Few things are more startling than the sweep of insignificance after a week of mountain-moving.
This past week, my church community came together in a series of awakening services for the region. Families from the neighboring cities gathered in a field of cottonwood and pine trees to worship, hear the Word preached with power, and see God move mightily to save, heal, and deliver. Under the gentle strings of wedding lights, the churched and unchurched watched the sweet Presence of Jesus chase away the clouds of fear and hatred that have been trying to choke our cities these past few months. The events came together in record time, designed by God and organized by a handful of people brave enough to see Him do what only He can with willing vessels. Those nights were glorious reminders that God delights to reveal Himself, and in Him, the few become mighty.
Under those lights surrounding the stage, it was easy to see that.
But the echoes of victory had barely faded before my old enemy came knocking and I felt my vision smear with the mirage of insignificance.
I knew they would come--the distractions, the weights, the lies. The stirrings of freedom always invite opposition and my personal battles have become extremely predictable over the years. But they still make me stagger.
The temptation is always to turn inward, to look away from the abundance of what God is doing and stare at the glaring emptiness of other categories, my own ability to make things happen in my own strength and timing. It's clear that when we're aligned with the timing of the Lord, things fall into place and our efforts are multiplied, powered by His energy (Colossians 1:29).
So, why do I struggle so much to believe that things will find their time and place as I give them to Him? Why do my personal dreams seem perpetually on hold? Why does it seem like my efforts just aren't... enough?
And then the video tape starts playing. Every image, back through childhood, that endorses my struggles. As I took an early morning walk, the moment played in my head--five-year-old me grappling with attaching a toy phone to the side of a plastic kitchen set. Tired of failing to attach it, I simply balanced it and moved on. I was the girl who would cut corners if I couldn't be great, just to achieve the appearance of success. I would hang out with people who would applaud my abilities, and avoid any situation that might include failure. I was the girl who wanted to be Joshua or David. A leader. Strong. I wanted my voice to touch millions. I still want that.
But there always seems to be a reason why it's not the time. Why my 110% efforts fall short or aren't seen. Life in our media-centric world has a way of pointing out everyone who's doing it better, faster, more creatively. You'll never catch up.
But as Kristene DeMarco says, "Disappointment can be an incredible tool to draw you closer to the Lord if you respond well." (see full message link below)
Every single one of us was born with a desire to matter, to be significant, and God did that. Life will confront each one of us with this dichotomy between our destiny and our ability, and we will have to decide over and over again whose perspective we are going to live under.
On some level, we all want to be David, but we skip right to his victories without remembering that he was also ostracized, rejected, cast out, and unnoticed. Opposition followed him even into his kingship. But his actions prove whose reality he had chosen to live under. What are you going to choose? I knew that was the question I was being confronted with yet again. Somehow, I think the bigger your dreams are the more you will have to confront this. But the battle gets easier as you learn that it's His.
Halfway around the block to my house, with that childhood image still playing in my head, God whispered to my spirit and stopped me in my tracks.
"You know that girl who found a different way around what she couldn't do? I chose that girl. Because I knew that she wouldn't be satisfied with the fleshly solutions that come so easily to other people. I chose the girl who would honestly face what she couldn't do, the one who would crawl under the table and out a side window and bend over backwards to find Me."
"Listen to Me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord; look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, that I might bless him and multiply him" (Isaiah 51:1-2).
God knows how to reveal what He has hidden away (Isaiah 49:2).
He leads us along the paths of life, the paths where our very weaknesses will be used to display His Glory.
Next time you're tempted to give up or settle or stop dreaming, don't go to some place inside yourself that mindlessly chants, You can do anything!
That's not sustainable.
Strengthen yourself in the Lord who gives life to the dead and calls into existence things that are not even a reality! The God who breathes life into dust and turns disappointment into gold.
(If you're interested in Kristene DeMarco's message on Strengthening Yourself in the Lord, check it out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Als9JeAp_8U )