Thursday, February 16, 2012

One more "Say yes!" this week.

Well I took a leap and said yes again this week. And you're going to be so disappointed in what I had to say yes to.... going to Bible study last night!

Isn't it funny/annoying that after all I said two weeks ago about LOVING Bible study and being So excited to go, I just wasn't up for it last night? I could blame it on being an introvert, I honestly love just staying home every single night and not doing much. I could say it was because I was struggling with memorizing the verse of the week. I could even claim that I didn't want to go because once again I was intimidated by not knowing hardly anyone there.

I almost caved... almost. But outside of lying and saying I was sick, I really had nothing to hold me back. And I wasn't about to lie!

Once again I poured out my anxiety to God as I drove the short fifteen minute drive (add an extra five minutes since I drove past my turn.... Again! Anyone want to become my night time chauffeur?)  and once again He answered my prayers.

The minute I pulled in to the parking lot I saw a girl I knew from high school, and we walked in together and sat down. Thank you Lord for giving me a friend to talk to! Next we were sent into our groups to go over the memory verse and what we did over the past week. Every woman in my group admitted to struggling with memorizing the verse! We said it all together and no one casted judgemental glances or laughed as we all stumbled on a word or two.  Thank you Jesus for reminding me that we are ALL human and have struggles and that we are meant to build one another up, not tear each other down. The rest of the discussion was honest acceptance that we all struggled here or there with understanding what a passage meant and helping one another understand it. I felt accepted.

The rest of the evening all the groups came together and we went over the passages and how to apply them. Our leader even retold the story of "Tangled" in a way that depicted sin as holding us in a tower and deceiving us into believing it knew what was best for us when in all honesty we are the King's daughter and He is searching for us and wanting to be with us. (That alone would have been worth going to!)

All in All I am so glad I went! I was blessed with fellowship and the renewing of my soul. I could have easily stayed home and just said I was too tired or didn't feel like going, but there is a reason I'm in this Bible study. And I am so thankful God didn't just let me put it aside!

Thank you Heavenly Father for the opportunities you give us to grow closer to you! Thank you for not leaving us in our messes and telling us to just work our way out of it on our own. Lord, we are so blessed to have a God who loves us with ALL His heart. You are our King, and you have made us your princesses (and Princes.) I praise your Holy name, Father, with all that I have! Thank you for the constant nudges and opened doors. Lord, You alone truly satisfy me, You alone bring me justice, and only You can bring me escape from my sin and old self. May I cling to your promises and dwell in you all day long, in prayer and in your word. May the trappings of this world have no place in my heart or mind. May my heart and mind be SO full of you that there is no room for anything else! Jesus I thank you for your love and sacrifice!

With Love,

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What I said yes to this week...

I love order. I love having set rules and knowing exactly what is expected of me. When it comes to Bible studies I love having someone else decide on the pace and have questions thought out ahead of time. I really enjoy sitting down with my Bible, my notebook, and pen. With those three things I'm ready to "study" and answer all the questions put out in front of me. When I'm done reading my section and writing down my answers and observations I open my Bible to yet another chapter and start in on my other Bible study that is well thought out and put together completely, forgetting what I just read in my last study. With a final stab of my pen I end my last sentence, close my notebook, click my pen, close my Bible and move on.

Every day I would feel accomplished. I got through two Bible studies! But what did I learn? What scripture was I holding on to through out the day? Nothing... Nada! Sure in the moment I learned something and loved it! Lights were being turned on in my mind, but I didn't have the time to allow that light to stay on and grow brighter. And my relationship with Christ wasn't growing.

But it's better to read more scripture each day right? It's better to get in to as many Bible studies as possible right, to learn as much as possible in one sitting?

For some this is perfectly fine, even beneficial. But for me it was becoming a chore. Some days I dreaded opening my Bible because I saw all the curriculum piling up in front of me. Other days I looked at it as a challenge to get through.... to get through. Not to digest, not to grow in... no, to get through. I was getting burned out.

I felt like I was hearing a lot about "check lists" lately. My pastor has this analogy for doing things for His glory, but based on what we want to do. Pastor Tim calls it the donut.

At first Christ is the center and we really want to do things to bring Him glory. We start out with a Bible study, that's great! God wants us in His word! We then think, "Well I should do another one so that I'm doing more for Him!" Ok.... if you can handle that and if God is still the center then awesome! Go for it! Pretty soon you're adding on service projects, you're taking on more and more and suddenly it becomes about the things and what you're getting done instead of bringing God glory. God is no longer the center.. POP! He's out and you're left with a hole. What are you doing all those "Things" for? You have nothing in the center. You're a donut!

I felt like that was what was happening with my devotional time. I was trying to do more and more. I had even considered adding a third study. Again for some people this really does work! But for my perfectionist, structure loving self, it became about getting stuff done. I felt the loneliness of not having a close relationship with Christ. I didn't feel like I was really learning anything or growing closer to Him.

But I could do it! I knew I could! I just had to work harder, get up earlier! But it wasn't about time, it wasn't about working harder. I could easily do the devotions, but I wasn't allowing the time to really dig into them and allow God to open my eyes to what He wanted to show me. I had to get both done... that's all it was about.

So though my schedule loving flesh yelled out in protest I asked God what He wanted from me. I felt the answer right away. "Give up some of the stuff and just follow Me. I will show you what I want."

So this week I gave up a Bible study and decided to follow after God in a true walk with Him. The minute I dropped one of the studies I felt light and hopeful! I have dug into my other study with excitement and expectancy. I denied my desires and decided to stop "studying" and start devoting my time to Him who created me and saved me.

With Love,


Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's a new year and things have started out fresh! Last night I attended the first meeting of my church's women's bible study and we went through Romans 6:1-14. This passage is rich with promises and truth. We are a new creation when we accept Christ. Our old sinful self was buried with Him and new life has been born when He was resurrected! New Life... a fresh start, different, not held back from past sins! Sin no longer has us wrapped in chains. We will still be tempted and still fall into sin, but we no longer Have to do it!!! We have the greatest weapon of all on our side and ready to help us battle sin... Jesus Christ! For it is nothing that we have done that saves us from sin, but what He has done.

Having all of this running through my mind I thought "Am I living like I am a new creation? Am I living out the truth that I am dead to my old self?" The answer is no. And that word no is something that has been holding me back for a long time.

No I don't want to go to the women's bible study because I don't think I'll know anyone.
No I don't want to go to small group because I feel like I'm at a totally different place in my life than everyone else.
No I don't want to admit to that person that I totally told them a bold faced lie! They may judge me and hate me!

Though saying no obviously isn't a sin, saying no to God is. God wanted me to go to that Bible study, I knew it all along but up until the actual minute of walking through the front doors I was trying to come up with a reason why I couldn't do it. I wanted to say no so badly. Had I done what I wanted I would have missed out on a HUGE blessing! Same with small group this week. I didn't want to go because I was grumpy and didn't feel like hanging out with people. But again I would have missed out on yet another blessing and great fellowship. God nudges our hearts for a reason. He doesn't just tell us to do something for the fun of it, He has a purpose. Whether it's to bless someone else or us.

So where am I going with all this? I'm done with telling God no. I want to live the rest of the year, and my life, saying yes. Even if it means doing crazy scary things like moving (yes, to me that is terrifying!)
But I want to receive every bit of blessing I can and see God working in others. My hope and dream is to get on here every week and say "Hey guys this week I said yes to this and this is what happened!!!" But I also realize that there are going to be weeks maybe even months when God doesn't ask much of me. So here's my commitment, for every week that something does happen I will blog about it and tell you. I'm excited to see what saying yes will mean for me! Saying no has lead to guilt and regret... I want to be done with that! I want to say "Lord what do you have for me? You want me to talk to that person that I hardly know about that awkward thing? Ok I will!" If it's what God wants me to do then it will be beneficial :) Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But some day :)

Before I tell you about my week I have to tell you that I saw this idea on another blog. This girls story sounded so much like my own and her willingness to say yes inspired me to do that too. SEE!!! Saying yes has already been a blessing to her! She may never even know it but she has helped a person grow in their faith :) Here's a link to her blog if you're interested!

This week, as I've already said, was the first week of my church's bible study for the women. For the past month or so I had been wanting to get involved with my church and get to know the people in it. I go to a Harvest Bible chapel, if you've ever been to one of those you probably know how big they can get! I love our pastor and how he preaches the word with out apology. The only thing I really have to complain about is that I don't know hardly anyone outside of my small group there! When they announced the Bible study I felt God nudging my heart saying this was the perfect way to start getting involved. It took me a whole month to finally get signed up simply because I was afraid. As the day got closer doubts started flooding my mind and my introvert personality balked at the idea of walking into a room full of faces I didn't know, not to mention driving in the dark to a place I have never been! I'm basically blind at night (that probably worries a few of you) and I tend to get lost very easily. But I did it. After much prodding and prayer from my best friend I said yes and went. I am SO thankful I did! I can't wait to continue digging into God's word with these ladies! Not only will I be building relationships with new people but I will be getting into God's word and learning new truths!

Another thing I said yes to this week was confessing my sin and asking for forgiveness... from the person I sinned against. I lied to a few of my friends and God kept nudging me through out the night to admit it. Usually I just confess my sin to God and try to get over it, even though He always puts it on my heart to admit it to that person and truly be free from it. Especially when it's a lie because that tends to lead to more lies and more when you don't admit you lied in the first place. For once I said "Yes Lord" and admitted it. Wouldn't you know He blessed me with such great friends that they forgave me and I am now free from guilt. I don't have this guilty conscience nagging at me and telling me I need to come clean. It is seriously the best feeling!

I pray that you don't take from this that it's all what I do that brings me blessings. It's not! It's just me following God's will. And He is giving me the strength to do so. I am so excited for this journey, and scared silly! ;) But lets go on it together. If you feel God nudging your heart to say yes to Him more I urge you to take that step. Lets see what amazing things He will do!

With Love,