If you have walked with the Lord for any length of time, you know this very well: Life, both personally and in ministry, is ever changing. We must get used to it as best as we can, otherwise, we will spend precious time fighting against the movement of God in our lives.
Time really is so precious. The longer I live, the more vividly I realize how short our days are on earth. He placed us here for this generation and in our current location to advance the Good News, using our unique gifts and experiences. I feel an urgency to keep listening, keep learning and to keep myself within His will.
The first book in my stack for summer reading is Ruth Haley Barton’s, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. I’m allowing myself only one chapter a day, to really take it in.
Where has Ruth been all my life? I feel like she is speaking my language, but in a much more eloquent way. If not careful, I’m going to highlight the whole book! I love this quote on understanding our calling:
When God calls, it is a very big deal. It is holy ground. It produces within us such reverence and awe that it’s hard to know what to do with ourselves. Finally, the whole of our life begins to make sense, and new awareness of the divine orchestration that has brought us to this moment makes us want to take off our shoes or fall on our face or maybe even argue with God about the improbability of it all. But no matter how much we may try to resist, the landscape of our life has opened up. Every single thing that didn’t make sense when it happened, that seemed too harsh or too random or too shameful, now finds its place in the storyline that brought us here.
Did you know, your unique life, with all it’s ups and downs & twists and turns has been preparing you for the call God has on your life? Do you understand that no hurt is wasted and no difficult season has been without deep meaning? All of your life experiences have been woven into the exact qualifications and wisdom needed to fulfill the work He has for you.
So many of us believe our past disqualifies us from being used by God, but that is wrong thinking. It is the very events and experiences He has allowed to pass through His sovereign hand that give us the credentials to serve Him well.
Barton describes our calling as a very big deal and holy ground. Amen! And, because it is holy ground, there is no pride there. The calling of God is initiated by Him and we serve Him at His will – not the other way around. We may be qualified and called, but He alone directs our path and where we should go. And go is the operative word!
Which of course, takes me back to change. The call of God will always involve moving us out of our safe, predictable spaces and into something new. We don’t have to trust Him much when we are in the safety of our cocoon, but once the caterpillar has been transformed into a new creation, it is time for that baby to fly!
Our transformation is never, ever just for us – it is always for the sake of lost and hurting souls who need to see in us, the hand print of a kind and loving God.
Along with my new friend Ruth, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time with my old friend Paul in his letter to the Philippians. I love him so. He was completely humbled by his own transformation and was relentless in pursuing the call God placed on his life. He understood something that we all must get into our souls: God calls flawed and imperfect people. He is looking for willing hearts to go where He sends. He is looking for those who are brave enough to trust Him when they are beckoned to fly.
Listen to Paul’s surrendered heart in this verse:
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back” – Philippians 3:12-14 MSG
This is the heart Jesus is looking for. Not perfect, not one who has arrived, but one who is willing to be used for the purpose she has been created for.
May we keep listening, keep learning and be determined to keep ourselves within His perfect will.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8.
Many blessings and love to all,