The Elephant in the Room

Pour yourself a cuppa tea and let’s chat about the big fat elephant who stomps through the room of our mind whenever you read about, “God’s calling!” Yep, it happens to almost ALL of us. The clueless feeling of being overwhelmed by appearing too holy and not worthy. 

There are so many ugly little voices that rear their head. But by not doing the thing they want to do, you are cheating yourself. 

I’ve experienced fear and unworthiness and it almost stopped me participating in any type of ministry; much less to write a book. Yep! You are not alone! 

But then I realized, this book will not be about ME.  It will not be about my amazing travels all over the world, it will not be about the 10 funerals & 1 wedding I did in a year as a United Methodist minister. It will be about  how I know this: God is who he says he is!!

And that my friends, makes those feelings pale into insignificance. So know this: It’s not about me + obedience to the Lord + God is who He says He is! 

 So tell me, what will you commit to doing that faces a fear of answering God’s calling today? Leave me a comment and let me know!

God’s Calling……we all have one; sometimes we’re just too scared to answer it!

“You have to go. You have to serve the Church.”

“You have to go.  You have to serve the Church.”  

Those were the profound words in the stillness of the night, that began my life long journey of learning to answer God’s calling.

It all started in a cell phone store when I was asking about new service and the salesperson told me that I would have to sign a one year contract. 

A soft, still whisper said, “You won’t be here in a year.”   Twenty minutes later, that same spirit-filled whisper led me to a parking lot of the United Methodist Church offices on the campus of Oklahoma City University, where I sat thinking I was going crazy, as I heard another soft, faint whisper, “Go see Larry!” 

With fear and trepidation, I walked into the building, nervously announced, yet also questioned the secretary, “I need….to see….? ….Larry?” I expected her reply to be, “There isn’t a Larry here!” (because I’m crazy and hearing voices at this point, right?!) But she cheerfully said he was on the phone and would be right with me.  I sat down, looked around, and saw a sign above the door that said, “Volunteers in Mission.”  So that’s who Larry is – I thought; the director of Volunteers in Mission (VIM) for the state of Oklahoma.  When he greeted me, he asked me what led me there that day and I laughed. “I’m either crazy or God sent me here!”

I sat in Larry’s office that day as he told me about work needing to be done in Bosnia.  Nope! I shook my head – that place was just on the news last night!  He told me about a school in Bolivia. “Where in the world is that even at?” I asked. They were  looking for English speaking teachers. “I am a teacher & I speak English,” I said.  He asked if I could leave in a week.  I shook my head “YES” while my mouth said, “No. Absolutely not!”   

In the days that followed, there were numerous connections, promptings and leadings by the Holy Spirit that called me to pray about moving to Bolivia, South America to be a missionary teacher. I had so many doubts that I argued with God about:  I had a Master’s degree I’m supposed to be using; I just bought a cute fun car; I just spent the past year traveling around the world. It’s time to settle down.  

Yet so many affirmations from the Lord that I got on my knees and told the Lord, “You are going to have to tell me what to do!”  It was in the stillness of the night I heard, “You have to go. You have to serve the church!”   Ten days later I was in Bolivia. 

It’s never been an easy calling to continuously answer. I’ve disbelieved His words; I’ve doubted His trust;  I disobeyed His calling, and I disappointed his heart.  But all the while, over the past 24 years, God has never questioned, ignored, doubted or disappointed me.  Without a doubt, He has continuously remained faithful and I believe with all of my heart, that God is who He says He is….trustworthy, faithful, and true and I have learned to walk by faith, when my heart was full of doubt.  

Follow me here on my blog as I begin to put years of faith into words and words into sentences to write a book about how to recognize God’s soft, silent calling in a loud, noisy world. I’ll share prayers, devotions, and Scriptures about how to walk by faith when your heart is full of doubt.

“Duped by the Devil”

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”

2 Corinthians 10: 3-4

Have you ever been so caught off guard, tricked or blindsided by someone that you were so stressed out that you could hurt something?  I’m talking so mad you could even throat punch someone? I have. 

After stepping down from Women’s Ministry, I found myself in a season of sabbath rest. Or so I thought. I was almost prideful of this rest thinking, “God is so good to me…giving me this season off. Wow…God’s really blessed me in this quiet season.”  I even became “that mom” that dropped her kids off at church on Wednesday nights and went back home to enjoy more of my “sabbath rest.”  

My sabbath season was full of self-pride which softly faded away as a sudden jolt of sadness overcame me one night during worship and prayer.  I was reading 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 and it just spoke to me, lept off the page, convicted me in the Spirit, and started my war against the enemy.  

It was then that I realized that what I thought was a season of sabbath was not. I had been duped by the devil. I had withdrawn from all leadership, including my prayer and accountability group.  The devil had me where he wanted me; isolated and listening to his lies. He convinced me that rest was good and had wooed me with nothing-ness on church nights.  It was easy to hear his quiet whispers and I found myself settling for half truths.  The devil is a liar, because when I thought I was thriving in a season of sabbath, trusting God’s word showed me that I was really drowning in a season of sadness.    

I have never been so mad.  When I read 2 Corinthians 10: 3-4,  my eyes were opened to the lies of my flesh, because now I was on to the devil. I’ve asked myself over and over, “How did I end up here?” and “how do I not do this again?” I knew God was showing me that I had put my trust in my own flesh; that’s what happens when I chose to live in isolation apart from a community of believers for any amount of time.  

2  Corinthians 10:3-4 states that we have divine power for war and we can destroy those strongholds. This is not a simple skirmish; this is a full on war.  I have thrown myself back into asking friends to hold me accountable again. When we go to war against the enemy, we have to trust God’s weapons of warfare for divine power: His Word, prayer & community.  That throat punch is going straight to the devil because This. Is. War. I am done being duped by the devil!

Devoted or Distracted?

“Be still, and know that I am God. 

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalms 46:10

Where have you found yourself lately in your walk with the Lord?  Do you find yourself more devoted to Him or are you more distracted from Him? I started this blog post so long ago that I don’t even have the date in my current 2020 journal.  So, as you can see…I’ve been rather distracted to even get these thoughts together long enough to write a coherent blog post!  

Do you find yourself distracted lately?  Distracted by social media; distracted by misguided purposes; distracted by the stock markets; distracted by Covid19 cases,; distracted by wrong callings; distracted by pandemic updates; distracted by lies from the enemy? Distracted by the media?  This seems to be where I have been lately…completely distracted.   

Acts 2:42 states, “and they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”   The Church in Acts was committed….hopelessly and relentlessly devoted to God’s Word, to each other……but… our world today….where are we on the spectrum of our own devotion to the Church?  Are we devoted to it or are we easily distracted from it? 

Being devoted means:  

  • showing up when you’d rather not; 
  • being in relationships; 
  • we belong;  
  • there’s no judgment; 
  • grace; 
  • being together; 
  • we put our guard down; 
  • our masks are off; 
  • you love me for me; 
  • that we are becoming who we were created to be;
  • and above all, it means that we are faithful and that we can find God trustworthy and true regardless of how we “feel.”  

Distracted on the other hand means:  

  • we are not doing life-giving activities; 
  • we are barely surviving and not thriving;  
  • we feel like we belong to something and not someone; 
  • We are on social media too much; 
  • we listen to the wrong voices;
  • we  isolate ourselves; 
  • we are confused; 
  • we listen to wrong callings; 

Even in the midst of prayer time during a pandemic, it is easy to become distracted by the news reports, posts, grams, live “breaking news,” and tweets.  

How do we become wholly, (holy?!) devoted in the midst of a world of distractions?   You sit still in the presence of the Lord. Be still and know that He is God. You turn off the media, slide off your phone, and just sit. And just be still.  

In a world that is constantly battling for our attention and pleading for us to follow them, we are called to sit and to be still.  My mother has a quote at the bottom of her emails that states, “Make time for quiet moments; for God whispers, and the world is loud.”  That is exactly what we need to do….make time for quiet moments; to be still and listen. 

In days of a pandemic, that the modern world has never experienced before, our minds and thoughts and feelings and actions all too quickly spiral out of control.  Want to stop your worry, doubt, fear, and stress? Be still. Want to experience solitude in the presence of the Lord and shift your thinking? Be still. Want to shift your attitude? Shift your wellness? Be still.   Simply thinking about things of the Lord– His Word, His Being, His Truth, can stop your spiraling, out of control thoughts.  

So, tomorrow, I’m turning off social media in its entirety for 24 hours.  I know that I cannot spend the next 30 days so distracted that I loose myself in the whirlwind of media madness and mayhem. I’m going to practice being still in the presence of the gentle, quiet Lord.   Prayerfully, it will be in that stillness where I am more devoted to the Lord and where my devotion is renewed.