Give it all away

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My current job is a ministry job. I work at a homeless shelter that believes that Jesus is Lord and when he changes hearts, he changes lives. I work at this job 8:30am until 5:00pm Monday through Friday. My husband and I also lead a married small group every Monday where we provide dinner. We volunteer at church a couple Sunday’s a month. We continue keeping in contact with friends near and far, and my dad spends almost every other weekend in our 750 square foot apartment. This is a lot of people and a lot of time. I am telling you all of this because I am an introvert; I refuel by being alone. Most of the time I can wiggle in one or two nights of rest. I can choose to say no to things most of the time. I tell myself I should say no because I already do “too much.” Though, I’m starting to wonder if this is more a selfish attitude than an attitude of Christ.

The implementation of boundaries is being preached on more and more. Saying no to something that may make you too tired or too busy is often encouraged. Let me first say there is a balance, and I do believe we need to take care of ourselves and our mental health. I’m not promoting burn out, but I am promoting being interruptible.

I am a very selfish person. I almost always choose myself. It requires the Holy Spirit to make me want to think about other people. I’ve picked up the idea of boundaries, used it and abused it. I have built walls around myself so that I don’t have to give too much, I can give just enough without being hurt. I can love Jesus and love my neighbor, but only when it is comfortable for me and when I am not too tired or when it is convenient.

Four years ago I was doing overseas missions. I was gone for about a year. Every day I was spent. I was pushed to my breaking point. I was asked to give more than I had. More time, more energy, more food, more money, more passion, more prayer, more praise, more effort, more everything. Every day I would go to bed exhausted because every ounce of me was being given. That time in my life was where I felt more alive and the closest to God. I was living and breathing the scriptures. I couldn’t do anything before first being filled with the Spirit. That’s what I think I’m missing, and maybe you’re missing it too. I’m not filling myself up. I’m not allowing God to “pour me out like a drink offering” (Phil 2:17). I will allow just enough to be poured out, but don’t pour out too much, Lord! I need to save some for myself, I need to take care of me, no one else will, right?

I’ve picked up expectations and boundaries like luggage, carrying them around with me, never letting anyone forget that these are mine. You cannot touch these.

Jesus asks for more.

He asks for me to lose my life to find it. (Matt 16:25) To love others so much that I forget about myself. He asks me to seek first his kingdom, not my own. (Matt 6:33)

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)

Jesus lived his whole life submitted to what his Father wanted. He was interrupted time after time.

I’m reminded of the story of the woman who touches the hem of Jesus’s robe in Luke chapter 8. He is walking with his disciples through a large crowd and so many people are grabbing him, including his disciples. This woman who has been bleeding for twelve years reaches out and touches the hem of his cloak and is immediately healed. Jesus, in the midst of this chaos asks “who touched me?” The story continues with a conversation with the woman. I urge you to read it on your own, but, what I want to highlight is how Jesus stops. He stops in the midst of a crowd that the scripture says is “crushing him.” He allows himself to be interrupted. He allows himself to be given to this woman. I don’t do that often enough.

I want to live my life in submission to what the Lord has in store for me, for his family. I want to be able to come home from work and still be available to be taken from. I want to say yes to someone who is in need and desires my time instead of pushing them away because I’m tired or because I need my “alone time” first. It is all an excuse. Jesus promises to be living water. We have access to that water any time we want, just as he promised the woman at the well. (John 4:14)

I believe when we are giving ourselves and serving others, Jesus is going to provide for us. He is going to fill us because he is the well that never runs dry.

That’s what it was like while I was doing missions. Living to the fullest, and pouring it all out to be filled again. I want to know I am living at my full capacity, loving with no agenda and serving without expectation. To give all I have of myself. To love so boldly it is impossible for me to keep any for myself. None of what I have is mine. It’s all his. All my gifts, all my talents, all of myself. He’s asking me to give it all away, and that is what I am going to do.

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Joy.

//Before you start reading anything, watch this video. //

Recently, i’ve become a lot like Kayden when it comes to God. Everything that happens, everything I do, my heart races and my hands flap and my mouth is wide when I scream “WOW”.  The name of Jesus has become the sweetest name i’ve ever known and every time I hear it one of two things happen; I have tears pool in my eyes begging to escape down my cheeks or a smile stretches far across my cheeks to the point of ridiculousness.  Both of these things cause me to look a little bit crazy, but most of the time I am not aware of anything else around me.  It doesn’t matter where I am or what’s happening around me; If I see his goodness or sense something I didn’t before my whole body reacts.  Everything is turned into a blessing and thankfulness is a constant thought in my head.  My heart overflows and most of the time I have no idea how to react so, like Kayden, I run in circles and flap my arms, because what kind of response do you have to a King who provides for your every need and loves you to the depth of your being and beyond? There is no appropriate response, so if you see me flapping around, just let me be, and maybe you can flap too.  

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A couple months ago the hymn “Come Thou Fount” played in my spotify playlist and I think for the first time my heart responded to it.  I started to pray that God would tune my heart to sing his grace at all times.  I wanted my heart to be tuned into who he was, I wanted to always react to Him.  I also started asking God to show me the things I was doing that were not appropriate for a woman of faith.  Of course he started pointing out certain aspects of myself I always did but never really thought about;  My constant complaining about work, or the way I do not think before I speak. The laziness I hold in helping my mom around the house, or the grudges I had deeply rooted that I never got rid of.  I could go on and on about all the ways i’m not perfect, but instead of going head first into fixing these issues I just ran faster into Jesus.  I’ve slowly learned over the years that I cannot fix myself, and if I want to be a woman of great faith than I must look to the God who is that faith.  I cannot make myself stop complaining because it’s a heart issue.  I cannot bring myself to stop being lazy, It’s a heart issue.  I cannot stop myself from holding grudges, It’s a heart issue.  
Every thing I do that isn’t lining up with the Spirit is because my heart is in the wrong place, and how do I fix my own heart? I don’t.  The only one capable of changing hearts is God, so I must run faster and faster towards him and when I spend time with him, I learn to be like him, and when I learn to be like him, my heart softens to the things around me and I am able to see myself through his eyes and he is able to walk me through all of the things I want to fix to glorify him.  I don’t want to be a woman of faith to impress people, or to get a husband, or to be better than my friends.  I want to be a woman of faith because it glorifies God, because it lets out a sweet aroma to others around me that lead them back to him, because I feel most beautiful, and most myself when i’m wrapped up in Him. 

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This joy didn’t just come out of the blue.  it’s always been there, it’s always been there for me to grasp, i just needed to tap into my Father.  To tap into my beloved, to come to him, to love him, to want him.  This joy is nothing I have mustered, because If it were up to me, i’d be angry and annoyed all the time.  Trust me, I still get frustrated and I still complain, but I catch myself, and I’m aware and then I realize how beautiful my God is.  How beautiful is grace is, How amazing his rain is.  
My joy is not contingent on my circumstances because my circumstances are not my God.  
My God is beautiful, powerful, awesome, and bold.  
He is dangerous and terrifying. 
My heart overflows with his goodness. 
I am His. 
He has called me his. 

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As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied 
with your likeness. 
//Psalm 17:15