Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pick Me, Pick Me!

When I first started this blog back in January of this year, I didn't really know the direction it would take.  In fact, it took me a minute of reflection to even recall what prompted its commencement.  I remember now though.  It was a note I posted on my Facebook wall, though the content of said note I don't entirely recall.  From that note and an inner nudging from God, however, a blog site was born.  More than anything I believe I just wanted the opportunity to talk. I knew I had a lot to say and that God wanted me to write, so I figured I would leave the subject details and formatting up to Him.  I've looked through some of my earlier posts and I'm amazed by how much the entries have changed.  I began writing with a cautionary memo to readers -"Beware, God will likely be at the heart of most, if not all, posts written," and I think in that warning I was trying to ease those who know me into an awareness of my growing love for God.  Have you seen how people react when you open your heart to God? See paragraph four for some of the reactions I got.  Now, on the other hand, the posts are clearly written in, for, and about Him. The cautionary memo seems to have faded away. So why the initial warning?  It's not that I've been a closet Christian, but in many ways, recent years have found me restrained and reserved around those who have known me for a long time, and truthfully, around absolutely everyone whether they've known me or not.  I think the formation of this blog was God's way of helping not only those who may happen to read it, but also me as I write in it.  What I've since found is that instead of saying "Aww, God, don't make me say it," I'm now eagerly thrusting my hand in the air and yelling "Pick me, pick me!"

 I remember when I first entered into a relationship with God.  It was 2007 amidst one of the stormiest times in my life, and turning to Him wasn't something I'd ever done in the past.  I grew up being taught right from wrong, but I was never really taught about God or what it meant to turn to Him during times of despair.  We went to church for a brief period in my early teens, and I was even baptized, but a true spiritual connection was never made so a gap remained unfilled for many years.  When I turned to Him in 2007, I felt almost uncomfortable in my own skin, at least when others were around.  Because intimacy with God was indeed so new for me, I moved ever so slowly through the changes and adaptations.  Though He has been leading me each day since I asked Him to take my hand, I used to often feel as though I was going blindly alone through a maze.  When He asked me to do something, I responded immediately with self-doubt and denial that I'd heard from Him at all. Imagine a room full of single teenagers - you know the scene, balloons and streamers with the latest music hits playing loudly in the background.  On one side of the room, there are 29 beautiful girls, all perfectly shaped and molded.  Behind them stands girl number 30, a shy, plump figure who is shaped all wrong, trips as she walks, and can't get a single hair on her head to lay right.  Across the room, 29 clumsy, ill dressed boys stand.  As they shovel food and drink into their mouths and make small talk to avoid addressing any of the beautiful girls across the room, the 30th guy makes his way through the awkward pack and stops to stare. He's not like the others.  He's handsome, rugged, and poised with eyes for only one girl.  Shifting her weight from one foot to the other, number 30 nervously looks behind her to see who the beautiful girl is with whom he's trying to lock eyes. There's no one there.  She looks back at him and he smiles as if to say "yes, you." Filled with doubt, she turns behind her to look one more time, but still, no one is there.  "He's really looking at me! He's really picking me!" she revels in cautious excitement. But what has to happen next?  Is she going to trust that he really chose her or is her insecurity and fear of rejection going to make her run in the opposite direction? Does she convince herself that he was never really looking at her or does she walk boldly up to him and respond? What would you do?  When God chose you, what did you do, and what are you doing now?  Are you running away or walking towards Him in confidence?

At the beginning of our relationship with God, we're all new, inexperienced, and lacking confidence. Regardless of how biblically educated and trained you were or weren't growing up, we all enter into a genuine relationship with the Lord at different times and we start off as spiritual babies, confidence to come later.  I know people who grew up in the church and attended weekly Bible Studies, but today live as self-proclaimed Atheists.  How we grow up doesn't necessarily determine the presence or absence of a relationship with God later in our life.  In my own case, I didn't grow up with daily spiritual food or Bible Study, but I know and love Him today.  However, when I entered into a personal relationship with the Lord I was very much the awkward, plump girl in the back of the room. "Who, me? You're picking me?" I often, and in uncertainty, asked God.  His answer was always the same - "Yes, you."  Over time, my relationship with Him has changed.  I've grown more confident in Him and learned that He not only always picks me, but I have to always pick Him as well.

As a spiritual baby in Christ, however, picking Him isn't always our easiest choice.  Despite my own growth and confidence in Him, I find that even as I write this particular entry, the words effortlessly escape me.  I have to continually remind myself that I'm writing not for man, but for God, yet through my mind race the words of  past mockery, judgment, and joke. "You're not going to stop being fun now are you?" "Don't get all self-righteous on me now," "Not everything has to be about God," "Well, just don't start developing a holier than thou attitude with this new relationship to God," "So, do you think you're better than me now?" "When did you become so radical?" are a few of the things I've heard in the past as I've grown closer to God. Until the last year or so, it truly made standing for Him a challenge.  Like the insecure girl in the back of the room shifting her weight from one side to the other, I found myself reluctant to engage in conversations with people about Him or His plans and movement in my life.  However, today, I'm finding that I'm getting more comfortable than ever.  Why? Because He's my home.  Because it's not about me, you, or anyone else; it's about Him. It doesn't matter what other people think, it matters what He thinks. Who are you trying to please? God or other flawed human beings? 

Are you a "closet Christian" as I like to call it?  Do you feel the burning fire for the Lord on the inside of you, but throw water on it when others are around?  Are you afraid of what people will think if you're bold for God when they're clearly not?  What about when someone comes to you with a problem and you want to offer them godly counsel? Do you quickly speak up or keep quiet because hearing about God might make them uncomfortable? Or, could it be that talking about Him makes not them uncomfortable, but you? Are you the same around your church friends as you are around those who don't attend church?  Are you enthusiastic about the Lord when your pastor is around but emotionless when your friends and family are standing by? Don't let your insecurity about your newly found relationship with God be fed by those who aren't as on fire for the Lord as you are; let your fire grow hotter by spending time with those whose fire can't be put out.  Allow yourself to be put down and criticized by others who may simply not understand when you speak boldly in His name.  Your reward doesn't come from them, it comes from God (Matthew 5:12).  If someone comes to you with a problem and you know God is telling you to speak into their situation on His behalf, don't hold back because you're afraid they wont want to hear.  Though they may quickly shut you up, you'll have still planted His seed in their mind.  The rest is up to Him.  Be consistent in your walk.  In other words, walk with Him no matter who is looking.  You're not really walking with Him if it's just a stroll every Sunday with all of your church friends.  Walk with Him even when they're not around and it's just you and the world. And when God looks around for someone to do work on His behalf, be sure to raise your hand and boldly yell out "pick me, pick me!"

Our relationship with the Lord should be ever changing, so take a look at yours and make sure you're standing ahead today from where you were yesterday.  Have an awesome day!

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."     Matthew 5:11-12  

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