I knew God wanted to do some work in me, dealing with my heart's motivation and how He wants to consistently re-center my sense of identity.
Today (the 27th) is the first official full day of the 7 week challenge that our family is taking. But already I have the lump in my throat and slight dread that God's about to go in for a deep work. And I know it's not the last time.
The last few days we've been preparing for this experience - it's really more of a fast, I guess. I started by cutting coffee the last few days and by cleaning out my closet.
Simple, right?! Wrong. More like freaking intense, raw and emotional. I figured God would ease me into this, not so much. I mean, couldn't He have waited until week 5 or something? Instead, He hit me up before this really even began.
My prayer is this: " God, have Your way. You know who I am, where I'm at and what I need. Do Your thing."
I don't know how many times I've wincingly whispered this prayer. It's like praying, " God, break my heart for what breaks Yours". He is very near to the words and He senses the state of our spirit and soul. Ultimately, I want Him, but that means that "I" must die more. And it just hurts.
You can ask my family - the past few days, the symptoms I've experienced have been mostly outbursts of anger. Emotions that are a sign that something needs to be detoxified in me. I just made 2 simple moves: 1. a decision to surrender 2. gave up coffee and 126 pieces of clothing. Even Sakari got into the spirit of purging and giving away...
Did I think that those 2 moves would reveal the status of my soul and pierce through my motivations and identity? Nope. But here I sit with a mountain of office work to do and I can't concentrate because I know that though I could suppress what's going on in me, I don't want to give up on this chance to be torn down and built back up.
Using what I've learned the hard way, I'm taking a long, hard look into myself and into the mirror of the Word. I want to take this opportunity to recommend the book, " The Search for Significance" and I'm applying the methods I learned from it to go to the core of the symptoms. At the end of the day, it all goes back to our identity. How the enemy fights and slanders our true identity!
Question: Do I really, truly believe in Kingdom mindedness? Living it out is way more difficult that merely saying that I am. Here are just a few things that were stirred up in me: Inadequate, fear, feeling pulled, criticism, people pleasing, unrealistic expectations, selfishness, anger, depression, trust issues, pride, insecurity, self-branding vs. Jesus...
Solution: Time to close my eyes, lay flat on the floor of the office and visually place Jesus back on the throne of my heart.
This morning I was praying and asking God to show me how to pray (not just in the understanding, but in the Spirit). When I was praying and listening, I heard the word "branding" come up. It seemed odd at first, but then He gently showed how careful we (mostly me) have been to brand the ministry and myself. Ouch. There's the good side to that, it's smart business and who we are should be clear to the world. But how quickly we can use people, opinions and popular stances to brand ourselves.
I think of Mother Teresa....she was branded by nothing but humility, faith and obedience. Blind to the opinion of others. She was enveloped, consumed and enthralled in Love. Her branding - Jesus.
Hello, conviction. I haven't heard from you in approximately 2 minutes.
Tearing down, building up.
What if I lost myself in Love? What if I decreased and He increased?
It should be obvious that this will not be easy and will be a war that we will have to fight for our whole lives. But I want to be branded. Simply. Branded and consumed by none but Jesus.
Ending on a fun note, here is Sakari planting the first of what hope will be our green thumb home garden!
One Child Campaign is a ministry outreach of Faith Central Ministries. The vision of the Orphan Awareness and Vision trips is to create a united effort of ministries to give voice to the over 5.5 million orphans in Ethiopia and around the world. This will be accomplished through sponsorship, empowerment and discipleship that will meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the children. This trip will immerse you into the lives of orphans and street kids. It will create an experience that will raise awareness not only to the orphan, but also for the body of Christ to realize the impact it can have through advocacy and adoption. An important part of our ministry is to provide resources for adoptive families. This is a mission to raise up a generation with selfless faith. Together, we can breathe hope into the orphan crisis.