Confession time

Dear Beth,

Confession time today. There are days when I wake up, looking forward to spending time with God. I’ve had a whole year before where most days were like that and I couldn’t wait to get out of bed in the morning to go study my Bible.

But my confession is that for the majority of my life, most days aren’t that way. I LOVE being in God’s presence. That’s probably my favorite thing ever. I love studying the Bible and the revelations that come with spending time in the Word. And yet, as much as I love it, I fight just as hard not to do it.

I used to feel guilty when I didn’t feel like studying the Bible when I thought I should be; in fact, I used to feel guilty about most things. I remember reading a quote one time, that went something like this:

For a people who are supposed to be forgiven, Christians are among the most guilty people I know.

I’ve searched for the quote for years since, and haven’t been able to find it again, but it stuck in my memory because it was so true. And yet, living a life dominated by guilt didn’t feel right either. So I did a study on the words guilt and guilty in the Bible.

Did you know that any time the words guilt or guilty are used in the Bible, they are always in reference to an external behavior, and never in reference to an emotion or feeling. We were not made to feel guilty, just as we were not made to be fearful. God did not give us a spirit of fear or guilt, but of peace and love and of a sound mind.

It’s interesting, after I realized that guilty feelings aren’t from God (and thus where they’re actually from), it freed me to change. And as I started releasing my guilty feelings, I began to value the times of conviction, so gentle and so different from guilt which torments us.

Conviction brings change which brings freedom. Guilt, on the other hand, causes us to dig in our heels and stay exactly where we are. It’s like getting into an argument with someone without offering them an out that will allow them to save face—if there’s no way to leave without humiliation, most people will fight to the bitter end.

This definitely didn’t go in the direction that I thought it would, but now it’s time to go study. I love you and love our conversations!

Te-ge 🙂

On Stop Lights and Being Stuck

Dear Beth,

Yesterday, I wrote about “Do Something,” which I think is going to be my slogan for 2015. Normally, I tend to procrastinate. I’ll get an idea and then I have to think it through from all sides before I move on it.

Now, I get an idea and then I remember, “do something.” So I have to act on the thought. That means that my writing will very likely tend to be less put together than before, more stream of consciousness, but at least I am acting instead of waiting. We’ll see what comes of it as the year goes on.

I know I’ve mentioned Pastor Kirk Bowman to you before, the pastor of the Rock of Asheville, the church I attended until I got married and moved away, and the church that will probably always be “home” to me. Pastor Kirk (or PK for short), preached one time about how we can get stuck waiting for God to show us our next move. Instead, he suggested, figure that God has given you a green light, and keep moving forward until you are sure that he is giving you a red light.

Figure that God has given you a green light, and keep moving forward until you are sure that he is giving you a red light.

You won’t miss the time to stop, but you might easily get lost waiting for the perfect time to go.

It’s hard to count how much this has influenced my life. Take, for example, “do something.” When I read it, I knew that it was speaking to me. But what if I waited for a move of God before I did something? I’d still be waiting, most likely, because I already had my word for this year right in front of me.

It’s like the story that Ken enjoys sharing, about the man caught in the flood. When the water isn’t very high, a car drives by and offers him a ride. “Thanks,” he says, but I’ve been praying, and I’m waiting for God to move.

As the water rises, the man moves to the second floor. Soon, a boat pulls up and offers to rescue him. “Thanks,” he says again, “I’m waiting for God to move.”

The water continues to rise, and the man moves to the roof. A helicopter comes along and drops a ladder. The man climbs up the ladder and tells them, “Thanks, but no thanks, I’m still waiting for God to move,” then climbs back down to wait.

Eventually, the man drowns, and when he gets to heaven, he asks, “God, why didn’t you answer my prayers?” Of course, God replies, “I sent a car, a boat, and a helicopter. What were you expecting?”

I’ve found that when I wait, I tend to discount the car, boat, and helicopter, figuring that it’s just my desire that makes me want to use what’s in front of me and then I feel stuck. But, when I move forward until I hit a stop light, I see each piece as part of God’s plan and I am amazed at how it all works together.

What I’m realizing already is how often I unconsciously put off things, waiting for a better time or a better answer, and then I wonder why I’m not moving forward.

By the way, when the story gets to the helicopter coming to rescue the man, I always wonder why he doesn’t at least try it – getting rescued by helicopter sounds like a pretty cool experience. 🙂


Do Something

Dear Beth,

Thank you for agreeing for our conversations to be put on the blog, I’m excited about posting them on here. 🙂

I think one of the reasons for my trip last week (I’m sure it wasn’t the biggest reason, but it is one that has stood out to me ever since), is that the distractions were removed so that I would finish the book I have been reading on for a while now.

I don’t think it’s just the act of finishing the book, but that my mind wasn’t busy with a million other things, so that the conclusion hit harder than it would have otherwise.

The conclusion? Do something. How do you change the future? Do something. What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Do something.

I don’t think there’s been any accidents to the things that have spoken to me so far in 2015. From Peter’s words in 1 Peter 5:6,

So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs, God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. (MSG)

to Dr. Mani’s suggestion to plan out 10 years instead of just 1 (what an eye-opener that suggestion is), to reading Andy Andrews’ book, The Final Summit  with its conclusion to “do something,” everything seems to be pointing toward a reminder that this moment matters, not just for now, but what you do now, also influences your future.

So act, do something—but not out of a desire to change the who, what, where of yourself—that part is up to God. Act now, out of a desire to not waste this moment, this step on the path to the next 10 years.

So act, do something—but not out of a desire to change the who, what, where of yourself—that part is up to God. Act now, out of a desire to not waste this moment, this step on the path to the next 10 years. It doesn’t have to be the best thing you can do; I know I get sidetracked sometimes, trying to figure the best move to make instead of just moving. Just do something, and know that God’s hand is on you, and at the right time, he will move you forward.

Looking forward to all that 2015 will bring.

Te-ge 🙂