Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Conviction, Confession, Calling

For the past month, our pastor has been preaching a series about discipleship and what it truly means to be a "disciple of Christ" rather than just a "Christian." It's been convicting, challenging, and life-changing...in more ways than one. 

Let me back up a little bit before I get into the nitty gritty of my post.

A couple of weeks ago, it hit me while in the service that I allow too many distractions into my life. When I got home, I promptly deleted the facebook app off of my phone because I constantly waste precious time on it...time I can't ever get back. I did load it back on my phone mostly for the notifications I receive regarding my Thirty-One Gifts business but when I notice that I start wasting time just scrolling through, I put the phone down and try to focus my attention on other much more important things around me. 

It was that same day that in the middle of some personal bible study, God revealed something quite shocking to my heart - - - I have pride. I am, in fact, a prideful person. Talk about a blow to the gut! I had never realized that about myself but as he peeled away the layers, so to speak, it became more and more clear how prideful I am. I realized that I actually enjoy the spotlight. I like to have the attention on me more so than I should and I like to be noticed. And sometimes, I compare myself to others in order to feel better about myself spiritually. That is not an easy thing for me to confess. In that moment of recognition and conviction, He also spoke quite clearly to my heart: "I cannot and will not give you more responsibility for My kingdom until it is 110% about Me and you seek only MY glory and not your own." 

...W.O.W....

You'd think that would be enough...but in the same night, He spoke even more to me. I was reading through Luke 5 on the Bible app on my phone and the words of Jesus in verse 4 jumped right out at me: "Launch out into the deep." I knew when I read those words that God obviously meant something by them so later on, I opened up my actual Bible with physical pages so that I could read through the context again and underline those words but when I opened to that page, those exact words were already CIRCLED. Now, I don't circle stuff very often in my Bible and I certainly don't remember circling those words but I knew without a doubt that God meant something extremely important by them FOR ME. As I prayed through those words and what they might mean for me, Hillsong's 'Oceans' started playing on my Pandora station. Coincidence? Ha! For those of you unfamiliar with the song, I think the following lyrics should suffice: "Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, that my faith would be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior." 

All I knew was that I am meant to go deeper. God wants me to go deeper. But what those deep waters were, I really didn't know. I've been praying through it and discussing the possibilities of the meaning with my hubby. 

Last week I spent time in Columbus, Ohio for our Thirty-One Gifts National Conference - - - which was amazing. It spoke to my heart on so many levels, not just about how to better my business but also about how to better myself as a wife and mother and friend. It spoke to my whole person. I felt God speak to my heart about what that "deep" might be. As I pray through it and receive more information through research, I will reveal what that calling might be. But, I want to confess something first...that takes me back to the whole "disciple of Christ" topic. 

I want to first preface this part of my post with my belief that alcohol in and of itself is not wrong or sinful. The bible speaks against being drunk and commands that we remain "sober-minded." But for myself personally, I have had the conviction that I should not drink - period. This past week, I went against that conviction. And perhaps I should have felt the tug of the Spirit the first night when I had sangria at the hotel or the 3rd night when I ordered sangria at an Italian restaurant...but it wasn't until Friday night when we "celebrated" the end of a fabulous conference by going to a bar that the Spirit really got me. I ordered my very first martini and I danced with the absolutely fabulous and fun girls I was there with but something inside me kept whispering that I did not belong there in that place. I kept trying to push the voice down but that precious voice of the Spirit got louder and louder the longer I was there that by the time I finally left (12:30am) I was wracked with guilt. I didn't feel well and it had NOTHING to do with the alcohol and I knew it. It was guilt. Because honestly, what business did I have there? 

Here's where I'm going with this and I don't want anyone to take this the wrong way because I am really just writing about how I felt about myself. This is all about my convictions that are of course God-given but...not everyone else is there and I am not anyone else's judge. So please, please, please do not take this like I'm pointing any fingers at anyone because I'm pointing all 10 of them at ME! But as a DISCIPLE of Christ, I am called to be set apart. I am called to look different from the world and as I have already confessed through tears a few times to my mother and husband and bible study group, I did not look any different Friday night. No one in that bar could see any difference between me and them. I am supposed to be light wherever I go and I was not light at all in that dark place. The question I kept playing over and over to myself was this: "How can I, as a woman of God, ever justify being in a place like that acting just like everyone else?" And Lord knows that is the last place I would want Him to find me when He's ready to call His people home. We sang the song, "I Exalt Thee" on Sunday morning and with tear-stained cheeks I begged God to forgive my actions that in no way exalted Him Friday evening. You know what He said to me? "Child, you were forgiven before you ever stepped inside." The grace and mercy of my God is astounding and I don't deserve it. 

With all of that said, it's a great thing I'm reading Steve Furtick's "Crash the Chatterbox" right now because it would be very easy for the enemy to use my guilt to keep me from the calling that God has for me. But I am not going to listen to the lies of the enemy - - - I'm shutting that inner chatterbox down and I will use this experience as a catalyst for what He has planned. 

So, with all that said, I am using my convictions to confess and to move forward with my calling. 

Here's to launching out into the deep...


Blessings!




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