"…for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her." (Proverbs 8:11)
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Pride and Prejudice

Recently, I have tried to start professing my faith on Facebook. Not in an über-evangelistic, up-on-my-soapbox kind of way. Just occasional posts to say I’m grateful for my salvation, lift a friend up in prayer, or share a YouTube video of a praise and worship song.

And even that is hard.

It’s hard to be bold in my faith on Facebook, because I’m afraid of what people will think. I’m afraid some folks will be turned off. I’m afraid of being “un-friended.”

My goal, of course, is for people to see someone whom they know and (hopefully) respect actually walking out their faith. I also hope that people who knew me from grade school or college or a former employer—people who knew me before I was saved—might be curious about why the once secular girl raised by an atheist is now professing her belief in Jesus Christ.

That’s my hope. My fear is that they’ll think I’m a nut job—that they will dismiss my zeal as religious nonsense, or worse, think I am sanctimonious and judgmental.

Really, my pride is getting in the way. It would hurt my pride for someone to call me a name, dismiss my beliefs, or cut ties all together. It would also hurt my pride if I failed.

I want to lead people to Christ, to show them that they are missing a whole dimension of life—the very purpose and meaning of life. I want them to understand who Jesus is, and that He loves them SO MUCH that He suffered torment and physical abuse, and ultimately died on the cross…just for them. I want them to accept Christ into their heart before it’s too late. If instead I turn them off, pushing them even further from the Lord, I will be ashamed, embarrassed, and flat out mortified.

Aye, there’s the rub. Because that fear of failure is really narcissism in disguise. It’s making myself greater than God, as if He weren’t able to speak directly to someone’s heart, even if I “blow it.” As if he weren’t able to speak through me, when I don’t know the right thing to say.

Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Exodus 4:10

When I look at how God worked in my life, I can see plainly that no amount of preaching was going to reach me until I was ready. I attended Catholic church for eight years and never had a relationship with Jesus. It wasn’t until Craig witnessed to me one night in July 2003 that everything clicked. I couldn’t tell you a thing that he said, but I was wrecked. God spoke to my spirit. I asked Jesus into my heart, and my life has never been the same.

God meets us where we are at. He met me when I was steeped in sin, living a Sex in the City lifestyle in Manhattan, sans the Manolo Blahniks. He spoke to me through Craig. Then he spoke to me through a stranger named Valeria Smith who invited me to sit with her at Brooklyn Tabernacle. Over the next year, he spoke to me through Pastor Lawrence Kennedy and my friends from the North Church, Kara Sparks and Lori Yeary, teaching me what it means to be a disciple of Christ and to walk in His will.

Today, God continues to speak to me through friends, blogs, preachers, teachers, scripture, songs, and sometimes just straight into my head. Several years ago, He planted us at a different church, where I continue to be fed and challenged to study the Word and go deeper in my faith. My prayer is that God will continue to bless me with wisdom and discernment, and to use me as his mouthpiece to speak encouragement and truth into the lives of others.

Because it’s not about me, it’s about Him. I’m just the messenger.

The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Exodus 4:11-12

November 28, 2011   2 Comments

The Amazing Race

Imagine that you are sitting on a motorcycle at the entrance to a sprawling arboretum, filled with the most exotic flowers, verdant plants and magnificent trees that you have ever seen. Far and wide, the landscape is covered with vibrant colors, delicate blossoms, and lush foliage.

A walking path cuts through the center of the arboretum, making a direct line from the entrance to the exit, which is far off in the distance—much too far for you to see. Offshoots from the main path lead into different parts of the arboretum—shady areas perfect for lounging, ponds that are home to all types of fish and beautiful water fowl, and tall grasses that beckon you to run and play.

As you sit at the entrance to the arboretum, you lean forward on your motorcycle and rev the engine. Lifting both feet off the ground in one swift motion, you take off like a rocket, zooming straight along the center path toward the exit gate. You are driving so fast, your eyes fixated on the pavement ahead of you, that you don’t notice the flowers or the trees or the birds. You are scanning the horizon for the exit gate—you know it’s there—because somebody told you that just beyond the arboretum is a beautiful garden where you can see the most incredible flowers and trees and all manner of wildlife. You can relax and play there, and you will be happy.

So often, we find ourselves speeding through life, trying to get to the “next garden” as quickly as possible without taking the time to appreciate the place we are in. We’ve heard that just past the exit to this place is a better place—a bigger house, a better job, a more thoughtful spouse, a retirement condo on the beach—and we race to get there, our eyes fixated on the path ahead.

The distractions of this world only fuel our journey. We cruise on, powered by days of office drudgery and nights in front of the TV, without taking time to appreciate where we are. We ignore relationships, say we’re too busy to volunteer, postpone taking action on our personal goals, and cut short our prayer time (if we pray at all). We focus on “just getting through the day,” so that we can be one step closer to the promise of a better tomorrow.

Ephesians 2:10 tells us, For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Each of us is here for a purpose—you are here for a purpose. To know that purpose and walk out God’s plan for your life, you have to look at where He has you right now. Not where you want to be. Not where the grass is said to be greener. Not that goal off on the horizon, but where you are right now.

When we are driving full throttle along the walking path, cutting straight through life at lightning speed on our way to what we believe is a happier future, we miss the beauty of our surroundings. We fail to see the glorious garden in which God has put us in this very moment, or the side paths He is guiding us to follow for remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Whether your garden is the inner city streets of New York the open plains of Iowa—whether it’s in a comfortable suburban enclave or a cramped trailer park—it is full of the beauty of God’s creation. It is full of people.

I encourage you today to slow down and spend a few minutes with the Lord. Ask Him who you can lift up today, and how you can better appreciate the place that you are in. Turn off the TV, log out of Facebook, and put down your cell phone. Take a moment of pause, and ask Him to show you the beauty that is all around you. Even in the tough times, we are surrounded by the beauty of God’s grace. Every challenge presents an opportunity for growth. Every meeting presents an opportunity for connection. Every relationship presents an opportunity to express His love.

You are here for a reason. Don’t drive through life so fast that you miss it.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

November 8, 2011   3 Comments