Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Choosing Obedience

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation." 2 Corinthians 1:3-6a

Holding my steaming hot cup of coffee I sat on my sofa and had a familiar revelation. I am a weary momma, and I suppose that in some way - all women find their souls weary in various moments. Swollen eyed and foggy headed, from lack of restful sleep, I still dug into the passage before me and the Holy Spirit graciously met me where I sat.

When I am afflicted, it is so that God can comfort me. If I never needed comfort then I wouldn't need comforting. Being afflicted, experiencing failure and dead end after dead end is the way to experience God's grace and mercy at it's finest.

The times in my life that I've experienced God's hand most profoundly are the same times that anxiety, brokenness, loneliness and tiredness was most the prevalent, not the least. There has rarely been a time that I daily saw Him working miracles when I wasn’t in the middle of deep discouragement. When I am forced to depend on God to meet my emotional, physical and spiritual needs, I am stuck clinging to even the smallest ray of encouragement.

Are you uncomfortable today? Are you grasping for the hope that God provides or struggling to experience His perfect peace? There is hope today, sweet friend. He sees you. He's got you. He is, indeed, walking right with you. 

Often I find myself weary, I do, but sometimes I wonder if we should begin questioning if we sometimes we can actually be too comfortable.

We can all agree that there are times in our faith journey that we can choose whether to trust God, stepping out in faith, or instead choose to stay in the safe zone.

If we want our faith to grow, we have to give it opportunities to do so. Staying comfortable is not one of them. I can read my bible all day long about who God is. I can even believe that He is who He says He is. But I cannot fully experience the faithfulness of God while remaining in my own comfort the way that I can experience Him while stepping out on the edge of all things reasonable and secure.

I am not at all suggesting that I should intentionally do things that make me miserable and uncomfortable. I am simply pointing out that perhaps I should take a look at the choices I make on a daily basis and why I make them. Am I willing to sacrifice anything for the Kingdom - safety, comfort, time, pride, money, reputation?

For  me, I have decided that I have been safe long enough. I have guarded my comfort and my time long enough. I have stayed silent long enough. Has it been long enough for you, too? Are you ready to step out in the big and small too? 

What does this look like, practically, though?

Maybe it means walking across the street and asking your grouchy neighbor over to dinner. I know you’re thinking that he will most likely shoot you down and probably holler at your kid for walking on his grass, but perhaps there is something deeper behind his grouchiness? This will be uncomfortable. There will be a million reasons why you don’t want to do this - and can’t do this today or the next day or the next - but is this what you’re called to do? Is this the nudging inside your soul that you keep ignoring for the sake of time and pride? Do it. Say yes. 

Maybe it means signing up to mentor someone else. Yes, this will take time and maybe even some money for coffee each week. Of course you feel like you have nothing to offer, but don’t you actually have a whole bunch to offer? Is this the call God is placing on your heart - to bring up the next generation of women for Him? Say yes, friend. We need you to say yes. 

Maybe it is going on a mission trip, sharing your faith with your coworker or going to a marriage conference. Maybe it’s giving money, taking a meal down the street or reaching out to the Muslim families in your community, getting to know them on a personal basis and letting them know they are loved. None of this feels like it’s a fun idea, but God stretches us so that we can see Him work in and through us. 

Maybe you need to physically move. Perhaps God is asking you to switch jobs, or quit your job to stay home with your kiddos or pursue your dreams. Is He asking you to go back to work full time? Maybe He's asking you to sell your car, or sell your house. Maybe he's asking you to open up your home to a foster child or a down and out family. 

Whatever it is that you are on the fence about, whether it’s big or small or sort of in between, can I just encourage you today to say a resounding YES to the Lord? We will not regret it because we will see Him come through in ways we would not believe before. He tells us in scripture that He rewards those who are faithful in the small. What small steps of obedience can we take today to make an impact for the Kingdom? 

When we say yes to God, relationships will be fostered, bridges will be built, new adventures will begin but most of all our faith will be blessed. Choose to get uncomfortable today, friends, because we will get to experience the Comforter in all of His glory together. 

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