Familiar, comfortable. Like an old shoe. Or your favorite pair of jeans. Sipping cocoa by the fire with your feet covered by wooly socks curled up in a leather lazy boy watching the snow float down on a cold winter day. Or, time at the beach with the family. Soaking up the rays of sun while the children run into cold waves of salty brine and scream with delight. Sitting around a wooden planked picnic table feasting on fresh shellfish, corn on the cob, sweet refreshing watermelon. Does it get any better than this?
What does that conjure up to us? Peace. Contentment. Bliss.
Yet, we are not called to that kind of comfort. Not on a daily basis.
Instead we're called to "snatch" the sinner out of the fire. Step out in faith in ways that cause extreme discomfort. Pray until we see the results of a matter, or receive a release from the burden God has placed on us.
A light burden He promises as we abide in Him, but still our lives will be full of trials and tribulations. Sometimes to the point of wandering a desert with only Himself as our guide. Or under the duress of physical and/or emotional suffering that wears us down day after day. Yet. He himself has endured the cross with great joy. For us, those who have been called and chosen to live our lives day by day for the King.
We can choose. Even after that first "yes" of submission to his relentless pursuit of our hearts. Even after the next step of calling our Savior Lord. The biggest plunge of all to give up our own lives for the sake of another. All in the name of Love.
I can't express to you the daily dying to my flesh that comes not from godly disciplines as much as giving up those things to me which are "familiar."
We live in a time where hearts have grown cold. The manners which I was taught have become secondary. Simple acts of kindness have become fewer while road rage increases. My family and I watched a lone man the other night slamming his closed fist on the side of his small sedan because traffic had stalled. He screamed over and over "Come on! Get moving! What are you doing?" Obviously this man had become so enraged that he was not thinking clearly.
How has this happened? A love that has grown cold in the world. Hearts hardened by the icy indifference of those who have not followed after Him.
It's an impossible task this. How does a social creature with an overwhelming thirst for creature comfort overcome her need for relationships and connections?
Honestly, I don't know. But, as I've been asked to share how I encourage myself on a daily basis, I have to confess that my only hope is to submerge myself into the person of Jesus. He is real you know. People will look at you like your crazy. They will even laugh, mock and shake their heads in amazement at this deep intimacy.
There are nights when I lie on my bed with such a desperate need for God that tears stream down my face. And, I know He hears me. I know because I've sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit take over the longings of my heart. I've seen Him reverse seemingly impossible situations and call them out into the light and life.
One case in point is the book I am writing. For years, the desire sat dormant. Then the Lord showed me it was "time".
The "dream" looked like this~ taking my golden retriever for long walks as the Lord filled my mind with words to write for the day. Sitting down at my desk in my adult daughters old bedroom and happily pouring out the perfect work of literature.
Reality is that I've rewritten the manuscript at least three times in the last seven years or so. My walking buddy, Sydney passed suddenly in March. The harsh reality of unemployment, chronic illness, life threatening disease has pushed at me as I've watched those close to me deal with grief and suffering.
And, yet, God continues to encourage. I'm not writing the book for those who would tell me that my efforts are in vain. Or even for those who praise my efforts. I'm writing it because I have been called to write it.
How about you? Are you wrestling with the Holy Spirit over some impossible task that is pressing on your heart? Do you have an idea that you can't seem to shake?
Well than this is quite possibly God calling you to walk in your destiny. Leaving all the comfortable places behind, I guarantee the joy trumps familiarity every time.
In September look for my article in an emagazine called Happy Sis where I explore the possibilities of living content in spite of the discomfort. Also I want to share with you about the first Pennsylvania ACFW Writer's Conference being held at the Penn Stater Conference Center. I'm psyched to be teaching a workshop on the craft of writing. Who'd have thunk it?
And, honestly, it never would have happened if I hadn't dared to live the dream.