If you don’t want to be messed up. Don’t want to be convicted or have tears streaming down your face, do not click the link below.
If you want to see lives that have been changed. If you want to see hope in the eyes of beautiful people. If you want to be a little uncomfortable click the link below.
What is it that causes a 19 year old girl to pack up everything and move to South Africa? Or a young woman to move to Uganda to be a Kindergarten teacher, only to have God move her to start an orphan child sponsorship program? Or a man who when visiting South Korea was heart broken for the orphans and would start an organization that would change the lives of over a million children in third world nations?
For a few weeks now God has been laying on my heart that He wants me to be uncomfortable. It is like that nagging little tickle in the back of your throat, seemingly always there. The thing is, is that I WANT to be uncomfortable. I’ve lived nearly 35 years worth of life being comfortable in church and not doing anything. I want to change. I want to make an impact on the world that God has placed me in.
I’ve never been to Africa or South Korea but I’m pretty sure it isn’t comfortable to live or serve in a Christian ministry there. It sure isn’t comfortable riding 3100 miles on a hard, skinny bike seat to raise money for Blood Water Mission – in the middle of summer – through PHOENIX. Or smelling the constant reminder of death in Haiti as you dig through hundreds of pounds of concrete.
I realized yesterday that being uncomfortable is a hard thing to do (insert obligatory, “yeah duh” here). But for me it isn’t the being uncomfortable, it’s the getting there. Like I mentioned above I’ve had nearly 35 years worth of being comfortable. My parents weren’t the type to live life spiritually uncomfortable. We went to church, taught Sunday school, taught VBS day in day out. That was my life growing up. Now as of about a year or so ago God’s breaking the mold that has been my existence. He’s given me a heart for the poor. He’s made me to fall in love with India and long to see justice for the 50 million plus living in her slums.
I am praying now, with more fervor that God would continue to make me uncomfortable. It is one of those prayers like praying for patience or humility. It doesn’t come easily or without cost. The end result though will be beautiful and for the glory of God alone.
I’ve been off Facebook and Twitter now for five days. It has already been refreshing. God is speaking and working in my life. I’m hearing Him more clearly.
Since I still have that itch to hit the escape button of the hohum, mundane, and stress of work I’ve begun opening up YouVersion and reading a Psalm or two. That is how I stumbled across the verses I posted a couple days ago. I can guarantee that I’ve read and heard these verses before, but the Lord has been bringing them up repeatedly in my mind.
I am at a place in life right now where all does seem to have fallen in pleasant places. Yet, as sure as you have, I have experienced not so pleasant places. Hardships, trials, dry & barren seasons, times when the grass on the other side wasn’t greener because there was just no grass to be seen. However, even during those times my portion and my lot was in His hand, and the lines were in pleasant places even though I couldn’t see it.
Death to life!
Brokenness to healing!
Shame to glory!
Filthy rags to those white as snow!
I continue to relish in this. In my adoption. In my inheritance.
Take time today to consider your inheritance, and know that even though you may not be seeing pleasant places God still holds your cup.
I’ll post more on this a bit later but I wanted to share this gem with you. It’s something I’ve been meditating on and relishing in…
Imagine if you will a field full of green grass and clover. The sun is shining. Birds are singing. In the midst of this beautiful scene is a sheep nibbling on some tasty noms. Said sheep dreamily looks up and notices the sun is now setting and she is all by herself. Somewhere between bites of sweet clover her master and her fellow sheep moved on.
Have you ever felt that way? One moment you’re enjoying the sweet companionship of Jesus and other believers and the next you’re sitting there wondering where the last few months (or in some cases years) went. We’ve become so busy and preoccupied with doing that we fail to be moved.
We may be even just running through times of intimacy with God. We look up one day and we seem alone, exhausted, with the wolf howling at the door.
Picture again said sheep. She frantically begins to look to her right and left turning around in aimless circles, the chilly wind cutting even between her voluptuous amounts of wool. She sees a dark figure against the setting sun coming towards her. Her little sheepy heart beats wildly. Her master has come looking for her!!! He lovingly scoops her up and carries her to the rest of the flock and the safety of his care.
No matter how preoccupied with doing, Jesus is always there to carry us back to the safety of His care.
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:10-14 (NLT)
So, where are you?
Earlier today I started a two part series called Pulling the Plug.
Since that first Sunday I’ve decided to leave Sundays social media free. I don’t need it clogging my day. It’s been sort of refreshing.
I mentioned yesterday that social media can control your life. It can haunt you. If you aren’t online people begin to wonder if you’re lying in a ditch or you wonder if others are.
I’ve allowed this to happen to me. I feel out of the loop if I’m not checking my Twitter or Facebook. I get that itch…you know the one. The one addicts get. After some prayer and leading from God…
The next 40 days are known as Lent. Being brought up in a protestant home I never really gave any thoughts to Lent. To tell you the truth I was probably in in my 20’s before I’d even heard of it. I knew Ash Wednesday was a Catholic observed day but that was about it.
The idea of Lent is Biblical. We are called to fast and pray. Jesus fasted and prayed.
For the next 40 days (actually 41 since I take Sundays off) I’m staying off Twitter and Facebook. No updates. No looking. No Twitpics. This will be difficult especially at work since these are sources of release from the stresses of – well – coworkers and work.
I will still be blogging during that time. You can add me to you RSS feed to see new blog posts come across.
You can pray that I hear and listen to God during this time.
Here is one final quote from Anne, “The ultimate question, for the social media world as for every other world, is this: Is how I’m spending my time bringing glory to God? When the online world becomes our only source of communication or inspiration, it may be time to take a little breather and log off.”
A about a month and a half ago on a Sunday, kind of by accident, I decided not to log in to Twitter of Facebook. I didn’t check either all day. I discovered something…..
The earth kept on spinning. People were born and died. The sun and moon rose and each set at their appointed times. We so often get plugged into social media and forget what is going on around us. We have conversations with each other via 140-characters rather than over a cup of coffee.
As with most things moderation with social media is wise.
I’ve asked a couple friends who have taken lengthy breaks from Facebook and Twitter to share some of their experiences via my blog.
My friend Adam Smith of JackalopeKid.com recently took a three week fast from Twitter and Facebook to refocus his attention on God and listen to Him. I asked if he would be willing to share about this experience. Here is what he had to say:
“The first three weeks of January I fasted alot of things, but definitely the hardest one for me was fasting technology. It’s a big part of what I do. The reason behind this whole fast was to get closer to God and with all the computer stuff that I do, it’s hard for me to embrace all of God while my face is in a computer screen. I’m not telling everyone that they need to do this to find God, but I found it definitely helped me. It was a big distraction out of the way so I didn’t even have to think about it. I filled all the time that I usually spend on the computer with podcasts of people that speak positive words into my life and other things that helped my relationship with the Father. It was very refreshing.”
Last year my friend, author, and speaker Anne Jackson of FlowerDust.net completely deleted her Facebook account. Over the year I’ve been following her blog and tweets she’s taken numerous breaks from Twitter and blogging. She’s a busy lady currently on a mission trip in Haiti. She was gracious enough to provide me with a couple articles she wrote regarding her leaving Facebook and has given me permission to share some of what she wrote.
In her article, Why I Kissed Facebook Goodbye Anne writes:
That in 2006 when Facebook was opened to the general public she eagerly signed up and connected with a couple hundred friends.
“Later that year, I had an article published on women and porn addiction that drove a large amount of traffic to my blog. On my blog, I had a link to my Facebook account, and soon, the requests began pouring in. Before you could throw a sheep at me, thousands of people and I became friends.”
“Except for my husband suggesting (kindly and quietly) that I was becoming a little obsessed with my online persona, I didn’t think twice about my Facebook behavior. After all, it was ministry.”
She writes that after a speaking busy speaking engagement where she wasn’t constantly checking in on Facebook, “I was reflecting on the past few days and how, without the overload of information from my online habits, I felt as if I could hear the voice of God a little more clearly. As the Lenten season approached, I prayerfully asked God if there was anything I should set aside. He gently showed me how I had allowed social media to become my only conduit to Him, instead of simplicity and rest. I decided to give up blogging, Facebook, and Twitter for the six weeks leading up to Easter. Lent came to an end and I didn’t quite feel ready to return. Part of me felt a little obligated—after all, I had books to sell and ministry to accomplish. But every day I found myself pulling away more and more.”
“But old habits die hard. As soon as the ego began feeling a little neglected, I turned up the intensity of my interaction online. Anne shares that soon between a full time job, speaking, writing a new book, and being a wife, “My boundaries fell apart, and so did I. Being a naturally abstract person, I needed the structure to help me find a balance in how I was serving others as well as taking care of myself.”
“I toyed with the idea of completely closing down my Facebook account for a couple of weeks. For me, it wasn’t a life-giving place. On Sunday, May 24, I pulled the plug on Facebook and announced it on my blog. Do I think that Facebook (or any other form of social networking) is the bane of online humanity? No way. But for me, Facebook was a problem.”
Please check back this evening for Part 2…
I laid awake thinking of you the other night, my dear little girl. You are literally half a world away. As I was trying to sleep I imagined that you were playing with your sisters and brother. Or perhaps you were selling in the market so your family could eat.
As I laid there I went over in my head what I’d do if I were with you. I’d hug you and kiss you and tell you just how much I love you. I’d tell you that Jesus loves you so much more than I ever could. I’d play dolls with you. I’d tell you that I love your sisters and your brother and your mom and dad – मां and पिता. That I love your people.
I’d tell you to dream big dreams and not give up hope. I’d tell you to love. I’d tell you I think of you and pray for you every day. I would tell you just how beautiful and how precious you are.
I love you so much my precious little girl, and though you are a half a world away my love spans that distance many times over.
This morning on my way to work I decided to kick it old school. Soon Passion’s album Better is One Day was filling the four walls of my car at a loud volume. I sang along to a few songs and skipped ahead to the title track – Better is One Day – my favorite song on the CD. My thoughts drifted towards Heaven and worshipping Jesus there.
I love how the writer in Psalm 84:10 expresses it:
As I was sitting in the drive thru at Starbucks my heart skipped a beat at the thought of being in Jesus’ presence. I was filled with excitement at the joy that will be that day.
I was at a doctor’s appointment today and was dealing with some internal discontentedness while I waited to be seen. The good thing was I recognized I was being discontent and immediately started praying that God would give me peace and take away the discontentment. As I sat there I realized that this is something I have to continually surrender to Him on. It isn’t something that I can turn to Him and say, “I’m handing this over to you. You got it? Good.” and move on. There are things that have happened in my life that are that way, but this isn’t.
I know that when it is His will He will move. My job is to trust, and wait patiently and expectantly. I have come a long way from where I once stood with this thing, but constant surrender is going to be on the agenda until He accomplishes it.
Prudence is a 30-something writer who lives in Arizona with her husband Shawn and their chihuahuas Lengua and Zeus. She writes her life, her experiences and her crawl back to hope. Eventually, she hopes to visit India – a place that’s captured her heart without ever stepping foot on the soil.