He is Constant

The Lord really rocked me during my time with Him this morning. He showed me this picture of Him in Heaven. I couldn’t see His face because my gaze was locked on the hem of His white robe. It was swishing back and forth in constant movement. It was so bright and light and white and there was so much movement that it was almost dizzying. He was moving, the angels were moving. Heaven was actively moving – on my behalf.

He then told me that my idea of His characteristic of “constant” was not full. We often call God “constant.” He’s unchanging, steadfast, dependable, and faithful. We know these things to be true, but then sometimes we can’t see Him moving in situations in our lives and we start to lose hope. 

He reminded me this morning that constant also means constantly moving. He’s never far away. He’s not standing in Heaven looking down passively at our comings and goings. He is actively and intimately involved in our lives. He is busy working in us and around us for our good and His glory. This busy isn’t a distracted busy like we know in the natural. He is constantly moving in our lives on our behalf. Constantly speaking to us. Constantly surrounding us with pillars of strength to uphold us. Constantly placing us in strategic positions. Constantly protecting us. Constantly rerouting us. He is near, and He never abandons us.

Do not lose hope in Him when you can’t see Him working. He’s our Living Hope. That means our Hope is alive. Alive and active and constant.

He is constant, and He is constantly moving.

Steal, Kill, and Destroy

lbuxprjhtc4-nashad-abdu

This I know to be true: the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, and he prowls around like a lion looking for things to devour.

———-

Last night I finished writing and editing a blog post about war and surprise attacks in areas where I thought I’d seen victory. No more than two hours after I posted it, I was under attack again.

One of my dearest friends and I were talking about a specific situation in my life, and she was sharing her heart with me. What she had discerned from the Lord and what I had heard from Him myself were conflicting and tension was mounting. I suddenly found myself angry and questioning her intentions. Our interpretations of what we were hearing about this specific area were not lining up, so I immediately threw up a wall. I started backing away from one of my best friends – one of the sweetest gifts from God in my life.

As soon as I sensed the wall go up, I started praying and the Lord started unveiling my eyes. It was like a switch flipped, and I saw it for what it was – a very crafty attack of the enemy. The more I prayed, the more He revealed about the attack that had been set out against me that night.

First, the enemy was attempting to create division and dissention among this friendship. This is a very familiar attack that he has leveraged over my life the past few months, and quite frankly, I’m sick of it. I should have recognized it immediately. Instead, I was anxious and fearful and confused. I questioned the heart and intent of one of the people who has encouraged me and uplifted me and prayed into and over my life during one of the hardest seasons I’ve ever walked through.

Then he pulled a sneaky surprise attack, and used this conversation with my friend to make me doubt my ability to hear from the Lord. Earlier this week, I started questioning a series of words and revelations I’d been given and heard from the Lord over the past few months. I am confident that I know how Holy Spirit speaks to me, and I know I know the voice of the Shepherd. But doubt started creeping in when I started facing intense opposition to and attack against those words this past week. It took a conversation with another good friend for me to realize that I was being attacked in this area. I started combatting the attack by speaking truth over myself and making the declaration that I am able to clearly hear from the Lord. I literally saw victory in this area two days ago, and now I find myself in the midst of a surprise attack in the exact same area. 

As soon as I realized what the enemy was doing, I started calling him down. “NOT TODAY, SATAN. You will not try to ruin this, too. You have no authority here. My God is bigger than you, He has already won this battle, and I have victory over you through His blood. STEP BACK.” I felt immediate peace wash over me again.

———-

The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Period. That’s his end game. When he sees a way to weasel into our lives, that’s what he goes after. Anything that he can steal, kill, or destroy in an attempt to keep us from the glorious that Christ has for us. For me last night, he wanted to steal my peace, kill my confidence in my ability to hear from God, and destroy a God-ordained friendship.

The Lord has good for us. He came to give us abundant life. He has a plan to partner with us to shake this earth for His Kingdom. A plan to bring heaven to earth. A plan to grow us and use us for His glory. But the enemy wants to put a stop to it. He is like a lion prowling around and looking for things to devour. When the enemy sees a threat – a person or a pairing or a group that He knows will be powerful together for the Kingdom – he does everything in His power to rip it apart.

The good news? We have victory over the enemy through Christ Jesus. His blood wins every time. His purpose wins every time. Nothing can come between the Lord and His plan and purpose for our lives. I believe this to the very deepest parts of me. His will prevails. Even so, we have a responsibility to be alert to what is going on around us. We must ask the Lord to open our eyes to what is going on in the Spirit realm. We have to see the enemy prowling around and call him down when he attempts to come between us the glorious unfolding Christ has for us. He’s so deceitful, so sly. If we are not careful, we are blinded to how the enemy is attempting to destroy us.  Look up!  Look around!  What is he trying to steal, kill, or destroy in your life? Do not let the enemy try to steal what the Lord has for you!

———-

“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” — Proverbs 27:6

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” — 1 Peter 5:8

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” — John 10:10

The War Is Over

arrow-1557462

Wars are being waged around me. Everywhere I look, I see the darkness and carnage that only war can bring. As I’ve navigated the treacherous landmines of my own battlefield, I’ve found myself glancing to my right and to my left and seeing the battlefields of my friends and family. War is everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong – there are times in your life when you have to go to war with your own flesh. One of my friends says that sometimes looks like the Lord squeezing everything out of us that doesn’t look like Jesus. And sometimes? Sometimes that just looks like war. As hard as some of these times have been, I’m thankful for the pieces of my own dying flesh I see littering the ground. Each piece of dead flesh represents a specific area in my life that didn’t look anything like Jesus. My Papa, the Great Physician, skillfully and carefully wielded his scalpel, surgically removing those decaying places out of me. He tossed those pieces by the wayside so they would no longer encumber me. He got rid of them so I’m able to look a little more like Jesus. And for that I’m thankful. But just because He’s a skilled surgeon doesn’t mean there was no blood shed in the process.

But sometimes? Sometimes war finds you straight in the midst of the chaos and confusion that can only be an attack from the enemy. Flaming arrows whiz past you, lighting in their intended targets, the places where the enemy knows he can do the most damage – your relationships, your hopes and dreams. You smell the acrid smell of smoke as it rises and fills the air around you. You pick up your weapons, stretch out your arm, pull back the arrow, and aim for your target… this is battle. This is war.

There are times when you walk out of those battlefields with your arms raised up in praise, knowing the Lord has brought deliverance and victory. These are the times when you’ve been able to put a stake in the ground, claiming new territory as your own. The times you’ve drawn a line in the sand and screamed at the enemy, “YOU CAN’T COME ANY CLOSER.”

And then there are the times when you turn around and catch a glimpse of the enemy trying to sneak back in and advance on your territory. Completely caught off guard, you pick up the armor you’ve just laid down and prepare for battle again. You fling your broken and busted up body over your relationships and your hopes and dreams, arms and legs outstretched like human armor in an attempt to cover exposed areas of weakness and vulnerability. Completely taken by surprise, you realize the battle isn’t over yet.

Early last week, I found myself in exactly such a place. I was completely disoriented when I sensed attack in an area where I’d already seen victory. I felt that the situation demanded I take up arms and prepare to fight. I found myself talking to the Lord early one morning and telling Him what all I thought I needed to do and laying out my plan before Him. (Yeah, I know. Ridiculous now that I think about it. What I needed to do? MY plans?) I kept asking Him over and over, “What do you think, Lord?” And time and time again, I was met by silence. Deafening silence.

I spent a day or two hearing nothing but complete silence from Him in this area. One morning, I woke up completely frantic. I said “God! What is our battle plan here? What do I need to do?” It was then that I finally heard Him speak: “Be still.” I remember shaking my head, panicking, and thinking “BE STILL? In the middle of WAR?” He nudged me gently and said, “Remember me telling you last week to be still? I meant it. Be still.” I sat there, dumbfounded. I still didn’t quite grasp the concept of sitting still in the middle of a battle. He had to have sensed my confusion because a few seconds later I heard Him say, “Brave girl, lay your weapons down.” If you know me at all, you know I’m a verbal processor and I had to keep talking to gain understanding. “But Lord,” I said, “I need to fight for this. I know I need to fight.” And like the patient, loving Father that He is, He reminded me, “You don’t need to fight. I’ve already told you this isn’t your battle. I’ve got this. Let me do the fighting. Be still. Lay your weapons down. Trust that you’ll see victory in this.”

Later that morning, my spirit was still in a state of unrest. I knew I needed to spend some more time with Him. I was listening to a random Bethel playlist on YouTube while I was reading my Bible and journaling when a song filtered through that I’d never heard. The first few lyrics stopped me dead in my tracks:

The war is over, turn around

Lay your weapons on the ground

 

I stopped what I was doing and sat and listened through tears.

He has made a way for us

Born for glory out of dust

Children held within the arms of peace

 

He has made a way for all

Mercy waits where sinners fall

He is our Victory

 

It is finished.

It is done.

The blood of Jesus overcomes

It is finished.

He has won.

He has won.

After I *mostly* pulled myself together, I sent a link to the video to my friend Morgan. I was like “This is a new one I haven’t heard! I bet it’s gonna be on the new album!” And sweet Morgan was like, “That’s the one they did at the Worship Night we went to that I kept talking about!” Ummmm… yeah. Apparently I was on the floor crying or journaling or something when they did this song and completely missed it. Like I don’t remember it at all. Isn’t it funny how the Lord works? I know for sure He kept that song for this time when He knew I’d need to hear it most.

I’ve spent the past several days being still and trusting the Lord for victory, and this song has not been far from my mind or lips. He’s been faithful to bring it to mind every time I start to feel anxious, and He’s ministered to me and taught me so much through it.

—–

The war is over.

Those places I thought were victorious but then found the enemy sneaking in to stir up the battle again? They completely caught me off guard. But God? He sees all and knows all. Nothing takes Him by surprise. He is never caught off guard by a surprise attack. There’s no battle being fought in our lives that He isn’t intimately familiar with.   And there’s no outcome of any battle that hasn’t already been won for us. You heard me right – there’s always victory available in any battle we face. When He was on the cross, He fought every battle we will fight. He won victory for us on the cross.

Lay your weapons on the ground.

So many times I’ve wanted to pick up weapons that were never mine to hold in the first place. And when we aren’t used to holding these weapons that were never intended for us to use, we can’t stand up under the weight of them. We fall trying to fight a battle that was never ours to fight in the first place. All He asks us to do is cease striving. To simply rest in His might. To trust Him to be the God that only He can be. He’s God. And He’s good at being God.

It is finished, it is done. The blood of Jesus overcomes. It is finished, He has won. He has won.

I’m so thankful for the finished work of the cross. The work that restored mankind to God. The work that defeated death and the grave. The work that tore the veil so I can walk in daily communion with Him.

I love the redemption of the cross, but somehow I think I’ve managed to get it completely wrong for years. There have been countless times I’ve faced a lost battle, a dead dream, an unanswered prayer, a broken relationship, or a nagging sin and with a half-hearted laugh said, “Well there’s nothing His blood can’t redeem.”

No. That’s not it. That’s not it at all. There’s nothing that His blood hasn’t redeemed. The cross was final. When the blood poured out of his beaten, pierced, and mangled body, it wasn’t just to cover the lost battles, dead dreams, unanswered prayers, broken relationships, and nagging sins of the day He died on the cross. The blood covered it all. The past, the present, the future. Mine. Yours. Everyone’s. And because of His blood, we get to live in victory. We are victorious because He was victorious for us.

—–

I still don’t know the outcome of this particular battle, but I’m trusting in the victory He promised me. I know Him to be the God who keeps His promises and the God who finishes what He starts. No promise to me will return void. I’m victorious because He is victorious.

 

 

All Things New


This past week during worship, I felt like I was hitting a brick wall over and over again. I kept trying to push through it, but I was making no headway. I started praying and seeking the Lord, asking Him why I was having such a hard time entering into His presence and giving myself over fully to Him in worship.

The Holy Spirit gently nudged me to recall the moment we started singing the first song of the set. Even though the song was personally significant to me, I wasn’t singing it with my usual joyful exuberance. Instead, I found myself feeling a little sad as we sang. What a juxtaposition – feeling intense sadness during a song about God’s miracle-working presence.

The song brought up some really sweet memories, but they felt as distant as His presence that day. With those memories came the harsh onslaught of comparison. But this comparison was different than anything I had ever experienced before. For one of the first times I can remember, I wasn’t comparing myself to other people. I was comparing myself to… myself. I was comparing my current situation to the places and seasons in which I had walked in the past.

As Holy Spirit started speaking to me, I sat down and started journaling. I heard Him say “I like different. I like new.” He reminded me that even though worship looked and felt and sounded a little differently, that didn’t make it any less beautiful, any less valuable to Him.

When I was finally able to turn my focus from my current situation and back onto Him, I broke through that wall and had the sweetest time of worship. No sooner had we started the second song than He reminded me once again that He makes everything new – this time through song lyrics. At this point, I was grinning and thinking “Ok, God… I hear you.”

It was such a sweet reminder that He makes all things new. Not just some of the things. Not just the things that are broken. Not just the banged up and busted up parts. All things.

Holy Spirit kept speaking to me, so I kept journaling during worship:

Don’t expect your current season to look just like the one you just came from or the one you’re expecting to walk into. This is how you will miss me and what I am doing in your life. If you wear blinders, you will be blinded. Take off the things that blind you – your memories, your expectations, your hopes and desires, your emotions. While these things aren’t necessarily bad, they can blind you to what I’m doing in the here and now. Don’t miss me. Watch for me to move. Feel the wind of my Spirit. Listen to the gentle whisper of my voice. Move when you feel me move. Speak when you hear me speak. Do what you see me do. Don’t miss what I’m doing.

A sweet friend of mine told me that same night that she saw a picture in her mind of Jesus locking eyes with me, never taking his eyes off of mine. The look of a lover truly seeing His bride.

I think that’s where we go wrong a lot of times. We’re so distracted by what’s around us – our circumstances, our memories, the hurt and pain of broken relationships, the expectations we have in our hearts for what we think He will do next, the heart desires cloaked in the fear that they’ll remain unmet– that we forget to keep our gaze trained on Him.

I heard Lisa Bevere speak at a Bethel Music Worship Night event last night. She said something that is still reverberating in my spirit today: “Stop putting question marks where you need to be putting periods and exclamation marks. God wants you to lift your eyes and see what Heaven is doing. You have far better things to do than to compare yourself to what you have seen and known.”

If we don’t want to miss the new thing He’s doing for us in our current season, we have to stop looking back at the past or looking ahead to the future and asking questions that we aren’t meant to know the answers to. How often is our captivity, our blindness of our own volition? How often do we stay stuck in the same spot – so caught up in looking back or looking forward, questioning Him with not even a thought to what the Lord may be doing right here and right now in this season?

I’ve found myself wandering through Isaiah over the past couple of weeks, and I keep coming back to Isaiah 43. It can’t be a coincidence. It’s a passage that speaks of the rescue and redemption the Lord has for His people. It speaks of an intimacy that’s breathtaking. It speaks of His constant presence in affliction – His support under it and our deliverance through it. It speaks of the importance of remembering His faithfulness in times past. He will do it again, but this time He will do a NEW thing.

“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.  It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?  There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.”

— Isaiah 43:18-19, MSG

Sometimes making all things new means meeting us right where we are in the here and now and doing a new thing in us. He can do wonder upon wonder when we allow Him to rescue us from our blindness. He can show us roads in the desert, rivers in the badlands. He can show us what He’s placing right in front of us, the need He’s meeting right here, right now.

I’m praying daily that He would remove any blinders on my eyes that would cause me to miss the brand new that He’s doing in the here and now of my life. I’m learning to train my gaze on Him despite the distractions that compete for my attention, and I’m asking Him to nudge me when my eyes start to stray. He is drawing my attention up as He draws me into deeper places of intimacy. I’m locking eyes with the One whose eyes will always be locked on me. The One who makes all things new by doing a new thing in me.

Walking in the Mystery

photo-1415045550139-59b6fafc832f

Over the past few months, the Lord has taken me on a journey unlike any I’ve ever traveled before. As I’ve walked the path He’s set before me, I’ve been blown away by how gracious He’s been to me. He has dreamed the biggest of dreams with me. He has spoken the most beautiful promises over my life. He has answered some of my greatest prayers and fulfilled some of my deepest longings. He has healed places in me that were in desperate need of healing. He has injected me with hope.

Along the way, He did something I wasn’t expecting. He showed me my Promised Land, and then He showed me the steps it would take to get there. I started walking in faith toward what I knew He was calling me to.

Not long after He confirmed in my spirit what direction I was to head, I started running into walls of opposition. The enemy started coming at me with some of the strongest spiritual attacks I have ever experienced. My mind was attacked by whispers of lies from the enemy. My finances were hit from all sides. My closest relationships were in turmoil. Confusion and chaos abounded in every area of my life.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about confusion and chaos, it’s that they seek to destroy connection in relationships. Sometimes it’s in your relationships with people, sometimes it’s in your relationship with Jesus, and sometimes it’s in both. As confusion and chaos attempt to destroy connection, they also seek out cracks in your life where seeds of doubt can be wedged in. And when it’s not immediately silenced, doubt takes root and grows.

For me, the disconnect and doubt crept into every area of my life. I was completely undone by the confusion and chaos I was feeling. It made no sense to me. I was so certain of what the Lord had shown me, the direction He was pointing my life. Things got too hard, and the path was too uncertain. I stopped dead in my tracks, and I refused to budge. I was content to stand still until He cleared things up and showed me where to step again.

One day I was processing some of what I had been going through with one of my friends. I was so frustrated by the walls I kept hitting. I told her that my best friend had challenged me to start praying that the Lord would increase my faith. I had been praying that prayer multiple times a day for several days when everything seemed to start unraveling. I was confused. I had been expecting good things like answered prayers and open doors to come along and stretch my faith. As I opened up about my frustrations, she told me a story about one time when she realized she loved the Lord more than she trusted Him. It was then that I felt Holy Spirit asking me “Do you really trust me to increase your faith?” I felt my head nodding up and down in a solid YES. Then he said “But do you trust me to do it in the best way for you?” My nod stopped abruptly. I finally understood.

I had been asking Him to stretch my faith, and He was answering my prayer. I just didn’t trust Him to do it how He saw best. He was using some really hard, uncomfortable things to stretch my faith. Instead of recognizing them for what they were – faith stretchers, I allowed doubt to creep in and bring disconnection with it. Doubt made me question His nearness, His goodness, and His faithfulness. I was angry over these hard things that had nudged themselves into my life completely uninvited. Without even realizing it, I was slipping away and becoming disconnected from the One who always has my best interests at heart. It all came down to my own inability to look at what was going on in my life through His lens of love. He loves me so much that He only wants the best for me. He wants my faith and my trust in Him to be without limits. Even though I didn’t understand it at the time, He was doing exactly what it took to get me to that place.

Once I realized what was at the root of my disconnection, the lack of complete trust, I repented for it. I changed my heart and my mind, and I gave my YES to whatever the Lord wanted to do in my life. I gave him my YES to bring me to the place where my faith and trust were stretched fully.

A few days later, the turmoil in my life was still raging. I felt Him ask me very quietly “You say you trust me, but do you trust that the promises I spoke over you are true?” I found my head nodding again, but my heart was not following along. I kept saying, “But God… you showed me. It was so clear. But everything is so uncertain now. It’s all so fuzzy. How do I move forward when nothing makes sense? Are you changing your mind? What are you doing?”

He took me to the book of 2 Corinthians where Paul says:

“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1: 19-20)

I’ve always heard people say that all God’s promises are Yes and Amen, but I never really thought about what that meant until now.

Once God gives His Yes in our lives, it remains a Yes. He is not fickle; He is steadfast. His Yes will never become a No or a Maybe. His promise remains true even when our human mind can’t fathom how it could ever come to pass. He may change our path, but He never goes back on His promise. And because He is trustworthy and good, I can give my Amen to His Yes – no matter what the fulfillment of that Yes may look like.

– – –

In her book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp talks about groping for understanding in the midst of not understanding. She mentions the Israelites eating manna during the 40 desert years. Manna literally translates as “What is it?” The Israelites literally ate the mystery. And the mystery was “like wafers of honey” on the lips.

The unknown can be pleasant, sweet, and satisfying. The Israelites had to trust God to be their ultimate source of provision. They were to never gather more than one day’s worth of manna except in preparation for the Sabbath. They were in a place of ultimate dependency, ultimate trust. They were trusting the manna would show up, that God would show up. Despite being unable to see how God’s promise for their lives could ever come to fruition, they trusted in the mystery.

– – –

As He was connecting all of this is my heart and mind and spirit, I was still at a standstill. I was standing in the middle of the path He had been clearing for me with my arms crossed tightly over my chest and my lips set in a hard line, refusing to move. He nudged me ever so gently again and said “I meant it when I said walk in the promise. You have to walk. Don’t stand still. Walk.”

– – –

And so I find myself walking again. My faith has never been bigger, and I’ve never trusted in His promises as fully as I do now. I’m taking each small step He guides my feet to take, and I’m being faithful to remain true to the Amen I gave to His Yes.

Even when His promise is a complete mystery, I can still stand in agreement and trust Him with my Amen because of His faithfulness in my life.

I’m trusting in the mystery and trusting in Him completely.

He has shown me my Promised Land. It’s time to walk to it.

 

Time for a little rearranging

photo-1460776960860-7adc30a4e69d

I’m a creature of comfort.  I like cozy.  I like warm. I like inviting.  I really like familiar.  I don’t completely balk at change, but it’s generally best if I can have some time to process that change is happening.  I have to warm up to the idea.

I’ve lived in the same apartment for four years, and I have never rearranged furniture. Not even once.  I’ve added a few odds and ends here and there, but all the rooms are basically the same as they were four years ago when I moved in.  Once I get a room how I like it, I keep it that way.  I’ve never been one to just randomly rearrange furniture.  Goes back to that whole loving-the-familiar thing, I guess.

Last week I got this itch to rearrange my bedroom.  I couldn’t explain it.  I didn’t really understand it.  I just needed change.  I stood in the middle of the room and turned around and around, taking stock of what I had to work with and carefully thinking.  I thought about what arrangement would make the room flow best, and I visualized what I wanted where.  The more I thought about it, the more I was pretty sure it wouldn’t work the way I wanted it to.  If you know me even the tiniest bit, you know how stubborn I am, so it should be no surprise that I decided I would make it work.  I forged ahead and moved a few pieces of furniture only to be slapped in the face with the realization that it definitely was not going to work.  I kept thinking to myself “If that wall was just a tiny bit longer…” or “If that window was just a smidge more to the right…”  I got so frustrated.  I finally just gave up and put everything right back where it started.  No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t change the size and position of the four walls and two windows in my bedroom.

A few days later, I struck out on one of the last trips of summer to visit some of my best friends.  I was in the mood to roll down my windows and sing realllllllly loudly, so I needed realllllllly good driving music.  I decided it was a John Mark and Sarah McMillan kind of day, and I promptly set my phone to shuffle through all their tunes.  Pretty soon, the song Walk Around My House played.  I honestly don’t think I’d ever listened to it before that day, but man oh man did the verses catch my heart. (Y’all, apparently this is a thing for me – listening to the McMillans’ music and Jesus simultaneously throwing me a curve ball…)

Walk around my house and turn it upside down
Your love pursues me
Walk around my house and turn it upside down
Your spirit moves me
Open up my windows and unlock all the doors
You know you own me
Open up my windows and unlock all the doors
Blow right through me

The Lord’s timing is so funny to me sometimes.  My mind had literally just flitted back to my overwhelming desire to rearrange my bedroom when this song came on.  It was while listening to these lyrics that I felt a gentle nudge from Holy Spirit to really pay attention.

You see, there are some habits and practices and thought processes that I seem to fall into step with when I’m not carefully guarding my mind and my heart and walking in the knowledge and fullness of my identity as a daughter of the King.  These habits and practices and thought processes are the creature comforts of my heart, the places and spaces that feel most comfortable to me when I face hard times – when I find myself hurt by someone or when I’m comparing myself to another woman or when I’ve found myself in the middle of an everything-seems-to-be-going-downhill day.  If I’m not standing guard, these creature comforts take over my thoughts and actions and start worming their way into my heart, chipping away at the identity that I’ve turned my back on, even if only for what seemed like a nanosecond.

And while I really love the comfort and the warmth of the familiar, I really don’t love the familiarity of these particular creature comforts.  It was in realizing that these places exist and assessing the damage they have caused that I felt an intense need for change within my own heart.  I wanted God to have the space to rearrange the furniture of my heart.

I love that God is not limited by four walls and two windows like I was when trying to rearrange my bedroom.  He is not bound by any earthly constraint.  He can push away anything that hinders so that his will and his purpose for me have room to come to light in my life.  I want him to walk around my house and turn it upside down.  I want him to open up my windows and unlock all the doors.  I want him to have full access to every part of me – even the creature comforts that have been part of me for so long.

I’m learning to give him full permission to move things and change things and tweak things and really get me into the place where I will be most comfortable.  And in the process, I’m learning that living in the comfortable space I created is sometimes not the comfortable space he wants for me.

Living a Life of Purpose

I love the reflection and readying that comes with each new year – reflection on the past year and readying yourself for the year to come.  I’ve spent a lot of time the past few days reflecting on all the things 2015 has taught me.  (More on that soon!)  I’ve learned more about myself than ever before.  I’ve grown more spiritually in the past few months than all of my years combined.  I’ve made new friends and let other friendships be put to rest.  I’ve walked through times of deep sorrow and times of buoyant joy.  2015 was good to me.

As I think ahead to 2016, a common theme keeps popping up: purpose.  I see a connection between the noun form of the word and the verb form of the word.  Both have been on my heart the past couple of days.  I want to live a life of purpose (n.), but to do that, I must purpose (v.) my heart and my mind and my soul and my body to do those things.

It’s no secret that I love social media.  I love connecting with people from all over, but I mostly love how my thinking is challenged.  I love how reading someone’s tweet or blog post or Facebook update can spin a whole new perspective on something I thought I already knew deep in my bones.  I love how someone’s transparent vulnerability inspires me to look a little closer at my own life and make me willing to risk sharing.  I love how common themes or ideas will surface all at the same time – flying at me like arrows straight to the marrow of who I am.  It’s at times like these that I know the Lord is speaking to my heart.

That’s where purpose comes into play.  I’ve gathered these little snippets like wildflowers because they tell the story of where my heart has been the past few days.  They speak of what the Lord is calling me to do in 2016:  Live a life of purpose with a purposed heart and mind and soul and body.

 

On changing your heart… 

Purposing to change happens where prayer meets perseverance.” – Ann Voskamp

 

On wanting more of God…

“I simply want more of him. If I want more God then I must clear the space for him. You need to make room if you want to let God in.” – Hannah Brencher

 

On making good choices…

“Will this choice add to my peace or steal from it?” – Lysa TerKeurst

 

On taking my thoughts captive…

“Taking every thought captive is surrendering every thought that wards against your peace.” – Brian Johnson

 

On focusing my attention…

“Wherever we focus our attention the most will become the driving force in our lives.  We steer where we stare. – Lysa TerKeurst

 

These are the pieces God is already weaving into the story of my heart for 2016.  I’m purposing my heart and mind and soul and body to live a life of purpose this year.  I’m excited for what’s to come.