Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Keep On Keeping On, and Rest

I've entered into one of those "I don't know" phases of my life. I feel like I'm beginning a period of transition. It seems as if there is more for me to do with the gifts God has given me, or at least something different. As my involvement in our community of faith has grown and evolved, I am sensing that God wants me to shift my focus.

What I believe the Spirit is leading me to do is to keep on doing at least part of what I am doing. At the same time I sense that I am to rest and let God lead me rather than to go out and push things as far as relationships and service. Any of you that know me know that I have a tendency to run ahead and try to make things happen. It is hard for me to rest and trust that my Father is going to take care of everything. Two of the things God has given me are the ability to teach, and a heart that is empathetic towards other people. I care deeply about others' well being (sometimes it seems as if I care too deeply, but that's another story that's yet to be written). Because of these things, I sometimes push things too far and forget to give space for God to work, hence the need to rest and trust.

I am learning that I can rest while working because I have seen the Father work time and time again through what I do, and sometimes in spite of what I do. I have seen God redeem my mistakes, and turn them into something far better than anything I could have brought about. It's a hard lesson to learn, and is one that I am continually learning. Thankfully, God has placed me in a community that is all about the gospel, discipleship, and bringing the kingdom to bear in our surroundings. I am learning how to use the gifts God has given me in a way that shows the truth, goodness, and beauty of Jesus to those around us. Not just to "build a church," but to be the church. To be in this world as a witness to the gospel, rather than just witness to people while somehow being apart from them.

It wouldn't surprise me if some of you are going through the same sort of thing. You believe that God has gifted you in certain ways and you aren't sure how to proceed at this stage in your journey. I don't have any pat answers, no series of steps to take to fulfill your potential or whatever. All I can do is
suggest a couple of things because of how I've seen God work. These are things I've come to believe are vital.

The most important thing is to find a group of believers who are committed to living life together. Join with them, be willing to take off the masks and walk through the messiness of life with them. Not just a "small group," but a group of folks who will love and accept you as you are, and who will
also challenge you in your walk with Jesus. Commit yourself to them, and be willing to be discipled. God will also bring some your way that you can disciple. Second, allow the Spirit to use the messiness of community to work in you and shape you. In the give and take of a family of faith, you learn how to use what God has given you in a way that advances his kingdom. You learn how to live as Jesus loved, and serve as he served. Be willing to put up with the imperfectness of other people and situations in order to live life together with fellow pilgrims on this journey. Be in it for the long haul. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.

May the Father lead you to a community of believers where you can grow in love and grace.

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