“You might not know your calling, but you’re not called to be ordinary.”
That is how I ended my last blog, but I didn’t tell you how.
I received an amazing email, asking for the ‘HOW TO not be ordinary’ and it was as if I’d found a new room in the house. To go further. Super thankful for the sweet lady who sent that email.
*go ahead and grab your journal and pen, breathe, it’s a long post*
Since God says He has GREAT plans for you, and you feel like you’re living a life that is ordinary, I can only imagine that there are things in the way of such greatness. Roadblocks. Confusion. False ideology. Fear. If you’re not stepping into your calling out of habit, out of passivity, then life has to get shaken up. Some trash needs to be taken out, and you need instead to fill up on Jesus. We’re gonna walk through that!
You have to get over the lie that people don’t change.
People can change if they want to change. Actually, people can’t even help it, they change against their will. They cannot stop changing. We age, we mature, our brains change, our bodies change. The things we fight to keep the same, however, are the very things we believe cannot be changed. Ludicrous.
You can alter any part of your behavior. Really? Really, really. You can beat your body into submission (1 Cor 9:24-27). Is it a fun process? Absolutely not, no, not ever. Discipline is hard (Hebrews 12:11). So what is it that you want so so badly, that you are willing to submit yourself to discipline to become?
The pure answer is Jesus. We want to be just like Him, to walk as He walked (1 John 2:6), and so we submit ourselves to sanctification and discipline. We invite and receive the refining fire, and push away comfort. Yes? Yes. (2 Cor 4:17, James 1:2-4)
Moving on from the lie that people don’t change, and pushing into the truth that we want to be like Jesus, what must we do? What’s our part in this change? I have two parts for you. TWO. And we’re gonna pray along the way.
Part one: Permission & Repentance. Change what you chase.
Easily enough, we cling to the verses that talk about how nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:38-39). Truth. However, when we choose sin over the Spirit, we are changing our perception of God’s nearness. All of a sudden, we “FEEL” separated from God, feel unworthy, and the reason is PERMISSION.
You ever get super mad at a police officer for giving you a speeding ticket, when you gave him permission to give you a ticket by speeding? Bingo. Don’t do it. Don’t give satan the grounds and satisfaction of trying to shame you, torment you with guilt. Don’t give him that ability to devour you by purposefully choosing to open a door, choosing to sin.
Think about it. You’re inviting satan along every single time you open a door for him. Ephesians 4:27 says to give no opportunity to the devil. He has NO power, since the Bible says in Col 2 that the enemy has been disarmed. Yet, how much power do we give him!
Prayer: Jesus, I ask that you bring to mind any opportunities we have given to the enemy. I ask for a humble spirit within us to respond well to this life inventory, that we consider anything else junk compared to knowing You more. In your name, Jesus. Amen.
What’s a door for satan that you might have open currently?
Some people are more or less sensitive to these doors, but I guarantee you they are doors nonetheless. Some of these things are NOT INHERENTLY BAD, but they can contain toxic content. You know what’s junk and what isn’t. Your call!
Media: tv, movies, music, books, internet (content). You are filling your mind with this via eyes and ears. It does go inside your body and circle around. What are you putting in? Does it glorify Jesus? You might be filling yourself up with a whole lot of junk here, then wondering why you aren’t hungry for Jesus or don’t have time.
People: whatever struggles they are carrying, if you’re not aware, you might invite them along (intercessors, I’m looking right at you). Bad company corrupts good character (1 Cor 15:33). BUT does that mean you are better than anybody else? No. Jesus had the influence to hang out with the lowest of the low, and He would INFLUENCE them. Not the other way around. Be aware of your influence.
Places: spiritually dark atmospheres, usually places where you only go at night (hey!), which can include people’s homes! If your head is made of butter, don’t sit by the fire. It’s different if you’re going on purpose to influence and minister. I personally LOVE dancing, and I like to go out and dance. I have to be on my guard when I go out.
Substances: anything that sways your sobriety. With alcohol, for me, is moderation. Some people cannot have alcohol altogether, and I really respect their resolve to steer clear.
Idolatry/witchcraft: anything that worships a false god, places anything above the True God, or gives permission to the occult, duh! No compromise here, this is always a bad scenario. Dabbling in this WILL open awful doors, and if you’ve been involved in this, I highly suggest you get a pastor to pray for you and pray any strongholds off of you together.
Sin: anything of the above that says that sin is cool, sin is okay, sin is whatevs, and sin is yolo. That’s clearly the deceiver having permission to a platform, declaring lies. Has sin been forgiven? Absolutely. Shall we sin all the more, so that grace may abound? By no means. It’s sin because it isn’t ultimately good for us. God is not a withholding Dad. He isn’t stingy. He’s not a dud. He has better ideas. We’ll get there.
So I just went super drastic on you, and I admit, I am talking to myself in this as well, A LOT. I open doors with music and tv, and I find myself in places where the enemy has clearly been given dominion. Yet, I am a work in progress here, folks. Not perfect, not writing out of a higher standing, no. Trust me, I mess up a lot. I’ve been around people who bring out the worst in me, and vice versa. I have accountability aka few people who I tell EVERYTHING to, who call me out and pray over me after my royal mistakes. I have a mentor also, who is older. Above all, we have Jesus, who opens wide His arms and runs to us as we return to Him.
Okay, but what if I can’t control myself and I sin without wanting to sin, and I just suck at this holiness thing? Join the club. Ugh. Romans 7. Gosh. Why, Lord. Why. Why. Why can’t we simply switch bodies when we are saved, and just do life completely fresh, in non-sin-magnet bodies, no?
Back to the word SUBMISSION. We have “bodies of death” (Romans 7:24) that God has enough mercy to use anyway and dwell in. The Holy Spirit comes with the fruit of self-control. We learn. And we learn again. And we ask God to increase our capacity to contain His Spirit, so that we are stronger and stronger, resisting sins that we would fall for in the past. Read on to Romans 8, be encouraged.
Get out a journal:
What areas are you giving satan permission?
What will you stop doing?
Draw a hard line.
Write it down.
Tell someone for accountability.
So what decision will you make right now?
Examples: I will no longer watch 3 hours of Netflix at a time. I will stop partying at so and so’s house. I will stop communication with what’s their name, because they are leading me down a path I don’t want to go, and I feel influenced by them.
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16
Anybody can resolve to change, but you NEED to be desperate about the WHY of your change, otherwise your resolve will weaken and you will fall back on your old ways. You have to figure out that enough is enough and make the change. You will be known by your fruit.
What fruits of the Spirit do you want to be known by?
Prayer: Jesus, I revoke permission I have given the enemy over these areas: ___________________. I close these doors:_________________. I repent of these sins:________________. Help me to not fall back into those sins, as Your grace covers me and Your Spirit teaches me self-control. In Your holy name I pray, Jesus. Amen.
Part two: Power & Devotion. Choose what you chase.
Matthew 7:7 was the first verse I ever memorized. It was my favorite when I first started reading the Bible in 1999. It says “Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened.” Oh, okay. Cool. Rather convenient. Most of us don’t exactly agree with this verse. We don’t think we get what we ask for, or find the things we look for, or get the opportunities we reach for.
But imagine for a moment that this verse is actually true. Because it is. Imagine if you’re chasing the things you’re getting. Imagine if you’re asking for what you have, and reaching for what you’re receiving.
I have caught myself allowing fear to ask for me. I’ve allowed insecurity to seek. I’ve knocked on the door of thinking I deserve lesser things and the door of settling for less than God’s best. And my my my, I got those things I chased. I used to have a part of me that was determined to suffer, and that’s a part of me I won’t miss.
Maybe you need to take inventory, figure out what’s been asking, seeking, and knocking in there. Ask God if there are any curses over you or your family aka bad patterns that seem to seep through the generations. If you feel like there are patterns you want out of your family, ask a friend to pray with you for those curses to be broken off in Jesus’ name.
Prayer: Jesus, I break off the curses of: ______________________ from me/my family. These curses no longer hold any power over me/my family. In Your holy name I pray, Jesus. Amen.
What if I told you that you’re powerful enough in Christ, that you get what you ask for, because you are asking from a pure heart and you have the keys to the Kingdom in Jesus’ name? And for that reason, you need to be extremely careful what you ask for in full faith, because you will get it?
Some of us have been chasing comfort. Chasing status. Chasing beauty. Chasing recognition. What have you been chasing? Have you been chasing the wisdom of God? Chasing His voice?
I had a vision of someone following the direction on a compass, going on that direction, and they were disregarding the needle, that was pointing to the North. Someone did not know how to use a compass! They knew how to follow a direction, and they were walking, but they didn’t realize that if they didn’t walk based on where the needle was pointing, not the markings on the compass, they were not going the right way. The markings are subjective to whoever is holding the compass, but the needle is steady pointing North. So it is with our lives, the way to fullness of life. We are all walking and surviving, and moving, but are we doing so in the right direction or subjectively to our own limited grasp? Are we where He wants us? Are we fighting Him and getting stubbornly more lost?
So how do we chase Jesus? How do we seek Him?
Time with Him.
Daily. More than once, really. He just fits all over the whole day. He is your schedule. He is your job. He’s your family. How do we spend time with Him?
I could write a book about this, and I will. 😉
Think of the last time you felt well-connected to the Lord? Was it through nature, or a song, or a word, or a prayer, or art, or action? There are infinite ways to chase Him and acknowledge His presence. Here are some out-of-the-box suggestions.
- Put on your favorite worship songs (I recommend this fresh album), and take a magazine or two, a piece of paper or a page of your journal, scissors, and glue. Spend a few minutes in prayer and ask the Lord what it is that He wants you to make a collage about. He’ll show you. Then go for it, flip through and cut whatever stands out. Glue it to your paper/journal.
- Another thing you can do is look for journal prompts in magazines. Cut out those words/pictures, glue them at the top of bottom of your journal pages, so that you can write about those.
- Go outside, to a park. Watch a sunrise or a sunset. Go read a book on a blanket, outdoors. Go sketch what you see, even if your hand drawing looks like a foot drawing. Go find the perfect leaf. Find a rock. Find a flower. Find Bible verses (biblegateway.com) that have those elements in them. What do you learn?
- Sometimes, I just dance. I put on worship music that is upbeat and fun (Shekinah, This is What You Do, Round the Corner, Heaven is Here, So Good To Me, When I Am Afraid, etc). I like to do redemption radio as well, where I play songs that are secular (whoa) but I sing them to Jesus instead. Like We Found Love, On Top of the World, Unconditionally, All of Me, and so on… you can think of some! You go find those, bc those are hard to link haha 😉
- ASK Jesus how He’s doing. Ask Him questions that only He can answer. Get to know Him. Yes that sounds a bit kooky, but think about it! He’s alive! And He speaks to you. Practice hearing His voice.
- Open your journal and think “if Jesus was speaking over me right now, He’d say…” and start writing. Just write. Truth is, He IS speaking over you. It’s whether or not you’re hearing it, and that’s what you’re learning.
- Ask Jesus what the lyrics are of the song that He’s singing over you. In Zephaniah 3:17, it says that the Lord rejoices over you with singing. SINGING! Can you hum a new melody to Him? What does your new song sound like today? Sing your prayers to Him.
I’m launching a daily devotional email newsletter called A Tree of Life in September. If you’d like to sign up, click here: http://eepurl.com/1L_9r
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Chase Him. Pursue Him, like you would pursue a person you love. Ask, seek, knock on the doors you actually want to open.
In what ways will your time with Jesus look different, so that you can encounter Him in a new way?
My prayer for you: Jesus, I pray that the person reading this enjoys time with You again, genuinely. That walls of unwillingness come down. It’s love. It’s a love that walks around and around and around, and shouts. I pray for these walls to come down, for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a hunger deep that is only satisfied at the Father’s table, eating the fruit of the tree of life. That this person will be filled. They will be changed. They will reflect Your extraordinary Spirit from the inside out. It’s our radical love for You that makes us dynamic, and I ask for tenderness of heart to fall crazy in love with You! I ask in Your name, Jesus. Amen.