GOD IN THE CENTER
Last night, the Wild Woolies (my bi-weekly Bible Study) reconvened after a summer hiatus. We enjoyed delicious food and fantastic hospitality thanks to our beloved friend and Sister in Christ, Kelly Hornsby. We talked about life, summer vacay and Grammy Winning Singer, Yolanda Adams appearance on the Tonight Show (and, the standing ovation she received). But, the most important part of the night was the discussion we had on what we’re looking to get out of our time together as a community of believers this next year.
In recent weeks, a string of observations really made me think… Have we become a nation sensitive to everything except God? Because I was feeling that way in general about “our nation,” I looked inward, realizing that maybe it was me. Maybe I was the one who’d become sensitive about everyone and everything except for my Creator, the one that molded me and shaped me in His mind before putting me in my Mother’s womb, giving me life. The one who has provided for me above and beyond all I could ever hope or ask for. The one who has protected me and kept me safe in times that I didn’t even know I was in danger. The one who has given me a song to sing, a great purpose in this life to pursue with passion. The one who is ultimately responsible for and who all credit is due, God. He should be the one we’re most tapped into and sensitive to, because, friends, he is ALL that and infinitely more.
This last year for me has come with some stresses that I haven’t felt before. I’ve had more anxiety than I can remember. Nothing was going wrong for me necessarily (in fact, so many things were going right), I was just experiencing the sum of thirty-nine years of life in which I’d tried to hand it over to God only to quickly take it back and say, “Let me get control of this by doing the most unproductive thing a human can do- worry.” After lots of prayer and small intermittent anxiety attacks, God broke through. He spoke to me in a gentle yet straight forward voice, and by that I mean, it was kind of with a Texas accent. LOL! “Jill, He said, that worrying you do, well, how’s it working for you? Oh, it’s not working. Good. Well, how about trying it my way. You know, trusting in Me.”
OMG. Did that happen? Did He say that? Is God from Texas? The answer to all three of those questions, of course, is YES, YES and YES (wink, wink). Once again, He pulls through in the clutch for me in the most unexpected way. A calm came over my heart that I hadn’t ever known. Tiny things that would unnerve me, drifted away. I found myself so much more in the moment, enjoying life instead of worrying about it. It was literally like new life was breathed into me. And, that’s saying a heck of a lot because I’ve been suffering from allergies like cray-cray. But, my spirit, oh, friends, my spirit was free.
Sometimes, I think God puts us in a place of distress or uncertainty or discomfort to redirect us. It’s not punishment. It’s training. When we’re better, He’s exalted. But, here’s the deal… While He’s dealing with me, helping me, training me up, equipping me, I’m over here being interested in and sensitive to everything and everybody but Him. Can you imagine if we were treated like that as a friend or family member or mate? It would be kind of like, “I want you to do for me all day, everyday, but I don’t want to give that much back. In fact, I really don’t have time for you.” I’m totally offended by a myriad of things but not at all offended at my lack of interest, attention and sensitivity to the One who has given me all things.” Oh. Oh. OH. My head hangs low and my heart skips a beat. I’m that person. And, I actually consider myself a believer, a follower, a lover of Christ. What would someone on the opposite end of the spectrum be like. It couldn’t get much more irreverent and ungrateful than me. Once again, humble me, Lord. What I see in society is merely a projection of what I am. And, if I want to see a change, I must be a change. I know this particular post is more religious than most, but, friends, if I need a change there’s a chance that someone reading this post does, too.
I totally rest in the truth that no matter how bad I stink things up in life, Christ’s sweet and very necessary aroma of grace makes it right. I’m not the least bit deserving. God knew that. But, it didn’t matter, He sent the ultimate embodiment of grace through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Today, I’m spiritually recalibrating. If I’m sensitive to anything or anybody, let it be God. If the one thing I do in my day is acknowledging and honoring God in some way, I’ll consider it a day well spent. And, anything that I am or could possibly ever hope to be, I’ll know to whom all gratitude is due. If I’m sensitive to one thing, it will be to the awesome, able and mighty God that brought us into life and gave us greater life through His Son.
When my Mother-in-law (sweetest person EVER) was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer many years back (she kicked it square in the can, BTW), she told me this, “Jill, it increased my faith. I know that every single day that I live is a gift from God and I’ll do all that I can by going about it in a way that magnifies my faith in Him.”
Today, friends, let’s be the light. Let’s magnify all that’s good in this world. Let’s re-purpose our old hurts and resentments into lessons that can mend and heal. Let’s hand over what we cannot handle to someone who can. And, let’s bring God back to the center. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, “He’s deserving.”
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