Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Scared? Do It Anyway!

Some of the best "Kingdom Advice" I've ever received is, "DO IT SCARED." Pretty much everything I've done in my life that brought someone else's life closer to Christ, I did SCARED. Yup...pretty much EVERYTHING!

When God called me to teach His word in 2002, I thought He'd made a mistake. He couldn't have been serious when He told me to lead a women's bible study on my college campus during my LAST QUARTER before graduation. Really, God? He had it ALL WRONG! I was going to teach CHILDREN the Word and teach them dance. That was MY plan because I knew that's what I was created to do, and I knew I did it well. (I would teach children eventually, but it wasn't time.) I knew how to use dance as an avenue to teach children the Word of God, and I loved it! I had NO plans to teach my peers. None whatsoever!

Because my heart was so set on teaching children, I thought I couldn't teach my peers, so needless to say, I was scared. I didn't know what to do. I was in more shock and disbelief at first, but after I got over it because I KNEW what God had said, I was just scared. 

I knew He wanted that bible study, and I knew He wanted ME to lead it, and since He was the giver of the assignment, I knew I had to go to Him for direction...scared and all.

And that's exactly what He wanted. He wanted me to go to Him.

The last meeting with my bible study (most of them) before I graduated college. They were presented with purity rings after studying, that whole quarter, what it means to offer ourselves completely to the Lord--mind, body, and spirit.

God knew He'd called me to something that hadn't quite developed in me yet. He knew my heart was set on children. He knew I was scared to teach my peers because something like that was the farthest thing from my mind. But He also knew that that would be the best way to teach me to lean completely on Him.  I couldn't do it without Him. He told me what to do, but He wanted me to see that if He gave the assignment, He would have ALL of the instructions. I wouldn't be able to do even the first step without hearing from Him. I wouldn't be able to carry any of it out without His play-by-play guidance. What He'd called me to was so much bigger than me, and He wanted to teach me that I'm only the body He uses to get His work done in the earth. I MUST listen to Him for instructions in order to carry them out. Period.

And Lord, the many times He's told (and tells) me to speak directly to someone to either encourage them, or warn them, or help give them direction!!

One time, specifically, He gave me a dream about a young lady I was mentoring, and showed me that she was headed down the wrong path. I was scared out of my mind to tell her! I thought sure the girl would think I was crazy. But I knew God told me to tell her, and He'd shown me specific things that she KNEW I couldn't possibly have known. I had to lean on Him for the boldness to initiate the conversation. I had to pray for the way to say it. I had to get direction from Him and do it the way He said.

I did the bible study scared. I was scared when I had to tell little missy what God had shown me, and as I said before, there was a host of other things that I did with a shaking in my boots, but I had to "DO IT SCARED."  It caused me to lean on God in every step, and that's what He wanted. Had I thought I could do it and that I had everything under control, I would've been working in my own strength and would've pushed God aside, and surely, whatever I was "working on" would've probably been disastrous! It just doesn't make sense to go into the game without the coach's guidance.

Recently, a friend and I took a trip to Charleston, SC. When we discovered a few festivals were happening in surrounding cities that weekend, we made it a point to check them out.  The bridge that took us from Charleston to Mt. Pleasant, SC was BEAUTIFUL, but boy was it SCARY! I've driven a lot of places over a lot of high bridges, but this one was a different kind of high, and approaching it, I must admit, made me shift in my seat a bit. I put a little extra grip on my steering wheel, sat up straighter, and purposed to look directly in front of me. It's like I had to retrain my mind, in that instant, to not focus on the height and structure of the beams above the actual bridge, but to simply focus on driving and keeping my eyes on the road ahead of me. And the Holy Spirit began to speak.

He reminded me of what it means to "DO IT SCARED".  He reminded me of the bible study and the dream and all the other scary instances that forced me to look to Him for direction. He reminded me that I can't look at the size of "the bridge", but that I need only focus on what's directly in front of me and just keep driving. When He gives me my first instruction on an assignment, I have to do that and wait on the next. Then, when He gives me the next one or so, and I have to do those. I just have to keep driving. If I look at the size of "the bridge" or think about all of the components of the assignment, surely I'll be afraid and stop in my tracks because it will look too big!

Even now, as I'm planning one of the biggest projects Praise Movement School of Dance has seen in its 9 years, I have to keep telling myself, "Don't look at the bridge. Just drive." Every day, I have to say it. As God gives me instruction for one piece of the assignment, I work on that, and that piece leads to the next, and that will keep happening as I just drive until I eventually end up at the destination.

Has God given you some Kingdom Building assignment that looks and feels a little scary?  You're not alone. His assignments ARE usually bigger than us, and that's exactly why we need Him. It's His work; we're just the bodies that He uses to get the work done. Don't look at the size of the assignment. Don't look at its make up. Just look to Him who knows every detail of the plan. Get your instruction from Him, and just drive...scared and all.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

When You Know What You Know...

I was going through some old e-mails in my "Precious Treasures" folder, and I landed on one I wrote to one of my dearest spiritual mentors. I felt led to share it on my blog.

December 20, 2004

I was thinking this morning about the day of my salvation.  I've tried many times to pinpoint the day I received Christ, and I've thought over and over of many different instances that it could've been, but none of those instances ever settled with my spirit.  There were so many circumstances and events that played together in leading me to a relationship with Christ that I've always just bundled them all together and settled by saying that I came to know Christ my freshman year in college. That's true, but it's not the definite, ya know?  Until today, I never really knew so I couldn't really say EXACTLY when I confessed Christ as Lord and Savior with my whole heart.

The Lord caused me to remember, this morning,  when you were holding bible study in Mitchell's lobby one night (1998-1999 school year), and there were only a few girls there.  I remember Catresa being there, but I don't remember anyone else.  We were going over some stuff that we'd talked about before, and you asked each of us if Jesus is Lord and how we know He's Lord.  You asked if we know He lives, and how we know He lives.  And you did it corporately, but then you looked each of us in the eye, one by one, and asked us, and when you came to me you said, "Do you know Jesus lives?"  I said, "Yes."  And then you said, "How do you know it?"  And I said, "Because I believe He lives in me!"  I confessed it with my whole heart with real understanding for the first time in bible study with you!!!!!!!!!!!


Now that I think about it, I can remember how my body felt all warm because I was nervous to be called on in front of everyone, but I was warm from excitement too because I knew what I was saying, and I knew that Christ had really become real to me.  I'd been singing about him in the gospel choir, and I had been talking about Him with my peers, and all of that was revealing the truth of His majesty to me, which in turn led me to confess and call out for myself! Also, now that I'm thinking about it, I remember how refreshed I felt when I left that bible study.  My growth, from that point, skyrocketed, and I just couldn't, and still can't get enough of God's word. I praise God for you!  I praise Him for calling you to lead us, and I thank you for your obedience in doing so.  I praise God for the boldness He placed in you, and I thank you for your obedience in moving in that boldness.  I've always loved you because of the part you've played, and still play in my life, and because you're so doggone AWESOME, but now, even from afar, I feel a deeper connection because of what God allowed me to see this morning.

I love you dearly!  Know that you've impacted and changed a life, and that this life is moving to do what I learned from you to do--impact and change others' lives.

In His Hands (Because I KNOW He lives),

If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  
- Romans 10:9-10