Regrets of the Ordinary

Regret is a haunting thing.

It takes you back to the crossroads, where you made a big decision. nyccrossroadRegret walks you down the other choice, and whispers ‘what if?’ and waits. It shakes your resolve without offering resolution. Regret leaves you feeling empty, hollowing out your confidence.

And yet, we pass by these crossroads every day. Sometimes we coast through, close our eyes, and blindly choose. Sometimes we let life choose for us, passively. Then we point regret to its best friend, victim mentality.

Reality is that you are a powerful person. Every single day you make decisions that affect others and your future. You have influence, and it is your choice whether or not you steward well the influence you’ve been given.

I’ve met plenty of people who have chosen to remain ordinary. It’s a heartbreaking thing. Do they have gifts? Yes, but they shy away from them. It’s a work of the enemy, to sabotage such incredible potential.

They don’t realize that their voice is important, heard, and influential. They, then, stay silent.

They succumb themselves to floating along, simply accepting life as it comes instead of positioning themselves ahead of the curve. In Christ, we can do that! Jesus is already aware of what’s next, and He’s alive, and He’s speaking.

Yet, the ‘ordinary’ are passive victims of whatever cards are dealt to them, pretending they don’t have access to the entire deck, because, why, that’s an overwhelming amount of choices, and that would require commitment, that would require some kind of fervor. Lukewarm wouldn’t do.

Crossroads, then, come and go. Pivotal moments. Monumental choices, unmade. Unmade!

Do they not realize that an unmade choice takes just as much commitment as a purposeful choice? That ‘whatever happens’ has just as many binding consequences? That an uncommitted lifestyle is a lifestyle of commitment to non-commitment? Those who claim not to believe really do “believe,” they just misplace their faith.  It takes just as much faith to not believe, to trust someone’s words over God’s. It takes just as much commitment to skid by in life uncommitted to the Kingdom, instead committed to the idea of being ordinary or being one who ‘doesn’t know.’

Our Father knows everything, and we are His children. We cannot claim both to hear His voice and to be ignorant.

My heart hurts for those who lack the zeal to walk confidently, who find themselves stumbling along without a direction, and who are constantly taunted by regret. Life becomes more of a guessing game, a pitiful story, a long ride on the struggle bus.

Each of us has the capacity to impart great change for the Kingdom.
We have but this vapor of a life, and we shouldn’t spend it on lesser things.

I challenge you to open your heart and listen carefully for God’s will. That may not manifest itself as a detailed calling for your life, but you can tap into the needs of this world. Ask the Lord what breaks His heart, what He’s ready to change in this world, perhaps through you, and commit your heart to His answer.

Commit your heart to any cause of the Kingdom. Look at the movement of God, and join in.

What we can’t have are “ordinary” believers who doubt  so strongly that their personal desires would go unfulfilled by serving alongside their Father, that they choose to sit on the sidelines. We need active intercessors, active worshipers, active counselors, pastors, evangelists, activists, mothers, fathers, rescuers, defenders. We need active arms and legs, not atrophied by indecision or hesitation. Be the Body of Christ, living, thriving, powered by Sanctifying Blood. Fulfill confidently the role of enjoying and carrying His presence.

At the final crossroads, there will be those who are set aside, who failed to see the obvious, and ask ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
And He’ll reply  “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

You have these grand opportunities in life, you do. You have the choice of changing the world for the Kingdom, or not. I pray you will look back and know you chose bravely, purposefully, and stepped forward the way Jesus would. He will give you sufficient courage to live in fullness.

As the Spirit of courage seeps into your bones, regret has to leave.
You may not know your calling, but you are not called to be ordinary.

Sleepless in Gainesville

Part of the perks of working the night shift at the hospital is the “fun” transition back to the “real world” when normal people are awake. It’s somber and quiet during the night, and it’s a dangerous time for my thoughts to run away from me. I usually put on worship music and let myself lean on the Lord’s embrace, even when that leaning hasn’t been so graceful lately. It’s looked a bit like thrashing. Just envision a child getting a shot at the doctor’s office, and the parent trying to hold them down… bingo. I ain’t about this. I don’t like it.

grumpycatWorking in the Blood Bank alone at night is super lonely, and the nights when I’m off work and in bed, and wide awake… those are worse! I asked the bits of my heart and soul to agree with each other, to validate my emotions and let them come through. I’m a pro at shutting them down, and sometimes it bleeds through my writing. I love and hate having a blog. When Jesus told me to write ‘so they can read it,’ I was, at first, very excited. Who doesn’t want to feel heard?

This blog is like an iceberg. You see just what I post, but you may not know my heart behind it. You may not understand me, or have the means to. You may not know that I went through a couple of years when I didn’t feel anything. Years that I didn’t write because I was so numb. All I did was work and run. I was a very functional, money-earning, marathon-running robot. My life was super crappy and I did not have the courage to face it. I sought out God, and He started to ruin everything, in the best way.

So Jesus told me to start writing about it. Funny enough, people wanted to read about a girl who had just gotten divorced at 23. I was a statistical train wreck, and people couldn’t exactly look away. They were intrigued about how I was going to move forward. Call it pity, call it curiosity, but I had readers. The blogs were not as personal as my shredded, awful journals, but close. I started blogging WAY before the World Race… creep if you want to.

But blogging is so dangerous, because I share my life with PEOPLE. Other people. They end up being featured… mm.

So it happens. Those blogs. The ones when the overflow of my heart just sucks so bad, and it goes on the internet. Holy Spirit comes to convict me, and sometimes I still don’t get direct answers, even when I start to panic and ask around. The people who see my heart oftentimes don’t see the problem with the blogs.

I love how Jesus sometimes uses near strangers to confirm those sinking feelings. I’m thankful those near strangers take the time to read, but overcome by sorrow when I misrepresent the grace that’s been offered to me. What else can I do but delete the stupid thing and move forward? Apologize, and hope for the best.

Reality is that we live as children of the LIGHT, and we are desperately drawn to EXPOSURE. So help me God, that I’m doing the best I can to live transparently, and to share my life with people. Not ALL people, but the ones Jesus throws my way to minister to. The ones who make it this far and are still reading this blog. You. Hey. I welcome you into MY life. “Follow me as I follow the example of Christ” and sometimes fail miserably, but I want to stand back up and say it again, fresh grace, and the confidence of a disciple who hears His voice: “follow me as I follow the example of Christ.”

I am imperfect, but yet considered righteous in Him. If I allow a mistake to silence me, to make me shrink back in shame, to make me doubt my calling, doubt my worth, and doubt the anointing the Lord has poured on me in the heavenly realm (but really, that happened, oil and all), then I am belittling the work of God. Is His grace not sufficient?

I learned not to compromise my purity, because the enemy only uses that foothold to whisper about worthlessness. In Proverbs 31, it says that she brings him good, not harm, all the days of his life. That’s a love that fights for purity, and it is a Biblical requirement, not an open-ended suggestion.

I learned that my hopes are made for the Lord’s unfailing nature, and the goodness of His gifts reflect His Fatherly generosity. God gives me warnings that I know to heed, and yet stubbornly I’ve disobeyed Him in the past. I don’t want that anymore, and I’m not that person anymore.

I learned that my affirmation must come from the Lord, but also from my loved ones. It is Biblical that we must encourage one another daily, yeah? Hebrews, check it. It’s not a weakness, and the lie that “my heart’s hunger for affirmation is a weakness” was sent back to the pit of hell where it came from.

Romance was designed by the Lord and I want it! I want it! I will have it, and be a wife and a mama, and desiring this here on earth is not a weakness. Life is short, you guys, and time keeps flying. It’s okay to want a family, and to raise a new generation. I will write about it when it comes, bravely, boldly, confidently. I will share my pictures. I will tell you what a godly pursuit looks like, for the broken women who are still in the tunnel and can’t yet see that good things can happen to them as well.

Watch, the Lord will do a new thing. My husband is gonna feel awesome when I praise his pursuit on this platform, because he knows it will inspire women and challenge men to rise to a standard that mirrors Christ’s pursuit of His Church.

saltlight

compelledWhat I’m learning when I’m up all night is that Jesus is really jealous for our hearts. I don’t know if you’ve experienced the reality of His pursuit in your own life, in the middle of your nights, but it’s true. I’m realigning and adjusting, and receiving grace for playing tug-o-war with Jesus for months. I’m grieving more, pushing away shame, condemnation, fear of people.

Truth is that Jesus has been giving me all these gifts, and in my mind I was happy, but my heart was… meh. I’m going to Thailand, packing today. Yesterday, I got accepted to Bethel Atlanta School of Supernatural Ministry. I’m going hiking today, in a place I’ve never been. I’m going salsa dancing tonight. Life is so abundant, you guys. If only I could feel it all. But I’m getting there!

Jesus has been spoiling me rotten, and yet I’ve been hardhearted toward Him… I felt like I wouldn’t have the heart strength to start over. I had lost sight of my hope for the future, and I let that gloom cloud over me. Then I was reminded of Psalm 73:21-28, and I’ll let you to it.

21 When my heart was grieved
    and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was a brute beast before you.

23 Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.

To the Wholehearted

Back in February, I had class on the whole Old Testament. It was intense, and beautiful. I wrote this post then, and still, this subject is so current. It needs a revisit.

King David was wholehearted.

He loved big, and he messed up royally.

At the end of the day, though, he was remembered as wholehearted, one after God’s own heart. And I believe there are people today who seek the Lord and obey Him wholeheartedly. The few, the brave, who voluntarily march in with slings and stones and slay giants in their everyday lives. Those who sometimes mess everything up and suffer the consequences, choosing to trust God.

 

I know you’re still out there, I’ve met you.

This is for you.

davidgoliath


Here’s to you, wholehearted. 

 

You are not afraid to feel. You go big or you go home. When you hear the voice of God, you believe it’s Him, and you obey Him. Sometimes you hesitate. Sometimes you have fear. But ultimately, you know God gets His way. He sends people to you, and you know what you need to do. This is the big part: you do it. You do it with your whole heart. You jump in with both feet, without the guarantee of a safe landing.

Unfortunately (and actually for your good) you don’t always land well. Things don’t always work out the way you expected. Sometimes it’s really nasty, really painful.

Somehow, in all the pain, you get a flashback of yourself jumping in with both feet. You remember the faith of the leap, and along with that memory comes a tiny, soft whisper “it was worth it.”  There are no regrets for the wholehearted.

You can choose to look back and think of yourself as foolish, as naïve. In the end, however, when you really examine your heart, you realize you’re neither foolish nor naïve.

What you did, you did because you were told.
You’re brave.
You’re obedient.

You get to hear your Papa in heaven tell you how proud of you He is. Other people miss out on that. They get to hold on to their pride, their fears, their comforts, and they never experience broken, on-your-face, busted-up-in-the-pit intimacy with Papa. They don’t get to hear His soothing voice because they’re not even listening.

And oh, sometimes you land well. Impossibly well. Remember the victory? The favor? The bliss? Don’t forget that the glory isn’t yours.

And when you make mistakes… oh man. You royally mess up. You get hasty, impatient, rash. You feel too much, too fast. You struggle with anger and shame.

You want your way. You’ll fight tooth and nail to get what you want, at whatever cost. You are so stubborn, holding on to things for the sake of holding on, because letting go is so against your nature. Those conscious decisions to do things ‘your way’ have consequences. They hurt. It’s a different kind of pain. You end up in the familiar pit. Humble. And again, the Lord meets you and soothes you with grace, and teaches you it’s okay to let go. Fresh start.

Do not ever let pain deter you from courage. Do not let the past corrupt you. Do not let Satan lie to you. You take big risks for God. People won’t always back you up, but God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable. Deep down you know that, which is why you are the way you are. You know grace, and you embrace it.

You know you are deeply loved first, so you love deeply.

In the end of the day, you experience passion.

You are willing to suffer for a cause.

You invest your whole self.

You risk looking foolish, looking vulnerable.

You offer your heart, your affection.

You experience brokenness, failure, and healing.

It’s the most beautiful thing, you know, the courage to love.

 

Everybody dies, but not everybody lives, huh?

Wholehearted one,
you live.