But, because you are My child, I decide what is best for your training and development.

This part, the suffering, is for training; deepening your character. Before you can dress another’s wounds, you must feel the knife yourself. (You know this.) You cannot touch, you cannot heal broken hearts, with a heart that’s never been broken! Too, many of My children have tried, and failed.

I AM weary of these would-be-healers.

Away, with physicians of no use!

Come, let us be reasonable.

I AM building in you, compassion, understanding and caring.

(You know I AM.)

You also know by now, that these precious qualities are only purchased at great cost.

Why are they so rare?

(You know why.)

Because suffering, especially unjust suffering, is hard to bear.

But dearest, did I not tell you that the greater your suffering, the greater your reward?

Honey, it is the broken-hearted-vessel that holds the most!

These are not just clever words to soothe your pain.

This is the stuff—the place—where true healing begins.

a closer walk

 

“…for he will never fail you.”

1 Peter 4:191 Peter 4:19
English: World English Bible - WEB

19 Therefore let them also who suffer according to the will of God in doing good entrust their souls to him, as to a faithful Creator.

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A Closer Walk: Who Do You See In Your Mirror?

Who do you see in your mirror because how we see ourselves is crucial to advancing the Kingdom of God.

I struggled for years with the image of “conqueror” or “overcomer” because of my early experiences with abandonment. What my head knew, was frequently at odds, with what my heart felt.

cotton candy comfortIt’s all very well to talk about having boldness and courage to advance God’s Kingdom, but if you’re someone like me and your early years were punctuated with criticism, isolation, and rejection, not to mention a lopsided “fire-and-brimstone” presentation of who God is, it’s easy to fall prey to what I call the “cotton-candy-comfort” offered in many of our churches.

It Goes Something Like This…

If you just DO enough for God, if you just GIVE enough to God, if you just BELIEVE enough in God, or THANK Him enough, or whatever your particular brand of “enough” is, then your life will abound with sweet and painless blessings.

I swallowed that stuff for a good long distance until I discovered that it just isn’t Biblical!

The Bible speaks often of suffering and going through rough seas and dark places, and not just for the unbelieving, or the rebellious.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation.”

Many very Godly people go through very dark stuff.

still I shall followRemember Joseph, alone, accused, and abandoned in a prison?

What about Gideon hiding in a winepress, or David hunted and hiding in a cave, or the Apostle Paul ignominiously hiding at the bottom of a laundry basket?

You can make fine speeches all day long about what you believe, or you can declare yourself silly with positive statements, but it is in the darkness of that winepress or dark cave, or at the bottom of that laundry basket where you meet a God who walks with us THROUGH trouble, not far away from it.

I have wrestled over and over again with the concepts of Godly brokenness versus worldly brokenness, and frankly, I believe The Church as a whole struggles with these images too.

You could talk to me about “Christ-in-me” all day long, but that overcoming-truth seldom made it from what my head heard, to what my heart felt, or my eyes saw in my mirror.

looking into my mirror

The Church’s mandate about loving others and boldly advancing the Kingdom gets preached regularly, and it should, but I believe the core reasons we Christians so often fail to carry this through in our day-to-day lives is because a lot of us still carry the cumbersome baggage from a distorted Kingdom-self-image.

That Guilt Gets Translated To Our Intimacy Issues With Our Heavenly Father

Such had been my case.

I was seven years old when my Mother decided to forsake family in search of her longing to be seen as “a professional woman.” Predominantly raised by a father who had extremely exacting standards (that I often failed to live up to) I believed that my failures were letting him down, and that guilt became deeply engraved in how I saw myself.

I was raised by two very broken people who struggled all of their lives with their own defective self-images which meant I came to the conclusion early in my adulthood that God was impossible to please.

Therefore, why even try?

God was perfect. I was not. End of story.

Seeing myself as “a reject” in my mirror had become normal.

Now, here I was sitting in my own personal ash pile with my life in ruins, thus confirming once again my faulty-self as an utter failure, and an unworthy outcast of His Love.

I suppose that’s why God’s tenderness made me so uncomfortable. A critical demanding God I could deal with, but this “Abba-Father” who wanted to come close and get intimately loving and transparent with me, with all my messy issues? No way! It was way too touchy-feely for me.

And so, I kept pushing God away.

But what about our deal?

journal

YOU ARE BREAKING MY HEART!

Let’s talk about this mindset of yours.

Yes, mindset, because for reasons that are yours alone you refuse to give it up in spite of what I tell you.

Listen to Me again Mighty One.

To Him I am flawless

You are not rejected by Me.

You are not My outcast.

I will never throw you away!

Why do you dwell on the past deeds of others this way?

Why do you keep returning to this pigsty for just one more roll in the mud?

Jesus robes us

I have dressed you in snow-white robes of My righteousness.

I have covered ALL (Yes, all.) of your sins and failures with the red, pure blood of My Son’s heart.

I want you to stop this now because you are breaking My heart. I know your past. I know what others in your past have said and done to you. But, what about Me? What about what I have done for you?

Enough dearest—it is enough.

You are Mine not theirs. Mine!

I decide what you are to be called.

(I decide.)

I have chosen you

Do you hear Me?

Good!

Then listen again and wrap your heart in this truth.

Wash your mindset with righteous words.

Build a new image for your mirror—one that stands on—My love.

You are not an outcast!

I have chosen you and will not throw you away.

a closer walk“But as for you, …you are mine, my chosen ones; for I have chosen you and will not throw you away.”

Isaiah 41:8-9Isaiah 41:8-9
English: World English Bible - WEB

8 But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend, 9 you whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth, and called from the corners of it, and said to you, You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you away;

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