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I’ve been thinking about faith a lot lately.
Not faith in the sense of what I believe. I know what I believe. I believe in the Trinity and the Virgin birth and the crucifixion and the resurrection. I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and was here from the very beginning right alongside God himself when the world came into being.
I could talk theology and doctrine and all of that, but I don’t think that’s what anyone who reads this blog needs to read or wants to read for that matter. All of that is important, don’t get me wrong. It’s a vital part of what makes religion, well…religion.
But I don’t believe in Religion.
I believe in Jesus Christ…because he is far greater than any religious doctrine.
I heard the song Oceans by Hillsong United on the radio yesterday and for the first time since I’ve heard it, the words of that song really hit me. Almost like a freight train. God’s been doing that to me a lot lately. With the freight train thing. If you can’t envision a freight train, think of a cast iron skillet upside the head…because that’s how I’ve felt about some of the things in my life lately.
Not too long ago, I read a post by Annie Downs on why we needed to stop singing Oceans. And I have to say that I agree. Not because I don’t love the song (Because it moves me to tears whenever I hear it…I’m a big sap when it comes to music). Not because I don’t agree with the lyrics.
But because I think we need to mean it.
Part of the purpose behind creating the Big, Bold, Brave Prayer Journal was to encourage those who bought it to pray big prayers and live out this kind of Faith. Live out the kind of Faith that we sing about when we sing that song…
I’ve been reading I Want God by Lisa Whittle and this book coincides and flows right along with the lyrics to Oceans. One of the many parts of this book that I’ve underlined and highlighted and marked, was this part of the book where she’s talking about Jesus asking us, spiritually, what they want. She says,
What do you really want for your life, because you have to know this going in. You can’t just follow Me without understanding what following Me means, and at some point you have to stop being constantly stirred but never compelled enough to take action.
Compelled enough to take action. Wow.
How often do we do that? Do we say we want to do things and then just never follow through? I am the Queen of good intentions, folks. Ask anyone who knows me. I commit to more than I should. I take on far too many projects. I stick my hands into things that were never meant for me. I attempted calligraphy a couple of years ago with this big dream of becoming a calligrapher (think Lindsey’s Letters) and creating beautiful prints. Needless to say, that didn’t pan out and I don’t carry the grace in my script to be a calligrapher. But that’s beside the point…
How often do we make promises or talk about doing things without really intending to do them? We just say them because it sounds good. Or because that’s what we think people want to hear. We elaborate things and make it sound like a bigger deal than it is because it sounds good.
God doesn’t want our elaboration and our show boating.
He wants us.
All of us.
Every sin, every dream, every fear…
every little tiny aspect of us.
But, because he’s a good God, he isn’t forcing us. He isn’t forcing any of us. He didn’t force Peter out of the boat that night that it was storming. Peter asked if it was Him. He simply said, “Lord…if it is you, command me to come to you on the water (src).”
God wants us to come to him willingly. Without force. Without hesitation. Jesus simply told Peter to “Come” and he did. But what happened? He saw the storm and he started to sink. The Bible never says it this way to my knowledge, but I’m guessing that Peter was drowning. He was out in the middle of the ocean with waves crashing around him, the wind blowing and it pitch black. I’m quite positive that he was flailing and thrashing and fearing that his time had come and he was about to die.
Don’t we do that all the time? Take a single, lowly step of faith into something that is scary or that the world deems scary and foolish and then panic when it doesn’t go the way that we want it to?
I know that I do. I inch forward and then panic when things get rocky or unsteady.
But there comes a point in all of our lives where I think that God is going to test us. Going to test our faith to see if we mean all of those things that we pray. To see if we are really and truly willing to follow him wherever. When Jesus called Peter to be a disciple, He didn’t tell him where he was going. He didn’t tell him what the road would entail. He just simply told him to “Follow Me.” And he does the same with us now.
He asks us to follow without having any clue what the road with Him may include. Lisa says in her book,
Be warned: If you want Me most, your life might be shipwrecked. But in the midst of the storm, you’ll feel my breath on your skin.
I’m tired of being a “safe” follower of Christ. Tired of just going through the motions and writing my story and just “hoping” that God will do something with it. I don’t think that’s ever what He had in mind. Me sitting here safely behind my computer screen and sharing (though I think that this is part of the ministry he has given me) what He lays on my heart. I think He wants more from me.
And from you.
I want to be Shipwrecked. I want to walk out on that water when God himself calls me to “come” knowing that I won’t sink because HE is with me.
(“I Touch the Sky” by Hillsong United)
I loved reading this – and Annie Down’s post too. I love your perspective – I fear that feeling of being “Shipwrecked” I have felt storm-tossed for sure. I think I’ll be thinking about this idea for awhile.
Oh, I do too. I fear it tremendously! I think it is totally natural to be scared of being wrecked by the Lord. But, oh the joy that has to come on the other side of that wreckage! <3
Oceans is my favorite song and I’ve often said I need to stop singing it and “owning it” the way I do (haha), because I understand the meaning is to fully trust. I’m asking God to test me, stretch me, and grow me. And He certainly has! More than I ever imagined. It’s been uncomfortable, and often painful…brutal, even! But He’s working in me all the time and for that, I’m grateful He cares enough for me to do that!
Yes, Yes, Yes!! But, I keep reminding myself when I’m feeling the stretching and the growing pains, that this life…my life, was never meant to be about ME. It’s all about him… <3